A Sunday reading assignment
While you're waiting for more of my penetrating commentary, or malicious snark, or whatever it is I do that you might like, you'd do well to hustle over the The Seattle Times and read the op-ed by August Wilson, drawn from the commencement address he delivered to the graduating students at the University of Washington recently.
It's all about one of my favorite subjects, the Constitution of the United States. We sometimes overlook how revolutionary that document was at the time of its creation, and how critical it is in our own time. There's good reason that every federal employee that takes an oath, from a buck private in the Army to the President of the United States, swears to uphold and defend the Constitution. Not a king or queen. Not the President, Congress or Courts. Not a flag, church or a piece of property.
The Constitution of the United States.
But let's let the Pulitzer prize winning playwrite himself say it.
Wise and revolutionary in its principles, the Constitution not only guarantees equal protection under the law for all citizens, it charges the citizens with maintaining it. Sovereignty does not rest with the government. In the United States, it rests with the people. What kind of country are you going to have? Are you going to have rule of law or rule of men? It's your choice. It's your country.Go. Now. Read the whole thing.
It takes great courage to struggle on the moral high ground that our forefathers claimed and conquered. We cannot allow the values that were developed by generations of Americans — values that were tested and proven on the battlefield — to be scattered like so much cotton in the wind.
You are either going to have civil liberties as defined and guaranteed by the Constitution, or you're not. You can't have some and not others. You cannot be ambiguous about the Constitution. You cannot assault its articles in the name of patriotism. No matter how dire the circumstances.
It is in the darkest of circumstance that the Constitution is the pillar of strength, the unshakable rock upon which this country stands. Brave and courageous men have given their lives that it not be torn asunder. Because of them you sit here today secure in the freedoms that are its backbone. You cannot sully the Constitution in the name of patriotism. It is un-American.