Our founding fathers worked very hard to define a structure that balanced the needs for governance with the needs of the individual. The needs of the community with the needs of each individual within the community. The results of long debate and dialogue are The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and the Amendments to the constitution. Unfortunately, these documents, in the English language, are subject to the ambiguities inherent in English.
The Constitution’s preamble states:
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. The purpose seems clear — to form a more perfect union. To take diverse interests and unify them into one whole. They wanted justice, domestic tranquility, and a common defense.
They don’t say we should all agree, and they didn’t all agree. But they disagreed with words, not guns, at the ballot box and not through threats, lies, and intimidation. We seem to have forgotten these basic tenants. Much like Christianity has many sects, we have many political views: left-wing, Democrats, moderates, Republicans, and right-wing. But we should all have in common our agreement on the union established under the Constitution. We have been manipulated by lies and innuendos to become less unified than ever before. Our union will only prevail when we can become unified around the facts and truth.
Facts and Truth
So, what are facts and truth? A fact is something that has happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists. The riot in the nation’s capital on January 6th is a fact. The death of five people is a fact. The attempt to find and kill our leaders is a fact. Climate change is a fact. The pandemic is a fact. We need to identify the facts that we can agree on so we can heal the union.
False news is not the news you don’t like. It is the news that comprises lies. Unfortunately, we are human and lazy, so if you tell us a lie often enough, many of us come to believe the lie is the truth. We don’t test it against reality to see if it is really true, we just accept it. False news, propaganda, and many of the things we read on social media are based on this concept. If you read something and pass it on without testing its reality, you may perpetuate false news.
5 things each of us must do to preserve our democracy
Learn to ask ourselves why? — Why is this being said or reported? Who is the source? Is the source credible? Is this something I can share with my friends?
Learn to ask ourselves what? — What is being said? What is the purpose? What is the source? Can I verify this from another credible source?
Accept that others aren’t bad if they believe differently.- We all have our opinions. All have a basis in our values, beliefs, and truth. Many of us can find a common set of facts we can agree on.
Learn to dialogue without name-calling and putting down those we disagree with. — Men who had powerful feelings wrote the Constitution -. They didn’t always agree. But they could disagree about the ideas without name-calling. We must learn to do the same.
Take part in the democratic process at all levels and hold people accountable- We seem to have forgotten that we are accountable for what we say and do. That accountability is codified in law and legal process.
“The first duty of a man is to think for himself,”- Jose Marti
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” — Abraham Lincoln