Last week, the news media told us that a picture of a “shirtless” Republican Vice President candidate had become something of an internet sensation! Google trends showed that the second most-popular shirt term associated with Paul Ryan was “shirtless.” What does that have to do with whether he and his running mate would make good government leaders of the United States? While I appreciate a physically fit candidate, I don’t believe how he looks shirtless is on top of my list of priorities in how I will vote.
Once again, we are distracted from the real reason why the people of the United States go to the polls every four years in November. I’d rather go shirtless in another way—strip off these fancy distractions in these presidential campaigns, and reveal what is really happening in this nation and figure out the real issues that need to be addressed. If we dare to go shirtless in our nation, we might see a nation that has been economically and socially unwell for a while, and we will need leaders who can see that and help us heal and achieve wellness for the long term, not just for immediate gain or window-dressing, but for the sustainability of future generations.
Last week I invited my readers to refocus their communities on why they go to the poll by studying important documents that formed the United States, starting with the Declaration of Independence. This week, I will continue the series and focus on the Preamble of the Constitution, which was adopted by a Convention of the States on September 17, 1787, with ratification completed by all thirteen states on June 21, 1788. (They didn’t have e-mail or video-conferencing then.)
The Preamble consists of well, thought-out action verbs and themes: form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty. If you listen to these themes carefully, you will see how they work together and support each other to create a well-balanced approach to the governance of the nearly formed country. Of course they continue to be relevant to the people of the United States today.
These are the topics I would use to measure the qualification of any candidate running for offices in the United States. Can this person’s leadership maintain a more perfect Union? Does this person have a track record for insuring domestic tranquility? Will this person continue to uphold justice for all? Does this person have the knowledge and skills to provide strong defense? Does this person have the passion to promote the common welfare of the people? Will this person make sure that our freedom and liberty are secured for future generations?
Constitution of the United States
Adopted by convention of States, September 17, 1787; Ratification completed, June 21, 1788
We the People of the United States, in Order to
form a more perfect Union,
insure domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common Defense,
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.
Main Themes in the Preamble:
Reflection Questions for Proper 15 (Year B)
1 Kings 8:22-30,41-43
Eric H. F. Law
For competent leadership in a diverse changing world
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