Is Our Constitution Still Relevant?


“There is nothing permanent in life except change,” said philosopher Heraclitus. The nature of the universe is relative in every regard, and infinity is only a concept that can be applied to the ever-evolving nature of the cosmos. This notion applies to many facets of life, including civilization and society. It even applies to humanity, which has always undergone a gradual, yet profound social change.  

Government has always been vital as the backbone of human coexistence. Finding the perfect means to instill order in the population has been the goal of countless leaders. One prime example is the United States Constitution, a 225 year-old document that comprises the founding principles of one of the greatest democracies in history. Enacted in 1789, it still persists as one of the oldest written constitutions still in use. 

Some argue whether such a time-honored document, originally constructed over 200 years ago, is still relevant in today’s society. Although numerous amendments have been made—and the possibility of more arising is a likelihood—some still argue whether the American people can continue to coexist under a patchwork quilt of quick fixes. Indeed, the founding principles of our government still stand strong. It is not the root of the Constitution that has become outdated; it is the unchecked and wild growth of its many amendments that lead this epitome of freedom into increasing obscurity.

I firmly acknowledge the importance of the 27 amendments and their many essential revisions. I merely fear that they have not correlated with the social change in our nation, as they should. The Constitution of the United States established a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” which was also expressed in the Declaration of Independence. This system was based on balance and attempted to involve citizens with government on an unprecedented scale. If our constitution is altered or amended without the the consent of the people, then a grievous blow has been struck to our nation’s fundamental values. 

The original intent of the Founding Fathers was to instill social harmony between government and population. Therefore, the Constitution must always—with no exceptions—reflect the mind of the people. This must be accomplished while still keeping the original integrity of the Founding Fathers intact. To accurately reflect the mind of the people, the Constitution must be open to change; it must continually adapt to the prevailing social outlook of society. 

It is human nature to overlook change, especially social reform. If the United States Constitution is to remain relevant, the government should accept that society is fluid and always changing. Ideology should not be immortalized within the Constitution. Besides the rights and freedoms that were endowed to us at the time of the Founders, any ideology should be frequently amended to portray the mind of the people. The integrity of the Founding Fathers should be respected and adapted as society’s needs evolve. Ensuring the evolutionary capabilities of the Constitution also ensures that original intent is upheld. The 27 Amendments have aided our government in modernizing its social policies, yet these ‘patches’ are only quick fixes. One step further should be taken to completely rebuild our founding document as an accurate portrayal of the American people.

Change is not a force to be feared, but embraced. According to Matthew 9:17 of the New Testament, “Neither do people pour wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” The world is in a constant and never-ending state of change. Nothing is permanent and everything eventually passes with time, including ideals. This is frightening to humans; the fact that our very thoughts, memories, and life will fade with time. Humans try to conform the world to their individual visions and immortalize the ideals they enforce upon others. The creation of government is a prime example of this situation. What every human fails to realize is that events will never pan out exactly as expected and will never remain permanent. This is the beauty of evolution, of change. The only foolproof way of ensuring a peaceful correlation between government and the people is by constructing a constitution that instills this beauty. 

The Founding Fathers did not just intend to create a constitution that suited their time and era. They recognized societal evolution as something vital to the future of our nation and, in turn, created an amendable document to dictate the law of the land. But our Founders cannot ensure the modernity of the Constitution from their graves. Their words are not strong enough to secure the legacy of their original intent. As mentioned, nothing lasts forever, including ideals. It is the job of newer generations to secure the relevance of the Constitution. They are the fore-bearers of change and future reforms. Only the people of today can determine the social values of our civilization and our culture.   

Our constitution is still relevant, but only just. Pressure from various advocates across the nation are calling for social reform of various scales. If a failure to heed the calls of citizens ensues, the Constitution of the United States of America will become close to dangerously outdated. We will find its irrelevance increasingly pronounced. This is my message to anyone with enough backbone to question precept: You have the right to dictate what is right or wrong. Inspiration can arise from our history, but only our hearts can truly determine what is best for modern society. This knowledge comes only by doing, not by the study of those who have already done. Our goal in life is to become trailblazers, and to forge ahead with our own modern ideals. So be a freethinker, and be original. Think for yourself and accept that times change. What was right for society 225 years ago may not be appropriate for today. I think the ultimate realization in life is when change is finally understood, and a modern generation is able to rise and follow their own hearts, not the heart of doctrine and creed.    

Image courtesy of http://www.teaparty911.com/blog/a-tenth-amendment-constitutional-crisis/

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