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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Article V – US Constitution - George Washington


Article V – US Constitution


“The warmest friends and the best supporters the Constitution has, do not contend that it is free from imperfections; but they found them unavoidable and are sensible, if evil is likely to arise there from, the remedy must come hereafter; for in the present moment, it is not to be obtained; and, as there is a Constitutional door open for it, I think the People (for it is with them to Judge) can as they will have the advantage of experience on their Side, decide with as much propriety on the alterations and amendments which are necessary [as] ourselves. I do not think we are more inspired, have more wisdom, or possess more virtue, than those who will come after us.”

--George Washington



I think George Washington was saying that all succeeding generations of Americans will have the benefit of experience on their side (a reliable framework of experiences, a contextual basis with which to base future decisions on) and that the Constitution should never be construed as having been carved in stone by his generation and, therefore, should not be interpreted as something never to be changed or altered in the future.

He felt the Constitution, as it existed in his day, was a solid fit for his people but that it might not be such a good fit for future generations, and, thus, we shouldn't be afraid to change it to suit our needs if necessary.

And since we would necessarily have to, by virtue of our unique experiences (he assumed we would learn the lessons history has afforded us, although by and large, we haven’t), and being no less inspired, having no less wisdom, and no less virtue than his generation (all of which are absolutely not true), then we should, therefore, feel free to take it upon ourselves to amend the Constitution when such an action is borne out of necessity.

Thus, this action is completely justifiable (as in our current situation with the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United ruling), which opened the door for corporations to legally spend unlimited amounts of money on our political system and, thereby, have fully sanctioned corruption on a scale like we've never seen before in our nation’s history.

In his wisdom, love, and concern for all future generations, Washington was paving the way for those who would follow to adapt the Constitution to their specific needs. In my own words, he was saying, "Look, we're not perfect, the Constitution, itself, isn't perfect, either, and it (the Constitution) isn't carved in stone for all time. Amend it if it’s in your best interests to do so."

I get the sense that Washington's overall tone was one of complete and utter humility, integrity of a kind that we don't often have the good fortune of witnessing these days—we don’t get it from our leaders or the citizenry.

He was doing what truly great leaders do (being a visionary and highly-principled leader) by gazing into the future and advising us even in his absence. His wisdom, his grace under pressure and, ultimately, his deep love for humanity are sorely missed and conspicuously absent in these difficult, trying times.

Let us hope that it is not too late for us and this Great American Experiment that once inspired a world to greatness and has given hope to so many. Our ship is sinking fast, and we need every, man, woman, and child we can muster on deck to save her, chart a new course into the future, and change her destiny forever.



George Washington Quote Provided by Article V.org