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We need to come together on what we all want if we are to have a government that works for all not just the rich. What are our goals? What is our mission as a country? What binds us together in seeking the common good?
The Preamble to the Constitution provides insights and guidance:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Let’s look at the first phrase ‘ to form a more perfect union’ – this phrase implies that things are not perfect that the country is a work in progress. To ‘establish justice’ for all means not a system of justice just for the top 1 % or the privileged. Justice means that the law is blind to outward power or religion, race, color or other personal factors. Justice says that equality of justice for all under the law needs to happen in applying the law to all, so the poor, black or others don’t feel the weight of justice on them greater than other people. To ‘ensure domestic tranquility’ we won’t enjoy life, raise families, perform in our jobs, or provide service if our country is in constant uproar or unsafe. Peace needs to be protected and available to every citizen, including those living in ‘unsafe areas’, they have a right to live in a safe neighborhood too. Tranquility means the political dialogue between difference points of view is conducted in civility and respect.
To ‘provide for the common defense’ means that we expect our government to keep us safe from foreign aggression and the government – not vigilantes are to keep the peace under the Constitution. To ‘promote the general welfare’. Key environmental elements of our existence we all share; air, water, land means we will be strident in protecting our natural resources. We need to support institutions that sustain the general welfare like federal, state and local agencies that ensure we have access to all these environment elements but also, education, health and freedom to travel.
Finally, to ‘secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity’ implies that there is equality of opportunity for all. We all have differences, we have the liberty to pursue whatever goals we have for our lives, our families and our friends. We need to ensure that equal opportunities are safeguarded and provided for all regardless of wealth, race, color, religion or orientation. Education is a keystone to our providing a path for those at the lower end of the income scale to apply themselves, get a good education and contribute to our country to the highest level of their ability possible.
Our country thrives as the most prosperous country in the world because we let people be free to follow their dreams and help those who come to our shores to pursue their dreams here. We need to remember the goals the Preamble to the Constitution sets out to establish through a government by the people. We must become united in these shared goals to make real progress in solving the national problems we face.