It’s easy these days to worry that our governments in Washington and Raleigh have become so hyper-politicized that even cornerstones as fundamental as our U.S. and N.C. constitutions fall victims in the fray.
After all, when the chief business of legislators, presidents, governors and even judges seems more focused on weaving around checks and balances of power than on exercising the will of the people, what chance do the rest of us have?
So it’s helpful – especially in a week in which we observed Constitution Day on Tuesday – to remember the strength and endurance of documents crafted by the most visionary Americans in history and defended since by millions of other brave patriots.
Our founders purposefully designed the U.S. Constitution to be a malleable work in progress, even as America itself grows and evolves. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution – our Bill of Rights – demonstrated the respect our founders had for change. And as strained as the rhetoric in Washington has been during the past decade or so, it’s reassuring to watch a movie such as Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” to be reminded that our Union has faced much darker, more threatening days.
While the Constitution’s stated purpose is to establish a framework of process and a sense of order to the way we govern ourselves, its much larger importance is to protect the very right to self-government in the first place.
For every partisan rant and rave we suffer through on cable television, bear in mind that the give and take – as annoying as it can be – is a freedom that is almost unimaginable in many of the countries on much of the rest of the planet.
Newspapers play an important role in bringing that debate into your home. By virtue of the First Amendment, we welcome and publish discussions of ideas and issues, even if we don’t necessarily agree with the points being expressed.
It’s a responsibility we take seriously. Regarding it in any other way would be a stain on our Constitution – and on those who drafted it and fought for it.