Columns

The Continued Importance of the Constitution

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Washington, November 2, 2018 | Pete Larkin (540-857-2672) | comments
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.
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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.

The preamble to our nation’s Constitution, derived through vigorous debate and requiring compromise to gain approval, still guides Congress in governing. The Founding Fathers had a vision that every person in America would be free to pursue happiness as they wished so long as all citizens respected the right of others to do the same. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights have been the guideposts by which liberty is guaranteed, government remains limited, and respect for the rule of law is never forgone.

The author of the first draft of the Constitution, fellow Virginian James Madison, noted that “equal laws protecting equal rights [is] the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country”. In other words, by creating fair policies aligned with the foundational principles of this nation and benefitting Americans, unity and patriotism throughout the nation will thrive. In 2016, I was proud to serve on the Taskforce on Restoring Constitutional Authority. As a result, an agenda for reasserting the Constitution and making the federal government more accountable to the people was introduced. Since then, Congress has worked to end executive overreach, rein in regulators, impose limits on spending, and increase transparency for taxpayers. These efforts ensure citizens have every opportunity to pursue happiness and live in freedom.

While not perfect at its inception, amendments have been made to the Constitution, and occasionally repealed. As the oldest written Constitution still in use, it is important to remember the unity of our country began under this document and unity among the people is necessary for our country to persevere. We are a nation of laws and we must remain vigilant against attempts to stray from the highest vision of freedom to which these historic documents point us.

The Constitution guarantees a number of rights, including the right to free speech, to bear arms, to due process, and to practice religion as one’s conscience dictates. At times, we face challenges threatening these rights. As a nation and as individuals, such challenges were met with determination, dialogue, and devotion to duty. Current and future challenges will also be faced head on, with optimism, confidence and conviction, distilled from the lessons passed down from the generations who came before us.

When a new Congress begins, all representatives join in raising our right hands and pledging to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. This sacred oath of office is required by the Constitution itself and is not a responsibility I have taken lightly while in office. In those moments when taking the oath, despite the partisan differences my colleagues and I may share, the undeniable fact is that we are all Americans and we want America to prosper. My fellow House Members and I keep our responsibilities by reading aloud the Constitution at the beginning of each Congress.

Every day new threats arise that may shake the foundation of the United States. However, with the guidance of our Founding Fathers and the patriotism of the American people, we stay united even in the face of adversity. May God continue to bless these United States and the American people.

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