Lacey Smith

Freedom Fridays: The Preamble (Pt 2)

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm

In last week’s post, I reviewed the Preamble of the Constitution as a whole. This week, I’m going to start breaking it down.

Because there is so much good stuff in it, it make sense to look at the Preamble one little section at a time.

The Preamble starts with the phrase, “We the people of the United States…”

This is the foundation on which the whole government is built.

This “We” is collective. It means you and me and your mom and her neighbor’s cousin’s best friend’s daughter-in-law.

Although there won’t always be universal agreement, the foundation of the federal government is that rule happens by the will of the majority.

We is also individual, though. America is a republic, not a democracy and so it is set up to protect the rights of the individual, even over the will of the majority.

What this means is that the government is set up to work correctly only the involvement of each individual person who is ruled.

There is a direct correlation between how involved we are and how well the government functions according to the Constitutional dictates.

If we want to sit back and not take an active role in our government, we would be “better off” with a monarchy or a dictatorship or even a true democracy. Of course that would also come with a loss of freedoms and rights.

When you read the Constitution through the understanding that literally everything it’s set up to do is to meet this end, it starts to become clearer how important “We the people” as individuals and as a group actually are.

It also becomes clear how important trust and honor are. Ruled by a representative republic, Americans have to be able to send people to Washington whose honesty and good judgement we can put our faith in.

Congress, which is supposed to be the lawmaking body in America, has the power to levy taxes, take on debt, build an army, declare war, regulate inter- and intranational trade and a whole host of other things.

That is why we the people have to have faith in them.

Here’s the thing about the government we really need to understand: “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This is done to protect the natural, divine rights we all have.

The founders took these principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence and put them into one phrase, “We the people of the United States…”

We the people are in charge. And if ever the government is destructive rather than protective of individual rights, we have the right to abolish it.

The government rules because we say so. It should be active will rather than passive will.

But we need to be wary that they aren’t overstepping, because then the very structure of our government starts to errode.

The Constitution sets up “we the people” as the supreme power, and that a majority voice rules generally without destroying the individual voices.

However, these are just words on paper. It’s up to each of us to guarantee it happens that way.


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