During his Meet the Press appearance last Sunday, Republican nominee Mitt Romney told David Gregory that he's as "conservative as the Constitution." It was an odd statement -- as Romney's positions on issues like abortion and marriage do not "conserve" the spirit or values of the Constitution.
The Constitution -- 225 years old yesterday -- is an ever-lasting expression of our nation's founders that ensures our rights for as long as the republic stands. Above all, it is people whom the Constitution protects.
Thus, Romney's characterization raises serious questions about his understanding of the Constitution's role in the American experience.
What makes our Constitution a shining light for humanity is that it contains a remarkable set of universal values, not petty political ideologies.
Parts of the Constitution have been embraced and reviled by liberals and conservatives alike. It is a living document that has adapted to how we live and communicate.
Most of all, the Constitution is for every person. At a time when we face a national debate about the economic divide between the rich and the rest of America, we must ensure the Constitution is always there for the 100 percent.
• It's for conservatives and it's for liberals; it's for those who are neither and those who are somewhere in between.
• It's for LGBT Americans and straight Americans. The freedom to marry belongs to everyone and our right to love doesn't evolve.
• It's for women as well as for men; the right to govern our bodies and our health belongs to us alone.
• It's for immigrants and citizens: human beings can't be illegal. Due process and equal protection apply to every person in our country, however they arrived here or wherever they were born.
• It protects our liberty as well as our privacy and safety. Being safe and free are not mutually exclusive.
• It's for one person, one vote, without restrictions or hurdles and regardless of race or background.
• And it's for those of faith and for those who are agnostic or atheist. Freedom of religion applies to all of us and goes hand in hand with the separation of church and state.
ACLU Liberty Watch 2012, our campaign that ensures the voice of the Constitution and our civil liberties in the presidential election, is launching a new petition urging Americans to declare themselves as part of the 100 percent that the Constitution protects.
Now is not the time to confuse the role of the Constitution in American life or diminish it to one political movement or another. Now is the time to celebrate the Constitution and remind all Americans and all voters of the role it plays protecting all of us.