Over at One Poet’s Notes, Edward Byrne reminds us that the United States Constitution was signed on this day in 1787. He quotes the preamble:
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 for the United States of America.
Unity, justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, general welfare, liberty—aims that often conflict with each other. We see it in the current health care reform debate, where justice and the general welfare are in conflict with tranquility and (perceived) liberty. Byrne correctly observes that the Constitution is “an amazing example of conscientiousness, commitment, and compromise written by a committee despite often-contentious debate and disagreement.” Let’s hope that the frustrated, angry, paranoid right-wing and their corporate puppet-masters manage to rediscover these virtues as reform legislation—surely our time’s most significant attempt to “promote the general Welfare”—takes shape over the next several weeks. At least they might be able to lay aside their phony cries of “socialism,” since the aim of health care reform is clearly consistent with at least two of the core aims the Founding Fathers had for this republic.