|To the Editor: To life, liberty and the pursuit of accuracy|
|Written by M. Sherrell|
|Wednesday, 09 December 2009 10:24|
Let me preface this letter with the statement that I have never been one to write a letter to the editor. But, after reading Deb Marsh's letter, "Politicians should go back to honoring the Constitution," I felt compelled offer a response. It is not my intent to ignite a political firestorm. In fact, my motivation for writing this letter deals not with the political issues involved, but rather, the historical ones. Ms. Marsh's letter is a call for citizens and readers to honor the Constitution, and for those citizens to demand the same from their local, state and national leaders.
Ms. Marsh's letter begins, "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." Later, she implores the citizenry to "Read the Constitution and learn how this document is being trampled on daily."
Therein lies the problem: regardless of how much one does "go back" to read the Constitution, one is not likely to find the above quote there. That soaring bit of rhetoric resides in the The Declaration of Independence, not the U.S. Constitution. Those words, written by Thomas Jefferson, during the sweltering summer of 1776, have been memorialized not only in the annals of American History, but also in painting (John Trumbull's iconic, although historically inaccurate depiction of the signing), in theatre (1776, the Tony-Award musical adaptation of the 2nd Continental Congress), and even popular culture (a hilarious 4th of July themed sketch on the kitschy variety show, Love American Style).
I am neither a scholar of the Constitution, nor of American History. In fact, I am merely a reader and a citizen who once, in a classroom at small-town school in southern Tennessee, had to learn the preambles of both The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution ("We the people...") for Mr. J.B. Smith's 8th grade American History class.
To life, liberty, and the pursuit of accuracy.
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