Across our great nation, Americans will come together to celebrate the anniversary of our independence from Great Britain. It’s a favorite holiday for many, with cook-outs, parades and fireworks exhibitions providing a festive atmosphere as we welcome the summer season in full bloom. It’s also an occasion for national pride, as Americans remember and reflect on the courage and foresight of 56 men who drafted our Declaration of Independence.
In declaring our independence, the Founders sowed the seeds of a new vision for liberty and self-governance. These wise men were committed to creating a nation governed by the will of the people. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” they declared. The ideals set forth in the Declaration came to fruition 11 years later in the form of the U.S. Constitution.
In their infinite – and I believe divinely inspired – wisdom, the drafters of the Constitution imagined three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. No one faction of government would have the ability to run roughshod over the others, or the people. At the least, the system provided ways to correct an imbalance of power eventually. These checks and balances have allowed our Constitution to endure for 235 years, and our nation to survive as the oldest democratic republic on the planet.
This year, the Independence Day holiday holds even greater importance for me. As I’m sure everyone knows, the U.S. Supreme Court recently overruled its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and returned the question of abortion back to the states. The court’s ruling triggered a provision of a law passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2019 that would outlaw abortion in our state if the court ever overturned Roe. It took only a few minutes after the ruling was announced for our governor to issue a proclamation putting the “Right to Life of the Unborn Act” into effect, ending the practice of elective abortion in Missouri.
As someone born after the Roe decision, I have lived my entire life with my nation enforcing a policy I believed to be fundamentally and morally wrong. In that sense, I can empathize with those who don’t agree with the court’s reversal of Roe. I fully understand Americans are deeply divided on this issue. Regardless of your beliefs about abortion, I hope we can all agree we have witnessed an historic example of the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. The system worked as intended. A highly charged and divisive issue has been debated, legislated and litigated in the democratic and judicial arenas. That is the American way, and a testament to the strength and resiliency of our constitutional form of government.
As we gather together to celebrate our nation’s Independence, I encourage everyone to also celebrate our Constitution and a system of government that allows the people’s cries for justice to be heard. This is the miracle of America, and I trust it will continue to serve us well for generations to come. That’s certainly something worth celebrating.
It’s my honor to serve as your senator for the 16th District. If you have questions or need any assistance, please call my office at 573-751-5713 or log onto my webpage at https://www.senate.mo.gov/brown for more information.