where the writers are
A Key to Hope

In this season of politics and controversy, let me offer the following: 

The framers of the U.S. Constitution forged their historic document during the late Eighteen Century, a time when many of the populace--some free and some not--tilled land.  Large families often provided a network of security for the elderly freemen and freewomen.  Horse-drawn carriages bumped over rutted dirt roads.  Pollution was manure after a rainstorm. 

Our founding fathers dipped their quill pens into small pools of dark ink and wrote, with scratching sounds, their enlightening words.  None could have foreseen a future era of camera phones and laptop computers, towering freeways constipated with snakes of traffic, heart transplants, nuclear explosions or global positioning satellites orbiting in space.  Yet as they composed a document to unite thirteen former colonies with conflicting interests, they left room for change and interpretation.  Thus they drew a governmental roadmap toward their young nation's future. 

Yes, we struggle today with original intent versus social justice.  We roll our eyeballs at the sound of politicians jabbering.  We make jokes about lawyers and grumble about taxes.  But look where we have come.  Slavery is illegal.  Women and people of color can vote and hold political office.  Medicines must be labeled to show toxicity.  Workers must be informed about the poisons they handle on the job.  Children toil over homework instead of in textile mills. 

We are an imperfect people with an imperfect government.  But our constitution--the law of our land--provides a key of hope, even if we often have trouble finding the best doors to unlock.