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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Our Constitution

Our Constitution means little to some people, including our former President who called it a "god damn piece of paper", but I think it means a lot to most Americans. Some might not even know what it says but it is meaningful to them anyway. I'm suspicious and distrustful of most of our elected leaders but I love my country, warts and all, and would like for it to be a decent nation once again. I can be a mean assed old bitch but I honor the Constitution. It means something to me.
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Excerpt from:

http://open.salon.com/blog/saturn_smith/2009/09/17/happy_constitution_day
by Saturn Smith

[...] (Sept. 17) is of special import for me. It's Constitution Day. Two hundred and twenty-two years ago, on September 17, 1787, the new Constitution of the United States of America was adopted by the Constitutional Convention, signed by the 39 delegates, and sent out to the states for ratification. The National Archives, where the original text still lives, headlines it as "a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise," and that has continued to be true throughout its history. We may not agree upon its meaning, always, or its deployment, but Americans almost to a person seem to agree upon its value. Our stability as a country -- and we are a shockingly stable union -- rests most firmly upon the survival of this document.

That's not to say that the Constitution is a stony, implacable thing. In fact, for all the stability it's inspired, it's hard to mark even a concrete date of its birth. It would take another three years before the Bill of Rights were added, in 1791, and it's been amended another 17 times since then. Even now, there are several proposals for amendment before Congress, and 11,000 amendments have been proposed over time. Sure, it's been used for good and for ill, to justify moments of greatness and horrible errors, but it's still there, binding us to a common set of purposes. Is it outdated? Moldy in language and, certainly, in its descriptions of who should be a citizen? Absolutely. But what do you expect from the oldest written national constitution in the world? Perfection? No -- never in our Constitution. It is a document notable for its mistakes, but also for its ability to rise above them, to amend its own content without changing its real purpose. It is a truly American thing.

So -- go forth and celebrate like it's 1787. Lift an ale (Sam Adams, maybe?), try the Which Founding Father Are You? quiz (I'm James Madison), take a stroll about your free and enduring country, and meditate on the meaning of the document still holding us together:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, 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.

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