November 27, 2016 – Overcast, 50 degrees
Miles Today: 46
Miles to Date: 19,354
States to Date: 47
‘We the People.’ What does that mean? The first display of the Visitor’s Center at Little Rock Central High School, site of the 1957 violence and eventual admittance of nine African-American students to the previously all-white school, explains how the first three words of our constitution were not written to encompass all the people living in our country, just white men of property.
The exhibits go on to describe events in Little Rock surrounding school desegregation as well as other civil rights issues in our nation.
I pedaled over to the Clinton Library, the eleventh and last Presidential Library I will visit on this journey, where the staff is extremely friendly to odd looking cyclists and the message of inclusiveness rings loud; testaments from Nelson Mandela, Jordan’s King Hussein and Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin.
The Constitution goes on to declare, ‘in order to from a more perfect union.’ Interesting that it does not declare a perfect union. It acknowledges that we are striving for perfection, which will likely never be obtained.
We recently elected a new President, a man who did not receive the most votes and whose support varied wildly across demographics of race, income and education. Our rules of election are clear, if illogical, and so Donald Trump is our President-elect. He represents a profile of ‘we the people’ that more closely resembles our forefathers. Whether you think that is good or ill depends on how strictly you interpret the Constitution versus how much you value the struggle for civil rights over the past 200 years by those left out of the original ‘we.’
Here in Arkansas, where people either loathe or love his opponent, Hillary Clinton, so strongly, the constitutional ‘we’ gets drowned out by personality. Too bad, because I believe how we define ‘we’ is important. If it doesn’t include all of us yet, we’ll just have to keep striving for that more perfect union.