New Year’s greetings to you.

Over the past few days, some television news and written articles have captured my interest and motivated more research and reflection upon power and its uses and abuses with a special emphasis on U.S. Founding Documents

Over the Holiday weekend, I overheard a television newscaster mention that the entire U.S. Constitution would be read at the opening of the 112th United States Congress on January 5, 2011. I did not find this particularly unusual given the power vested in the Congress by the document; however, since this moral document holds such power and has been so frequently used and misused in political rhetoric, the news prompted me to get out my copy of the U.S. Constitution (including Bill of Rights), Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation, and to re-read them in their entirety: something that every American Citizen should do with regularity:

What most strikes me as I re-read the U.S. Founding Documents is that current political rhetoric excerpts sections of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights to support unilateral power (“power over”), while other counterbalancing sections of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (“shared power”) often remain silent in political discourse. I’m not surprised. A similar thing happens when certain sections of the Bible are proof-texted to support a perspective of particular favor while counterbalancing sections are ignored. Here is one for- instance.

In the opening lines of the U.S. Constitution, the moral and beneficent role of government to “promote the general Welfare” – providing for the poor/poverty-stricken, homeless, foreclosed, uninsured, unemployed – was clearly an intention of the U.S. Founders and is asserted in our Founding Documents. The same morally sound perspective may be found in Deuteronomy 15:7-11 and other areas of Scripture.

However, often heard, particularly in conservative political rhetoric, is the dominate goal to downsize government and increase business revenues at a cost that “appears” to yield economic benefits (though history and public policy dictates that the benefits will be unequally distributed); while the same goals simultaneously bankrupt the moral and social fabric of our nation: counter to the letter and spirit of our Founding Documents and Scripture. If less government and more “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” public policies are the goals to which conservative government aspires; does this not mean abdication of the benevolent role of government?

Will less government, less regulation, more unregulated capitalism and individualistic consumerism, less access to health care, and more laws truly help and empower people and communities that have little or no power: no boots to pull up, no roof over their heads, no living wage jobs, no political representative that will seriously (sans rhetoric) take up the causes of the poor and downtrodden? Is unequal distribution of power that is achieved unilaterally the intended design of our Founders and Founding Documents? I think not!

Let’s all join with the U.S. Congress to re-read the U.S. Constitution (and Bill of Rights); and, while we are at it, let’s re-read the Declaration of Independence, and Articles of Confederation. Let’s also re-read the Sacred Texts that guide our spiritual and moral sensibilities. Finally, let’s re-consider morally sound, equal distribution of power, and re-calculate costs not just in economic terms but also in the social, political, physical and spiritual costs of both our actions and inactions.

I conclude today’s entry by pointing to a recently published article that further explores and exposes the issues about which I have written:

Consortium News article by Robert Parry, entitled We’re Headed for a Major Battle with the Tea Party Crowd over the Constitution Itself, published December 31, 2010 and re-distributed by Alternet.