Jim Fossel’s column on Nov. 4, “Preserve our institutions,” is strong evidence in favor of requiring every candidate for national office to sign a document saying he or she has read our Constitution and memorized at least its preamble. For me , its guidance and the balances it holds in place remain the only surety our nation has for its continued existence as a United States of America. Nothing else in our system of governance serves to bring us together when things — and we — fall apart.

Concern, conscience, patience and courtesy during that 1789 Constitutional Convention — through many debates — earned us the masterpiece we live by today, over 200 years after they signed it. With it and the Bill of Rights they leveled the field between power and the powerless: one could speak and print fact with no fear of official interference, and one still can.

John Holt Willey

Waterville


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