Though I am far from wealthy, right now only moderately healthy, and definitely not by this world’s standards successful!, I have come to realize that, in the words of Brigitte Gabriel, (They Must be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, A Note of Thanks) the dream is my address.
I live in America.
Though I have before realized that I don’t even come close to appreciating what we have in this great, great country, it is just recently that it’s dawned on me – the huge & marvelous vision that is today the United States of America, was once a dream. And I’m living in it. Concepts captured in words, once intangible & unseen except in minds & hearts, were ultimately, violently and triumphantly made manifest and visible. Generations have partaken, and now it is my turn. I’ve realized what a gift I’ve been given. I did not have to fight for it, nor struggle to get here from somewhere else. I did not have to take a citizenship class. From the womb, I was an American, in America. I did not deserve it, I do not deserve it now, and I will never deserve it.
His grace has been bestowed upon me, lavishly, freely.
…so, tracing events back to the days of our Founding Fathers, as always we meet with those history-changing words written on paper. (Well, parchment, I guess…!) Other than the Scriptures, in my view, not much else supercedes or even parallels, the import and the authority of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. I have believed this for a few years now, but since I’ve begun watching online lectures about these two documents, realms not yet grasped are opening up to me. With delight, I’m beginning to see those above-mentioned invisible concepts captured in words.
Jesus tells us that His words are spirit and life. (John 6:63) From this, if you believe His words, we could deduce that life originates in His spirit. Spirit is invisible to the human eye, but exists nonetheless…so I’m thinking that those invisible concepts couched in the phrasing of our First Documents are concepts of spirit and life springing from the One who is the Tree of Life. Their source guarantees their authority. Which is why they have worked for over two hundred years, and will continue to work if we abide by them.
…so as I’m learning more & more about the content of our Founding Documents, I’ve begun to see the safeguards to life & liberty, not only placed within those documents, but even implemented in the very processes which produced them.
During this current Republican Presidential nomination campaign, we’ve seen a lot of bad press about Mitt Romney’s ‘flip-flopping’ on various issues. (That tendency was probably pointed out as regards other/former candidates as well – but Mitt seems to have had the upper hand on this one!) I had thought, Okay, but in some cases, over time, with new information and more careful thought, it might be wisdom to revise one’s position. Sure, we don’t want a capricious or a spineless leader, but intractable is not good, either. In fact, someone who is willing to eat humble pie, for the sake of truth and the good of the people, well – my hat’s off to that person! (I never looked into the specifics of the Romney flip-flop allegations; maybe they were merely opportunistic back-pedaling…I don’t know…but maybe, not always.)
Interestingly enough, in his remarks at Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin himself admitted to his experience of many such reversals of judgments & opinions, being compelled “by better information or fuller consideration” to do so. Even, sometimes, on important issues, about which he had previously been sure he was right. (Diane Ravitch & Abigail Thernstrom, Editors, The Democracy Reader)
So, in order to accommodate just such ‘reversed earlier positions’ & ‘avoid public embarrassment’, during the Convention, most Constitutional debates were held in secret as a “Committee of the Whole”, not a formal sitting of the Convention itself. This method guaranteed a more ‘speaking freely’ atmosphere, after which, officially as delegates to the Convention, these men then formally approved their conclusions. Covering all the bases from all the angles, well & thoroughly, was an utmost priority to our Founders. Decisions were not to be rushed, shortchanged, or forced. (In fact, over 60 ballots were taken before the issue of the Presidential election process was resolved.) (W. Cleon Skousen, The 5000 Year Leap)
In his closing remarks, once the Constitution was completed and before it was unanimously approved, Benjamin Franklin exhorted his fellow delegates to, as he would, let any remaining doubts they had die within the walls of their meeting room. After four months of strenuous debate, Franklin believed that the Constitution they had crafted was possibly the best that men could form. Because expressions of lingering dissent might “prevent its being generally received” by the people and cause loss of “great advantages” to the people, to posterity and among the nations of that day, he counseled unanimity in agreement. He counseled turning “future thoughts and endeavours to the means of having it well administered.” (Diane Ravitch & Abigail Thernstrom, Editors, The Democracy Reader)
“…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before…” (Philippians 3:13)
Brilliant minds and passionate hearts met within the walls of that historic convention hall in Philadelphia in 1787. Their commitment was absolute. But more than that, their love for the nation they were creating was unstoppable.
Please join me as I continue learning about these men and the ‘miracle that changed the world.’