Saturday, October 13, 2007

"I pledge allegience to the Constitution of the United States of America"

And to the freedoms which it has granted us, one nation..."

If Betsy Ross had known that her creation would help kill freedom, she never would have sewn it.

At the time, however, the patriots fighting to free themselves from the excesses of the crown needed a unifying symbol, something to inspire and point to and rally around--a symbol to lead us to victory. And it worked. British rule was thrown off. The hard-won fight led to the Constitution and the United States of America.

At that point, having done its job so well, the flag that Betsy Ross made should have been gracefully and gratefully retired, honored and respected for its role, and a new emblem given its place--one that symbolized not what we had fought for, but what we had won.

We had, to replace that venerable old symbol, something real to rally around, called the Constitution of the United States, created by men of inspired, selfless genius. A document which affirmed our inalienable rights and established the rules by which "We, the People" would govern our leaders. That is what our victory in the Revolutionary War won for us.

This wonderful document is not just the basis for our democracy, it is our democracy. But was our Constitution given it's rightful place on a new flag? Sadly, it was not. The "Stars and Stripes" reigns supreme to this day.

We pledge allegience to the "Stars and Stripes", it is everywhere one looks, it's depicted on lapel pins and bumper stickers and clothing. The "Stars and Stripes" is flown on national holidays by people showing their patriotism. It is displayed in every courthouse and at every political event. It is the ultimate symbol of national pride (and that is telling--we should be grateful for what we have, not proud). But where in all this is our Constitution, which is, after all, is what is truly deserving of our homage?

Our precious Constitution has been ignored and taken for granted, rarely seen, even more rarely studied and understood, because we have focused instead on an outdated symbol. That superficial symbol has provided a cover under which men have been able to work, unseen and unnoticed, to dismantle the document which gave us the liberties we have enjoyed for 200 years.

And that is the disconnect that has occurred, the fatal flaw Betsy Ross could never have imagined, that may well spell the end of our freedoms.

Through our ignorance, we are allowing our rights to be abridged, our freedoms taken away one by one, which once lost may never be regained. Free speech, privacy, equal justice (indeed, justice in any form), free elections--gone or going away. And we always took them for granted.

Read the Constitution, find the justification for wars of conquest. It does not exist.Read it, and understand that our true strength lies in working for the common good, not for the benefit of a few. Read it, and you will then know that our democracy is based on compassion, selflessness, mutual help, caring and sharing, and acceptance. Where have those ideals gone?

The only way that we can save our freedoms is by understanding them and where they came from. There are two ways to force this, both of which can be done by Congress, if they will respond to a unified call for action.

1) Retire the "Stars and Stripes" and replace it with a flag depicting the Constitution. If you see it every day, fly it, salute it and sing to it, you will learn to respect it and fight to protect it. We will never permit any assault on our democratic ideals.

2) Mandate that teaching the Constitution of the United States will be required in every school in the U.S., public and private, so that future generations will be secure from tyranny.

Start calling, if you love your country. It might not be too late.

UPDATES: here, and here. Maybe there's something to this.

No comments: