Saturday, August 15, 2009

A memory or two

This morning I was remembering a junior high field trip to the city of Philadelphia, and our teachers taking us to Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House and Carpenter's Hall. We saw the Liberty Bell in its old location inside the building. (Now it has its own little glassed in building).
I bought an imitation parchment copy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Back then that was considered a big deal. These two documents were like a religion, and this its pilgrimage. I wonder if even in Philadelphia that is still done? In the 1950s and early sixties, this was still a big deal.

I brought my children up a long way from Philadelphia, and as close as I could get them to this religious pilgrimage and its artifacts was taking my youngest to the National Archives in Washington, DC to see the real documents. But, this was my pilgrimage not hers.

I always seem to drift back to my current uncertainty about the direction this country is taking now. I guess I am one of those old angry white people that it is currently in vogue to dismiss as crazies, but I do not understand so many things.

Oh, there are some I half way understand, like the descendants of slaves feeling that they were singled out in compromising to bring in the Southern States. But how would slavery have ended without bringing them [the slavery tolerant states] into the country in the first place?

No, our Constitution is still a brilliant document. Especially in its simplicity. Our problems with it are our own. We redefine words to meet modern usage and then argue that it is wrong. "All men" did not mean all possessors of x and y chromosomes, by its contemporaneous usage it meant all persons.
"General Welfare" meant affecting all equally, not the tortured definition used now which means benefiting some at others expense.

We ignore the rules and then are surprised that things no longer work. Article I mandates what money is to be. Every time we ignore it, all the way from the First and Second National Banks to the Federal Reserve Bank, we have bubbles and turmoil.

No, these were brilliant men who wrote a brilliant document and no modern Wilson, Roosevelt, or Obama is smarter than they were, and every tampering with the Constitution moves us away from a society were the common person was sovereign.


Woman: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

Franklin:“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

No comments: