We are already living in America 2.x

Originally posted to Twitter:

Hard truth: The “Founding Fathers” were racist & sexist. Why do we care what their religious intent was? Our America is better than theirs.

Expanded thoughts:
We have altered the Constitution, a process the framers allowed for because they knew it was an imperfect document. It was not intended to be timeless. They had already gone through the Articles of Confederation and found that they failed. Our NeoCons are already clinging to America 2.x, and refusing to admit that there are still changes that we need to face.

We live in a better world, relatively free of slavery, both racial and misogynistic. We have expanded the middle-class, and done it again after many economic disasters. We’ve changed the rules on food production and warfare. We’ve shaped our laws to reflect the best thinking about society and culture, and we’ve reversed course more times than I can list. We don’t live in the 1780s (when the Constitution was written), or the 1790s (when it was almost immediately altered), or even the 1950s, when “Under God” was added to the Pledge. We live in a more equal, more diverse, and more complicated world. That isn’t a bad thing; change doesn’t have to be bad or even frightening.

As I’ve said before: We live in a world of our own creation, whether through active effort or an inactive tolerance for the work of others. Our parents created the world they wanted us to live in, and now we are working to make it better for the future. We cannot do this by ignoring the present in favor of the past. We white-wash our history, and then we long for a time that never existed. My children deserve better; we all do.

The founders of our nation were men. In their age, many of them were great, learned, noble men, but not infallible. Their ideas have been reinterpreted through the ages. Their compromises have been rejected by their descendants. Their ideas have been refuted by modernity, and we are better for the advances.

The crucial facts are laid bare in the preamble, where the goals of the document are stated clearly. The document we hold as supreme law was authored ” in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence (sic), promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

Any idea that advances the causes of liberty, general well-fare, and common defense are worth considering. There is nothing Un-American about proposing change based on modern concepts or current understanding. We can discuss them on their merits. We can talk about what is the right thing to do today, because what we’ve been doing might no longer work.Every election can be a gentle revolution; that is part of the inherent process built into our government.

But the process only works when we are being honest. It only works when we are talking about facts and being sincere in our efforts. That is what is lacking in this kind of thinking: what the country looked like 200 years ago isn’t really relevant to getting things done now. Talking about the religious intent of a group of men who were largely silent (when they weren’t being contradictory) on the subject means nothing to the pluralistic world we find ourselves in now. Change was predicted, planned for, and allowed as a part of our governance. Ignoring that is far more dangerous than ignoring the religious affiliations the founders intentionally left out of their supposed master work.

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One Response

  1. [...] In short, we have a long way to go. We’ve made progress, recently, in the area of healthcare, but only such that no one will take up the fight again for at least a generation, and we’ll be stuck with these half-measures in the mean time. We are slipping ever backward on education, and there is no way forward without stepping on toes. We need to decide what our priorities are, and whether we want to live up to the best of the Founding Father’s vision, or down to the worst of it. They didn’t treat women as whole people, and it wasn’t changed until 1920. They compromised on slavery, pushing the problem off on the future, which lead directly to the Civil War and cost 25 times more American lives than did the Revolution. As I have said before, our America is better than theirs. [...]

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