US Constitution
US Government

Why the constitution is important?

User Avatar
Wiki User
2011-09-13 03:53:20

When I was boy, I would have been able to truthfully answer the

above question with a statement such as: The Constitution is

important because it is the highest law of our nation; it sets

limits on the authority of the Federal Government, establishes the

foundation of, and procedures of operation of the Federal

Government, and was established by a unique situation wherein the

people from a group of sovereign states each gave a portion of

their sovereignty away to the larger group, in order to band

together for the sake of survival from outside forces, protect

their individual liberties, and establish how they would agree to

interact with each other. It is the framework document wherein a

government was established on earth, by men, who believed that that

the pinnacle of man's achievement was not in any mechanical

invention, but rather that a government could be peacefully

established by the people creating it, and that the same government

obtained its existence from the people. I would write that this

Constitution was set-forth to protect the individual's rights and

liberties, of everyone equally, so that each could choose what was

right or wrong for himself, yet also understand his

responsibilities when interacting with all others and that they too

have the same rights as he - to live a life with

self-determination, and not have to be afraid of the government as

a heavy hand pushing him down. I would write that this was a new

beginning for mankind; a new government style forever freeing man

from the kings and all the corruptions of previous governments and

of the power-hungry people of the ages. But today, I realize that

this was simply a dream, and that our Constitution is long a thing

of the past, no longer important in the day-to-day functioning of

our lives. But how to explain this to someone of fewer years, I

asked? Then, I noted the lower case "c" in the word constitution in

the question above, and this little "c" actually gives a hint as to

how this question is better answered today. The answer today (in

2007) is that the Constitution is actually no longer important in

our daily lives here in the United States of America; it is

unfamiliar to most all Americans under sixty years of age, it is

ignored in Congress on a daily basis, The Article III executives of

the past 100 years have run roughshod over the Constitution and

have pushed for legislation which is in clear violation of its

nature, while ordering (through executive orders) actions which are

in opposition to the document's reason for being. Most telling of

the Constitution's lack of importance today, is the fact that the

vast, vast majority of Americans do nothing about these egregious

acts perpetrated against them, by their own legislators - they

neither bother to vote for people who would take their oaths as

sacred, nor do they seek to vote the guilty out of office. We all

have some excuse, but yet when the cards are out, that is all they

are - excuses. Americans used to expect, no, rather - demand -

their government officials to be honest hard-working people like

themselves. americans (today's americans - with a small case 'a"

that is), can't even be bothered enough to capitalize the "C" in

Constitution, and expect nothing more than to hopefully get the

lesser of two evils when (or if) they even bother to vote. Although

when first established and ratified by the various states, the

meaning of each statement and line was clearly understood by the

people who wrote the document, as well as the people at large in

the states, and the various state legislatures. They understood it

well enough that they even required that the Bill of Rights be

established and attached to it, such that, in time, there would be

no mistaking the fact that the Constitution was establishing a very

limited federal government, and that the people and the states,

retained all rights not clearly given to the federal government by

this document. That WAS the great importance of the Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution was the first national governing document in

Western History (i.e. our history) which actually commemorates the

idea that The People, by nature, possess certain rights, and that

they are the ones giving the government its license to operate (not

the other way around). One can see this in the Preamble: "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." Note

that the Preamble does not make any mention of the idea that the

government was first, or above, the "People." Note too, the

specific reasons for the People to establish such a Constitution.

Another reason why our Constitution was so important, is that,

prior to our Constitution, the opposite thought was the way of the

world's governments, in that the governments (the kings, emperors,

nobles, etc.) where believed to have, by nature, the power of

rights and liberty, and it was the kings who gave the people (and

usually only a few of them) their rights. Although this difference

may seem of little importance to some, the fact of the matter is

that this difference (of who is giving who the rights) makes all

the difference in the world. For whoever holds the natural rights

controls those rights; he can give them - and take them back. As

such, in our country, we the people (who hold the rights), can take

back the authority once given to the federal government should it

no longer be doing that which it was set-up to do in the first

place. If, on the other hand, we were given our rights by the

government (a king for example), the king (government) has the

authority to take back the rights he loaned us, if we became a

hindrance to him. A classic example if this dichotomy of

governmental style, is that when an American (of the pre-1900's

anyway) had property which could be established as his by deed or

other note, that property, by his right, was his to hold and have.

It was his private property - held by his rights. If the President

thought that that land was nice land and wanted to give it to his

sister, the President would have to buy it from the land-owner

first (see 5th Amendment), because he (despite being the President)

had to uphold the Constitution, and was thus, like every other

American then, under the law, and had to abide by the law.

If he were above the law

(like a king of old), he would not need to pay for the land,

because the land, in actuality, would have belonged to the king in

the first place, so he could take it back at his pleasure. Now, per

a recent decision by the Supreme Court (June 2005), we all no

longer have any real private property rights, and thus again why I

say the Constitution is of no importance to the US today. This

later situation is what the founders of our nation sought to

change, and did, through the establishment of our U.S.

Constitution, and the various state constitutions. Thus, when it

was first established, the federal government was to work according

to, and under the rules set-forth in the

Constitution, with the goal being to protect our personal rights

against that of the "group". In so doing it had as its purpose, and

reason for existence, the responsibility to protect our individual

liberties, freedoms, and rights, as well as the various states'

sovereignty. It is unfortunate that almost ever since that day of

its inception, we the people have allowed government agents to take

on more and more of our private personal responsibilities, while at

the same time chisel away at, and muddy-up, our Constitution, (and

thus our individual rights), in the name of "the general welfare"

and "case precedence." It is so prevalent now, that today, on an

almost daily basis, the federal government ignores, treads upon,

and even passes laws, (with Congress's blessed approval), which

deny our individual rights and thus ignore the Constitution. This

has resulted in effectively negating those liberties and rights

which were supposed to have been protected by the very system which

now stole them away. It is as if you hired a guard to protect your

home, and signed a contract establishing his duties and limitations

(e.g. the Constitution) only to eventually have the guard ignore

the agreement, turn on you, tell you what to wear, who you can hire

as the maid, how often you can water your lawn, force you (at

gunpoint) to give your money to him so that he can then give some

of it to your derelict neighbor, who because of his own

irresponsible method of self-determination, ended him up with no

job and no way to pay his bills, and for all intent and purposes,

your guard becomes the thief of your property, the kidnapper of

your children, and prevents you from your right to

self-determination, and the pursuit of happiness. Today then, in

2007, I am sorry to say that our Constitution is effectively of

little importance, as it has been washed away by the tidal wave of

legislation which contradicts the Constitution's very existence as

a still-functioning document. (The Patriot Act would be just such

an example of part of that tidal wave - if you were to actually

care enough to look into it). The Constitution is like that of an

old agreement between two long-dead brothers agreeing to work

separate-but-together on a claim which panned-out long ago. It is

now no more than a piece of our history sitting in a museum case,

revered for what it used to represent and stand for, but now

essentially useless as only one man in the present Congress is

still attempting to follow its decrees (see the vote on amendment

to H.J. Resolution 114 - October 2002; for an example of just how

the majority see the importance of following the clearly

established law of the Constitution). Such is our Constitution, as

is also our Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights;

all long-buried beneath the mire and muck left behind by those who

crave political and economic power. Of course, our founding fathers

knew of these sorts of men, and set-up the Constitution to protect

we the people from just such men - to keep the true political power

in the hands of the people at a local level, and not have a strong

central government. But we the people have neglected our simple

responsibilities in the deal, and as such we the people have no one

to blame but ourselves when all we had to do was stay informed,

vote in good men of character, and boot out (without excuse, or

remorse) any politician who would seek extra power, and even

suggest or present any legislation which goes against the clear,

nonbastardized interpretation of the Constitution (i.e. our

rights). And this goes for the Supreme Court as well, for they too

have twisted the natural meaning of the Constitution around so much

so at times that where once an 8th-grader could understand what it

meant (even in how it was viewed by the courts its first 100 years

as well), today some people concoct it to mean to be saying exactly

opposite of what it does. When I was very young, "We the People"

allowed our legislators their positions, and they worked for us,

not the other-way-round. Today, our legislators act as if they are

Kings, and they are the ones "allowing us" to live under their

providence, and that somehow we work for them. I wish I were wrong

here, but sadly, I am not. A test of this unfortunate truism would

be simple: as a pop quiz, ask every Congressman, Senator, and the

President to take a simple 8th-grade level Constitution test, and

see who could get even a D+ on the thing. (That is a 1950's level

8th-grade Constitution test, updated to include the latest

additions - I say this because probably not a single 8th-grader

today in a government run school knows the Constitution that well

either). Barring only a small few of them (and no I am probably not

including your legislators as the exceptions here), I would predict

that most all would fail miserably on just such a test. Then, after

the complete failure of that group, realize that every one of the

Congressmen, Senators, and President, all took an oath of office,

to not only follow, but uphold that same Constitution which they

probably could not recognize if it hit them on the head: Article

II; section 1; ...I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will

faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,

and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend

the Constitution of the United States. Article VI; claus3; The

Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of

the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial

Officers, both of the United States and of the several States,

shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this

Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a

Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United

States. And for one of the first acts of the Senate: On May 5,

1789, the Senate passed its first bill -- the Oath Act. That first

oath, for members and civil servants, was very simple: "I do

solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United

States." So the question to us today should actually be: Why is the

Constitution so unimportant? And this question can be answered by

examining first another question: How is it that we have come to a

place in time, where we have over 500 elected legislators and a

president who are so shallow of character that they would be

willing to take an oath and claim to support a Constitution which

not only are they so unfamiliar with, that they could not pass a

test on what it even says, but are also passing legislation on us

every week, legislation which flies directly against the rules set

out in the Constitution? Why would we as a people even accept

people such as these to be legislators? The answer is rather

simple: It is because, we the people acquiesced; we gave up our

individual personal responsibilities to the state in order to get

what we thought was going to be a free-lunch, from the state. Name

the program, name the agency and you will see where once the

individual had responsibility for himself to do or refrain from

that same something, now the government legislates it and controls

that same something for all of us. The federal government is now in

every aspect of our lives. This is an anathema to the doctrine of

the Constitution, and thus the Constitution is essentially

meaningless. At first, it was simply a little trade-off such as a

little liberty for a little security, then it was the next thing,

but that legislation was targeted to tax the young, so you didn't

bother to help fight against it. Maybe the next liberty you recall

being taken away was your right to live in a state which would

determine its own speed limits. But Uncle Sam dangled a big money

carrot in front of your state legislators saying that if they do

not follow Uncle Sam's suggestions, then he will hold back on those

funds. Again, instead of seeing that as a gross violation of the

roll of the federal government, realizing too that the money they

were dangling was your money in the first place, and getting active

against the feds then, (even if you liked the 55MPH deal) you did

nothing, and slowly but surely the feds pulled the same trick with

each and every aspect of your local and personal life - school,

housing, child care, heck - even vitamins. We gave up our

responsibilities, and so too went our rights to the government - if

you are over 18 year of age, it is nobody fault but yours - yes

yours - you as an individual - and to dust went our Constitution.

So who's fault is it that the Constitution is of no importance

today? If you did not vote, it is your fault; if you voted for one

of those who could not pass the test suggested above; it is your

fault, if you voted for the "least of two bad options," it is your

fault (why would you think that the better of two evils is still

something good?); if you are one of those who wanted to vote for a

third party person, or a write-in candidate, but did not because

you thought he "had no chance of winning;" then it is your fault;

if you thought you could do a better job, but did not go down to at

least sign-up to attempt to run, then it is your fault, if you

think that the government has the responsibility to take care of

you and protect you even from yourself, from cradle -to-grave, it

is your fault; if you are a person, and voted for legislators who

presented social welfare programs to you, or your "special group",

taxing young families so that you could get a "free-lunch" and

taxing the next generations (like all welfare programs do mind

you), it is your fault; if you are over 18, and do not know the

Constitution yourself, it is your fault; if you have no clue how

your legislators voted on the many "rights, and liberties-taking

bills" this past year, it is your fault. And this is why our

Constitution is no longer of any significant importance - because

the vast majority of americans do not care enough to insist that

their legislators follow it! Americans care; americans do not. And

people who write the Constitution, with a small case "c" are

americans. Would you go to a doctor who could not pass his license

exams? Would you seek advice from a Pastor who was not familiar

with the Bible? Would you hire a guard who knows nothing of

protecting others, but spent time in jail for getting in street

fights, and kidnapping? No, probably not. But yet we are all OK

with hiring legislators who do not even know what they are supposed

to be upholding....and worse yet, are yet willing to say that they

will uphold it anyway? How can you trust people like that? Let's

face it, our own ignorance, selfishness, and irresponsibility have

allowed the Constitution to become a relic of the past, and of no

importance.........and that is all it is - our past. And becasue of

that irresponsibility, and lack of action, today, instead of the

Constitution, we get a congress and president who are more likely

to follow the UN and the WTO's declarations and directives than our

own laws - and we don't even have to vote for those UN guys; they

determine what's best for us, for us.


Copyright © 2020 Multiply Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply.