We are able to exist in this country of ours because of the way we act. The words in the Constitution of the United States of America only work if all citizens are willing to apply them. They must apply them to all aspects of our interaction with each other. Each of us has the responsibility for what we do to support our relationships, the privileges afforded us, and the freedom we are so nobly granted. We often talk about constitutional rights. We must never forget that there are constitutional responsibilities that coexist with these rights. To forget this tells only half of the story and portends poorly for solutions to our common problems. The social covenant with which we are so graciously endowed must be understood and accepted by all of us. The words mean nothing unless we are willing to act as though they have real meaning. We, all of us, give the covenant that meaning. No matter who you are or where you are or what you are, the responsibility for this fragile society rests with us. And, it will sink and disintegrate like other societies before us if we fail to recognize this important factor.
Children learn to sing the words of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” which ends with “land of the free and
home of the brave.” How do these children understand and relate to these words as they move through life? How do they define “free” and “brave?” Immigrants undergoing citizenship are often more knowledgeable of the United States Constitution than the average American citizen. Our children, regardless of color, race, religion, or heritage, are entitled to the best guidance their elders can offer them. The children depend on the seasoned grown-ups to teach right from wrong, trustworthiness from dishonesty, empathy toward their peers, and respect for teachers, neighbors, family members, and police. Children need straight answers and reliable models. Our current society lacks the integrity to take on that responsibility. It is finally being reported that the protests are designed to publicly acknowledge the plague of social inequality in our land. Are we too late? Are our citizens too entrenched in their comfort zones and afraid to risk?