A More Perfect … May 2, 2012

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People are always itching to ask.

After getting past “where you’re from” and “how long you’ve been doing this,” there is a desire for human beings to know the bend of your political persuasion. But because such discussions can often be contentious, most folks opt to believe that you’re “one of them.” So therefore, the Republicans are convinced I’m a Republican and the Democrats likewise think I fall within their mantle. But each one will usually pat you on the back and say, “Well, at least we can all agree–we’re proud to be Americans.”

I’m glad to be an American. I am not proud. 

My understanding of our founding principles as a country prohibits the introduction of pride–because it is in the Preamble of our Constitution that “we the people” set out to form “a more perfect union.”

More perfect. That’s one of those phrases that would drive my friend, Janet, crazy. She and I once had a long discussion about how there is no such phrase as “more unique.” Unique is unique, right? And perfect exists as an ultimate goal unto itself. But, as in the case of “more unique” (which by the way, IS proper) there is also such a thing as “more perfect.” More perfect is a mindset that refuses to allow us to become complacent, even when it seems that our status is satisfactory or even superb.

Pride is un-American. It is not worthy of our geneology nor our offspring.

The Preamble of our Constitution makes it clear WHY we require a “more perfect union”–because we decided we wanted to:

  1. Establish justice. Justice does not exist as a living, breathing entity without human beings supplying constant emotional CPR. If we do not breathe into our society a sense of fair play, justice will be smothered by “majority” or purchased by the wealthy.
  2. Insure domestic tranquility. Our founding fathers knew that our greatest enemies are not beyond our borders.Our fiercest adversaries is our own apathy or the belief that we can attack each other to purify our race or cause. Yes, it’s true–the founders of our country, though they insisted on the right to bear arms, also were quite diligent to make sure that we would insure domestic tranquility, allowing the citizenry to walk around without fear of being accosted, attacked or alienated. And interestingly enough, this is followed by:
  3. Provide for the common defense. Do you see how carefully they chose the words? We are supposed to establish justice–in other words, enforce a guarantee of equality.We insure domestic tranquility–a promise to our friends and neighbors that they don’t have to live in fear. But we provide for the common defense–we decide as intelligent people how much it will cost to keep us safe under normal conditions, raise that capital, provide that opportunity and then leave it at that. It does not suggest that we make up enemies or imagine weapons of mass destruction, but instead, use some good, common sense in building our walls.
  4. Promote the general welfare. There’s a word no one likes: welfare. But it falls the responsible for those who are affluent, or even desire to pursue affluence in a capitalistic society, to also be advocates for the members of our culture who are unable to join us on that journey. It’s not so much that we will solve the problem of poverty, it’s just that we cannot address poverty by hating the poor–OR by pitying them. We need to promote those individuals and organizations that have a heart for the general welfare of our fellow Americans, and make sure they are given resources to address the need.
  5. And finally, secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Why would we need to secure it? There is a nasty part of human behavior that feels we have “more” when we take someone else’s portion. When we believe that something is limited, we either start rationing it or stealing it. Liberty should not be in question in a country that desires to become “more perfect” in its union. There will be very few things we can actually unite around as people, but one of them must be the blessings of liberty. Let me make something clear: there are things people do that I don’t like. Maybe I don’t morally approve of them. I might even have spiritual objections. But the supreme directive of our country–and even of our heavenly Father–is to grant free will and liberty to everyone. Any absence of that is the introduction of pride, which makes us believe that we’re already perfect instead of pursuing more perfect.

I love this country because it has a constitution which within the boundaries of the same document, calls black people less than human, but then amends itself later to admit that they’re equal, and finally, that they have the right to vote. The Constitution is imperfect because it is filled with amendments–an inherent admission by intelligent people that the work of both humanity and God is ongoing in the quest of becoming more perfect.

I’m glad to be an American. I am glad that I have been afforded the opportunity to read a Preamble of our Constitution that purifies our motives in the midst of political dirty tricks. But I am not “proud,” because pride tarnishes the silver of a great idea. And as we know, silver is second place–still working to become gold. 

More perfect.

Let us never give up on the pursuit of America. Our country is not a democracy, a republic or a capitalistic monarchy for the truly wealthy. It is an idea that demands evolution based upon the genuine notion of its founding, the integrity of our goals … and the ever-changing needs of our people. 

  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. What a wonderful writing. If all would understand and follow. But I don’t think that is going to happen in the near future. Heavy prayer and common sense would. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom.

    Like


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