Example of stonework to be used in Arizona memorial to the Bill of Rights.
A belated birthday greeting goes out this morning to a document that means a lot to every person in the United States. That document is the Bill of Rights.
Like many important events, this one sneaks up on us unawares every year. But on December 15, the Bill of Rights celebrated its 220th birthday.
Though the event was last week, I think it’s important enough to blow out a few candles even today. And I know just the person to help do it: Chris Bliss.
Among his many attributes, Chris Bliss is the Executive Director of a nonprofit called MyBillofRights.org. The group’s goal is to erect a monument in every state’s capitol to the founding document. And I’m happy to say, Arizona is on track to become the first of the 50 to do so.
Last week, Chris penned an op-ed piece on why we should care about the Bill of Rights and its birthday. He opens:
“Two-hundred-and-twenty years ago today on Dec. 15, 1791, something happened that changed history forever. Virginia ratified the Bill of Rights, becoming the 10th state to do so and thus making it part of the Constitution.
“The ways this changed history were myriad, foremost among them by preserving the fledgling new country called the United States of America, after the Articles of Confederation had failed.
“Today, 220 years later, the Bill of Rights remains the heart and soul of who we are as a people and why America remains an inspiration to those everywhere seeking their liberty. Its ingenious balance of personal freedoms and political principles has proved both dynamic and durable, becoming one of history’s most important and influential documents as the global road map for basic human rights.”
You should read his entire essay here.
A few weeks ago, Chris stopped by the State Bar of Arizona to explain his group’s mission. He seeks to get the word out to the entire state, and wants to be sure to include Arizona’s lawyers and judges. He believes—correctly, I think—that they would recognize the value in a historic document that maps out rights in a concise and compelling way.
More detail about the organization and their Arizona plan is here.
As a humorous aside, this past weekend, I ran into Chris in downtown Phoenix, where we each were attending a play. By chance, the play focused on the Arizona debate over ethnic studies in the Tucson schools.
At one point early in the play, a character mutters the imprecation, “Constitution, schmonstitution!” There was perhaps no one who laughed more heartily at that curse than the ED of MyBillofRights.org.