SCOTT DREYER: 7-7: Protect The Constitution, So It Can Protect You

Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.”  — Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)

On this date in 1787, 39 delegates from 12 states (tiny Rhode Island had refused to participate) signed the brand-new US Constitution they had debated and written over a four-month period in that hot Philadelphia summer. James McHenry, a delegate from Maryland, kept a journal about that fateful summer. (McHenry later became our third Secretary of War and was the namesake of Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key later wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.)

In his notes, McHenry told of this exchange between a “Mrs. Powel” and signer Benjamin Franklin after the signing: A lady asked Dr. Franklin, “Well Doctor, what have we got–a republic or a monarchy?”

“A republic,” replied the Doctor…“if you can keep it.”

This exchange shows us that even in our nation’s infancy, Franklin and others knew there was no guarantee the American experiment in liberty and self-government would survive and continue.

Now 233 years old in 2020, the US Constitution is the longest-used written plan of government on earth. The founders knew what the Jewish prophet Habakkuk knew. The written word is powerful, has the potential to last a long time, and can be passed on to others. In other words, the Founders did not just chat about a Constitution. They wrote it down in black and white.

In my recent interview with Roanoke City Council candidate Maynard Keller, he explained: “The Constitution is not a Democrat or Republican issue. The Constitution is for everybody.

In one sense, the Constitution has needed to be defended by every generation of Americans. Today, it still needs our keen vigilance and defense.

The Constitution begins with this 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.”

A few notes:

  • The goal was to form a “more perfect” Union. It does not promise or pretend to promise “perfect.” Any clear-eyed person should know that “perfection” is not possible on this earth in this life. The goal is “constant improvement.”

  • Another goal was “establish Justice.” There is much debate today about Justice, as there should be. Seeking justice should be our continual goal.

  • We are also to “insure domestic tranquility.” “Domestic” means “here at home, in the USA.” “Tranquility” means “peace.” A key responsibility of government is to maintain peace and order. Looting, arson and violence are not examples of “tranquility.” How can we discuss or build “a more perfect Union” or “justice” if we are dodging bullets or putting out fires?

Freedom of Speech is a key freedom guaranteed by our First Amendment to the Constitution, but today, many people are abandoning “free speech” in favor of “safe speech.” But if you scratch the surface, many define “safe speech” as “you can say or write anything you want to as long as I agree with it and it doesn’t rub me the wrong way.” However, if you can’t say or write anything that someone might possibly disagree with, there is no free speech left!

Protect the Constitution, so it can protect you.

Scott Dreyer in his classroom.

– Scott Dreyer

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