February 28, 2015: Rule of Law
The last few days have been a somber time here at Union Creek. Jake’s trial and subsequent demise weighs heavily on all of our consciences.
Jake’s family is still in mourning. Karla and the girls have sequestered themselves at the Hanson place and have not been over to see us since Jake’s burial. I suspect that the only thing that will bring them out, in the near future, will be the birth of Jamie’s baby. We’ve been respectful of their privacy but I’m getting worried about their food, water and wood supplies.
Jamie Gunter is a tall girl. I’d guess she’s close to six feet. You’d think that would give her unborn child a lot of room to stretch out. Instead, Jamie’s belly protrudes like Pinocchio’s nose.
I hope, for her sake, that Jamie doesn’t have twins.
There has been considerable discussion, of late, about establishing a rule of law. We’re interacting with Pete’s family on a regular basis. I think it’s safe to assume that there are other families in the area with whom we will begin to interact. None of us wants a repeat of what happened with Jake.
Can you believe that we don’t have a single copy of the Constitution? Everyone agreed that the Constitution would be a great place to start to develop our own laws but no one has it completely memorized and not a single one of us stashed a copy of it in with our preparations.
What a sorry lot of historians we are. What’s that saying? Those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it. Well, it’s tough to learn from a document when you don’t have a copy of it to read.
Note to self: Memorization, in the absence of modern conveniences, it’s essential.
So, we’ve been collaborating to try to remember the content of the original document as well as its amendments. I hope our recollection is accurate.
The founding fathers drafted the Constitution to “form a more perfect Union”. We all remembered that. What does “a more perfect Union” mean, though?
We’ve also recalled that the Constitution was drafted to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general welfare (Is that where we got the ‘welfare state’?) and secure the blessings of Liberty.
Again, sounds great. We need to boil it down and figure out what it means to us, though.
My brother, Joseph, the history teacher, thought he could remember most of the main articles. He’s working on writing them down.
Everyone remembered the First and Second Amendments. Joseph recalled that the Third Amendment had to do with quartering of troops. That one didn’t get much press before the crash.
Several of us recalled that the Fourth Amendment prevented unreasonable search and seizure after recalling that a number of the States had essentially nullified the Fourth Amendment before the crash, passing laws that gave police “no-knock” authority to search a home where they thought illegal actions were taking place.
My father-in-law recalled that the Fifth through Eighth Amendments had to do with the courts, trials and punishments but none of us could remember which amendments dealt specifically with which aspects.
The Eighteenth and Twenty-first Amendments came back pretty quickly – Prohibition and its repeal.
My mother-in-law remembered that the Nineteenth Amendment established women’s suffrage.
As we worked through these recollections, a thought occurred to me. Were we playing the role of the monkeys again? Were we trying to base our laws on the Constitution and its Amendments just because we didn’t know any better?
I voiced my concern and several heads nodded around the table.
“What if we wiped the slate clean,” I proposed. “Tabula rasa. Start with nothing. Try to forget that the Constitution and its Amendments ever existed.”
“We’re having a hard time remembering some of it,” my uncle, Terry, joked. “Forgetting the rest of it shouldn’t be too hard.”
Everyone got a laugh out of that.
In reality, we found that forgetting what we had learned was, indeed, difficult. Every time we tried to start with a clean plate, the crumbs of our memories fell onto it, sullying our attempts at a completely new rule of law.
Perhaps we don’t need to throw out everything. Instead, maybe we just need to question everything.