peace and justice files

USA 2.0: the preamble

By SKIP MENDLER
Posted 5/26/21

Windows 10! iPhone 12! “NEW More Powerful You-Name-It, now with extra somethings!”

We are getting updates all the time, it seems. Products are redesigned, rethought, improved, tweaked …

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peace and justice files

USA 2.0: the preamble

Posted

Windows 10! iPhone 12! “NEW More Powerful You-Name-It, now with extra somethings!”

We are getting updates all the time, it seems. Products are redesigned, rethought, improved, tweaked and overhauled constantly. Some people wouldn’t be caught dead driving last year’s model or using anything less than the latest phone (“now with FIVE cameras!”).

We as a nation, though, are still trying to get a system that is almost 250 years old to work properly. To make matters worse, some folks have been beating on it with hammers and baseball bats for the last four years or longer. Others, meanwhile, keep insisting that it was perfectly fine exactly the way it was first devised and we should just leave it alone, despite the fact that we are a much larger and much different country than the one created from 13 colonies along the Atlantic coast.

I’m sorry, folks, but we can’t get around it any more: We need a reboot. A redesign. And we need to start with the basics.

So, I’ve been thinking about what “USA 2.0” might be like, starting with a new Preamble to the Constitution. The Preamble, you’ll recall, sets out some goals for our government and, by extension, our society. Our present Preamble is a little vague in spots, and we haven’t been doing so well at some of the goals. Here it is as a reminder:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, 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.”

You may notice that there is nothing there about our place in the world. Nothing about our relationship to Nature. Here’s what I’ve been able to come up with so far:

We, the Peoples, Communities and Citizens of the United States of America, in order to

Foster a more harmonious and coherent society, diverse yet unified;

Help our communities become more resilient;

Manage, utilize and preserve our natural, social and financial resources wisely, sustainably and for the benefit of all;

Further the cause of peace at home and abroad;

Fulfill our responsibilities as a member of the community of nations;

Establish and ensure Justice and Equity;

And promote the general well-being, including physical, mental and emotional health and development of our citizens

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Lotta baggage there, right? Let’s start unpacking it.

Regarding that first phrase, for example: “We the People’’ is, let’s face it, a bit of an illusion. We’re not just one people; I doubt that we ever have been. We participate in government not just as individuals, but as groups with different kinds of common bonds: regional, cultural, historical, religious, occupational, philosophical and so on. In fact, we are all members of many different “communities,” but our systems of representational government don’t reflect this fact. (Who in Congress, for example, represents the interests of working parents?) We need to recognize our diversity and learn how to utilize it as a strength, rather than trying to sugarcoat it away.

So, I’m sure that some of you have some opinions about that and the other parts of my draft. I’m starting a Facebook group called “USA 2.0” for ideas and discussion. Or you could just drop me a letter at P.O. Box 521, Honesdale PA 18431, or email me at skip.mendler@gmail.com.

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