“We the people” are the first three words of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, and they identify those responsible for upholding the foundations of that document. This description comes from a nonprofit website called TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) that according to its mission statement is devoted to ideas worth spreading.
The site’s description is the beginning response given to a reader’s question of: What does the American phrase “We the People” mean? A further description of what our founding fathers meant about the framework of government and how the three-word phrase fits into that equation follows, and then the answer turns into a question of its own: Who decides whom “We the People” are?
Are “We the People”:
— Elected officials only?
— Are they only American citizens?
— Do they include First Nation natives, immigrants and/or expats concerned about America?
The above comes directly from the site, but it gives pause for thought. Who does decide this all-important question? Is it the lobbyists in Washington who are really making the decisions about how government should be handled? Does the president himself have any final say about anything? Is it the Senate or the House that wields all the power? Or did our founding fathers mean all of us, officials and non-officials alike, should represent “We the People?” After all, without our votes, none of the leaders would be in Washington anyway, right?
We all know how government works, from American government classes to political science; we’ve all heard about checks and balances. But what happened to making the people feel like a real part of government? What happened to giving us leaders we can call heroes? What happened to George Washington, who was first in line when troops had to cross the icy Delaware, or men like Honest Abe, who would walk for miles to return a customer’s change when he worked as a store clerk?
What happened to people in government who weren’t wealthy and who know what it’s like to stretch a dollar to pay four bills due at the same time, while striving to have enough left over to put food on the table?
Well, it’s a given those folks aren’t in Washington, D.C.
After back-to-back conventions (Republican and Democratic), “we the people,” if indeed we are, have been exposed to two totally different views on how this country should be run. We have heard the words “deficit,” “referendum,” “jobs,” “health care” and many others that we hear each and every time elections roll around.
But we have yet to actually hear “how” all of these crises should be fixed, from either candidate.
And it seems nothing ever changes. I am very proud to be an American, and I truly believe our country can turn things around and once again be the glue that holds the world together. It’s not the United States that has disillusioned “We the People,” well, not this one anyway.
It’s the infernal rhetoric and politicking that gets on one’s nerves.
Where’s a man (or a woman) like Honest Abe when you need him or her?
Angela Rogalski is a print journalism senior who lives in Abbeville. Follow her on Twitter @abbeangel.
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