From left to right, panelists Debby Gould, Charles Uffelman and Danelle Whiteside are introduced by Harold Young at Austin Peay State University’s Constitution event on September 18. ANABELLE COKER | THE ALL STATE
Sunday, September 17 was Constitution Day- a day to celebrate the creation of the document that has completely secured our rights and roles as citizens of the United States for nearly three centuries.
On the following day, the Department of Political Science and Public Management and the Department of History and Philosophy at Austin Peay State University hosted a special event in the Morgan University Center, open to all of the public, to commemorate the special day.
The event was characterized by a panel of speakers including President of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, Debby Gould, Vice President for Legal Affairs at APSU, Dannelle Whiteside and a Middle Tennessee political strategist, Charles Uffelman.
Together, the panel created an interesting and engaging event for attendees to hear their perspectives on politics today, the importance of voting and the significance of the United States Constitution.
Upon listening to the panel of speakers, it became clear just how relevant the Constitution is in our everyday lives, and it became impossible not to imagine what life might be like without a Constitution to give us the liberties and freedoms that we sometimes take for granted.
You are in class on a random Monday morning and your teacher asks a very subjective question on your thoughts about the next presidential candidate. After you respond, the teacher disagrees and has you suspended for voicing a major difference of opinion.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances,” grants the First Amendment of the Constitution.
You hear your phone ringing and pick it up to see a call from your mom. She tells you that your dad has been arrested for being seen carrying his gun, despite meeting all of the eligibility requirements for owning and carrying his protective firearm.
The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
You are relaxing on a Friday night watching your favorite television show when there is a knock on the front door to your house. You answer the door, only to be thrown out of your house and declared homeless so the city can build a new gas station in its place.
“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” states the Fifth Amendment.
These few scenarios are just loose examples demonstrating the relevance of the U.S. Constitution in everyday life.
Next September 17, imagine a life without the Constitution- where the possibilities of unfairness and limitations are endless- and remember to appreciate the influential moment in history that allows us to live each day with protected rights and responsibilities: the day the Constitution was signed.