Dear Constitution and Bill of Rights,
OK, first I have to say I’m a huge fan; I have been since I was a teenager. I carry around all your greatest hits with me in a little pocket guide and I love showing you off to my friends.
While I love your most recent work like getting rid of the poll tax, presidential succession, giving 18 year olds the right to vote, and not letting Congress increase their own pay; I have to admit it’s your early stuff that really gets me all crunked.
I mean, let’s just start with the first words to come forth from your lips like the language of angels: “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
It sends shivers down my spine, thank you very much. I’m not so sure about your awkward spelling and what appears to be random capitalization, but we’ll just let that slide.
Now, let’s talk about that form of government you establish. Are you kidding me? So forward thinking of you. At a time when tyrannical leaders were forcing government down the throats of the masses and curtailing liberty you were being etched on paper as a system of government that ensured the people were the brokers of power, not the government.
And the way you masterfully construct a government in which there are three independent branches that are meant to “check” the power of the others is brilliant. Who comes up with this stuff? I mean, mind blowing. You had to have known that you were changing the fabric of civilized society, right?
To this day your birth is a shining beacon of hope to many and you ushered in an era where liberty, the rights of the people, and limited government became the norm and not the exception. People have bravely died in your name and oppressive dictators have ceded power because of your wisdom. Dude, I mean, you are probably the most important document known to man with the exception of the Bible and the Ten Commandments (sorry, you can’t top that).
Then there’s the Bill of Rights. Are you playin’ right now? No other Top Ten List (Top 27 List?) can even compare to your ingenious list of rights – I don’t care what Buzzfeed or Letterman has to say about it.
Freedom of speech, press, religion, the right to bear arms, protection against illegal search and seizure or self-incrimination, jury trials, prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, the end to slavery, equal protection under the law…I could go on for hours. The hairs on the back of my neck are starting to stand up and applaud just thinking about it.
What you do with the 9th and 10th Amendments is astonishing. So, here are the powers the federal government gets to have and if it isn’t spelled out right here that it is a central government job, then the states get to control it. That’s like, groundbreaking.
I have to tell you though, while I am a big fan of all of the amendments, my two favorites are the 1st and the 14th.
It is amazing given the time you were created that you had the forethought to give us the right to say what we want, write what we want, and most importantly, believe what we want. The 1st Amendment was insidiously libelous for the time and you were really putting your neck on the line with that one. And that is what I dig about you – you look at challenges and say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
And let’s talk about the 14th Amendment – you know, equal protection under the law. First, you ended slavery with the 13th Amendment (did it really need to take that long?) and then you gave all people (OK, all men until the 19th Amendment) the right to vote with the 15th Amendment, but in between you defined who was a citizen and then you were bold enough to declare that those citizens are all equal in the eyes of the law. That’s just you doin’ what you do.
But, I’ve got to be honest with you, there are some people out there who don’t really pay much attention to you anymore and some people who completely misinterpret your words or flat ignore you. I know, right? Who thinks that’s a good idea? How could anyone with a conscience do that to you?
It’s happening though and it seems to be happening more often. Even worse, there are people who take your words to mean one thing and use it for their own cause, rather than for the cause of liberty, like you were meant. They twist and knot your words to fit their agendas and claim to have a monopoly on the truth about your intentions.
I’m not going to let that happen to you. You are far too important to me, my family, my community, and my country to let that happen. I know there are others out there who feel the same way about you as I do. We just need them to stand up on your behalf. I mean, without you they wouldn’t even be able to stand up and defend their own honor, let alone you.
So, I will stand up in your honor and fight to defend you and the natural God-given rights you have so graciously and earnestly protected. I’ve got your back brother, don’t you forget that.
It’s almost the 4th of July, the date of independence for our country, an independence which you so bravely hold together. This Independence Day I will be defending you and all you have done for us.
Thank you and God bless.
P.S. If you have a hat, shirt, pen or maybe an iPad case, some promotional item that you could send me, that would be great. I really want to show you off to my friends.
Jarrod Weiss lives in New Vienna and is a teacher in the Hillsboro City Schools district. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.