OPINION: Why in the world should we care about Constitution Day?


Megan Fisher

Graphic contributed by Megan Fisher

Price Wilborn, Commentary writer

Happy Constitution Day!

On September 17, 1787, the United States Constitution was signed, creating a new system of government that continues to be the law of the land today. 

So why do we celebrate Constitution Day, and why does it matter?


While schools in Iowa first recognized the holiday in 1911, it wouldn’t become more widespread until the mid-twentieth century. The United States would not be the United States without this document, so it is right that we recognize the day and how important it is to the nation.

Without the Constitution, the US government would not exist in its current form. We would have no Congress, no president, no Supreme Court, or any of the basic institutions of government that we have today.

Our presidential selection process would not exist in its current form, either. The continuity of government that the US is known for would not happen without it.

American citizens would not have the right to free speech, free religion, to bear arms or anything  guaranteed in the Bill of Rights; the rights that make America the land of the free. All of this tends to slip the minds of many Americans.

To many Americans, the Constitution is just some old document a bunch of dead old guys signed. To them, it’s just a piece of history that they don’t need to care about. 

These feelings are what have helped to lead the country down the road it is currently headed. 

Politicians ignore the Constitution in favor or what satisfies their agenda the most. Instead of looking at what the document actually says, they look at what they want it to say. This separation of fact and opinion has gone to the core of issues like gun control and abortion. It has created divides among many groups of people that will not be easily healed.

The Constitution and the values upon which it was written have been, in my eyes, largely lost to history in today’s day in age. In a world where news and opinions are easily accessible online, individuals are able to cater their news to their opinions, instead of the other way around.

In this sense, the Constitution has become a document of interpretation instead of fact. Politicians on both sides of the aisle pick and choose bits and pieces of the document that seem to fit their needs while ignoring others and exploit them for their own purposes. Your understanding of the basic laws and rights that make up this nation will vary from those of your neighbors, and that shouldn’t be the case.

Yes, the most basic of the laws are still followed, don’t get me wrong. It is in the interpretations of the small nuances that the largest discrepancies are found. 

It is the document meant to bring the country together that has helped to pull it apart. On issues ranging from gun control to abortion to climate change, people are picking and choosing whichever parts of the Constitution are most helpful to their side. 

The nation is polarized in a way that it never has been before, and it shows no sign of coming back together anytime soon unless we act now.

Constitution Day can help bridge this divide. Taking a moment to reflect on the document that forged the nation into what it is can show everyone that our differences aren’t so big after all. 

Written intentionally broad, we are able to expand on the Constitution, but we should never forget that the nation was created in the hope that the American experiment would evolve without forgetting how precious and hard-fought that freedom was.

America must bring itself back to being the leader in democratic ideals. Making sure each and every citizen has the same rights under law and making sure the nation is about unity and progress instead of division and gridlock.

At its core, the Constitution was about allowing progress and freedom. Upon its signing, the framers were embarking upon an experiment in democracy that had never been seen anywhere else in the world. They had a vision that has been lost, and must be found again.

America is no longer the country where the light of democracy shines the brightest. Coming back to the roots and taking a look at the values of democracy upon which the Constitution was written will allow us to regain that which we’ve lost. It will be hard, and it will take some time, but I believe we can do it, and when we do, we will once again be the United States of America.

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.