What stands between your liberty and total slavery?
What is it about our country that has afforded such an opportunity to follow our dreams, achieve our goals, and essentially live without great peril? Why is that so many of us, Americans and foreigners alike, have referred to the US as the greatest nation in the history of planet Earth? Is it our beautiful landscapes, our economic power, our military might, our cutting-edge technology, or our fanciful Hollywood celebrities? Why have so many gone to great lengths to immigrate to this country—whether legally or not—to live, to work, to build a future, and to raise a family?
Perhaps all the things I mentioned above are contributing factors to what makes the USA great, along with the reality that there’s no other nation on Earth that has provided such fertile ground for citizens or residents to sow seeds of prosperity for themselves and their future generations. Compare the USA with all other nations; and although there are many that believe in the concept of liberty, few have embraced liberties as realizable as those in the United States.
All these remarkable aspects of our country are nothing more than the fruits blossoming on branches of the grand tree of our society whose seeds were planted by an ideal: “Liberty and Justice for all.” If we analyze this back to its roots, we might see that these seeds were no less than the words inscribed on the golden parchment known as the United States Constitution.
Historian, professor, and author Albert Marrin once quipped that “words have consequences.” In reference to our nation’s very existence, nothing could be truer. For it is these words, crafted into sentences, drafted on parchment, that give weight and meaning to the essence of our existence. All public officials swear an oath to these words; all military ranks in all branches swear an oath to these words; all federal employees swear this oath. The document’s preamble even begins with the words “We the People . . .” With this fact, would it not stand to reason that every US citizen perhaps should take the same oath?
For reference, here is the preamble to the US Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure 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.
As “We the People” infers that we—all citizens of the United States—have ordained and established our Constitution, would it not be incumbent upon each of us to know in detail what we have in fact ordained to create our Constitution? In other words, would it not be our civic duty to know and truly understand what the Constitution says, as well as the circumstances surrounding its creation? After all, it’s these precise words that hold together the fabric of our nation and the liberties we seek to protect from tyranny. Conversely, would it not be the lack of such knowledge that opens the door to a forfeiture of these liberties, further opening the door to our own enslavement?
Every citizen needs to know the Constitution and the specific meanings of the very words that have paved the road and continue to be the boundaries of all of the greatness that the United States represents.