September 17, 2009

Constitution Day

As many of you know, today is Constitution Day. It is a day that often goes overlooked in favor of other patriotic holidays, like Independence Day. With its fireworks and barbecues, the Fourth of July has ensured that generations of Americans remember the “unalienable rights” granted by God and recorded by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

July Fourth is a great day and it is a great moment in our history to celebrate. It is a shame, however, that Constitution Day has fallen into obscurity, because it is the Constitution of the United States which has provided the foundations of our Democratic Republic, and it is the Constitution which has ultimately provided more freedom and prosperity than any man-made document or institution the world has ever known.

It is the Constitution that guarantees our separation of powers, ensuring that three coequal branches of government prevent any other branch from obtaining a tyrannical stronghold on our nation. It ensures the peaceful transition of power from one party to another. Finally, it has created the most stable, long lasting Republic that has ever existed.

In the first ten amendments to our Constitution – the “Bill of Rights” – the Founding Fathers outlined a set of freedoms that further defined us as a nation and continue to provide the liberties which we enjoy today. Some of those liberties include our freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to a free and fair trial and the notion that every state is itself a sovereign power, able to govern itself and make its own laws.

These are the principles that guide me as a lawmaker and as an American. Whether serving in the state legislature, as lieutenant governor, in Congress and in the event I am given the honor of serving as Oklahoma’s next governor, the Constitution and the freedoms it outlines will never be far from my mind.

This Constitution Day, it is my hope that all Americans of all parties and creeds can take a moment to remember the document penned by our Founding Fathers, the freedoms those Founders worked to protect and the enormous gift they bestowed on the world.

- Mary