“We the People. …” That phrase has endured for 244 years as the pillar of the U.S. Constitution, which has stood as America’s triumphant experiment in freedom and responsibility. These are three words buttressed by three others in steadfast supporting roles: people, democracy, voting.
This preambled phrase continues to solidify the very foundation of the United States of America as it endures as the unquestioned standard bearer of patriotism that threads its way through the First, Second, Ninth and Tenth amendments to the Constitution, let alone through further supporting roles in the Fifteenth, Nineteenth and even the Twenty-Sixth amendments.
Just think of it, the people are the ones in charge of America through their quest for liberty and self-governance. The people, as demonstrated on Nov. 3, executed their likes and dislikes of governance and those who govern. The people had every right to do so without any allegiance to interference, but to an allegiance to their conscience. Of course, let us not look upon our America through a rose-colored glass. After all, elevating a woman to the second-highest elected federal office in the land has taken 244 years! The struggles of citizens of color are far from over.
This year’s national election exemplifies the convictions of its people and the endurance of democracy articulated exceptionally well in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The thrill of these documents lies in their language that forever has built a bridge of time and technology. How each of us applies the language lies in the convictions of each of us as a patriot — and every patriot is every American citizen.
Just because those of us may agree to agree, or agree to disagree, does not mean that the right to express oneself in America is denied. On the contrary, the right of each of us to cherish free speech is one measure of our country’s commitment to patriotism. The right to be wrong or right or to criticize governance is the truest measure of patriotism in each of us and in our moral and ethical creeds that sift out our likes and dislikes for the betterment of our democracy and our freedom.
Every word about America’s brand of democracy is an ideal one, so much so that some of these words are mere words, others are not, especially the one that supports the right to vote. VOTE, what a word! This is THE word that makes “We the People,” often given in historical documents as “Consent of the People,” the amazing power to safeguard the envy of our personal commands to life, liberty and happiness.
Nov. 3 proved to be another test of America’s allegiance to documents that have endured for 244 years. The message from that day is clear: Do not take language, thought out and put on paper decades ago, for granted. Amazing how some language remains forever and becomes the beacon for the peoples’ action. Voting is the cornerstone of how patriots act in America.
And, if there is an underlying message from this particular moment in the history of America’s national election, it might be this: Put aside your Biden and Trump flags and raise the inseparable partnership of the one flag that embodies the patriotism inside all citizens: The flag of the United States of America.
(Dr. George P. Evans is the former chair of the department of journalism/mass communication at St. Bonaventure University.)