Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Constitution Out Loud

Next to the Bible, the most important document the world has ever seen is the United States Constitution. Some people might argue that the Magna Carta or Hammurabi’s Code are competitive, but they are not. Hearing our Constitution read by the people who should be most governed by it was moving for me today. I hope that they were also listening. No doubt though they had all sworn an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United Sates” many had probably never read it and fewer still understand its importance. I carry one in my hip pocket. Imagine that – our Nation was founded by a document that fits in a pamphlet 38 pages long that you can tuck in your pocket but those knuckleheads can’t write a bill to fund that government that is less than 1900 pages long.

As part of my military education I had to read "The Constitution and National Security" by Edmund S. Muskie and Walter R. Thomas. One passage was burned into my brain. Even though Muskie is an odd source - I still love the elegance of the phrase speaking about the members of the Constitutional Convention:

“But these were men who represented a degree of collective intellectual candlepower that has not been seen since in the corridors of American government.”

That statement remains true today. As I look across the spectrum of the current Congress, while there are good men and women represented there are also nitwits and scoundrels. I can’t help but wonder where the Americans with the stature of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and John Adams are. While some of the people present in the chambers of our government might make it into the history books with similar acclaim as our Founding Fathers, the people I mentioned were famous men of great accomplishment before they sat in the Second Continental Congress to work on the Declaration of Independence or in the Constitutional Convention to design the United States Constitution.
Can you even imagine the scorn that people like Elbridge Gerry, Francis Lee, Gouverneur Morris or Benjamin Rush would have for Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, or Charlie Rangel? Can you visualize a debate between Samuel Adams and Joe Biden without breaking out into peals of laughter? And who would put Barrack Obama on the same intellectual plain as James Madison or Alexander Hamilton? The very idea is preposterous.

The lesson we should all learn from the past four years is that our Congressmen are not “fire and forget.” We cannot send them to Washington and not continue to remind them of their responsibility to “support and defend” that magnificent document that is still the basis of our freedom and prosperity. Write, call, and attend town hall meetings to remind your Congress critter who he or she works for.

Miracle At Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May - September 1787                         Pocket Constitution (Text from the U.S. Bicentennial Commission Edition)


  1. Well said Amigo. My sentiments exactly!!!

  2. Amigo,

    Off topic but relevant: