Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find out about our American heritage. Today, there’s an application for us in Grover Cleveland’s first inaugural address, delivered on March 4, 1885. Here’s an excerpt from his speech. My commentary is in brackets.
“. . . But he who takes the oath today to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States only assumes the solemn obligation which every patriotic citizen, on the farm, in the workshop, in the busy markets of trade, and everywhere, should share with him.”
[President Cleveland is saying that you and I should take the presidential oath and its obligations as our own since We the People run the government].
“The Constitution which prescribes his oath, my countrymen, is yours; the Government you have chosen him to administer for a time is yours; the suffrage which executes the will of freemen is yours; the laws and the entire scheme of our civil rule, from the town meeting to the State capitols and the National Capitol, is yours. Your every voter, as surely as your Chief Magistrate, under the same high sanction, though in a different sphere, exercises a public trust.”
[Cleveland reminds us that every level of government belongs to us, from our votes, to the laws that govern our municipalities, states, and our nation. We have a public duty to take our obligation seriously and manage it well to benefit not only ourselves but our posterity].
“Nor is this all. Every citizen owes to the country a vigilant watch and close scrutiny of its public servants and a fair and reasonable estimate of their fidelity and usefulness.”
[Did you catch that? We must watch over and closely scrutinize our public servants before we give them another vote or more responsibility. President Cleveland is asking us to assess our public servants’ (including himself) loyalty to the Constitution and whether or not their service is valuable].
“Thus is the people’s will impressed upon the whole framework of our civil polity—municipal, State, and Federal-and this is the price of our liberty and the inspiration of our faith in the Republic . . .”
[The Peoples’ will directly affects government when we take ownership of our duty to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. We need to stay on top of it by being informed and assessing our public servants’ service. It’s not by venting, griping, or complacency.
What are you willing to do? It’s an elec-tion year. Some of us have been re-districted after the last census. Do you know what district you are in? Are you only getting your information via the print or broadcast media? Have you invested in new sources of information so you can compare what you are used to with what else may be out there? Have you read the portion of our founding documents that pertains to current legislation?
What was true in 1885 still holds for us today. We need to take our position as the keepers of the oath to the Constitution seriously. In today’s terms, “own it!”
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸