The United States Constitution begins with the words:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”
The first three Articles of the Constitution then outline the rules by which we will govern ourselves, with Articles I, II, and III establishing the legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch, respectively.
Our founders in this way established a system of governance, with checks and balances, that requires cooperation and compromise. In order to carry out the nation’s business, two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate, made up of representatives from every state, must first come to an agreement between those two bodies, and then receive the approval of the President, who is chosen by the people in a national election.
The Constitution itself is the only ideology we Americans need. It contains the rules that we have over the course of more than two centuries agreed to follow in attaining the highest aspirations of our nation: “a more perfect Union … Justice … domestic Tranquility … the common defence … the general Welfare … the Blessings of Liberty”.
Our Founders added a Bill of Rights that explicitly asserts our most basic human rights: freedom of religion, freedom of speech and of the press, the right to assemble peaceably and petition the government, the right to bear arms, our rights when charged with a crime, and our right to a fair trial.
These were and continue to be revolutionary concepts. Peoples and nations around the world have since yearned for what we here in the United States have asserted, through our Constitution, as basic human rights and freedom. We have seen the most recent manifestations of this yearning for freedom throughout the nations of the Middle East. We have no choice but to support and encourage the national aspirations of peoples around the world for freedom. Are there risks in doing so? Yes, but only if those aspirations fail to be realized and maintained. Truly free peoples governing themselves will never be a threat to other free peoples.
The difficult task for nations and societies throughout history is not only to attain freedom, but to do so in a way that is enduring. Our Constitution is a best practice that can be used by others to tailor one of their own.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, we need to be vigilant in the care and feeding of American self-governance. We need to be true to our revolutionary ideology and refocus on what has made the United States of America special as we continue our journey to attain a more perfect union.