June 25, 2010 – Federalist No. 43 – Cathy Gillespie

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Friday, June 25th, 2010

The entry deadline for We The People 9.17 Contest is drawing near!  The deadline of July 4 is only 9 days away.  There is still time to enter, though, and we would love as many entries as possible!!

Most schools are now out for the summer, so please sit down with your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or other children in your life, walk through the rules and guidelines on this link: http://constitutingamerica.org/downloads.php and encourage them to enter our contest!!

If you have high school kids, our contest is especially cool! The high school winners and a parent or guardian will be our guest for an exciting trip to Philadelphia on September 17, Constitution and Citizenship Day.  Once in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center has offered to show the winning short film and PSA in their theater, and use their theater as a venue for the winning song to be performed and the winning essay read. We have a press conference planned, and a possible appearance on a television show is in the works!  High school students also receive $2,000 for the winning entry in each category: Short Film, PSA, Song and Essay.  We are especially hopeful for more Short Film, PSA, and Song submissions, so encourage that teen in your life, grade 9-12 during the 2009-2010 Academic Year, to get their creative juices flowing, and get busy this weekend!!

Elementary and Middle School kids are part of the contest, too!!  Middle School students may submit a song, or an essay and Elementary School kids submit a drawing, which will be used as the official greeting card for Constituting America, or a poem.  Younger kids will receive gift cards and other cool prizes.

The winning entries will be showcased on a Behind the Scenes downloadable DVD that will highlight the first prize recipients, contain educational material about the U.S. Constitution, and interviews with the winners.   We are making this DVD available on our website as a teaching tool for schools on September 17, Constitution and Citizenship Day, a day all educational institutions receiving federal funds are required to present educational programs about the U.S. Constitution.

We The People 9.17 challenges kids to think about how the Constitution is relevant to their lives today, and express themselves in new and innovative means.  By creating their contest entry, they internalize a deeper interest in and awareness of our United States Constitution.

As for Federalist No. 43, I was amazed at the thoroughness of the founders in addressing some of the not so obvious, but important elements of a Republic.  The laundry list of miscellaneous powers all contribute to “the safety and happiness of society.”

One of the most important powers listed in Federalist 43 is that of amending the Constitution:

“That useful alterations will be suggested by experience, could not but be foreseen. It was requisite, therefore, that a mode for introducing them should be provided. The mode preferred by the convention seems to be stamped with every mark of propriety. It guards equally against that extreme facility, which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty, which might perpetuate its discovered faults. It, moreover, equally enables the general and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other.”

The existence of an amendment process for the Constitution shows that our founders knew it was not a perfect document.  There is a process for changing it.  And even the amendment process contains checks and balances!

The Constitution is not a living, breathing document that changes with the times, or at the whim of a judge, Congress, or the President.  That does not mean it cannot be changed. There is a process that should be respected, and the difficulty of making a change causes us to respect the amendments.  They are reminders of our struggle as humans, and as a country to continually strive to improve, and to correct our mistakes.  If we find an amendment doesn’t work, we have the freedom to repeal it, but even if repealed, the amendment will always be there, a reminder of what we tried.

Thank you to all who have blogged with us this week.  A big thank you to Professor Knipprath for your thoughtful, well researched essays!

Don’t forget to recruit some kids to the We The People 9.17 Contest!  It’s not too late!! Entries due July 4th.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Good Night and God Bless!

Cathy Gillespie

P.S. See you Monday, for Federalist Paper No. 44!!

 

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