“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.”
That was the pledge and promise the founders made to themselves, their contemporaries, and every succeeding generation, including us, in the preamble to the United States Constitution. Everything that follows, with the exception of the Bill of Rights that is enunciated in the amendments, is devoted to the mechanics of government: the roles and duties of the legislative, executive and judicial Branches, as well as the role of the states.
Tragically, in the last several decades, the federal government, and the state and local governments that are smaller versions of the federal model, have virtually abandoned their most profound responsibilities.
We have a decidedly imperfect union, made up, at the moment, of red states and blue states. We are constantly hectored by the so-called religious right, which would like to limit the rights of the rest of us. Though the country is nearly 230 years old, justice continues to elude many of us, and “domestic Tranquility” remains a dream.
The White House would claim that attacking Iraq “provides for the common defence,” but many of us believe it does precisely the opposite. And one has to go back to the 1960s to find signs that the federal government has any interest at all in anything resembling “the general Welfare.”
Special interests rule. Congress has just given itself a raise and generous tax cuts to its friends, but refuses to increase the minimum wage. Surely, the “general welfare” should include affordable and comprehensive health care for every man, woman and child, and first-rate schools for every child, but we have neither.
In the last fortysome years, America has had a succession of presidents who’ve run the gamut from dangerous to inept, and evidence accumulates that George W. Bush may be both the most dangerous and most inept president in modern history.
Either he has not read the Constitution, has read it and hasn’t understood it, or has read it and found it irrelevant. His administration has launched a pre-emptive war against Iraq, trimmed the rights of American citizens in the name of national security, run up record-breaking deficits, stood by while a great American city died, and, as we have just learned, authorized the National Security Agency to tap Americans’ phones without securing court orders – in clear violation of both their rights and the law. And these are just the highlights.
We deplore and rage at these and all the other horrors the Bush administration has inflicted on this nation and the world, and we believe that only by the hardest will the America we all love and the principles we value and cherish survive three more years of Bush.
Some words from Lincoln are apt:
“The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the last generation…We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save the Union…we shall nobly save, or meanly lose the last, best hope of earth…”Happy holidays.