The glue that binds America

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On this anniversary, take time to reflect on the Framers' wisdom.

LISTENING TO THE wild-eyed babblers on cable television or talk radio, one might conclude the United States has plunged into an existential struggle and doomsday is near.

The left throws around words like fascism and accuses the Trump administration and Republicans of trying to destroy constitutional checks and balances.

The right accuses the left of being open-borders socialists who want to wipe out America as a nation.

President Trump rails against all sorts of institutions, governmental norms and, of course, the "fake news" press.

SO, TODAY, LET'S focus instead on this fact: On this day in our history, September 17, 1787, the Framers delivered to the nation the United States Constitution, which would be ratified by the states and serve free people remarkably over all these years.

If anything, the near-constant upheaval in politics - including the current daily dramas - proves the enduring wisdom of delegates to that Philadelphia Constitutional Convention.

Having recently broken from the British monarchy, delegates wanted nothing to do with an all-powerful executive. So they built in legislative and judicial branches to check and balance executive authority.

They formed a bicameral legislature - the House, closest to the passions of the people, and the more deliberative Senate, where those passions might be cooled.

They factored in lifetime appointments to the federal bench, with the intent of promoting thorough independence from partisanship and devotion to the rule of law.

And they guaranteed press freedom in the First Amendment, to promote an informed citizenry and an independent accountability function toward government.

ON SOME DAYS, it does seem particularly hopeless as the partisan political class and the enabling chorus turn the nation's air foul with vicious assaults on any who dare disagree with them. Make no mistake. This is about raw power - about who will rule and distribute the spoils to the loyal. It is not that one side wears a halo and the other has devil horns.

Here's the good news. Since that fateful day in Philadelphia the nation's guiding document has held fast, through good times and bad, protecting America from all enemies foreign or domestic. The Framers understood human nature, that given a chance one faction or another likely would try to silence others and force dissenters to submit. Thus, they delivered the ingenious system of checks and balances to thwart tyrants.

And it holds, from one election to the next, when the people get their say and can correct course as they please.

We'll be okay.

For that, thank the visionaries who were gathered this day, in 1787, at what now is known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It's a shrine every American who would understand who we're supposed to be should visit.

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