We are blessed, in this day of progressivism, relativism, socialism, humanism, collectivism, and any other philosophical “ism” you can think of, to be surrounded by people who have either put their lives on the line or spent time and energy to “protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.” Mayor Marks is such a person, as are members of the John Wade Keyes chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. On September 18th, through the help of Athens State University, there was an event entitled the Joint Celebration of Constitution Day, which marked the kick-off of Constitution Week.
The Mayor had just come from the event when we met for our standing appointment, and let’s just say it was easy to see that he had been inspired by it. “This year marks the 225th anniversary of the Constitution,” he said, “and we need to remind ourselves that ‘we the people’ is still the guiding principle of government.”
A little background on Constitution Week—In 1955, the Daughters of the American Revolution put a petition before Congress, essentially asking that each year the week of September 17th through the 23rd be set aside as a national time of defense and protection of the Constitution through remembrance of the most remarkable document of self governance that has ever been produced. On August 2, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. DAR President General, Presley Merritt Wagoner stated, “We encourage all citizens across the country to take time this week to reflect on our heritage of freedom.”
The event at Athens State featured a Constitution trivia quiz, and students from the college competed for prizes from the college bookstore. It is no secret that kids are dear to the heart of the mayor, as he spent several decades helping abused kids during his career with DHR, and the little kids at the event dressed in period costumes had clearly made his day.
But as enjoyable as it was to have cute kids, along with the encouraging presence of smart young people who know their way around the document, the question has to be asked, “OK, it is wonderful that we have the national celebration of Constitution Week, but are we as a nation, in fact, ‘Constitution weak?’” In the ‘60s, when I was in school, civics was no longer a requirement for graduation. Much of the originalist approach to interpreting the Constitution had managed to stay intact, and we functioned under a fairly high level of constitutionality in our country.
Now it seems that we have lost our way on so many fronts, and thankfully groups like the DAR and Hillsdale College, the Tea Party and other patriotic groups are making it possible to return as a culture to a state of constitutional literacy, and not a moment too soon. It is thankfully no longer considered odd to have a pocket copy of the Constitution, and “we the people” need to get very familiar with it, especially if we are going to make reasonable choices in a critical election year.
The Mayor once again would like to thank ASU and the DAR for all their effort in seeing to it that our freedoms are protected through knowledge and education in general, and regarding the Constitution in particular. Celebrating our “guiding principal of government” is indeed one of the things that makes Ronnie roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner