Celebrate our iconic, underrated Constitution
To the editor:
The Tuesday, July 5 editorial from The Washington Post says "America needs an infusion of Spirit of 1775" and I agree. But how is that to happen? Is that sentiment just a post Fourth of July sparkler, or is it a realizable goal?
Confusion stands in the way of an answer because, too often, the meaning of "spirit" in this country has been played out as jingoism — chest-beating, flag-waving and the idea that America can do no wrong. Such feelings might have been justified in 1945 after the defeat of Germany and Japan in the face of terrifying odds but that was 71 years ago.
Continuing self-congratulatory hubris since then has led to militarily intervention in places we should never have gone. It's what Sen. J. William Fulbright assailed in his 1966 book "The Arrogance of Power."
I believe there is another way to bring true "spirit" back to this country: Celebrate the US Constitution for the American miracle that it is. The US Constitution was sweated out by brilliant founders whose work today remains a unique and stunning model for the world. Its provisions may cause more fireworks than the Fourth of July but it remains the irreplaceable spine of this nation and a system for justice like no other. Celebration of the flag far outshines it but, perhaps, the Constitution deserves a flag of its own.
While it may surprise many, due recognition of the U.S. Constitution does, in fact, exist but no one seems to have heard of it. Constitution Day will be celebrated this year on Friday, Sept. 16, commemorating the day that it was signed (actually Sept. 17). So If "an infusion of spirit of 1775" is in order, I suggest we start beating the drums for that one-of-a-kind beacon of justice — that iconic, under-celebrated American document of 1787.
Leo V. Seligsohn, Becket