It seems to me that many of the problems related to our badly divided society are actually due to the fact that certain of the more honorable principles of our national Constitution have historically been systematically limited as to the degree of their application. For example, consider the beautiful sentiment and the profound principles of the phrase “promote the general welfare” as recorded in the introductory Preamble of the Constitution. As noble as the concept sounds, the fact of the matter is that promoting the general welfare was by no means the actual concern of the 55 Aristocrats who composed the Constitutional Convention. Nor for that matter had promoting “the general welfare” ever been the primary concern of any of the other greedy gold diggers from whom our nation evolved. The sentiment so expressed is indeed honorable, and undoubtedly “the general welfare” is in fact the end goal and defined purpose of that noble collective known as the society; but therein lies the misunderstanding which serves as the basis for the limited application of the sentiment itself.
For from our very conception as a sovereign nation, America was never a society. More to the point, America is, and always been; an ongoing commercial enterprise, whose welfare for an elite sector is systematically maintained by way of domination and exploitation. In fact, for the most part the history of Western Society was never about promoting “the general welfare”, but rather has always been an ongoing predatory commercial enterprise based upon invasion, conquest, domination, and exploitation of the vulnerable, for the express purpose of enriching and further empowering the already wealthy and powerful class of any given country. The systematic domination and exploitation of the many, in order to provide welfare for an elite sector then, has been the historical pattern of Western Society in general, and America more than any other country simply serves as an example of such.
And so, while giving lip service to the concept of equality and the general welfare, the fact is that the societal system by which our forefathers functioned is in principle the same by which we function today. Granted, the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s legalized the concept of the equality of all people, nonetheless we have yet to abandon our national systematic commercial enterprise for the welfare of the wealthy, nor do we yet refrain from foreign invasions to the same end. Thus, in spite of our incremental social advancements towards social justice, we nonetheless continue, as did our Forefathers, to fall short of the sentiments of our own Constitution, by implementing a system which fails to function accordingly.
This is not to say that things must remain as they are. For as long as the words “promote the general welfare” remain written in our Constitution, then we as a collective people shall ever have the documented right to become a society which seeks the common good as a necessary goal. Our challenge then is to aspire towards that noble state of social being which has alluded every generation of Americans going back to and including our Founding Fathers themselves.
For when, and only when, we as America decide to finally live up to the precious sentiment as expressed in our national Constitution “promote the general welfare”; then and only then, we will actually be a society instead of a collective commercial enterprise for the primary welfare of the wealthy and the powerful.
To do so would make America great. Finally.