How American Constitution Correlated to A Family?
A little girl walks home from school one day, picking up leaves to examine them as she skips along. She's only eight years old. In second grade without a care in the world, except of course the usual playground drama. As she hurries home from school, she thinks about how she'll run into the house and tell her mother all about her school day. Maybe if her dad came home early, they could all watch a movie, as long as her older brother finish his chores of course. She doesn't have as many chores but she knows that she too in time will have to take on a bigger role in helping out. It doesn't take very long to realize that this family, epitomizes the meaning of a true home. Even in this short story you can practically feel the love and respect that exists among these family members. The girl's relationship with her mother is one of innocent adoration. She looks forward to spending time with her father and her brother. Well we all know how brothers are. The girl feels safe and protected within her home. But at the same time a sense of responsibility towards her family. She knows that with age comes not only freedom but an increasing obligation towards her home. After all a true home is more than just shelter food love and care. For a true home to function, every one of its members must feel that innate sense of obligation towards the well-being of their home. They must all work together to make their home a better place to live in.
This country is your home. Think for a second. Beyond the four walls in which you move about every day and consider the land that you stand on right now. A land which you share with three hundred and seven million other Americans. A land for which countless men and women have died to protect your own rights and freedoms, but a family can't run simply on love and protection. A family needs every one of its units meaning every one of you to stand up for it, take part in it, and win the physical and moral battles for its prosperity and the parents of this home, the document that protects us and demands this responsibility within us, is none other than our United States Constitution.
. These amendments and the structure of government developed by various politicians throughout our history have made the Constitution a dutiful parent. One that provides a loving nurturing environment for every one of us to grow and prosper within our own rights.
Many people don't have a very close relationship with their constitution. As the late Senator Barbara Jordan once said "the reason people do not care about their constitution is they do not realize that it is specifically and directly related to themselves." What most people do know is an aspect of the constitution that represents one of its original intents protecting your rights. As we all know the founders were more than just men well versed in politics. They were men who had experiences under oppressive and unsuccessful governments who knew what not to do before they knew what to do. For instance, from the British king they had learned that "power in the hands of few could create a tyrannical rule above the people." They realized that the American people needed a representative government to hear the voices of minorities and they understood that whatever government they created had to embody the American spirit of liberty and freedom. But more importantly the Framers saw the need in the fight for ratification for a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights for the first ten amendments to our Constitution designed to protect what philosopher John Locke called the natural rights of man, life, liberty and property. These rights included things like the free exercise of religion the right to bear arms, the right to a fair trial by jury, or a protection from cruel and unusual punishments. Seventeen more amendments have been added to the Constitution since then furthering these protections by allowing equal protection under all states or guaranteeing women an 18-year old the right to votecBut is this all that matters? In a family do parents only teach their children to care about themselves and not their loved ones as well? No one the Constitution provides an environment for us to care for the brothers and sisters of this country. And there are many, many notable people who have understood this. Benjamin Franklin when asked what kind of government the Constitution had created replied "A republic" if you can keep it. President John F. Kennedy pleaded with his countrymen "Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country." Even the former prime minister of England Tony Blair said that "society only functions when every individual understands that he has a responsibility collectively and individually." But the greatest example of this lies in the preamble of our own great document. "We the people." In order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. The constitution begins as we the people. Not as we the founding fathers of this government. Not as we the government officials who run this country but "we the people."
We hear of so many people who discuss the rights guaranteed by the amendments. How many discuss the 16th that talks about income tax? Our professed duty to the government to provide services for us?
The founding fathers placed the formation of a perfect union. The establishment of justice ensuring domestic tranquility, common defense, general welfare, liberty all of these responsibilities upon us. For they had created a government that was as Lincoln said of the people, by the people, and for the people, based on the consent of the governed. We hear of so many people today who cry out for their rights. How many have you heard who cry out for their responsibilities? Paying taxes, joining interest groups? Voting in the state becoming more informed? Running for office? Community service? Selective service? These may not be directly written within our constitution, just as there are no written rules for a family but there are ways that we must uphold the responsibility that the preamble and the rest of the Constitution demand of us. We hear of so many people who discuss the rights guaranteed by the amendments. How many discuss the 16th that talks about income tax? Our professed duty to the government to provide services for us? Not very many. Just like the Founding Fathers upheld their duties. Or the revolutionary war heroes fought for liberty. It's something we must feel from within. Like the little girl in her own family.
During the signing of the Constitution Benjamin Franklin is said to have told a fellow member "There are several parts of this constitution that I do not at present approve. But I doubt whether I shall never approve of them. I doubt too whether any other convention when we may obtain can create a better constitution and it therefore astonishes me sir to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does." The perfection that Franklin alluded to was the result of a document that combined not only protecting its people but relied on a more honest and virtuous people who could uphold their responsibilities in return for the road between people and their governments. It's not a one-way street. Something that the recent victims of the Tucson tragedy understood very well.
For two hundred years we have been blessed to live under a constitution that protects us but also to live with people like 9-year-old Tucson victim Christina Green who died in performing her responsibility of participation in this country for whom this country was a beautiful place and "government" not a dirty word. Every one of us in this room and throughout this land owe it not only to ourselves, but to each other, to our home, to our family, our country, and our Constitution to the victims of this tragedy and many, many others. To not only feel that our own rights are protected but to responsibly protect the rights of others. For according to our constitution, they are truly one and the same.