In some communities the buyer of a piece of property has the right to tear down what is there and replace it completely. Where there are no ordinances that protect historic or unique properties some developers just mow down sweet ethnic communities and replace them with current, usually tasteless, structures. Something is lost when this happens – a charm, a link with the past that helps the “now” keep perspective. Only those with real memories of what the neighborhood once was feel the pang of sadness at what it has become. This is not progress; this is a melting heat. Soon those with memories will be gone and it is as if the community never existed at all.
So, too, the United States Constitution and other Founding documents. They exist over time because the people of America understand them, treasure them, honor them, and assume there are laws in place that preserve, protect, and defend them. It is assumed by many Americans that our basic political institutions are so embedded in the DNA of our culture that no “developer” could come along and erase who we are, what we value, and how we govern ourselves. It is understood that each generation stands on the shoulders of former generations. This is progress; this is a forging heat. Memories stay fresh and so the institutions last, are modified with great care, and become an even stronger re-bar for society.
Miss Constitution would remind us of what those Founding documents are and what values they represent.
1. The Mayflower Compact – signed November, 11, 1620 before landing at Plymouth, MA
We. . . do covenant and combine ourselves into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation. . . and to enact such just and equal laws. . . for the general good of the colonie; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
This is a written governing contract. Laws for the welfare of all passed with the consent of the governed. They promised with their word of honor to obey the Rule of Law.
2. The Declaration of Independence – signed August 2, 1776 in Philadelphia, PA
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Our written document of independence from Great Britain acknowledges that God exists and is the Author of our human rights. Our right to Life and Liberty, then, are not granted by our national or state governments but by God. In God We Trust.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Government serves the people, the people do
not serve the government.
3. The Constitution of the United States – September 17, 1787
Unlike the British Constitution the American Constitution is a written governing structure that outlines the powers and limitations of governance and also provides civil, not human, rights against government power, many of which now apply to the states. It consists of seven articles and a mission statement. It is the Supreme Positive Law of the Land. What is says and means is interpreted by the Supreme Court.
We the People. . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. The People have the ultimate authority to establish the Constitution.