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Wed Feb 23, 2022, 03:16 PM

I've long been bothered by the prevalence of "We, the people..." without the rest of the Preamble...

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by Spazito (a host of the The DU Lounge forum).

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.


We the People
See this a lot these days...usually flying on a Gadsen flag or in someone's mangled protest signs. For too many people - including those using the phrase at will - that's the end of the discussion and understanding. Its become a reflex retort, a political jab of sorts. Kind of like "lock her up" or "fake news" or "alternative facts". The meaning and import of the words are totally lost and out of context.

This was NEVER meant to be a cudgle or weapon for one citizen to fling at another in these several states. It was not meant to convey a limited and overly narrow view of the rights and RESPONSIBILITIES of citizenship either. Starting with "We, the people...", the framers knew damn well why those words were chosen and they also fully understood what came next in the Preamble was of MORE IMPORT and lasting significance.

"We, the people" was a direct assault on the divine right of kings and the monarchy that the colonies had rebelled against and won independence from...but that was only the beginning and never meant to be the end.

...of the United States...
This first and most cutting omission is done by the right wing radicals in service to their own selfish intent. This is the people who talk of "the American Redoubt" and believe that something like states changing territory and borders is actually allowed under the Constitution (it is specifically forbidden - Article IV, section 3 and 4). The
"United" States is what gave the fledgling government and confederation an actual NATIONAL identity. The very thing that so many right wing rebels now wish to cling to as symbols only - a flag, a motto, empty words and even emptier rhetoric. It cannot be over-stated - the Peamble to the Constitution only works when read and understood in total - and only then when the first statement is taken as a whole and not bastardized for appropriation. "We, the people of the UNITED STATES..." is who the Constitution is written by, of and for (as Lincoln would later immortalize at Gettsyberg). Its not for SOME of us, or a subset of 'patriots' or a distinct skin tone or set of genitalia. It is all AMERICANS - both the living at the time of issue, and the unborn nation to follow.

...in Order to form a more perfect Union...
This really starts to drive at the import of the Constitution and the words that all citizens of the nation should know by heart and meaning. A "more perfect union" implies and demands change. Change with time, but also change within the original document. The framers KNEW that they could not see into the future, and there is no way that they felt they set down the final words in the Constitution - or there would have never been ammendments, the possibility of a new Constitutional convention enshrined in the document itself, or a Bill of Rights for that matter. The Constitution's true genius is not in its prose or its form or its function, it is in its maleability and changing meaning as time and collected wisdom increase.

...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility...
We all know one is not available with the other. The George Floyd case was only a recent reminder, but the reality is lived out daily across the nation. We still struggle with this, but the acknowledgement that the struggle is REAL and NECESSARY gets lost in attempts to use media and propaganda to influence and control power for power's sake. All members of congress should be made to recite this Preamble in full before any nonsense prayers or speeches or business of the Congress writ large. They should really understand that the reason most people give a shit at all about Congress is that they expect the government to help them and to work towards these aims diligently and not only to serve party-line votes and politics in general. The number one thing a member of the House or a Senator should think about as they lie down to sleep is 'am I contributing to either of these fundmental aims or not'?

And finally, but definitely NOT least:
...provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...

The COMMON defence.
The GENERAL welfare.
...ourselves AND our posterity.

These words are crystal clear and should be what they were always meant to be - the very reason we have pride in our nation of immigrants and naturalized citizens, the "why" for any citizen to feel emotions when they see the flag or hear the anthem - and YES - those emotions can and should be both the positives AND the negatives. A flag that means only censored or 'approved' messages is no symbol of liberty - its a dictate from a ruler, a directive of thought and not in the spirit or the meaning of the United States of America - the greatest idea in human history.

Our challenge - to every new citizen born or naturalized - is to make sure that our actions are in service to those intentions: COMMON defence (I find the sloganeering of the Q-people morbidly ironic when they intone "where we go one, we go all" at the same time that they are attempting to pull away from compomise and understandig in favor of irrationality and folly). The GENERAL welfare is what makes being an "American" a value proposition and statement instead of a meaningless label. If there is no benefit to Americans (ALL Americans) in the actions that we put forth, then the ONLY patriotic duty is to keep trying to reform it and live up to the ideal that is "America - the concept, the governing philosophy.

Including posterity in the founding document's opening was an additional and prescient inclusion and call to arms across the centuries. It is Jefferson and the framers reminding us all that though we are a nation now, it was not always so, and it cannot be for long of we do not maintain faith and allegiance to the idea that temporary disappointment and even long-lived abomination cannot break the will to keep trying to get it right.

...do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America...
Power for power's sake is anathema to the Constitution. It is a dagger to the heart of democratic principles and republican governance. It is also the only animating feature of 40-45% of the current voting population and one of the two current political parties in this country. Securing the franchise for all citizens of qualification, and the respect of "one man, one vote", is the only way to stop these current terrorists from achieving their aim - the collapse of representative republics and the rise of authoritarians - who would no doubt seek to have someone like myself killed for even daring to write this screed. Many people on DU would not fare well in a police state I'm afraid...my wife already argues with me that leaving my account in tact and not attempting to "tone it down".

Long live the concept of the United States of America. And may death's cold embrace find the true enemies of freedom with aplomb and alacrity so that this nation, as Lincoln said in a darker day than today, may not perish from the Earth.

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Reply I've long been bothered by the prevalence of "We, the people..." without the rest of the Preamble... (Original post)
Moostache Feb 2022 OP
KT2000 Feb 2022 #1
Moostache Feb 2022 #2
Spazito Feb 2022 #3

Response to Moostache (Original post)

Wed Feb 23, 2022, 03:52 PM

1. Really enjoyed this

and it will aid me in conversations with R relatives. Thank you.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 23, 2022, 04:23 PM

2. You are welcome to any or all of it that helps! (n/t)

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Response to Moostache (Original post)

Wed Feb 23, 2022, 04:54 PM

3. *LOCKING*

Host consensus is this OP doesn't meet the criteria in the SOP for this forum:

Relax with your friends and talk about off-topic stuff.

This would be fine in General Discussion.

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