Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

January 10, 2013

SCOUT REPORT: Preamble to a ramble

CROSSVILLE — “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.”

So begins the introduction, or preamble, to the document that outlines our founding principles. The Preamble to the Constitution was written by the founders so their intentions in establishing our government would translate through many generations. It establishes the framework of our system of governance, which is not a democracy but rather a constitutional republic. In a democracy, the government runs off of majority rule; meaning whatever the majority of the people want is how things will be done. A constitutional republic, on the other hand, has an established rule book, or constitution, that protects the rights of the minority. For instance, if 90 percent of the country voted to abolish religion in the United States, the First Amendment would prohibit that law from ever taking effect, in theory at least. In truth, many laws have been passed and many actions have been taken throughout the course of our history that have violated the Constitution. Over the past 100 years, that practice has become increasingly more frequent, seeming to become the rule rather than the exception.

“We the people” is one of the most important lines in the Constitution, as it sets the stage for everything else to follow. It reminds us that the government did not create the people, the people created the government. The Constitution was not created to limit the freedoms of the citizenry, rather, it was created to restrain government from becoming tyrannical. Many years ago, when I enlisted in the Army, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. However, it recently occurred to me that, at the time, I had never actually read the document. I wasn’t required to do so before taking the oath, nor had I read it in school – they stopped teaching civics long ago. No one in the military is required to read it, though everyone who joins the military takes that same oath. 

It may surprise you to know that neither our representatives in Congress, nor our president, or even the Supreme Court justices are required to read the Constitution. Though it’s pretty much a given that anyone on the Supreme Court has read the Constitution, doing so is not a specified requirement; neither is a law degree for that matter. So how do you support and defend something when you don’t know what’s in it?

I did a little more research and found that less than one-third of Americans say they have actually read the Constitution – about the same amount of people who watched the series finale of M*A*S*H – though two thirds of Americans say they understand at least part of it. This confabulation has led to the idea that the United States is a democracy and that “separation of church and state” is part of the Bill of Rights, among other falsehoods. Preying upon this ignorance are those who seek to gain power and control over people, contrary to the vision we were founded upon. Recently, an op-ed in the New York Times, written by a professor who supposedly taught constitutional law for 40 years, suggested that all of our current problems stem from our adherence to archaic rules and that we should rid ourselves of the Constitution. He defends that point of view by stating the following: “No sooner was the Constitution in place than our leaders began ignoring it.” He then goes on to point out how politicians subvert the provisions of the document in order to impose their will, all while supposing that doing away with the Constitution will somehow make men less abusive of their power and that by taking away the limits on government we will somehow be more free. If these men acted with impunity with a Constitution intact then what kind of reasoning produces the thought that an imaginary Constitution would protect rights? This is just one example of the idiocy that is being taught to the next generation.

Our current problems exist solely because our leadership circumvented the rules for so long. For example, if the government had adhered to its constitutionally enumerated functions, there would be no $1 trillion deficits, no $16 trillion national debt and no $84 trillion in unfunded liabilities for the major entitlement programs and other federal commitments.

Our society is based on the rule of law. Nothing exemplifies that better than a written constitution. Neither longstanding traditions nor accepted modes of procedure are sufficient to restrain the nature of man, which is to seek power over other men. It is for that reason that, beginning next week, I am starting a new series on the Constitution, where I will attempt to explain the history and context behind each amendment. This will require a great deal of research but it is a journey that I look forward to. Our future depends on understanding the past. 

1
Text Only
Glade Sun
  • County residents urged to vote

    Cumberland County has around 39,000 registered voters, as well as a strong reputation for voter participation.  However, as of press time on Tuesday, only 4,300 residents had taken advantage of early voting for the Aug. 7 primary and general elections. Local officials are predicting less than 50 percent of registered voters will cast their vote in the 14 days of early voting, plus election day. Only 23 percent of registered county voters participated in the May elections.

    July 30, 2014

  • Board amends by-laws

    At the July meeting of the Fairfield Glade Community Club, the board of directors approved a vote to amend the club's bylaws regarding uncontested elections of board members, effectively declaring Bob Diller and Steven Smith new board members.

    July 30, 2014

  • Naiad Kuhlman.jpg Senior olympian on the run for good health

    No one can get away with telling Naiad Kuhlman of Crossville that age is a barrier to exercise. The avid runner, personal trainer and instructor at Cumberland Medical Center’s Wellness Complex at Fairfield Glade won’t buy the excuse.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Enjoying nature.jpg Get your mink coat on the road

    It is interesting what animals you see crossing the roads sometimes. When animals cross roads, you can get a look at them, that wouldn't be possible if they stayed inside the cover of trees or grass. Sometimes, it is just a fleeting glance and you aren't sure what you saw. When you go into the woods looking for animals, they usually hide or leave the area before you even know they are around. But, roads are wide open with no cover. Also, most mammals are nocturnal, so they are out when we aren't. Anytime that I am on a two-lane road at night, I am always watching intently for wildlife in the headlights.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Read the latest edition of "The Bulletin"

    The Crossville Chronicle-Glade Sun also publishes a newsletter called "The Bulletin" in which you'll find a schedule of Glade activities and events, a restaurant and dining guide, golf information, and even tour schedules. Click here for the latest PDF edition of "The Bulletin."

    April 21, 2010 1 Link

  • Patches of Life: The replacement years

    I need a new refrigerator. There are some other things on order too as we seem to be in the replacement year of our life. Everything from the light bulbs to the computer seemed to agree that this is the year of replacement.

    July 30, 2014

  • Abacus Column: Tennessee the third most corrupt state in the U.S.?

    According to a recent article in Time magazine, Tennessee is ranked third among U.S. States in political corruption. I am not sure how they measure such crime in order to make such a charge. Does some purveyor of statistics identify the number of elected officials proved guilty in a court of law; or merely charged with corruption?

    July 30, 2014

  • A Time 4 Paws celebrates pet adoption after 3 1/2 years

    Three and a half years ago, a local no-kill animal welfare organization known as A Time 4 Paws (AT4P) received an important email. A Nashville animal shelter volunteer asked if AT4P could take two severely abused English Pointer mixes. The email said they didn't want to take back two dogs they had placed in foster care for fear they would have to kill them.

    July 30, 2014

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

    Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.
    That’s the message being delivered by A Time 4 Paws, which has launched an ongoing drive to collect shoes to help the poor. Used and new shoes can be dropped off at A Time 4 Paws in Crossville and can be left in the blue recycling bin outside labeled Soles4Souls.

    July 30, 2014

  • FFG Treasure Hunt set for Sept. 5

    The 2014 Fairfield Glade Treasure Hunt is set for Friday, Sept. 5. This has always been a fun evening for those who enjoy puzzle solving, figuring out clues or just having a good time.

    July 30, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014