U.S. Constitution Preamble:
“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.”
Alexander Hamilton wrote in the first Federalist Paper to the people of New York State:
“AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.”
I suggest that you read Alexander Hamilton’s statement, above, about twenty times. I have and I still get a kick out of it. That, along with the Preamble, makes a tremendous statement about our country and why it was formed the way it was. The situation from the end of the Revolution to around 1787 was that each state coexisted, doing their own thing, with the other states under Articles of Confederation. It was apparently an “unequivocal” mess. States charging taxes on other states’ intrastate commerce, the inability to form enterprises except in the state of citizenship, quarrels between states on borders and each state’s militia protecting it from other states. Then there were the international threats against a single state and some states would join the most threatened state for mutual, sympathetic protection while other states thumbed their noses at the threat, perhaps not willing to risk the lives of their citizens for the sake of another state or they were sympathetic with the foreign power making the threats. And then, there were still state Governors sympathetic to England, making deals not liked by other states with the very country that we won our freedom from! It was a mess.
So, Alexander Hamilton asks the question; “…whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force…” The bold emphasis is mine, of course, but the words don’t appear to be that difficult to comprehend. You don’t need to be a lawyer. As far as I’m concerned, the question is still unanswered. Can we “form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for a common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” through “reflection and choice?” We don’t seem to be able to “decide the important question” by our “conduct and example.” Our shouting and yelling in the recent town-hall meetings don’t appear to show reflection or thought. Those are just shouting hordes of unthinking people. So, if we are to answer the question with reflection, we need to think.
The word “reflection” means thoughtfulness, contemplation, study, consideration, meditation, self-examination and retrospect. Go read the definition yourself. It does not mean knee-jerk following like sheep or passing nonsense around the Internet to elicit anger or resentment. It means being an adult, growing up and engaging your brain before you act. Otherwise, we reduce our deliberations to “accident and force.”
My friend Mark made a good point about my most recent post in regard to this email that was passed around the Internet:
WHY IS IT...
IF YOU CROSS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YEARS HARD LABOR.
IF YOU CROSS THE US BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET A DRIVERS LICENSE, SOCIAL SECURITY CARD AND FREE HEALTHCARE
WHO’S BRIGHT IDEA WAS THAT?!!!
Mark’s question was, “Do people really wish we were more like North Korea?” That’s a good question. But, it seems that way. Isn’t that why we witness a cold-hearted, mean-spirited, callous, merciless attitude from many in our country? Why don’t we address the illegal alien problem with reflection and study instead of knee-jerk, screw ‘em, jail ‘em, unforgiving meanness? That sounds like Dick Cheney’s solution. He would have us behave more like North Korea. And, there are other Republicans that are constantly trying to rationalize torture; “we water-board ourselves in SERE training, so it’s not that bad.” You’ve heard it. It is never-the-less torture.
Hamilton’s question was, however, whether we are capable of “establishing good government.” What I constantly hear from Republicans is “no” government. It seems to me that we need to take the Preamble in its entirety. Liberty, which is always the entire focus of the Republican party, without government at all, is not the entirety of the Constitution. Liberty with the other attributes of the Preamble is the entire intent and promise of the Constitution.
I am extremely proud of my brother, Dan. He, like our father, is a thinking person. I admire his cool, at least he outwardly appears so, in times of stress. He says he thinks when he mows his lawn and I can tell by the depth of what he says that he thinks about a good many things, how he relates one issue to another or how he associates ideas. Occasionally it takes him a long time to respond; so long in fact that I sometimes think he missed a point or wasn’t listening or ignored whatever we were talking about. But, I’m always wrong about that. He always shows an unexpected wisdom, sometimes weeks or months later, that I find refreshing.
So, why am I telling you about Dan? I don’t think it is only me, but it seems to me that we forget how wise previous generations were. We think, because we have technology never dreamed of 25, 50, and 100 or 250 years ago, that we are productive beyond their imagination and that we have grand houses and wealth not dreamed of, that the people who lived in those times were dumb; that we are smarter and wiser. Dan reminds me constantly how wise our father was and how well he listened to and learned from our father. And, when I read Alexander Hamilton’s writings, or James Madison or John Jay, who all shared writing the Federalist Papers, I’m reminded how wise they were and how much our father was like them; thinkers, contemplators, reflecting on serious problems instead of repeating nonsense heard at the pool hall, town restaurant or hardware store in our father’s time or passed to them on the Internet in our time. I’m glad that they were so wise; otherwise we wouldn’t have what we have.
Compare Dick Cheney’s words with those of Alexander Hamilton. Don’t you find Dick Cheney sounding crazy? Does he sound wise? If you do, then I’m sorry you’ve missed the point and you haven’t seriously studied what Hamilton is saying.
How about reading it again and again. Study it. It is a serious question; “…and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.” Do you understand that? “The general misfortune of mankind.” I happen to believe that fully; that if we make the wrong choice it will be “the general misfortune of mankind.” It would be better for the Democrats faced with screaming, shouting town-hall idiots to make the necessary decisions without regard to those shouting people to “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…” for the nation, including those shouting idiots, to fulfill the entire promise in the Preamble with the hope of “a more perfect Union.” At a time when the Republican Party is in a general melt-down, we can’t afford to follow their lead.