Let’s be honest here. I’m in love with a document penned in 1787, from its preamble to the 27th Amendment.
During spring break, I spent an embarrassingly long time in the Kansas City downtown public library. On the wall I read, “There is nothing that solidifies and strengthens a nation like reading of the nation’s own history, whether that history is recorded in books or embodied in customs, institutions and monuments.” The author was Joseph Anderson, a soldier in the American Revolution.
Anderson and countless others fought for the ideals and values first voiced in the Declaration of Independence. These ideas would eventually become the Constitution.
The senators of the first 13 states stand for the same things the senators of today stand for. Anderson, of Tennessee, believed in the same fundamental ideals of today’s Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts.
There is little I geek out about more than the Constitution. There’s Harry Potter, certain parts of the Internet and my favorite teen pop star, Justin Bieber. But man, oh man, I love the Constitution.
Can anyone think of a document more flexible than our Constitution? It has stood as our governing document for over 200 years. Only one amendment has ever been repealed completely, and changes can be made to adapt.
The end of the Civil War brought about my personal favorite amendment: the 14th.
“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
This is a promise, coming from a time when racism and sexism were the ruling ideologies. It is a promise that the law will protect everyone, a reminder that the minority group is protected by the government from the tyranny of the majority.
And the promise doesn’t just come from the 14th Amendment. It’s embedded in our society, in our history.
It’s embedded in the Constitution, too. The preamble promises to “provide a more perfect union,” and each additional amendment does just that.
If the promise is broken, there’s an opportunity to fix it. There is Congress, there is the President and there is the court system.
So as I’m watching the Republican primary debates, and I’m shaking my head in shame because of the media circus or the mudslinging politics, I just remind myself of the words of the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
And who couldn’t love those words?