Saturday, July 13

Why An Old Piece of Paper is Important

The Constitution 2.0

In 1787, a bunch of old guys sat around in a hot and drafty room with a lot of nice seats and they came with this unique document called the U.S. Constitution. Now, you have to remember -- just eleven years earlier, most of these guys told the British Crown to basically take a hike and don't come back (unless we tell you to) and now they had a new country but they had to come up with something brand new to hold it together with a common thought that everyone could agree upon. Now I ask you -- have you EVER seen a bunch of people sitting around trying to agree on anything? Get's a little strange sometimes, yes? Well, these folks managed to write a document that would please everybody AND at the same time make sure that this new land would not have to have a ruler or rulers that would threaten, intimidate and harass its citizens.

This was more than just a novel concept -- it was inspired by the works of Voltaire (A French dude who had a problem with authority -- any authority), Rosseau (another French guy who was a little nicer than Voltaire, but not by much) and some other folks, mainly in France, who said the King was not forever and other such one would see when Louis VXI "lost his head" over the argument). Anyway, these old guys in funny clothes did the virtual impossible and scribbled out something they could all agree upon but more importantly -- would agree to abide by it. Now, these were the same guys who wrote at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence Pink Slip back in '76: "We swear our fortunes, our lives and our sacred honor," just to seal the deal.

Well, we know how that turned out and it wasn't good for the British dudes. So now, with the British gone, they had to make something up. And they did. They made it all up and you know what? For a long time, it seemed to work. Most of the time, anyway.

So when they wrote this Constitution thing, they had these items called Amendments. And just to make sure that no one forgot, they put numbers on them. The First Amendment, Second, etc...and as of now there are 27 of them. I won't tell you about all of them because actually, most of them make sense. So they came up with ten of these amendments and attached it to a different part called the Bill of Rights.

I say all of this because the Americans are kind of a funny people. They hate liars and frauds and they hate it even more when their government does the same thing. Yeah, pretty crazy, huh? So, when Americans as a whole "smell a rat," things get strange in a hurry. You see, Alex, Americans by nature are rather different than their European ancestors and cousins -- and that's because for most of its existence, they have had to fight in one way or another to keep the rights they have and not let then dribble out on the floor and be forgotten about by everybody. So, if they seem a little strident in voicing their opinion (one of those Amendment thingys again) or whatever, give 'em a little break. They've earned it, after all.

I say all this because as someone who has done what 99 percent of the population NEVER does and that is say, "Okay. I'll do this thing and pinkie swear that I will defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic," climb into some sort of unique uniforms (mine happened to be green) and actually do it means that this Constitution written by these old guys back in the late-eighteenth century has a lot of meaning to this old man. Talk about old school!

So, when I see rights and liberties that have been washed in the sweat of the millions who went before me and bathed in the blood of sacrifice and then dried in the hot, hard fact that liberty has never been free -- ever -- it kinda makes this old Army Captain's blood boil just a tiny bit.

So if I seem a little out of line or a little loud in my protestations and arguments, cut me a little slack. Individual liberty DOES MATTER and it always did. And just because some people say now, "What does it matter" (are you listening, Hillary?) the only answer is simple: It does matter because if it doesn't, then this whole old guy in the funny suits writing this thing called a Constitution idea is all a lie and that would be ironic, huh? And all the men and women who raised their right hands and swore their lives and their sacred honor didn't matter, either. Well, judging by the thousands of white tombstone markers in various military cemeteries around the world kinda tells me it mattered to SOMEBODY and they even died for it.

Yes, liberty does matter...and its not just Americans who think so.

Copyright 2013 By Gerald A. Loeb

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