This Constitution Day, It’s Your Duty to Educate Others
This Constitution Day, It’s Your Duty to Educate Others by
Two hundred and thirty years ago, on September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States of America was signed at Philadelphia by 39 brave American patriots who changed the course of history — the men known as our Founding Fathers.
Across the world, the document they created has served as a unique example of a balanced system of republican self-government. America now has the world’s oldest federal constitution, and it has been imitated in many countries.
Sadly, many Americans, especially the young, are ignorant of our nation’s history. Few realize the spirited national debate that preceded the adoption of the Constitution, as evidenced in the historic Federalist Papers. The U.S. National Archives has created a teaching and discussion guide on the Constitution that you could profitably discuss with your children and grandchildren.
The Constitution was ratified in each state by special conventions called in the name of “the people,” but only after a national debate on the need for a Bill of Rights, later adopted as the first 10 Amendments. That Bill of Rights affirms our basic rights as citizens and, in theory, limits government power over us, recognizing we the people as the source of all power.
But after twelvescore years, do we Americans still possess and benefit from those hard-won rights?
The Government Does Whatever It Wants
As John Whitehead, author of Renewing the Patriot Act While America Sleeps, says, and I agree, the so-called Patriot Act “ … drove a stake through the heart of the Bill of Rights, violating at least six of the 10 original Amendments.” While we can pretend that the Constitution holds the government accountable, in fact these days the government does whatever it wants.
Presidents and legislators have paid it lip service but ignored it, activist judges have perverted its meaning, but the Constitution was intended to be, and should be, the supreme law of the United States.