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When is the last time you read the Constitution of the United States of America? I mean actually read it. Yourself. As a writer of novels, poems and philosophy, I could be cutting off my nose in spite of my face here, but I got to pondering on this after a chance discussion the other day with one of my editing clients.

The same holds true for any book on actual history or political science. It's my opinion that we've become a culture of followers. We have all, myself included, become media news and Internet junkies. Even journalists tend to be partisan, depending on what network, cable, or written publication they happen to work for. We tend to go to social sites, discussion forums and blogs and immediately choose the side we want to be on, then proceed to enter a word war. Always a 'your' side pitted against 'their' side environment. Facts become of secondary importance. We must win at all costs.

As with the Scriptural texts of the planet, we've all taken to interpreting these historical writings and documents in such a way as benefits 'our' side. Or if in politics, in the way which condones or allows our policy agenda. We tend to believe the media and print rhetoric as fact. Yet, we look around us and see decline in our nation, our environment, our world standing, and our hopes for the future. We see the America we've been taught is the most powerful nation ever on earth, falling apart. I suppose the Roman Empire felt they were invincible as well. In reality, we are but a child in the history of dynasties. We run around the globe lauding the tenets of democracy when we really don't practice them ourselves. To be a true democracy, one has to be educated on the responsibility of the 'vote', not just the 'right' to cast one.

The fiasco of the last couple weeks in the so-called Senate Confirmation Hearings of Supreme Court Appointee, Sotomayor was not much more than a political pandering 'side show' with most of the senators taking advantage of their time in the spotlight to present a display of self-aggrandizement and vote gathering at someone else's expense. Whether for or against Judge Sotomayor, the display of our so-called leaders was pitiful. Maybe it was my own perception, but I think the rather blank expression worn by the judge during most of the session was, equally, shock and amusement. I could almost feel her thinking . . . is this really happening? These are our elected leaders? It's a joke!

Romance and Thriller novels are the best-selling genre in book writing over all. As a writer, and here's where I stick my neck out, I often wonder why? Is it our escape into another world? For the last decade the "Constitution" seems to have become the most used word in politics. We are continually told what is Constitutional and what isn't. What rights are guaranteed and which are being taken away. We listen and, again depending on which 'side' we are on, choose what to believe and what not to believe. We vote based on who we think is the smartest, the shrewdest, the bravest, OR will we to stand to gain something for ourselves or our age group. We don't really know squat about what the meat of the Constitution actually says. We're too busy trying to keep a home together and reading fiction or gossip magazines. Down deep, we all know this is true even though we may not readily admit it.

In addition, the founding Document, although still most sound in principle, definitely should be altered to address the times of the day. We are now a nation of nearly 400 million people vs. fifty million or less then. What were sprawling rural farm communities, are now sprawling metropolis'. I've not come across a person on either 'side' who doesn't feel the Electoral College has long been outdated. Now, it actually feeds the corruption.

In the course of doing political columns during the past two years, I've developed a penchant for history. I've read and studied, and researched, more than I ever have for a book of my own. I'm one of those "write from the soul" kind of writers. I suppose that is why my first love is free verse poetry. But, I've discovered a tremendous amount of soul in history! I literally shed tears reading "A Team of Rivals". The Civil War stories rip your heart right out of your chest. Now my greatest fear is we are heading for another one. Only this time, it will be us against the world of power mongers and greed. We're going to lose. There are no winners in war, in my opinion. I heartily suggest that everyone get a pocket book of the United States Constitution and read it. Again and again. I carry one in my purse.

Hope everyone is well. I got a rash of editing jobs and have been rather swamped! Gotta pay the bills first, girls. :) Next month, I may get none. The only downside to a writing career. Feast or famine!

**Susan Haley is the published author of two books, several articles on networking, an award-winning poet, an independent copy editor and book reviewer for AME Marketing out of San Diego.. She also contributes a column to "The Florida Writer" the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, of which she is Facilitator for the Sarasota County Chapter. The audio version of her novel "Rainy Day People" was awarded in the 2008 Indie Excellence National Book Awards. She also contributes a variety of editorials and excerpts of her work to various E-zines and newsletters and local papers. She has a third book, "Soul Songs" scheduled for release later this year and is currently working on a new novel, "The House is Burning".


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Jul 20, 2009
    • It's funny in the UK a Member of Parliaments Oath which they read while swearing on a bible pledging allegiance to Queen & country and the people who voted it – it's a very short oath but very succinct in it meaning s – in a nutshell putting others before one's self and a servant to the people.
      I think if I asked every Member of Parliament to recite these 7 lines none would know them or even understand the implication they are not our servants, they are not putting us first – they are just doing their own thing and now our Government is attempting to rewrite the ancient constitutions and affect the order of balance – so all our counter checks will be removed – I'm very angry.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jul 20, 2009
    • This is a very good question. And I can honestly say it’s been awhile since I read the constitution. I have read a few books on history.
      What is amazing is I love history and should be reading it instead of some of the stuff I do read (current issue of US weekly just arrived).
      I have the book A Team of Rivals but have not picked it up yet. I did read The Nine and found it very interesting.

      I hope you feast!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Jul 20, 2009
    • Glad to see you back, Susan!  Missed ya!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Jul 21, 2009
    • I have to admit that I don’t know when I read the Constitution last. Worse, I wonder how long it has been since our leaders have read it. I’d like to see all that run for office take the stage together and in turn read the Constitution to us. That way those words will be heard by us who need to hear them again, and the leaders will have them fresh on their mind. Then they candebate the issues.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Jul 21, 2009
    • Thanks, everyone. I wish I had more time to spend here. I do appreciate your support to my columns and I miss you all, too.

      I see UK girl is not all that pleased with her government either. I hate to say, it’s good not to be all alone. :) I really don’t wish corruption on anyone!

      Vikki, “Team of Rivals” is a long book, as you can see, but it sure reads fast. It’s rather fascinating. I learned things I’d never learned prior. Opened my eyes to a lot! Believe me. Now, I’m reading “Don’t Start The Revolution Without Me” by Jesse Ventura. More stuff, I’d never considered! It’s all thought food to me. :)

      Thanks for the welcome, Tamra.

      Midnight, good thought. Still gotta read it yourself, tho. :) I do have the pocket version and it comes in handy if I happen to get in a debate with a hard-headed sheep type. :)

      My best to all of you!

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