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Our Heritage
by Keith Gray

THOSE OF US who are citizens of the United States of America have a heritage which we must preserve. It is the supreme law of our land, it was designed and given to us by our forefathers, it belongs to “We the People.” It is the Constitution of the United States of America! This year, this month, we celebrate the 200th Anniversary of its origin.

“WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.” This Preamble to our Constitution is a concise statement of its purpose. On this anniversary year, as we celebrate its birth, let us look carefully at this purpose.

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“We the People” is a fact we cannot, should not, ignore. This document vests the power of government in us, the People. When elections are held and percentages of voters who turn out are only 60 to 80 percent, I wonder: do we really understand the power and the responsibility we have? Yet this Constitution has been vital and has endured 200 years! It is still the Supreme Law of our land.

“A more perfect Union” consisting now in the union of 50 States bonded together in a relationship found nowhere else in the world; a long way from a perfect union, but more perfect than that of the original 13 States.

“Establish Justice,” a worthy goal where the system for its accomplishment needs much improvement. Yet, we are still a free people and our rights are protected as in no other nation in the world. In fact we bend over backwards in protecting the rights of those arrested for crimes they have allegedly committed while often disregarding the rights of those against whom the crime has been committed. Yes, improvement in our judicial system is needed.

“Insure domestic Tranquility” is an area we need to look at seriously because 60 to 70 years ago when I was a boy, crime and unrest was confined mostly to the large urban centers. We had no fear to walk on the streets at night and often we did not lock our doors, picking up hitch-hikers presented no danger – not so today, as we all know too well!

“Provide for common Defence” has resulted in spending billions for building up a strong military defense system to insure that outside forces will not destroy the liberty we enjoy. Necessary? Yes. Overdone? Maybe. But we are at peace and there is hope!

“Promote the general welfare” for which we are spending billions of dollars and we still have a high percentage of the hungry, the poor and the homeless among us, and we are the richest nation in the world.

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“Secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Certainly liberty is our most cherished blessing. Our Constitution has insured that. No other people in the world enjoys the freedom from political oppression and the civil rights guaranteed in the first ten amendments as we do here in the United States of America.

Our forefathers who worked to write our Constitution, if they were to come to life, would be proud of what they did for their Posterity. If we were to come to life 200 years from now, would we be able to have the same pride in what we have done for our posterity when we look at our deficit spending and the huge multi-trillion dollar debt we have incurred?

Our Constitution works through its built in system of checks and balances. Under it we have freedom, our civil rights are protected, but there are danger signs. “We the people” must be responsible citizens, be informed, know what is going on, work to influence legislation that will build instead of burden and tear down, and insist on fiscal responsibility. We must improve our justice system. Above all we must get a handle on spending.

The root causes of the problems I have highlighted have little, if anything, to do with a form of government like ours. These root causes are centered in selfishness and greed.

These cannot be legislated, they are deep in the minds, hearts and attitudes of “We the People.” Unless the people of a nation, individually, can change to eliminate these causes in themselves, that nation will perish as did the ancient empires of Rome, Greece, Persia, etc.

Whether or not the United States will be a nation 200 years from now is up to “We the People!”

Peaks
by Edna Smith

As the rainbow lasts a minute
And is promise of the fair;
And the tops of hills you’re climbing
Aren’t held long when you get there;
The achievements that you master
Are but markers on the way
Of the goals and aspirations
That brighten many toilsome day.

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Candid Conversation
by Edna Smith

We have a little grandson
And he has just turned three;
We have constant conversation
When he comes to visit me.
He asks, “What’s this for, grandma?”
And, “What does that fing do?”
“I bet your car won’t start today;”
And, “My daddy has two!”

He whispers, “Baby Brother
Doesn’t like me ‘cause I’m fat,
So he won’t come to see me –
But he’s too small to chat.”
“I fink that you should wash the floor,”
Mischief sparkles in those eyes,
“A little kid spilled cheesies,
But to be dood, I tries.”

He points to grandpa’s tractor
And begs to get some rides.
“I’se going to be a farmer,”
He instantly decides.
“Out here is always summer
And we go out to the barn,
And never comb and go to town
Or play with girls again.”

He coaxes hard ‘till grandpa
Gets the old mouth organ out,
Then claps his hands and yodels
And prances all about.
A bowl of soup at supper time,
A cookie in each fist –
When he goes home, we know for sure,
Our grandson will be missed.

The things that make him happy
Are a story or a wink.
A treat from the “mousemallow jar,
Another little drink,
A nap upon the sofa
When wee eyes must go shut –
Then Daddy’s voice, “Hi, son,
How about waking up!”

“Make other people like themselves a little better, my son, and I promise you they will like you very well.” – Lord Chesterfield in his Letters to His Son

“Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish,” advised the Chinese philosopher, Lao-tse, more than a thousand years ago. “Don’t overdo it.”

“An example of modern progress is that every year, it takes less time and more money to get where you’re going.” – Earl Wilson

“The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or perchance a palace or temple on the earth, and at length the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.” – Henry David Thoreau in his Journals

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Handset and printed by Keith M. Gray at the Gray Private Press, Mundelein, IL 60060. A 7×11 Pearl used to print 400 copies for sending to members of the NAPA and other friends.

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