I realize that on the 4th of July we naturally celebrate the “Declaration of Independence.” And I know that we owe an enormous debt to the words of that document, to the hearts of the courageous men who signed it, and to their blood willingly spilled to bring its ideals to birth. But each year on this day I am also reminded that without another document, requiring just as much courage and just as much Divine intervention in its creation, that “Declaration” would have had little hope of forging a lasting place for itself in history. My reference, of course, is to the “Constitution of the United States of America.” While it is true that without the “Declaration of Independence,” there would be no need for the “Constitution,” it’s even more true that without the “U. S. Constitution,” all of the ideals inherent in the “Declaration” and realized by the Revolutionary War would have died within one generation.
I often find myself wondering, when I think about both of those documents – and especially each time I peruse them – if all of those courageously radical men who created and signed the same were simply ordinary men who just wanted to be free themselves and to insure that their own wives, children, grandchildren, and property would be free from the control of some tyrannical monarch who lived across the ocean. Was that their mindset, or DID THEY KNOW?
Did they, somehow, by God’s grace, realize that they were forging, not only a new nation, but an entirely new paradigm? Did they have any concept that they were literally creating, not just documents for their own protection, but the very foundation of a radically unique government – a government of the people, by the people, and for the people to a degree that no one on the planet had previously experienced? Did they have any inkling, when they ratified that constitution, that they were literally birthing onto the earth a form of government that would not only live, but would continually regenerate itself, growing stronger from generation to generation, until it became, not only the under-girding of the lives of the millions who would call themselves Americans, but also the beacon of hope for the rest of the world: the hope that men and women of consecration could truly govern themselves successfully throughout all their succeeding generations?
We are privileged to have words penned by a very few of those men that would indicate that they knew these measures would reach far beyond their lifetimes. But I believe that the vast majority of the rest of them knew as well. And I believe that for many, it was that knowing that made them feel the pressing need to take such a radical and heroic stand. I believe those men firmly believed that the sons and daughters of scores of succeeding generations would receive the conception of that seed of freedom, that they would comprehend its price, and that they would also comprehend the exceedingly heavy weight of responsibility that accompanies it. And as I meditate on those men, and their faithful wives and families who stood with them, I am filled with such gratitude that every time, without fail, it spills forth in tears and prayers of thanksgiving.
Oh, I know there are those in our own nation who say our Constitution does not work – that it is not, in reality, a plausible foundation for government of a nation. They believe our constitution should be replaced with “more enlightened” socialistic and communistic regimes. They sit at computer terminals writing long, “politically correct” treatises from which they hope to amass financial gain; they stand in front of cameras at liberal campaign rallies; and perhaps most frightening of all, they stand behind podiums in our institutions of higher learning, posing as “thinking” men and women. Fools, all of them! Because it is that very constitution upon which they cast aspersions that gives them the privilege, nay, the legal right, to make those statements. If that constitution were not indeed a practical, workable, and successful foundation for government, they would have no such rights.
It is the very words of that blessed document that provided the vehicle through which the ideals of liberty and justice for all could be conveyed to the mind, and then on into the actions of the human race. It is those very words, once written and embraced, that gave birth to those concepts in a tangible, workable, and self-preserving formula which can be understood and followed from generation to generation to generation. Indeed, it is the very document that they malign – “The Constitution of the United States” – that protects and preserves each one of those fools in their irresponsible, subversive, and often even malicious endeavors to destroy the credibility of that sacred document, or to bury it alive if possible.
For without the words of the “U. S. Constitution,” and the multitude of laws that issue from it, each and every one of those radical fools would be rotting away in a prison cell for speaking out against the government of the nation in which they live and enjoy prosperity. Were they in any nation without that document – or one extraordinarily similar – they would fear to speak out as they do in this nation. And if this constitution and those who live by it had not repeatedly confronted and defeated the multiple forces of totalitarianism — if monsters like Hitler and Saddam Hussein had not felt the death-dealing blows of the sword of the “Constitution of the United States” — all those poor, politically correct “thinking” men and women would be living out their lives in the same misery as all the other citizens of those so-called “enlightened” governments —- all those miserable millions of people who are crowding our shores and pressing to get into the safe borders of the nation that has established the treatment of its people on nothing less that the foundation of its “Constitution.”
So let them continue to pose: these intellectual beggars. Let them continue in their childish efforts to defame and tear down our “Constitution” and its prescription for government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Because, to borrow the apt description provided by St. Paul the Apostle, their words are nothing more than “sounding brass or tinkling cymbal.” And those words will continue to fall to the ground to be trampled underfoot by the simple, ordinary, every-day citizens of this nation who are still being governed successfully and securely by the powerful, creative, God-ordained words of the “Constitution of the United States of America.”
My tears of gratitude are spilling over, and I hope, Dear Reader, that yours are too.
© Sandra Conner 2011