The Significance of Our Constitution

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

This statement was made by George Washington, the widely respected first president of our nation. Like many of our first statesmen, he was extremely leery of the power of government and sought to contain it with a document clearly stating the limits of that government authority. Our Constitution protects our God-given rights. Although we are a democracy ruled by its citizens, even those citizens are limited in the power they are allowed to wield over one another. We cannot constitutionally force other citizens to give up their firearms and we cannot force them to give up their due process rights. We are constitutionally limited.

We have seen great expansions of the scope and nature of government and, though I think they are beyond what the Founding Fathers intended, I am comforted by the fact that the Constitution has stepped in at times and provided Americans relief from government machinations. Although there have been multiple attempts to deny the right to bear arms, the Supreme Court has followed the Constitution and upheld our right ultimately.

As Washington contended, “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.”

Again and again, the Constitution and the Supreme Court justices that administer its weight have held up the right of the press, of individuals and officials such as myself to speak freely and with the force of our choosing on any topic. Even as government tries to insert itself into more and more areas of our life, the Constitution asserts itself as a thorn in government’s side.

In the end though, the Constitution is only as powerful as the men and women who give it power. If we do not respect it, if we do not know it, then we cannot assert the rights protected in it. I would encourage us all to study up on it, during this week designated in its honor.

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