Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Constitution Day

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Senator Robert Byrd is the longest serving Senator in history, having been in office since January of 1959.

In 2004, Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), a constitutional expert, decided to beef up education about the Constitution. Near the end of a 660-page appropriations bill, he inserted language that required all schools that receive federal funds -- universities included -- to provide a program on the Constitution each year on or about Sept. 17.
So folks, that means today is Constitution Day. For some of us, it's just an excuse to mention the document we hold so dear. For others, it may be the only day they pay even a moment's notice to it.

I would poll on how many people know (without checking) how many Articles and Amendments there are, but I fear the results. The Constitution frames all that our government does, and doesn't do. (Or at least it's supposed to, when it's not being eviscerated by the Bush administration.)

The men who wrote the Constitution, and the nameless other men, women and children who fought in the years before for taxation with representation, and the forming of our country in lieu of being a colony of King George's England, worked so hard, and sometimes died, so that we could have a country founded on law.

Because of the Constitution, we are the only country in the history of the world with free, scheduled (not called) elections, and the bloodless transfer of power. On the first Tuesday after the first Monday since the election of George Washington, there have been elections.

The Constitution gives states the right to set up their own processes for state elections, special elections, and primaries. The First Amendment enables the political parties (for better or worse).

You don't have to be like me and never leave home without a copy of the Constitution. You don't have to belong to the Constitution Center (although it is an awesome place).

But please, take some time today and read the Constitution. It's rich, it's deep, it's a tapestry of ideals that matter, it's even full of necessary revisions leading to it being more inclusive and appropriate. It's a living document, and I hope you will make it part of your life, today, Constitution Day.