I recently heard someone call our country “young.” It was said with that air people use when tossing around facts they expect you take for granted as much as they do. It wasn’t said to be backed up with historical data or facts. It was just a detail tossed out as the speaker proceeded to finish his point about the United States. I would have let it pass, except that the tone annoys me. It annoys me when people say things that they assume are true and assume you believe are true, when really they haven’t stopped to think twice about them. It’s common to say the United States of America are young, so it’s therefore a perfectly valid detail to use in an argument.

No. I disagree. I assume those people who say the United States of America are young are comparing its history to other histories — that of Rome, for example, which has existed since the 9th century BC. But that’s a flawed comparison. That’s comparing a country, the US of A, to a culture. The Roman Republic and the Roman Empire which succeeded it were very different. A citizen living in the time of Cincinnatus would have a different concept of the country than a citizen living in the time of Caligula. And neither one exists today.

I am not about to assert that Rome isn’t older than the US. That’s absurd; on the contrary, I could rant endlessly about why the average Italian is different than the average American just because of the history (or lack thereof) that surrounds each man. But the speaker I referred to at the beginning of this post was not speaking of culture or historical ancestry. He was speaking of a country. And that is the problem with his point.

Is the US of A a young country? Our Constitution was penned in 1787. Since we are a relatively “young” country, I suppose there are scads of countries that existed then that still exist today. The Kingdom of Prussia? Hm, seems Germany has changed quite a bit since 1787. The Austrian Empire? Persia? Any of the countries of the Middle East… oh wait, they were created after WWII, their borders arbitrarily drawn up by the Allies (I must dodge the temptation to give in to that rant right now…).

So 1787. Poland existed as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but would soon be tragically swallowed up by surrounded empires. Russia was the Russian Empire, under the rule of Catherine the Great. Mexico was New Spain. Turkey was the Ottoman Empire. Italy would not be a unified country as she stands today for over two hundred more years.

I won’t say there aren’t countries older than us… Portugal, Spain, England. But it seems these are exceptions rather than the majority.

Our Constitution has been in place since 1787. Are we a relatively young culture? Certainly! Are we a relatively young country? No. To say that — and what is worse, to toss it out as if it was a throw-away fact to be taken for granted — cheapens what our Fathers did in 1787. The fact that our Constitution has remained in place, relatively unamended, for over 200 years is extraordinary. It says volumes about the brilliance of the Fathers and, most especially, of Mr. Washington. And, if I do venture to declare, it points to the fact that God was present when it was being drafted.

That being said, it is not only saddening but dangerous that the Constitution is being hijacked today. We have the brilliance of its crafting to thank for our enduring existence. But if we continue to ignore it, we won’t last as a country much longer. “Strict constitutionalists” has become a dirty phrase, it seems. But why? Aren’t we the most powerful country in the world for a reason? Because a dozen men crafted a document in 1787 in which each word had a definite purpose; a document that said what it wanted to say and didn’t say what it didn’t want to say; a document which the Fathers never intended to be “reinterpreted” in such ways so that their original desires became obliterated and ignored.

I suppose that a country who frowns on their leaders admitting religious beliefs (oh no, not that! it might get in the way of their ability to govern and execute laws!) would also frown on their leaders wanting to stand by the document that created their country. Well, perhaps a country like that doesn’t deserve the document. Or the God that inspired the men who wrote it.

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