Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Our Constitution touches us all

By Sasha Harrison-Gunzelman

The U.S. Constitution affects my life daily because of the freedom and flexibility of choices that I can make now and will be able to make as an adult.

The Constitution is not just a document that was written in 1787 but instead is a legal framework for our society. It includes the dominant principles that determine what we permit government and individuals to do as well as the relationship between the federal government and the protection of its citizens.

In 1787, no country in the world had ever permitted its citizens to select their own form of government, a representational republic. More importantly, and for the first time, it allowed and encouraged people to take an active role in governing themselves. Because it was so well written, more than 200 years later, we are still using the same document to run our country.

Our Constitution also has served as the foundation for other countries to create a similar document to guide their citizens on the road to self-government, democracy and the many forms of freedom that we value so highly in the United States.

The Constitution is certainly the most important document ever crafted in American history, and it remains the one document that influences every citizen in the United States every day. It affects me every time I go to church, read the paper, talk on the
phone, join clubs and organizations, or use the computer. It truly has far-reaching influences in many areas of our life.

When we play team sports, join a committee at school, check out books from the library, participate in parades and rallies to support our favorite events or to demonstrate our beliefs, the Constitution allows all citizens to become involved and to take part in our community, our state and our country.

Everyone should read the Constitution and care about it because, more than anything else in our life, it is the foundation of our country and guides the way we live — even though most of us are not aware of the impact it has in our life. Growing up and living in America, especially as young people, it is easy to take our many freedoms and government limitations for granted, such as the freedom of speech and press, our freedom of religion, protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to bear arms.

The Constitution also helped to set up a government in which my voice can be heard. It gives me an opportunity to participate and get involved in determining laws, how our country will be led and to be sure our freedoms will be protected. We have an opportunity to be sure that the people who are elected can do their job correctly and will make good decisions that will benefit the country and all people.

Even though I am not old enough to vote, I am aware of this important process and understand the value of getting involved!

— Sasha Harrison-Gunzelman, a student at Da Vinci High School, is the winner of the high school division of the Davis Constitution Day essay contest.

Special to The Enterprise

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Discussion | 2 comments

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  • Paul BradySeptember 19, 2013 - 11:21 am

    Gad! What an eloquent and important piece regarding the Constitution, and from a Da Vinci High School student who cannot yet vote! As one who came from Canada and obtained American citizenship as an adult, I became aware of the hundreds of hours of thought, discussion and debate that went into this timeless document. How could people of that time be so wise such that the Constitution holds as our legal framework today. It allows individuals to participate, ensures our freedoms will be protected and that elected individuals will do their jobs correctly and with honesty. I am saddened and disturbed when politicians claim it can be ignored today because it is so old. They feel they can change laws by fiat and ignore court orders when they do not like them. No one, not even a president, should be above the law and above the Constitution! .

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  • alfSeptember 19, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    I think that's right. The authors of the constitution would have been shocked and disgusted to see a president blithely ignore the constitution and laws passed by congress, just because he decided he wanted to torture people, for example. They would have told George Bush that getting his lawyer to write him a permission slip didn't override the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, nor the statutes prohibiting torture.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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