Monday, April 26, 2010


Kevin Bryant

“I’m just a Bill, yes I’m only a Bill, and I sitting here on Capital Hill”. One of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock clips that they used to show on television during Saturday morning cartoons. Then there was the Preamble, The Shot Heard Around the World, No More Kings and others that were designed to help kids understand the basic concepts of our government. These were simple in nature and easy to understand because they were targeted towards children.

I have at my house a copy of the Constitution & the Declaration of Independence. Not so much now, but in the era that they were written, these were written in plain language that was easy to understand so that anyone who at that time who could read would be able to read and understand them. John Adams, a brilliant lawyer and great legal mind helped draft these documents and even he understood the need for simplicity.

Our government today is supposed to be based on simple concepts. It is supposed to operate so that the average American can understand how it functions. Bills are supposed to be drafted so that it does not require half a dozen lawyers with dictionaries and thesauruses to be able to interpret and understand what is in them. The people were and still are supposed to be in control of the government, not the other way around.

Our founding fathers were smart men. They knew that over time people would evolve. They knew that language would evolve. They drafted the preamble to the constitution and the constitution itself with simplicity so that anyone with a 6th grade education could understand it. It did not matter if it was 1810, 1910, or 2010, the words they chose back then hold the exact same meaning today as they did when they wrote them.

What do we have today? We have a generation who do not study the constitution. Many schools no longer require it to even be read. The first time I read the constitution I was in the 5th grade. I knew the preamble by heart when I was in the 2nd grade. Many of the people walking out of college with a degree in their hands today have never even read these much less have any part of them memorized.

Focusing on the preamble:

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.

Simplicity at it’s finest. It was written more than 200 years ago and means exactly the same now as it did back then. Notice the first three words. We the People. We do all that, not some chosen few. The government was always meant to be in our hands and we control what goes on through our elected leaders. Today, our elected leaders would have us believe that they have been ordained by some higher power to lead us and know what is best for us.

For far too long, We the People have not demanded that our government listen and obey us. For far too long we have sat back and allowed government to dictate policy in this country. For far too long we have allowed the progressives on both sides of the aisle to chip away at our God given rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. For far too long we have been made to believe that morals and spiritual beliefs must be sacrificed for the greater good of the country because they have no place in politics.

Our forefathers kept things simple so that we could keep our republic as it was intended. We would know our rolls in society and know that all power rest with the population, not centralized in some out of the way corner of the country to be controlled by a few.

“It's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary” – Paulo Coelho

The United States has been the most extraordinary country ever conceived upon this planet. Founded on the simple understanding that rights come from God, not government and what God gives, government can not take away unless we allow government to.

In sports, when things start to go wrong, how often have you heard commentators say; “They need to get back to basics” or “They are not doing the simple things it takes to win”? As a nation, we need to get back to basics. We need to teach the simple things to our children so they can understand what this country was meant to be. Perhaps we even need our elected leaders to be required to watch episodes of Schoolhouse Rock so they too can understand the basic concepts of government and their rolls in it.

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