Two-hundred and twenty-six years ago, on September 17, 1787, 39 delegates to the United States Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the United States Constitution. This governing document would later be officially ratified by "We the People" on September 13, 1788. Governance of our nation under this constitution officially began on March 4, 1789.
As a Michigan State Senator, I swore the following oath prior to taking office: "I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of state senator according to the best of my ability."
We live in a truly exceptional nation.
But our nation is not exceptional because elected officials discharge the duties of our office to the best of their abilities.
Our nation is exceptional because of the principles upon which it was founded.
Our nation is exceptional because these principles were the exception at the time they were adopted, not the rule. They still are exceptional.
One of the key principles that is often neglected by elected officials today is that our government officials have been granted LIMITED powers by "We the People". These LIMITED powers are defined in our Constitution.
We the People have granted the federal legislature limited powers as enumerated in Article I Section 8.
We the People have granted the executive branch limited powers as enumerated in Article II, Section 2.
We the People have granted the judicial branch limited powers as enumerated in Article III, Section 2.
And, just in case our government officials were not paying attention to the idea that "We the People" provided them with limited powers in Articles I through III, our Founding Fathers also adopted the 10th Amendment found in the Bill of Rights which reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
While the U.S. Constitution can be thought of as the guidebook on "how" we run our country, it is the Declaration of Independence that provides us with the answers to the important question "why". We can reflect upon the following words in the Declaration of Independence for insights as to why our nation was founded.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…"
Prior to our Declaration of Independence, the establishment of rights and the power to enforce these rights was the dominion of kings, dictators, czars and elite members of the ruling class. "We the People" in all of the other nations around the world were told by the ruling class what rights they could or could not have.
Our nation, however, was founded on the principle that we are ALL created equal. This principle was and continues to be truly exceptional.
It is therefore in keeping with our remembrance of the 226th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, that, with firm reliance on Divine Providence, I pledge my life, my fortune and my sacred honor to ensure that we honor our founding principles and the sacrifices of those before us to which we are in debt for living in such an exceptional nation.