Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"The People"

It's interesting to observe how contemporary political leaders use the phrase "The People".

It is used to justify all sorts of things: "The People" demand this; "The People" want that; "The People" must have this; this must be done in the interests of "The People". And so it goes on. And on. And on. And on.

Who and where are these "People" exactly?

Curiously this is never mentioned.

Perhaps this is because "The People" almost always refers to only some, even just a few, of the people, including the political leader himself.

Surely this phrase should only be used when it genuinely refers to the real common interests of all the people. The phrase has become somewhat debased since it was first used in its proper sense in perhaps the greatest preamble of all great preambles:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

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