"PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTION"... these are the words in bold letters on the marquee of the Hollywood Theatre in Gowanda. Kudos to those who are responsible for having these words posted so prominently for all to see.
We live in America where we treasure liberty, freedom and hope, as guaranteed by our Constitution. Every person, regardless of birth, social, or financial standing, should have the shining opportunity for success and happiness and, to feel safe and secure from enemies both foreign and domestic. Each person deserves the right to live, to be one's self, and to become all for which she or he is capable.
In the United States' Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers stated: "... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Could these words be the foundational setting for the American Dream? We believe in a "harmony of interest," as Adam Smith put it, and rules of cooperation that have developed through generations of human experience and collective reasoning. These rules promote the betterment of the individual and society. And thus, each individual through one's own pursuit should have an equal opportunity to achieve the fruits of the American dream. Our American Constitution is our absolute guarantee. Our Constitution is the foundation for justice, tranquillity, providing for a common defense, and grants the assurance that we have the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
As part of our American dream, private property and liberty are inseparable. The individual's right to live freely and safely and pursue happiness includes the right to acquire and possess property, which represents the fruits of one's own intellectual and/or physical labors. The denial or diminution of one's private property or the collectivization of that property by government denies that person the right to liberty and thereby seriously encroaches on one's freedom. And further, excessive regulations diminishes ones' freedom and curbs ones' guaranteed liberties. Unfortunately, current events seem to suggest that this is the track on which we are headed.
With the fast-moving events of our times, willful ignorance of realty is no virtue. True wisdom suggests that when driving in the wrong direction, one does not step on the pedal and go faster, but one turns around and gets back on track. It is time to get back on track! For you see, the center of gravity in a republic, such as the United States, is the people. And it is up to the people, to stand for the principles that made America the exceptional country that it is. Protecting our Constitution, you bet.
This is a principle of united responsibility on which our country was founded. And, it is on this principle that we stand united today!
Elaine B. Heichberger is a Gowanda resident.