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Election Day Thoughts

“We the People, in order to form a more perfect union . . .” It is the morning of election day and I am getting ready to exercise that most precious right guaranteed to us by our Constitution, the right to vote. It is days after the worst Hurricane disaster this area of the country has endured since 1938. We were luckier than many. Our only inconvenience was 3 nights in two different hotels and the loss of a freezer full of food. The words to the Preamble to our Constitution dominate my thoughts as I reflect on this last week. That document reflects the central principle that we have chosen to govern us, that we, as The People, are striving to form not Utopia but a more perfect union. Those opening words acknowledge that we have imperfections in our system of governance but we are striving to be more perfect.

“Ensure Justice . . .” The victor in this Presidential election will influence the administration of justice for the next four years, and perhaps longer, by appointments to our federal courts. With three Supreme Court Justices in their mid-to-late-seventies, this President may reshape the complexion of that Court for the next decade. How would a different Court view some of the hot button issues of the recent past: abortion rights, same sex marriages, healthcare?

“Insure Domestic Tranquility . . .” I am thinking about the real sacrifices that so many have made to ensure this right we have. My city still has the National Guard presence, young men and women who have left their own families to protect vulnerable homes and businesses and aid in the recovery effort. The Constitution represents our commitment to the Rule of Law. It’s unfortunate that a greedy few see this tragedy as an opportunity to loot or price gouge. How will this next President act to protect us as acts of domestic terrorism are now real threats to us?

“. . .Promote the General Welfare . . .” The greatest issue presented to the Congress and ultimately the Supreme Court in this last Presidential term was healthcare reform. The biggest issue presented to us as voters is will we tolerate partisanship that has begun to stagnate government at every level. The concept of “the General Welfare” is that we recognize a commonality of purpose and abandon personal political agendas. In this regard the last four years have been a political failure on both sides of the aisle in Congress.

” and Secure the Blessing of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Prosperity . . .” This document gives us the freedom to think and express ourselves, sometimes to the extreme. These freedoms should be tempered by our recognition that we have the obligation to provide these freedoms to all in this country. More importantly we have an obligation brought about by the prosperity so many of us have already enjoyed, to ensure that prosperity for our children and beyond. Bridling them with burgeoning deficits,inflation, climate issues and divisive political discord will not ensure their continued prosperity.

Hopefully today we will exercise this right. In some of the most damaged areas people will walk to temporary voting places to vote. It is a simple act– take a pencil and fill in the circles. Each stroke of that pencil is a reaffirmation the We the People will succeed.

Rich Meehan