There were no parades Monday, or fireworks, or holidays — but there should have been. It was Constitution Day.
More than 220 years ago, many of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence got together for another document — the U.S. Constitution.
It was not independence that made our country great, it just started there.
Countries and provinces and cities have declared independence hundreds of times over, only to be swallowed by chaos, greed, violence, inertia or something else.
That could have been us. In the years following the Revolutionary War it was becoming obvious that the nation we had become, a confederacy, was not working. So, many of those founders met to come up with something better.
They came up with the U.S. Constitution. And remarkably, it worked.
Just a few years after the Constitution was signed, something remarkable happened. Thomas Jefferson became president after one of the nastiest elections in U.S. history. Power transferred between two opposing parties without war or violence, something unheard of at that time.
And it continues to this day. Yes, we had a Civil War, and we have unrest, recessions, depressions, wars and other troubles, but we continue to move forward.
Some will argue that the Constitution is outdated, that other countries have more modern, better written versions. That may be true, but the difference is we try to live by the principles in ours, even though the execution can be spotty.
It only took us about 70 years to recognize that a person’s color shouldn’t mean they were only three-fifths of a person, and another 100 years make that principle a reality that we are still working on.
But just because we have been able to survive up to now is no guarantee of the future.
There will always be forces — both within and without — that threaten our stability and freedom.
In our current political landscape, we search for heroes, only to be met by fools pandering to us for their votes.
We too easily give up freedom for security, give in to hatred and fear, and give over power to others.
How do we stop this? How do we ensure our children will be able to live under the same freedoms and form of government that we have?
The knowledge that ours was meant to be a government of limited powers, of enumerated powers.
The knowledge that the government itself, and each branch of that government, has a specific duty and place.
The knowledge that all of us have rights. And when people exercise those rights, we may not like it but don’t interfere.
The knowledge is there, all we have to do is go back to the source.
Too many Christians claim faith without understanding, without actually reading the Bible. And too many Americans are the same.
The Constitution doesn’t require parades, speeches or ceremonies. It requires knowledge.
So if you want to truly celebrate the Constitution … read it.