Monday, September 17, 2012

225 Candles


The Com Library photostream



   The problem—if there is one—with being in school regularly, is that it makes you think about a lot of things you haven’t thought about in a long while.  For instance, when’s the last time you gave any serious thought to the US Constitution? 

  Well, it turns out that today is Constitution Day (technically, Constitution and Citizenship Day, but it usually gets abbreviated), a day to recognize both the adoption of our founding principles and those who have become citizens of this great land. 

  I’ll admit that I don’t really give the Constitution too much thought on a regular basis.  I mean, sure, it’s the very foundation of our basic society, but what’s that to me, right?  Is my world going to come screeching to a halt if I don’t recognize and appreciate the hard work and foresight that our Founding Fathers poured into building this country from nothing?  Probably not.  Things will likely roll along just fine even if I take it all for granted.  But, even if we don’t spiral down into anarchy born of apathy, I think it might be worth taking a minute to give it a passing thought.

With that in mind, today I spent some time on campus listening to one of our state Supreme Court justices talking about the judiciary and its constitutional beginnings.  Other than a couple of interesting trivial bits of information (did you know the US Constitution is the shortest in the world?), she didn’t talk about anything that hasn’t been covered in my political science text book, but it was still interesting, and a worthwhile way to spend an hour or so.  Her general message concerning her profession?  Judges are humans, doing an important job every day and doing the very best they can.  In general, I think I agree with that assessment. 

In terms of the Constitution itself, I think my feelings about the document are pretty similar.  It has served us well for a couple of centuries now.  By it’s very design, it’s meant to be interpreted by the people who serve our nation, so it’s not always as black and white as we might sometimes prefer, but it’s doing the best that it can.  I would never try to say that America is anywhere close to perfect, or that our leaders—past or present—are incapable of mistakes.  But I will go so far as to say our country is more right than wrong, and I think the framers of the Constitution are a very large part of why.  So why not take a second or two to think about our humble beginnings, and say a quick happy birthday to the framework built 225 years ago that got us to where we are today?