I am looking at it.I am looking at our constitution. I say "our" constitution because it is the U.S. Constitution and I am a U.S. citizen. The first feeling I have is that of feeling overwhelmed, nearly overwhelmed with questions. Those questions seem to be marching at me in wide columns and doing so at speed. I may be able to check a few of them carefully and then to find answers to a few of those. In time I hope you may help to find answers to a few. I am directing these words mostly to my fellow citizens, but also to all who may be interested in governance by the people.
It is not difficult to get a copy of this constitution online. One can also have it translated online to a language you can read. The translation are not always great.
I think that I have heard this constitution called the shortest, most elegantly written, and the oldest one still in use. It is battered, but still here.
Within this post I will share many of my questions. I am attempting to test anyone with them. I will be pleased to get answers to them or comments on. They have stirred some thought on my part. I hope that you can find some value in them.
I have though of our constitution as a telling of the way we have agreed to organize. I pretty much think of it that way right now. I have thought that our power as a people has rested less in magic or luck and more in our very agreement.
As this post/essay is intended to be mostly about a constitution, I offer a definition of "constitution:" A constitution may be said to be a body of fundamental principles and/or established precedents by which a state or organization may be acknowledged to be governed. I have a fair understanding of this definition. I have been helped to my understanding by considering the following the following questions:
~ How do you understand the word "body."
~ What are "fundamental principles?"
~ What are 'established precedents?" examples?
~ What does "state" in the definition above mean?
~ What does it mean "to be governed?"
~ How do you use your constitution?
HERE BEGINS THIS REPORT OF MY LOOK AT THE CONSTITUTION
I Begins With What Is Called the "Preamble"
You may find it an informal report.
The first phrase in the U.S. Constitution is, "We the people of the United States," So, we kind of know where we are. We have a place to start. We know who we are talking about. We have a question answered. More questions coming up:
~ How are states united?
~Who are "the people" of the United States?
~ What is the use of a constitution?
~ How do we use our constitution?
~ How is a constitution maintained?
~ How are we to maintain our agreement on the constituent parts of our constitution?
I hope that we can consider some of these questions more later in this post or in a future post.
I have questions about "our," "we," and "us' which may be appropriate, but will put them off until later. I remember a college friend of mine. Often, when I used "us," "we," or "our" in a conversation with him, he would ask, "Do you have a mouse in your pocket?
I am not sure how I will work my way through this review of the Constitution. I may begin with the Bill of Rights rather than with the Preamble or Article I. I don't like the use of Preamble here; I believe Purpose or Purposes would be better. I tend to ramble a bit, but most often get back to the topic. Now questions keep filling my awareness:
~ Our written constitution is still our contract with one another, right?
~ Who are we?
~ Are we those who are united by our agreement on our constitution and perhaps by some common experience?
~ Are we those who love democratic principles.
~ What do you think about our covenant, the Constitution?
~ Why did we not want any hereditary rights
I do not know who I am talking to here. I do know that I'd rather it be "with" rather than "to. Your questions, answers, and comments in the "comment" section just below this post would help. The might begin to make this an important dialogue rather than a monologue.
Questions are coming again. I hope they will calm down to a couple of questions a post. Here are the present questions:
~ How is a constitution used? How best used?
~ What is it that we agree on?
~ How do we keep our agreement firm?
Well, here I am at the Preamble. I would rather call it the Statement of Purpose. This statement of purpose includes capitalized words which I believe deserve consideration. they deserve to be talked about, discussed with, dialogued into and more. Here they are in order presented:
These words are the heart of the framers expression of specific benefits they intended to get for themselves and their posterity. We may have thoughts and questions related to each of these words. Let's think of how to deal with them in future posts.
The only "word" on this list which consists of two words is Common Defense. It sticks out so my questions begin:
~ When did we decide to become an empire?
~ How we decide to become an empire?
~ Why did we decide to become an empire?
~ Whose responsibility is it to decide?
~ How does the Preamble to the Constitution begin?
~ How do we intend to stay a we?
Your questions will very often differ from mine? Mine differ greatly in different contexts. I would very much like to have your questions in this constitutional contexts. Right now I have questions like these:
~ How had we best select an enemy? a friend?
~ How inclusive are we?
~ What does our common defense consist of?
~ Can our friends be part of us?
~ How do we intend to stay a we?
I have been very slow at getting into the flow of writing this post. Just got back from a bite to eat. I find myself at what I call the purpose of the Constitution.
I find myself looking a "union" and think of unity, unite, togetherness and more. We still say we want a more perfect union. Sounds powerful. Sounds good to me. Then I think. Who are we now? Also I remember how we smashed and neglected our unions. I also remember how we once united in more clubs and other organizations than we do now. Organization? Doesn't union call for organization? I am seeing little participation in national or state dialogue these days. I am told that it is seldom heard in a beer garden, tavern, or coffee shop these days. So what do we mean about forming a more perfect union now? If we are no longer interested in forming union, should we no amend our covenant, contract, Constitution? If we are interested in forming a perfect should we not make a clearer statement of intent? How we to understand one another? Citizens of America, I once thought of me with you as the "we" I have spoken of. Who are we now?
Do we have all the justice we want? What justice do we lack? What justice do we want? Who is the "we" which will organize to get and keep the justice we lack? How are we establishing justice among us? What have we already said about justice in our Constitution and its Amendments? Have we no more to say about justice? Where does justice come from? I believe it comes from our organization and action, from our union and intelligence.
Might we not be better supported by a better Supreme Court. Might we be a bit better off with a few more justices. Maybe.
Might we be better off by being a better we? How is a we formed?
I need an editor who is free to edit for free.
I feel I am getting better organized here, but that organization may not show itself much at first. We have had some introduction to the Preamble. And in the Constitution we come next to Article One and Section One. Important things are often put first. Section one of Article one Speaks of legislative powers. Legislation speaks to what we intend and how we intend to do about it.
Some thought that the legislative powers were important enough to put first. It seems that some still think so. Congress forms the legislative branch of government. The best among us have said that it is the most powerful seat of we the people. It is where we have the power and responsibility of putting our representatives. There are those who will have questions about these statements. I will reserve mine for later.
I do not choose to begin here, but rather with and review of all of the Bill of Rights.
Remember when you comment, please be kind.
The Bill of Rights
I have learned to call the Bill of Rights the first ten Amendments. The Bill of Rights and have been important to the Founding Fathers and others from the very beginning. If it were not for these ten Amendments we might not even have the Constitution. Many of the former signers refused to sign unless the Bill of Rights be included in the final document.
It might be helpful to print out a copy of the Bill and the whole Constitution from the internet. I am not copying it here. I may be paraphrasing, but mostly I am commenting.
First Amendment Comments
We the people agree to defend among us the establishment of religions and the free practice of them. We are not talking about state religions here. I do take that practice to be nearly complete in church, temple, mosque, home, and elsewhere to the extent it does no 'major' harm to others.
We agree to establish no particular religions nor any religions among us.
Sorry. I intend to continue a review of the Bill of Rights. There is a lot to talk over. Just now I have been trying to edit some of that which I have written about the Preamble and have tired myself out. There is a great deal to learn from the Preamble too. I was thinking that I need an editor. I could also use a web master, but free help is not easy to come by.
I plan to be back and reviewing the Bill of Rights. However, I have been thinking that It might be good to go over the Declaration of Independence soon. Then there is some of T. Pain's work.