Thursday, March 1, 2018

Reading The Constitution of the United States

Reading the Constitution

Reading The Constitution is something that many of us Americans have never done. It's perhaps the most important document our country has produced, and it affects us everyday of our lives, whether we think about it or not. Written in 1787, there was no way for the authors to know what changes and advancements would happen in the future, especially technological growth. I'm fairly certain they would not have envisioned the influx of different religions and philosophies and gadgets and gizmos that would come to play an important part in our current lives.

I am not an authority on The Constitution, and will not pretend to be one. I'm pretty uninformed about it myself, which is one of the reasons I'm delving into it, to learn and understand what it says. To be blunt, I'll be reading it to see what it says, and to say what it means to me. My interpretation is mine, and I know many other people may understand it differently. So I invite anyone who wishes to do so to give their opinion in the comments. I will not be on any kind of time table for reading and/or discussing this document. As someone said, learning is long and life is short. I will not discuss every line, article, or amendment.  Some of it is pretty cut and dry and doesn't need much interpretation, so I will try to pinpoint the highlights.

The Preamble to the Constitution

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure Domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common Defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.

Besides being eloquently written, it establishes the general purpose of the Constitution. Everything that follows the preamble is meant to support the various values and objectives within the preamble: to form, to establish, to ensure, to provide, to promote, and to secure valuable rights: a more perfect Union, Justice, Domestic Tranquility, Welfare, and Liberty for themselves and their Posterity (you and me and everyone else alive today in the United States). When it comes to understanding and interpreting the meaning of the Constitution, the Preamble guides us on how to do that. Does your interpretation engender the values expressed in the Preamble? That is the litmus test. If it does, then you are interpreting the Constitution in the spirit of the Preamble and the aim of the founding fathers.

An important point being made by the preamble is that each person has a right to the guarantees being established, and that those rights are for individuals. They are for people first and foremost.

All of these objectives mentioned in the Preamble are important and worth dying for, if necessary. The ones that really strike me, and which seem most relevant for today in our environment of gun-toting assassins are the objectives of ensuring Domestic Tranquillity and promoting the general Welfare. I will not elaborate on these now, but I will in the future.

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