“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” Samuel Adams
What is a building without its foundation? The ability of a building to stand the tests of time and nature lies in its foundation and its structure. Well, the foundation of this country is the spirit instilled in it by the founding fathers. The structure of this country is the Constitution. One depends upon the other. One cannot be disconnected from the other for the building to stand; yet, the building is getting closer and closer to falling because we have caused the structure to lose its original integrity. It is being separated from the foundation and when that separation is complete, the building will collapse. The foundation of this country is the 28 principals, which united the founding fathers. The principals that they deemed vital in the success of this, “Experiment” in self-government that was to be the hope of mankind, in the words of Thomas Jefferson:
“We feel that we are acting under obligations not confined to the limits of our own society. It is impossible not to be sensible that we are acting for all mankind; that circumstances denied to others but indulged to us have imposed on us the duty of proving what is the degree of freedom and self-government in which a society may venture to leave its individual members.”
Most Americans, and in this group I include lawmakers, do not understand in their hearts and souls the nature of the country that they are serving. Nor do they understand the importance of the form of government for which the flag stands. Many say the pledge of allegiance by rote memory never considering what they are saying for when asked what form of Government we live under they inevitably say, “Democracy”. However, it is clearly stated in the, “Pledge of Allegiance”, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of American AND TO THE REPUBLIC, for which it stands….”, this is not a democracy it is a Republic.
For the past eight years I have been trying to figure out which country I want to live in when I can afford to move. I felt helpless in effecting what was happening in this country and so I felt that living in this country was in essence being a part of the problem that is destroying the world. Then suddenly, I was guided to the writings of the Founders. Then I read a quote by Gandhi which said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” In the same book, he recounted this story:
Gandhi and Reverend Andrews, a Presbyterian missionary, were walking together in South Africa. “The two suddenly find their way blocked by young thugs. Reverend Andrews takes one look at the menacing gangsters and decides to run for it. Gandhi stops him. ‘Doesn’t the New Testament say if an enemy strikes you on the right cheek you should offer him the left?’ Andrews mumbles that he thought the phrase was used metaphorically. ‘I’m not so sure,’ Gandhi replies. ‘I suspect he meant you must show courage – be willing to take a blow, several blows, to show you will not strike back nor will you be turned aside. And when you do that it calls on something in human nature, something that makes his hatred decrease and his respect increase. I think Christ grasped that and I have seen it work.’
This, and everything that I was hearing about this being, ” un-American”, and that being, “unconstitutional”, made me seek a deeper understanding of what is American, and what is Constitutional. I realized that the problem was not America, just as Gandhi saw that the problem was not Christianity, America is a beautiful ideal, one unlike any other in the world, it was Americans and their ignorance of this country that made them so unlike America. We have underneath all of the muck, corruption, prejudice, greed and hatred, the most precious diamond on earth – and if we are going to survive as the human race, we will need to uncover it once again, and use it as a new foundation upon which to build, once again, a new world.
We need a deeper understanding before we decide what is Constitutional and what is Unconstitutional. We need a deeper understanding of the framers of that document and what they meant, the constitution is not to be interpreted, it is to be understood.
“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people’ (10th Amendment). To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition.” Thomas Jefferson
So I am going to being a series of blogs covering the 28 principals upon which this country was built. Understanding the foundation, will, begin our journey, however, long it may be, to the place where we were born as Americans. And perhaps, we will understand that we must see the Constitution, and interpret it in the way in which the founding fathers had seen it done.
“On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. Thomas Jefferson
I have already covered the first Principle in the blog entitled, “In God We Trust”. The second principle, which I believe is the mortar which holds all of the other principles together I will cover in my next blog, but it is this:
Principal 2: A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.