“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.”
So begins the most powerful document ever created which enshrines a system of government that has outlasted and outperformed any other throughout human history.
Look closely at the words. Read them again. The Founders spoke of “We the People.” They believed that what they had crafted, if faithfully maintained, was a system of government codified in a single, simple document that would serve not only them, but all Americans into future generations – their posterity – under a unifying contract. They took the long view because, to a man, they also possessed an understanding of the long view back across the ages to nations that had thrived, and those which had not. They also were a devout group who studied and drew strength from the Bible. As such they appreciated the symbiotic relationship that a government reliant on God, and a government conceived in individual liberty, would provide.
The term United We Stand, Divided We Fall – initially derived from the ancient Greeks and also attributed to Jesus in the Bible – is a fitting testament to the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian roots of our republic. “We,” all of us together, are the “People.”
Make no mistake that the Founders believed God shepherds and nourishes individuals, not groups; that our individualism benefits from a relationship with God; and that our government benefits by protecting the rights He grants each individual. In other words, they understood that there is an unmistakable link between God and liberty.
Though socialism, progressivism, Marxism, Maoism, fascism, communism (pick your godless ‘ism) are constructs of recent history, governments throughout the ages have turned from God with predictable results; tyranny and elimination of individual freedoms.
“When the rule of Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel (the people) with him.” (2 Chronicles 12:1)
It took Rehoboam just two years to devastate his father’s empire and reduce the twelve tribes to just two by forsaking God. Though the Founders could not have predicted the ‘isms, they knew too well through their understanding of history and the Bible that societies which drift from God cannot long survive.
Try though they might, liberals just cannot competently deny the theistic roots of our society. In fact, wrapped tidily within our Declaration of Independence, arguably the most important document in the history of human liberty, is this statement:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator (emphasis mine) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Endowed by whom? By God. Does anyone really believe the Founders stumbled over that word, or that including God in our founding documents was an oversight? Their personal statements suggest otherwise.
John Adams once said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Benjamin Franklin noted, “[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” And finally, George Washington stated, “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.”
Religion? And what of the mystical separation of church and state which liberals wave vigorously like a caution flag at a NASCAR race?
The very document which they choose to ignore or reinterpret at their whim succinctly addresses this very subject. By ratifying the 1st Amendment the states themselves validated the Founders’ trust in God with these words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The end. There simply was never intended a separation between our government and the God who inspired and sustains it.
The founding document of our government clearly states that the government shall not sponsor any specific religion, and that it will likewise not prohibit “We the People” from practicing (or not practicing) whatever form of it we wish, wherever we wish. In other words, the Constitution limits our government’s authority.
The ever-burgeoning liberal nanny state circumspectly rests its bloated carcass on the Constitution. What better way to cleverly disguise a detachment from the Constitution than by smothering it. Liberals are committing the worst type of larceny. Nevertheless, the alt-right now proposes to annex that role by claiming adherence to the Constitution whilst simultaneously pillorying conservatives who display an “inflexible devotion” to it. This cannot end well.
Be certain that the terrible place we find our culture today is not a result of abiding by the Constitution, but is rather a result of ignoring it. Though liberals and the alt-right would argue otherwise, Constitutionalism is not a relic of a bygone era. Let’s hear from Thomas Jefferson: “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Ted Cruz had it right when he noted, “The game of the Washington cartel is to convince conservatives you can’t win.” And yet, the last two mid-term elections witnessed a groundswell of conservative momentum at national and local levels. Conservatism – the voice of Constitutionalism – that which restrains the power of man, speaks for “We the People.”
The liberal secularization of our overly-subsidized society has, by design, weakened our individual rights and strengthened our masters. By dividing society into groups, deciding which groups deserve priority, and setting those groups against one another, liberals have minimized the importance of the Constitution and torn asunder the very fabric of our nation. And though Donald Trump promises to make America great again, the very movement he has spawned, and which animates his campaign, has in short order divided and alienated segments of the society that will never trust Republicans again. How small, then, is the vision that cleaves humanity for the benefit of some at the expense of others? How long can such a vision endure?
We have (we have always had!) at our disposal a proven two-fold recipe for success – God and the Constitution – but too many of us wish to scrap one or both of these pillars of truth in order to gain control over or exact revenge on our foes. When the Constitution was implemented it was through a process that sought to win over opponents, not crush them. The Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, advanced the cause of the proposed document. “Publius” did not seek, as a matter of course, to divide “We the People” but to unite the new Americans under a form of governance that would ultimately withstand a Civil War, two World Wars, and a fight to end the injustices of racial segregation. It is strong enough to get us through the misunderstandings that divide us now. Thomas Sowell wrote, “If Hillary Clinton inspires distrust, Donald Trump inspires disgust….” These candidates, these platforms, these ways of thinking cannot mend our divides. They cannot make America great again. They cannot benefit “We the People.”
The Founders crafted a document, only about 4,500 words in length, which is the only thing that can act as our national lifeline. The Constitution and the form of government it offers is available for all Americans, “We the People” – brown, black, Asian, white, etc. – in the same way (not coincidentally) that all people are alike in the eyes of God. Our current political struggles pit black against white, rich against poor, young against old, and immigrants against native-born.
I am hopeful a new conservative movement will be born of this mess we’ve created, and so we must ensure it offers a place for every American; for “We the People,” by faithfully protecting the Constitution, and openly and freely expressing our admiration for and devotion to the God who inspired it.
Though the left pooh-poohs such antiquated aphorisms, the so-called counter-culture of the left exists mostly in their vibrant imaginations. They (bear with me, because this is true for the vast majority of liberals) hold down jobs, buy homes, care for their families, spend the bulk of their time paying taxes and tuition for their kids, and participating in our capitalist system. Some of them (gasp!) even run businesses – that classical American bourgeois enterprise.
Home, for all of us, for “We the People,” is in the Constitution and in God, even if some people cannot currently see that. Constitutional conservatism exists to set the example of what a unifying vision for America actually looks like, one which benefits everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. That principled vision is the only view forward for this country which brings us back from the brink, which heals the divides, and which creates “a more perfect Union.”
Our faith, as Americans, should never be in any one person. The idea of a political savior is highly overrated. In fact, movements that follow strong leaders never last far beyond those leaders’ deaths. Only one has, and His name is above all names.
Certainly, leadership is important, but a solid footing in the Constitution is more important. After all, mob bosses are leaders, too. But, such a style benefits them alone. In that it is important, we should look to George Washington’s example as a quiet, visionary leader; a man who led by example, not bombast. The adulation heaped on Obama as The Great Unifier was, now undeniably, unwarranted. The almost cult-like fanaticism surrounding both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump likewise does little to assuage an injured and ailing nation. Our faith, as always, should be in God and the founding document that calls His name.
I have mentioned before that America is an historical aberration. We take it for granted, but the truth is that inhumanity towards, and poverty for, the common man are history’s orthodoxy. Only America, under the protections provided by our Constitution, allows even common men to rise to the level of kings (take note, Colin Kaepernick). The Constitution is no more irrelevant now than when it was first conceived. It speaks to the same timeless truths, towards man subjugating his fellow man, and gives us the best earthly defense against it. And conservatism – that credo which believes in limited (that is to say a light touch) government, free markets, national security, equal opportunity, personal liberty and property rights – is the best voice for the Constitution. Liberals cannot claim that territory, nor can anarchists, or self-proclaimed Leninists.
When all the hurt feelings and emotions of this election are behind us, and one of the terrible choices takes office, “We the People,” if we are to survive as a nation, need to regroup and call upon those things which first made America great. Nothing else, and no one else, can save us.