By Dr. Albert J. LaChance
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.
-Opening paragraph of the US Constitution
“We the People of the United States…”
Not I, King this, or Emperor that, but us, you and me. All evolution proceeds by mutation. This is true both for material evolution, evidenced by an expanding universe with its elementary particles, gathering under the manifest force of gravity to evolve into galaxies, as well as moral or spiritual evolution, evidenced in the various tenets of all religions. From galaxies to second generation stars, with all their planets and moons…and…in the case of our planet, the emergence of life. Unicellular, multicellular, and all that precedes the reptiles, the mammals, the primates, and the global phenomenon of humankind.
Embedded in the North American continent, eventually there emerged an enlightened idea: the United States as a nation and its Constitution. We the people, organized around this document, are likewise embedded in the living systems of North America. North America and her native peoples — flora and fauna, water, soil, and air — preceded this enlightened idea by billions of years.
But emerge it did from all the failed as well as the successful approaches to governance, as though by mutation and bifurcation. Mutation from the kings, queens, emperors, pharaohs, and all other attempts to claim divine right to rule. We bifurcated from England and mutated into a new and fertile idea called “We The People.” As Confucius pointed out, we the people must be self-governed if our families are to be self-governed; if our neighborhoods are to be self-governed; our cities and towns, our nation as a whole, and ultimately all nations of this continent, of all continents of the planet, and even of expanding space itself. To do so, he goes on to say this “will cause humanity to become one with Earth and Heaven.” This is the Confucian trinity: humans, Earth, and the heavens.
“…in Order to form a more perfect Union”
Union with whom, with what? At first, to form a more perfect union among the original thirteen states. Nonetheless, union with ourselves, our families, neighbors, the life community and life systems of the planet at first needs to abide in the level of understanding stated elsewhere, in saying “We find these truths to be self evident.” Self-evident means obvious! Isn’t it obvious, isn’t it self-evident by now to most of us that we need clean air, water, soil, and the other species in order to achieve a more perfect union among ourselves? It was obvious to Chief Seattle, to Black Elk, to the tribal peoples of Africa, to the Maori of Australia and New Zealand, and to the divine poets who said, “consider the lilies of the field.”
But a more perfect union for what purpose?
To “establish justice”
Justice is founded on, is indeed the manifestation of, Truth. Is Truth self-evident? You all heard the statement, “well, I am of two minds about this.” Two minds? Yes, we have two minds. The first is the egomind, a product of the brain which is itself a product of the body. The second is the soulmind, the mind which is not extinguished at the time of the body’s death. “Remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.” Our soulmind must displace the egomind if we are ever to achieve a more perfect union. How does the soulmind succeed the egomind? In documents like this sacred Constitution, a form of scripture whether oral or written…whether western, eastern, or indigenous. The soulmind is the source of wisdom and union. The egomind is the source of greed, of exploitation, and of cruelty…the egomind is the source of lies and the source of people of the lie.
To “insure domestic Tranquility”
Tranquility arises out of the natural order: tranquil landscapes, tranquil ponds and lakes, rivers and oceans; tranquil forests complete with their species; tranquil homes, tranquil neighborhoods, cities and towns, nations, continents; the planet and her moon with its “sea of tranquility.” So it seems that tranquility might be thought of as a manifestation of the Tao in all things.
To “provide for the common defence”
What it does not say is to provide for the common offense. I don’t need to hurt your children in order to protect my own. I write this blog with my son-in-law precisely to protect my daughters and his children. I’ve never called myself a pacifist for exactly this reason. There is no right to self-offense. Self-defense is enshrined in law. So, the Constitution provides for the common defense. The assumption was that the Commander-in-Chief would be a person of wisdom…another “self-evident truth.”
To “promote the general Welfare”
Presently both Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are among the guardian angels of the “general welfare.” The general welfare can be forgotten and skewed by lies when a malignant economy erodes the tenets of capitalism to protect those suffering from malignant greed. This fundamental principle of the Constitution, to “promote the general welfare,” has been made to serve people of the lie who promote only their own insatiable and ravenous hunger for more (God is made to serve Caesar). Capitalistic competition is good until the few warp the law to serve the hunger of that greed. They turn on the poor and strip them of the dignity of even food, shelter, and clothing. The wealthy become people of the lie. I think it was Gandhi who said, “If you have more than what you need, you have stolen it from the poor.” Giving them back a little bit, accompanied by applause and even TV hysteria, serves the giver. If you are rich on their loss, you owe them all you have…except for what you need.
To “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”
My daughters, Rebecca and Kateri, and my grandchildren, Adelaide, Elias, Jonah, and Thomas, are my posterity. I’m asking you to join me in preserving the blessings of liberty for them, along with the blessings of soil, water, and air, and the blessings of food, shelter, and clothing. We are Americans and thus are called to do so by our Constitution and the monosacred wisdom of our community of cultures, religions, and nations.
The last sentence of this section of our Constitution needs to become a question: “Do we ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America?”
The answer? Let’s just start over.