American Constitution as a Guide in Addressing Modern Issues
Americans have been proud of belonging to the nation with the deepest values of freedom and respect for human dignity for a long time now. Unlike many other countries, the citizens of the United States are confident of their rights and liberties to be respected and protected. Furthermore, every single person is aware that this is possible owing to the main document of all times, which can be compared to the Bible by its significance, – the American Constitution. This oldest national constitution has enhanced freedom and prosperity of its citizens for more than 200 years and become the model for every nation in the world. The present paper focuses on the importance of the United States Constitution for modern Americans, its eternal power, which grounds on absolute ethical foundations and the will of people, and its ability to address the challenges of the modern world.
In spite of the claims that Constitution is obsolete and does not meet the demands of the modern industrialized world, it is flexible enough to absorb and react to the most considerable changes taking place in society. However, the most important quality of this sacred document is that it is able to guarantee the stability of people’s rights and safety of their lives during the changing circumstances. It is possible due to its fundamental principles and inalienable rights, which make the Constitution the foundation and guarantee of freedom of every person in the nation. Since its principal precept is the sovereignty of people, this code of people’s liberties will never “go out of existence” on condition that the citizens preserve and value it. Despite the societal dynamic and varying degrees of respect for the basic principles of Constitution at different times in history, it has survived almost without changes. Still, modern Americans must realize that it is vital to defend and support their Constitution or otherwise, they will soon lack freedom and liberties it ensures. The reason for that is that today, more and more politicians apply the major national document controversially, and there can be found a widespread misunderstanding and disloyalty to its fundamental principles. At the same time, these unchanged through many years precepts, which the Americans inherited from their predecessors, are and will be the only foundations of people’s rights if carefully cherished. The only thing to remember is, as Oaks stated, that sovereignty implies also the responsibility of the citizens for governing and the protection of their written rights. The Americans should never forget that their freedoms were gained through “the blood and toil and struggle” and learn better from the lessons of history. Obviously, it is better to maintain the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution than to lose them and then fight to regain.
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Fortunately, the very essence of this sacred document is created by the Founding Fathers in such a way that it aims at stability and protection of each individual disregarding his majority or minority status. Therefore, the amendments to the Constitution are available to the majority of the sovereign people but through a very deliberate and slow procedure, which requires the approval of two-thirds in the Senate and three-fourths of the states. As a result, only considerable and most significant changes can be reflected in the new amendments to the document. According to Oaks, the power of amendment procedure ensures that government policies do not change too frequently under the influence of unstable public opinion and thus achieves the balance. Reynolds adds that although the society is never static the Constitution was framed flexible enough to absorb substantial shifts in different directions but remain stable.
In particular, the Constitution of the United States has been designed (or inspired by the divine power, as Reynolds claims) in such a way that it is capable of addressing currently appearing issues. The same is true about the modern global and local challenges arising daily. One of the most controversial but nevertheless, perhaps, the most important problem of today’s world is associated with religion. Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the question of religious beliefs and their freedom has been challenged in societies and especially among the governments whose task is the protection of peace worldwide. Provoked by the infamous mass killings of people by religious extremists, certain religious doctrines come to be judged and accused of inhuman vice. Furthermore, the issue under discussion has grown and become connected with another challenge – the problem of resettlement of the war refugees. The most recent example is the numerous claims by politicians, in America as well, that the Syrian refugees should not be welcomed after the “harrowing scenes of carnage in Paris”. Thus, Senator Marco Rubio claimed that the United States should not admit the Syrians anymore because the Muslims are “inherently dangerous,” while Jeb Bush proposed that the country should take in only Christians. In general, Republicans are going to push for legislation to block Obama’s stance to accept 10 000 refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Syria in 2016. Overall, it is difficult to overstate the gravity of the challenge of terrorism, neither it is reasonable to deny the connection between terrorists and their religious views. However, panic makes politicians as well as citizens drop to insensible conclusions and make ungrounded generalizations.
The first thing to consider for everyone living in America while shaping the own opinions, understandings, and attitudes, is its long-living written foundation of morality and absolute truth – the Constitution. Fortunately, it provides all humans with equal unalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and also the right to religious freedom of worship. The Bill of Rights, namely, the First Amendment claims “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” McConkie stresses that no right was more dear to the founders of the nation than the right to freedom of conscious and worship. No one can be forced to adopt any religion, pay taxes in favor of a particular church, or be deprived due to the own religious sentiments. It is an outstanding constitutional guarantee, which distinguishes the democracy values of the United States. On a similar note, Oaks adds that the guarantee of the free exercise of the religion is the most important freedom provided by the US Constitution. It is duly called “the cornerstone of American democracy” together with the freedoms of speech and press.
Grounding on such unambiguous fundamental of the Constitution concerning the profound respect of a person’s will to decide which religion to believe, it is sensible to conclude that nothing can become a pretext for unequal, unjust treatment of any religion. The same is true about people possessing various religious beliefs and sentiments. Therefore, if one takes the nation’s major document as a guide, the claims of some politicians to refuse to support the Syrian refugees merely because of their religious origin would be a direct contradiction to its fundamental principles. Then, Donald Trump’s categorical statement that if he wins, all of them will simply have to go away, evidently disregards all American values. In other words, according to the Constitution, he suggests violating not only the right to religious freedom, but also he suggests that the war victims be refused of help and support that can directly lead to their death. Fortunately, amendments to the nation’s principal document are not very easily made and current government policies cannot quickly influence its foundations and substance.
Overall, the American citizens are lucky to live in the country whose most humane and noble values are supported by the stable and perfect Constitution. The only thing that is demanded of the people is to be worthy of having it, to stand for its fundamental principles, rights, and freedom. Citizens should remember their responsibility in maintaining the constitutional precepts and govern the state in accordance with them. That will allow the United States to continue its powerful happy existence and constant development in the direction of human perfection.
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