“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 begin this column by quoting the Preamble to the United States Constitution as a reminder — a reminder of why we, as a country, were founded, why our government exists and a reminder of the official job description for those elected or appointed to govern us. We’ve begun waving the white flag of surrender around the heads of our legislators. For some reason we have gotten complacent with our leaders and holding them accountable; we let them do whatever they want. It seems that our citizenry has gotten in their minds that it’s acceptable and expected for elected officials to govern and vote in the direction that is best for their personal morals, political party and for those who stand on their preferred side of controversial issues. It seems that public service has become less about the public at large and more about the elected individuals or special interests. I greatly object to this type of existence in our political arena. As public servants, politicians have been charged with the task of making decisions based upon what is fair and just for all.
The Preamble’s first three words, “We the People,” indicate that the government of the United States exists and was established to serve its citizens, period. Our government should encourage domestic tranquility, that is peace, over partisan bickering and unity over divisiveness. It should be just, protective and provide an infrastructure for the general welfare of all. Additionally, it must ensure that the next generations are better off than those before them.
Now, let’s revisit this word “all.” According to Merriam-Webster, “all” is defined as “the whole amount, quantity, as much as possible, every member or individual component of, the whole number or sum of.” In my opinion, this inclusive language makes things extremely clear. The litmus test for how one should govern must include the following questions: “What do the people in my district/community need?” and “What is fair and just for everyone?” I suggest that we revisit our Constitution and realign our voting patterns to elect representatives who are willing to consistently do their jobs. In all, our country was not established to be divisive. It was established to be a “melting pot,” a society in which all types of people are blended together as one. This land we called home was established to be a place of refuge and opportunities for anyone. We didn’t start a running list of the types of folks we like and would tolerate. We were formed to be inclusive of all peoples and cultures. I suggest we get back to that and rebuild the “one nation, indivisible” we recite in the Pledge of Allegiance.
It is important that public servants set an example for the rest of the Commonwealth, for the rest of the nation. It is not their job to tell us that because they don’t believe in “x” the rest of the state or country can’t believe in it either. For example, you may not believe in same-sex unions, but as an elected official, it is your job to understand that families are losing out on benefits and rights that they should have as Americans. It is your job to ensure that this population, like all others, is treated fairly and justly and protected from discrimination. It is your job to uphold the law, not refuse to grant marriage certificates because of your religion or personal morals. Your job is serve the community that elected you in a way that is fair and just to all people.
In 1802, Thomas Jefferson said that no elected person should impose their personal beliefs on the lives of others … therefore in 2015, we should be beyond this.
We’ve got to get it together, and truly be together. The beauty of our nation is our diversity. The beauty of our nation is our ability to be free to be who we are. Remembering this, our government needs a reassessment. When you put your name on the ballot, you are offering your life up to service knowing that the decisions you make are bigger than you; they impact us all. Seperatism is not the American way (Barbara Jordan). #AllMeansAll