We in the United States undoubtedly have the best form of government that has ever been devised in the history of mankind.
Some of our Founding Fathers certainly were geniuses who understood the nature of government — and also understood human nature. They took both into consideration in writing the Constitution.
But while many of the authors of our Constitution were extraordinary men, are we today, as heirs of the Constitution, up to preserving the ideals they declared?
After all, “we, the people,” aren’t perfect. We don’t always make good and unselfish decisions. We don’t always elect the best and wisest leaders to run our government. That’s why we need our Constitution — and should abide strictly by it!
The Constitution was written to protect the people and our freedom, by limiting the power of government. Some powers are specifically delegated to the federal government — but all others are reserved to the states or the people.
Many of our governmental problems today result from our frequent failure to adhere to the Constitution as it was written. There sadly is an inclination among people, personally and in government, to seek and abuse power, and that’s where the trouble begins.
Also, it unfortunately is natural for us to demand too much “from” government, “for” us, without expecting to contribute “to” government. Many households pay no federal income taxes, for instance. We sometimes want too many benefits and too many rights — without accepting the corresponding responsibilities.
To protect our personal freedom, we need to remember that it is limited in ways designed to assure equal freedom for all others, for the benefit of all, without deprivation to any.
The constitutional government of our United States of America is really a miracle. It’s amazing how our system of government under law, with personal freedom, has survived.
You may remember the story that Benjamin Franklin, after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, was asked what kind of government we had. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Thomas Jefferson appropriately reminded us, “In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
That’s still excellent advice, and a challenge to us all, as we seek to preserve our freedom, and good government of, by and for the people.