September 17th, just a few days ago, there weren't any major parades in state capitals or in Washington, D.C. It was a holiday, but a Jewish one, Rosh Hashanah, and the rest of the United States went about its business. A Presidential candidate, the Republican offering, Mitt Romney, even went so far as to insult almost half of America in one fell swoop. The number one story on Yahoo's list of the most popular stories for most of the day was the fact that Black preachers are encouraging Black voters to give up the only true power they have and stay home because there's a Mormon on one side, and Christian on the other that believes in Marriage Equality, so he's a non-starter now too. And extremists of the world rallied about a movie that not a tenth of them have seen, calls in this country going out about censorship, the filmmaker being hauled in to an inquiry.
Happy Birthday, U.S. Constitution. It was September 17, 1787 our founders signed one of the most beautiful documents ever written; the Owner's Manual for the USA. The place to go when there's a question about how to do it. It's beauty is it's ability to change and grow, Jefferson felt that key. When speaking of the document and its ability to change he has been famously quoted as saying "..."I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors..." (Panel Four on the Jefferson Memorial)
Of course, he was assuming we'd evolve. 225 years later, jury is still out on that one.
We, The People. What a concept. Not we the victims, Mr. Romney, we the entitled, Republicans, we the welfare-state Mr. Ryan, We, The People. A revolutionary concept then (they were subjects of a sovereign and lived and died at his will not their own) and a seemingly forgotten concept now.
We, the People, in order to form a more perfect union... not a perfect one, but a better one, better than before, improved, more perfect. Not regressive, not like the "old" one, a newer, better union. A truly United States instead of the Divided States, Red and Blue with three issues--Gods, Guns and Gays--forever separating the two. A place of unity which means compromise, John Boehner.
To Establish Justice...what is justice? Is it a court of law? Or is it the stopping of two percent of the population from accumulating more than the lower 98% through the corruption and manipulation of the government being laid out in the document?
Insure Domestic Tranquility...peace at home. That doesn't just mean peace away from an enemy like Al Queada, that means, peace at home. Prosperity. Contentment. Safety. All the things that come in time of peace, when there is a union, a harmony. A government should help it's people be peaceful, be at ease; not terrified of every one that's different, every thing that's foreign or every one that isn't you.
Provide for the common defense...we've got that down...
Promote the general welfare...the word Welfare is in the Constitution, does Romney know? Has he read it? When he says that we think the government should provide healthcare, food, place to live or who knows what else what does he think, and I quote, "provide for the general welfare" means? What is a country? Literally? It is people together, We, the People, land, air and water. Those are the physical ingredients of a country, and it starts with, as does the document, We, The People. So if a government doesn't provide for the welfare of it's people, making sure they all have adequate food, water, shelter, power, access to the best healthcare in the world as created by their country, the things to sustain basic life, then what does it do?
And Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity (kids)...the blessings of liberty; of a just and free and equal society. Yes, the document was flawed in its equality, but it was perfect in the ability to fix that later. The intent, the dream was there.
And when it was amended, the first 10 were so beautiful, so important, they became the Bill of RIghts. First on the list, speech, the press, freedom from and for religions. So much of what we still battle are those first 10. What are our rights. It's clear, it's in the manual.
You have a right to make a film about anyone's religion, good or bad, and it shouldn't result in death. The filmmaker is NOT to blame. He's horrible. The film is so bad it makes Here Comes Honey Boo Boo look like high art. It's repugnant in its slander but in THIS country that's allowed. And in a CIVILIZED world, one doesn't riot and kill over offending a deity. Not in the 21st Century.
Should it be censored? It's in the manual, no. Should it be condemned loudly? That's also in the manual, the ability to do that, so yes, it should be.
When the child of privilege and member of the one percent Mitt Romney slams Americans (because before we are separated in to whatever group they will put us in, under it all, we are Americans first and foremost, that's in the manual, too), Americans that may not be able to achieve the goals set forth in our documents simply because of their social condition, when he attacks them, he attacks everyone, We, the People. He also shows a blatant ignorance for the very document he will be sworn to protect and defend (it's not us in the Oath, it's our foundation he's sworn to uphold).
When a preacher says don't vote, that violates a trust between church and state. When he says it tax exempt to a group of people whose only power may be their vote based on ONE ISSUE out of so many, it's almost criminal. It took Blacks years to become people in our owner's manual, and get the very rights many took for granted for some of those 225 years. To tell them to give that up over something as silly as Marriage Equality (which is in the manual, see the Republican drafted 14th Amendment on Equal Protection, the same one they used to reconcile America after the civil war and to win the White House in Gore v. Bush)...well, to tell them to do that is just immoral in my view. Far more immoral than voting for a man who you may disagree with on one issue but has your back far more, by his own statements, than Mitt Romney.
September 17, 2012 was also the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, a well intentioned but failed movement that introduced great catch phrases to our lexicon but didn't do much to move Congress to much action. It's ability to function and exist is in the manual, too, and the police who brutally attacked many of them or the cities that tried to permit or shrink them out of existence through actual brute force should be ashamed and embarrassed. Check the manual, the right to redress grievances with the government, and to peaceably assemble is guaranteed. It doesn't say anywhere by permit, within certain roped off areas or with the consent of the politicians or even law enforcement. You can't protest by permit. And the manual says you don't have to.
Do yourself a favor, read the Constitution again, the entire thing, start to finish as it turns 225 years old. And think about what it really means and says. Apply that filter to current issues, world, state, city and even pop culture events and the answers become so obvious, so clear.
We, the People, are supposed to care for each other, to form a more perfect union, to be a tranquil, peaceful country where all enjoy freedom and equality. Does any of the world events today seem to be leading to that end? Does any of the noise, the angry rhetoric, the division, the obstructionism lead to a more tranquil, perfect union, of happy, HEALTHY, fed, working people?
We, the People, need to go back to the manual and start using the sense our founders gave us to get this country in to the 21st Century. We have the foundation, but our structure is weak. We, thanks to the manual, can rebuild it.
November 6, 2012 is part of that plan in the manual. Everyone, use the power that document provides, but do it with the goals it set out in mind.