We The People
Now that the Democratic National Convention is over, maybe I can get some rest. I’ve been riveted to the TV these last four nights and the hope I feel is palpable. The differences between the DNC and the RNC all boiled down to one theme for me: do I choose fear or love?
We live in the greatest country on earth and it is not an overblown sense of importance or hyperbole that causes me to say it. I believe it. Even when America is at her worst, bullying, beating, and bruising each other raw over issues of race, economics, who we can love, and whether a woman is fit to be a marine, or president (!), we are still trying to improve, moving forward, engaging in the dialogue, and working at reinventing ourselves to get to the next level of well-being even when it seems as though we are hopelessly far from that goal. The reason? Our democracy is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” to quote Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and since that speech in November 1863, America has been doing her darnedest to assure that such a government “shall not perish from the earth.” If the bloodiest civil conflict in American history couldn’t tear our political fabric apart then neither will the hackers, the haters, the Citizens United crowd, or even our own government who has at times justified spying from within in the name of assuring no terror from without.
We make decisions as a nation through our elected representatives. We are a government of individuals that form a conscious collective. In this system, we speak our minds and if we get others to speak with us, change happens, and if we speak alone, we still get to talk. It doesn’t happen like this anywhere else, people. The Constitution starts with “We the People…” and it keeps getting better from there. Even forward thinkers cannot always see the endgame. While the framers were brilliant and brave, they had no idea what the future would look like, but they sure left us a blueprint for navigating it. Their legacy, and our gift, was the living, breathing document that would grow with the times and change with the majority will of the people.
The United States didn’t “invent” the concept of democracy and “We the People” have always had our differences. Every brick of this social experiment we call the United States was built on dialogue and compromise. Athens may have been the birthplace of Democracy, but we saw Her to adulthood. When the framers signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring the “self-evident” truths that all men are created equal, they went the Athenians one better. Now we have our first woman running as a presidential candidate for the Democratic party. It’s unprecedented and exciting and history-making and challenging. Here we go again.