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The Constitution Is America's Guiding Light

Explore the meaning of our Constitution by examining our past, sharing our present and, most importantly, designing our future.

 

I believe that the Constitution of the United States is a document inspired by God to serve as a guideline for all humanity throughout all time. 

Although spawned during an era when people owned people, and the only good Indian was a dead Indian, its inherent potential and purpose found a foothold in the hearts and minds of most Americans and began expressing its true meaing. 

Our history is a record of the unfolding of this great document and our future will be determined by our current interpretation and application of it.

It is the seed of equality and freedom, of dignity and inalienable rights for all people, and it is our duty as Americans living in these turbulent times to see that our Constitution on our watch is not diminished in any way, shape or form, but rather defended and sustained with an eye toward the future when its full potential and meaning for all people is realized.

We know where we came from, we know where we are, but what we don't know is where we will be tomorrow or 100 years from now.  It is up to us today to take responsibility for our freedom and proclaim our course for tomorrow. 

I believe that the Constitution of the United States today will one day be the Constitution of the United Countries of the World; please join the discussion and let us design tomorrow through dialogue today.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Terry April 28, 2012 at 04:42 AM
The way I see it, there's only one person running for president that understands and respects the constitution. We have a chance in this country to take a step back towards our founding document. It's a shame that our national media has decided Americans need not hear this candidate talk about the constitution on their national broadcast networks.
Tumblingdie April 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Hi Terry! Thanks for your comment. May I ask which candidate you are speaking of and why? Also, the wording in your second sentence is interesting, "we have a chance to take a step back towards our founding document"; I hear a lot of chatter from friends, family the public etc. that is similar in its content, we all want to get our country back or get back to the days of our founding father's etc. I'm not implying that is what you mean but when I hear it said that way it raises some flags for me. First of all, as in my opening comments, the days of our forefather's were not very friendly for some people and our history is a history of the struggle, sometimes violent, for equality, justice, opportunity, etc. for all people. So, personally I'm not so sure that taking a step back or going back is what I want to do, but perhaps that's just the semantics of words. One of the reasons for this blog is to help (me) clarify the meaning of the local and national conversation regarding our founding principles and to decide that if we are off course then how do we get back on course without back tracking or back stepping the progress we've made thus far? As far as the media goes - I agree, it can be used as a tool for exposure or non-exposure for selected people and ideas. All the more reason to voice your opinion here in the Patch where dialogue, the grassroots of democracy is alive and well!
SPB April 28, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Steve, We as a country are off course for 3 very big reasons: #1 - Money in Politics and the dilution of democracy America has seen two overriding trends in politics over its history combine to make representatives less responsive to voters. One is the ever growing presence of money in the electoral process, and the second is the continued growth of the population. The net effect of this is that representatives in government have larger and larger constituent bases while simultaneously having fewer and fewer people they feel they must answer to. As a result, money has become a barrier of entry of sorts to get your voice as a citizen heard. Yes, you can vote, but that vote is wholly meaningless when both choices for office suffer from the same myopic condition. Vote for the D or the R, both will still answer to their big campaign donors before even considering any grievance you or I as an average member of the voting public may have. The constitutional ruling that determined money = speech ensured that those with the largest bank accounts were able to speak the loudest and as such, the interests of the wealthiest citizens have been enacted over the wellbeing of everybody else. This is counter to the entire spirit of a democratic system.
SPB April 28, 2012 at 05:03 PM
# 2 - We have too many laws which are unevenly enforced. We have legislated ourselves into a locked cage. Everything is illegal. We exist in an era where even law makers don't know the full breadth of what they pass. That is a dangerous game. When no one understands the law, no one trusts the law. When no trusts respects the law, no one respects the law. When no one respects the law society starts circling the drain. Look at how economy collapsed in a flurry of fraud and theft. Nobody went to jail. How is this possible when people are getting sent to prison for pot? The entire concept of equality before the law has been replaced by a judicial caste system. We've left ourselves with very little reason to act as responsible productive citizens.
SPB April 28, 2012 at 05:04 PM
# 3 - We as a nation don't take responsibility for anything The last hurdle to fixing this mess is us. Nobody can take criticism. Nothing is anybody's fault. Teachers can't reprimand students who interrupt class time without getting an earful from administrators/parents. Employers can't fire employees who perform poorly without a mountain of write-ups, as if they need permission from the State to run their business. Everyone sues everyone over everything. In an effort to rid our nation of danger and hurt feelings we've all become a bunch of whiners, crying foul and taking umbrage at every last slight. We fight over the war on women, the war on christmas, the war on moms... and on and on and on. We no longer respect and admire scientists, or inventors, or philosophers (shoot, the right doesn't even trust in the concept of science). Now its Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton or Jersey Shore. We have sought out the lowest common denominator to delude ourselves into thinking that we too are great. If they can be famous why can't we? Greatness is no longer earned. It is feared and mocked or outright ignored. How can we expect to have a functioning government and fair society when no one even knows what it takes to get there? The answer is we can't. If we want things to be better, we must make things better, but this will never come to be if people can't be bothered to be a better version of themselves.
LBV Collins April 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Hi Steve. I was born and raised Lutheran Christian, but started questioning my religious upbringing in my late teens, ultimately concluding that Man created God in his own image and not the other way around. I’m atheist. Nonetheless, I have a deep respect for people’s religious beliefs… as long as they don’t use their beliefs to justify hate or to disrespect others of a different religious persuasion. And it infuriates me when certain religious groups within our nation decide to legislate their beliefs into our system of laws, forcing all of us to follow their moral code, whether or not we agree with their code. Anti-gay marriage sentiments expressed by some of these “Faithful” is a perfect example. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why some people just hate the idea of gays marrying… and then use their religion as an excuse to justify their hate. I have yet to hear one single secular argument why it’s bad for gays to marry. Yet, our lawmakers felt the issue important enough to enact the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, thus denying gay couples the benefits straight couples enjoy in our country. It amounts to nothing more than State-sanctioned bigotry, in my opinion. That’s why I adamantly support our Constitution’s First Amendment and wish to keep religion out of our laws and our politics.
Terry April 30, 2012 at 07:35 AM
Hopefully it's obvious I'm speaking of Ron Paul. To clarify my words, taking a step back is meant to convey how far we as a society have strayed from the intent of our founding document. We hear at increasingly alarming intervals how our very Bill of Rights is being eroded, whether it's NDAA, Patriot act, War on Drugs, wars overseas, and through several other means. I don't long for some wild west society, but in some ways we've become more violent, criminal, and unjust in our society now than our forefathers had ever dreamed. Dr Paul understands the wisdom of the authors of our constitution. He's written about it in his books, and has studied them extensively. He knows they studied civilizations (ie the Romans) and saw that if government is not kept small that it will eventually lead to empire. That is exactly what we have become, with our dominating military presence in hundreds of foreign lands. Corporations have control of this country, and if we don't return power to the individual, then it's only a matter of time before we will collapse. Ron Paul understands that in order to maintain this land of the free, we must protect the rights of the individual to choose how to live their life, as long as it doesn't interfere the rights of others do the same. Nobody else running seems to have this profound understanding. The others have been bought and paid for by their campaign contributors. Ron Paul is not for sale, and we all know it. Try and prove me wrong on this.
LBV Collins April 30, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Hi Terry. While I strongly suspected that you were referring to Ron Paul, I’m glad you confirmed. Nicely stated points, by the way. And I agree: Our freedoms have been slowly stripped away. I also agree that Ron Paul is not for sale. He strikes me as a person of integrity. He knows what he believes and believes it with his heart and soul. I’m baffled as to why the GOP hasn’t rallied around him, but instead seemed mesmerized by extremists like Bachmann and Santorum, and opportunists like Cain and Gingrich. (It’s almost laughable to me that conservatives have settled on Romney, who, quite frankly, seems more like a Democrat than a Conservative… depending on which point in Romney’s history you happen to focus.) It’s refreshing to me to read thoughtful, reasonable opinions like yours and SPB’s, versus the often baseless claims of those who simply regurgitate what some “news” media claim as truth, and whose only means of defending their position is to devolve the debate into name calling. And thank you, Steve, for posting this topic.
Tumblingdie April 30, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Hi Terry, here’s my response to your Ron Paul post: I had a feeling you were talking about Ron Paul but have no interest in proving you wrong on his merits; I also like him and many of his ideas. I hope some of them are adopted and incorporated into the next administrations policies. As far as going astray from our founding values we must ask, ‘what would our country and the world look like today if we hadn’t gone astray?” Also, what were the forces, other than the weaknesses of human nature that caused us to go astray? I’ve read that an airplane headed for any given destination is off course 98% of the time. The actual trajectory in reaching the goal is to go off course to the left and then correct to the right, go off course to the right and then correct to the left, and eventually come in for a safe landing at the airport of choice. I feel that one of the corrections to the issues of empire and of too large of a government imposing on our lives is by doing exactly what we’re doing here. Having dialogues like this one where we as individuals can voice our concerns and through dialogue define what it means to be an American today and to collectively shape our vision for tomorrow. I think a very similar conversation to this one is taking place all over the country under blogs of different names and numbers, but a movement seems to be in motion which should lead to a better tomorrow.
Tumblingdie April 30, 2012 at 05:39 PM
SPB - what can I say - your reasons for how and why we went astray are right on and eloquent. I'm sure your voice speaks for hundreds if not thousands of us, maybe hundreds of thousands? I wish they were all reading them here and giving a hoo-rah! As I see it there does seem to be a light at the end of this tunnel. The infrastructures we have built in terms of governments, corporations, even organized religions, along with all the greed and corruption that has seeped in, seem to be crumbling into their constituent parts. Like giant ice castles all the institutional dinosaurs we have built seem to be melting back into nebulous unshaped water. It represents a great opportunity for us to shape the new structures of tomorrow. Hence, we have good reason and responsibility to review our fundamental constitutional beliefs and rebuild them into tomorrow. If our Founding Father’s had a trajectory for America and we have missed the mark in our first 200 years, now is our time and opportunity to project into the next 100 years. Dialogues like this one are the matrix of tomorrow and I think are taking places by different names and numbers nation wide.
Tumblingdie April 30, 2012 at 06:12 PM
LBV you’re welcome, I too am delighted that we are getting such thoughtful and well executed responses to the blog, including yours. Thank you for sharing your beliefs and background, I especially like that you pointed out that in spite of religious beliefs or the absence thereof (which may also be a religious non-belief if you will) it is still possible to arrive at a common foundation of mutual courtesy and respect for our fellow human beings. Your comments reinforce a level of humanity, a common ground for all people that supersedes religion! I would never want to dilute our personal histories, cultures, or religions our of our framework, I encourage all people to hold on to who they are and where they came from, it’s part of the wealth of a people. But, many times superficial differences keep our minds divided. What we need is a common set of tenets based on our shared humanity that would keep us united and tolerant and respectful of each other, and upon which we could keep and maintain our personal beliefs, histories, cultures, etc. I wonder if the Constitution isn’t just the framework to do that if we started emphasizing it that way?
LBV Collins May 01, 2012 at 02:27 AM
To support my earlier point that Ron Paul is not for sale, is a person of integrity who knows what he believes and believes it with his heart and soul, watch this Bloomberg video of Republican presidential candidate Paul and Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman discussing/debating inflation, monetary policy and the role of the Federal Reserve. (http://bloom.bg/JNtoDp) The video is a bit long (21 minutes), but provides insight as to why those who support Ron Paul, just love him. (And after watching this, you’ll know why I said earlier that, “I’m baffled as to why the GOP hasn’t rallied around him.”)
SPB May 01, 2012 at 03:15 PM
@ LBV The GOP establishment is against for Ron Paul for the simple fact that it is not in their interests to have him as a candidate. They can't control him, and as such, have no interest in doing business with the guy. While this may sound cynical, what the Republican establishment wants, and what they purport to want are two different things. The big donors and boosters of the Republican party largely benefit from a corroded and corrupted system. The specialized tax cuts didn't appear out of thin air, they were lobbied for (and paid for) by people and companies that would make money off of them. Paul would wipe that all out. Additionally, Ron Paul's realistic assessment of American foreign policy is the antithesis of the neo-con chest thumping might is right crowd that still hold the grips of power in the party's intellectual circles, not to mention its 'kill em all' electorate base. National security has been a winning issue for the GOP for sometime. They don't want to be the party that dismantles the empire. Lastly, Ron Paul isn't interested in fighting the culture wars, which is the chum that fuels the party. How many people would vote Republican if their fears of gays, atheists and liberals weren't being addressed. As it is, most Republican voters suffer more under Republican policy proposals than they would under those of the Democratic party. Its not an endorsement of Democratic positions, but it is nonetheless true.
Terry May 03, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Well said SPB. That's why so many Ron Paul supporters have pledged not to join the GOP bandwagon and vote for Romney even if he is the nominee. Too long they've been forced to choose the lesser of two evils, and this time they are making a stand for their principles. Whether he succeeds or not in his campaign, a whole new movement has spawned behind him that will carry many libertarian minded people into office. I for one am hopeful.
stef May 03, 2012 at 03:56 AM
The Ron Paul "movement" was actually spawned with Ross Perot. Of the remaining candidates I'd like to see Ron Paul have 1/2 a chance at winning the nomination. He would definitely create the change this country needs. Mitt Romney = rock; 0bama = hard place.
Tumblingdie May 03, 2012 at 04:19 AM
LBV, I just watched the video in it's entirety. I hadn't seen RP other than the debates, it was good to see me go toe to toe with a Nobel Prize winning economist. I'm reading a book titled, "Aftershock" by Wiedemer, Wiedemer & Spitzer, that reflects many of his views and has excellent explanations for how we got here and where we are going...
Jeff Walters May 04, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Yes the U.S. Constitution is indeed a well written work of art that took many months and nights to write. The so called "new love" for this document is nothing more than the appeal that some of the people who live in this country think about what is right for us as a nation. The problem is not too many of them can think at all. Yes we as Americans should take care to read and understand what our founding fathers ment by those words, and to be able to implement those understandings into a unilateral law that governs all of us wether or not we are elected, wealthy or just plain poor. Everybody with the excpetion of certain convicted crimminals, should be able to live thier lives as they see fit and as is written by law. Although a lot of the written laws could have been written better by a teenager than an elected offical, never the less we must do our best to abide or to change those laws. It appears that so many of the words written within The Constitution have been altered or blurred within their meanings, this has been done to keep people in power or to just plain make others happy.We as Americans need to stand up to our so called elected officals, put them on notice that their power is not absolute and take our country back so all citizens canbe proud to call themselves an American. That's all I have to say about that.
Jeff Walters May 04, 2012 at 03:52 AM
The U.S. Constitution gives Americans the abilty to achive so much greatness. Never in recorded history ahs such a dicument been cherished and upheld. Since our conception as a Nation, we as Americans have strived to furnish our hearts, minds and families with the proper notion that we are a great humble Nation. Throughout our young emergence we have built a light of freedom that shines throughout all the world. And because this lights sometimes shines on the faults of others there are those that wish to squish this light from burning so rightly. We as Americans will do as we have always done when we are threatend. We will reach up, grasp our adversaries by the throat and whip 'em! Our light is being battered by winds that threaten to put it out. We cannot let this happen. Wether it be near or far, at home or away, we shall fight with vigilance to keep this flame aloft so all can see we are still here. It is time for us Americans to once agian rise up, defend our freedoms we hold dear and ermerge victorious as we always have. Do not let the non-thinking money hungry elected officials take this light from you and I. Let us join together as our founders and newly citizens did and rekindle that glowing light.
Tumblingdie May 06, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Thanks Jeff for your comments, they seem to fit right in with the point I'm trying to arrive at. Namely, so many of us are reaching out for something that will hold us together as a people. Thus, the new found love of the Constitution. However, as I see it, each opposing group out there, be they left or right or inbetween, seems to be claiming the Constitution and it's cherished values as their own and using it to prove their own points of view. Is there a common set of values out there that we all can agree on, and is their a mind set which if adopted will keep us united as a people as we go forward through time? -Steve
Jeff Walters May 08, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Steve, yes I agree. It seems that all the elected idiot or the want to be elected idiots are using the Constitution as their base or thier "bible" to go by. However each person defines the meansing of each word or sentence differently than the other, or they over look most of the issues and only focus on one or two topics that they can twist to thier liking and promote. There was a time when being an elected offical was a sense of duty. Now it seems it is a sense of self. I never voted or voiced my approval for anything these people are trying to do. Take away me freedoms! I don't think so. Tax me more on something I don't even use! Think again. Let the children of illeagal aliens go to college and I pay for it! No way in hell Sir! My children are from the Philipines and they can't even get a simple grant! I am firm beliver in the fact that if you take away domeones money, they will listen to what needs to be done. I think we should take away the money from our elected officials. pay them on a performance scale, you don't produce , you don't get paid. Take away all entitlements to include free health care, free gas cards, free parking. Hell they work for me, I don't work for them.
Tumblingdie May 10, 2012 at 01:21 AM
I’ve heard and read a lot about the wisdom of the founding fathers and their vision for America; yet, I see such discrepancy in how 'liberty and freedom' are distributed here. Hence, I always try and come back to one basic premise: "for all” What does that mean? When we say 'liberty and justice for all" who are we talking about? Who did our wise father's who had such phenomena vision mean when they wrote, 'for all'? Take gay marriage for instance; I have absolutely no interest in it and yet, I have known and currently know gay couples and count them as friends. Now the President and VP have come out and said they approve of it. On a personal level I hope no one ever puts me on the spot and makes me answer that question, but as an American I have to hold that concept up to the light of the Constitution and ask, does it fit within the boundaries and meaning of "for all?" Well, you decide... But, back to your point Jeff on the politicians, we now know that human Greed has eroded our values and is corrupting our government, it is destroying Capitalism and our economy but what are going to do about it? What can we do? It seems that dollars now speak louder than votes and since we all need money, can’t we all be bought? Has principal replaced principle as our raison d’etre?
Jeff Walters May 10, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Steve, It is true that "for all" should mean every single person living in this country, period! However with the advent of time, things change and courses of action must be dealt with to make sure that our freedoms and liberties are not tarnish or threatend. Take for example the "gay marriage" issue. I am all for people being people, doing what they wish to make thier lives and the lives of thier loved ones better. Yes I have gay friends, yes I agree that they should be able to become legal partners, yes I believe and will defend thier rights to do so. However, the changing of the word "marriage" is the main issue. Just becuase a group of people find one word they dislike or like, they do not have the "rights nor freedom" to change or alter the correct meaning of that word. Yes gay couples can be "joined as on till death do you apart". The promise to love and cherish does not belong to the defintion of the word "marriage". Simple, just leave the word "marriage" out of the equation and all is O.K.. If not, then lets just change the meaning of the word "n****r" and change to mean something else like: "super smart, educated beyound normal standards. That way no one will be offened any longer. They are fighting over s simple word definition that has been in the English language of this country for over since before our country was founded.
Jeff Walters May 10, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Steve, So true that America has been regulated to the "have and have nots". Gone are the days when a man or woman can stand up and feel the need to represent thier family, friends and neighbors by entering into politics, and serving for the better of mankind and our country. It sickens me to listen to these non-thinking idiots appeasing to whom ever cries the loudest. I am sick and tired of these so called elected officlas in most aspects having control over my life. Why should I have to give up my hard earned money (I make the same wage now as I did in high school back in 1979), becuase some idiot has made changes or authored another bill to collect more taxes. The way i see it is quite simple and logical. You see, the eight years I spent as an active duty Marine taught me two very important lessons about life. There are two ways to have people comply with your wishes. Inflict severe amounts of pain or take their money. Well we the people can't go around beating people up becuase they lack a certain though process. However we can install a very simple method of checks and balances that will ensure that the elected officlas only get paid when the perform. Take their money and they will listen. It is that simple.
TVOR June 05, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I fully agree SPB, the founding fathers mostly didn't gain their inspiration from god but merely acknowledged other people's belief in god. If the constitution were inspired by some kind of diety it would have appeared in a ray of light and taken effect all on it's own.
TVOR June 05, 2012 at 02:46 PM
There is no place for god in the governance of people. While I agree many of our founding principles are the same kind of sentiments expressed in the bible, I believe they were born of a simple respect for other human beings and not inspired by a book written by man about a diety. To force one's religious beliefs into the fabric of our government is to doom our society to failure.
Tumblingdie June 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Yes, the haves and have nots... To me the biggest insult is that most if not all of the have nots want to work and earn a decent living and would contribute to the system. The tragedy is that over time the have's have gone on living the good life while creating barriers for those willing to work and learn and at least get by with a decent life, or so it seems to a greater or lesser degree. One example is the entitlement of welfare. Welfare or its equivalent started right after the Civil War, yes over 150 years ago, to help the newly freed slaves get along as they acclimated to society; while they learned to read and write, etc. You would've thought by now welfare would've been worked out of our system, but no, its still here and people are complaining about it as if it was something President Obama started during his first 100 days in office! To me, somebody dropped the ball big time; whoever those powers that be were, need I say, did great things since that time but as the Bible says, "These things have ye done and left the others UNDONE" So don't cry about it now, like most of our major problems in this country it is hundreds of years in the making...
Tumblingdie June 05, 2012 at 05:06 PM
TVOR! I agree with the thought that if we did nothing else other than respect our neighbors and treat them as we would like to be treated we would go a long way towards creating a civil society. I think it was some young man named Jesus that said we should 'do unto others as we would have them do unto us!" And taken as a standard for human behavior it is not only a good idea but seems to part of some unknown 'universal law' I think he also said as part of that passage that, "with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured against ye in return"...to me that means that the judgment you do pass on others shall in some magic way (karma?) someday be equally passed against you, in this lifetime or the next. So, it makes very good sense to love our neighbors as ourselves, no? I’ve heard that the mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine! Without making a direct reference to a God, you/we have to admit that there are 'universal laws' at work in the universe that supersede the human laws we pass for human conduct. So, when I say that the Constitution is a document inspired by God I'm not talking specifically about a Christian God any more than I'm talking about a Hindu or Hebrew God, I'm talking about a universal consciousness which embodies a universal truth which without reference to any religion our forefathers seemed to be aware of and wrote the Constitution from that high state of awareness. But, I could be wrong...
Terry June 05, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Today is a good day to vote for Ron Paul!
TVOR June 05, 2012 at 11:28 PM
There is no doubt a huge number of things we humans are incapable of understanding. I don't much think those things are the creation of any diety, but they are nontheless just as puzzling to our primitive brains.
Tumblingdie June 06, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Oh yes it is!

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