Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Preamble writing contest

A writing contest in honor of September 17, 2016, Constitution Day
(The anniversary of the signing of the draft constitution for United States of America)

RATIONALE: The USA was proposed on September 17, 1787 by representatives of the people in 12 of 13 states. Much has happened, in civic life and in our understanding of reality, since then.
After 229 years, has the time come to take a good, hard look at the purposes of the constitution, stated in the preamble? Does the subject of the sentence, We the People of the United States, literally exist? (No.)
We invite everyone who’d like a better life in the USA, both private and civic, to take a hand in proposing a personal view of the existing preamble, perhaps setting an example of civic morality for generations beyond ours.
Who can propose a better use of the preamble: one that the willing portion of "We the People of the United States" in 2016 can use for a possible better future? Our overall goal is to involve 65% of citizens in establishing real-no-harm private-liberty-with-civic-morality (PLwCM) and its corollary, private-morality-with-civic-liberty, using the existing constitution for the USA with its provisions for amendment.

Personal Preamble Contest Rules for Constitution Day, 2016

         Contestants are invited to rewrite and update the literal preamble to the constitution for the USA into a personal civic trust and commitment: one which the contestant 1) would personally commit to, and 2) would offer to other citizens, as something to consider for a better civic life.

Process that might lead to success:
     The successful contestant might:
          A) Use online and other resources to study the preamble:
                      1) Analyze its grammar,
                      2) Identify its moral political goals,
                      3) Research the literal meaning of each goal,
                      4) Paraphrase the preamble.
           B) Then replicate and preserve the essence of each goal of the preamble, by using words that the contestant would
        1) Personally commit to, and
        2/ Trust for 2016 collaborative civic living.
C) Winners in each age group (see below) will be invited to read their entry at the meeting.
 NOTE: In meeting this final and crucial criterion--collaboration, contestants must keep in mind that collaboration means a state of affairs in which two (or more) individuals iterate a statement of concern and proposed solution, seeking a statement that all of these individuals can live by. It is not compromise or cooperation, which involve one side submitting to a dominate opinion, but is discovery together of a better idea.

Entries in each age group are numerically rated by judge’s preference, respectively: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and so on, based on how completely they meet expectations. The judges consider creativity, applicability for collaboration, fidelity to the original preamble and such qualities for the various age groups. The winning entry in each age group is the one with the highest total score; ties are decided by the judges. The age groups are: 15 and under, 16-30, 31-45, 46-60, and 61 and above.

 Contestants are asked to supply only one entry per contestant (no multiple entries). Entries may be either e-mailed, or posted early. Entries must be in English, and every entry must include (on the back or the bottom, of the entry), the contestant's name, age or age category, postal address, phone number, and email address.

Entries must be received by September 8, 2016. Email your entry to or mail it to Phil Beaver at 1624 Leycester Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70808-5753 USA. We will confirm receipt of your entry, provided we have the email address. If there are questions, please call 225-766-7365.

First, perceive that you comprehend the preamble and want to express your understanding and preferences.
Then, write something which preserves the essence of that civic sentence, but which also turns it into an update for living in the year 2016: a modern-day statement that you could trust and commit to, and that you would use for building collaboration with others (as a civic people) to make a better future happen.

These are rules reflecting input from the judging committee, Diana Dorroh, rules co-coordinator; judges Henry Soniat, Ruth Finklea, and Phil Beaver; and copy-editor Kate Gladstone.*

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