“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.”
I love these words. These words, commonly known as “The Preamble”, serve as the introduction to our Constitution, and hence any reading of, interpretation of, or attempted application of our written law of the land should be filtered through the prism of this preamble if you will.
In these words I read the potential for a harmonious and peaceful society.
In these words I read the potential for a society which puts the needs of people before the greed of profiteers.
In these words I read the potential for a society which wants to share the blessings of liberty not only with their own generation, but which also wishes to secure those benefits for future generations.
In essence, in these words I read the potential for America to become great. And I sincerely hope that one day we may actually aspire to such greatness.
The potential of these words notwithstanding, the fact is that due to their limited social perspectives, the intent of the authors of the preamble was to limit the scope of its application to an elitist few.
As unpleasant as it is to acknowledge, the fact is that our “founding Fathers” were the leading Aristocrats of a bigoted era, and as such our Constitution was written by those who assumed White Superiority and the subjugate role of women.
The considerations of “the general welfare” certainly did not apply to the American Indian, whose presence upon the land of rich resources was an obstruction to the greedy golddiggers from whom our nation descended.
Nor for that matter were “the blessings of liberty” to be secured for the Africans who were a product of profiteering for Northern businessmen, and all the while primarily the utility of exploitive labor for the wealthy businessmen of the South.
In essence, the scope of beneficiaries of these great words which introduce our nation’s Constitution was limited primarily to the white, landowning males of that era, and there is no reason to assume that our “founding Fathers” ever envisioned a change in the status quo for their respective posterity to follow.
And so it is that we the American people have these wonderful words as an introduction to our national law of the land, and yet we have had to struggle these past 229 years to mature and develop beyond the bigoted perspective of our own social ancestry.
To our “founding Fathers” then we owe a debt of gratitude for penning such words of potential, though we owe it to our generation and to our posterity to expand the scope of the application of the principles so documented beyond the limited scope of our bigoted past.
In essence, we the American people, may one day become a great society, when and only when, we think and operate beyond the limitations of our bigoted ancestry, by applying the potential of the Preamble of our Constitution to each and every person; with prejudice against nor preference for anyone or any class of persons; in hopes of truly securing “the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”; hopefully henceforth and forevermore.
November 6, 2016