The Will of the People
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy.
Photo Credit: www.aclu.org
In looking for guidance on how to govern the United States of America, The Declaration of Independence of 4 July 1776 provides clear answers.
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’
Those who govern should always respect and uphold these rights and to remember that they are the unalienable rights of everyone – not just a select few. To do otherwise is to offend the Creator.
‘We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states.’
Since America and its representatives sought legitimacy from ‘the Supreme Judge of the world’, it and they must serve the interests of that Supreme Judge – which is the pursuit of the unalienable rights, endowed or gifted by the Creator for all men.
But there are also additional things to note from the above exerts:
Relationships among people are not derived from man-made laws, but those of a higher being – the Creator. It follows therefore, that the thoughts, words and deeds of man (and this includes women), should be inspired and directed from and to a higher purpose – not selfish and self-centered desires.
The Founding Fathers did not use the word ‘God’. They allowed for the possibility that people may not believe in the God of the Christian religion or indeed any ‘God’ at all. But to be an American does necessitate an understanding and acceptance that there is an ultimate Creator of all things.
It is instructive to note that what concerned the Founding Fathers was not material gain – but spiritual fulfillment through life, liberty and happiness. Just as Jesus of Nazareth had implored his audience:
‘Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness’ [Matthew 6:33]
If those self-evident and unalienable ‘rights’ are given to all men, that is the human species, then they are not limited to people who simply live in the geographical area that is designated by men as ‘The United States of America’.
Being an American, is not limited by a physical geographical area. Being an American is being someone who agrees and acts on the understanding that;
‘all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.
In this sense, I am an American even though I was born and live in England.
America has a system of electing people to represent the interests of others, the ordinary people. The representatives are not chosen to serve their own interests. Their duty is to ensure that the aforementioned unalienable and universal truths, are respected and achieved – for all men.
The Founding Fathers specifically state that:
‘to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’
With the privilege of power comes responsibility – the responsibility to fulfill the higher purpose of the Creator as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. In effect, that duty is to fulfill the second commandment, namely, to deal with other men as they would like to be dealt with in the same circumstances.
In my view, America’s material wealth is a direct result of its generosity of spirit, its desire and willingness to share its vision with anyone and everyone that will do the same.
What is that is being shared?
An opportunity. An opportunity to work towards happiness in an environment which protects the sanctity of life and the necessity of liberty. These spiritual ideals are not given and have never been given to anyone. They must be earned. But the opportunity to pursue them is a gift from the Creator and which man has any right to deny any other man the same opportunity?
The greatness of America and indeed any country is derived from freely and generously sharing with others. Helping others to help themselves is one of the hallmarks of greatness and spirituality in practice.
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