“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” ~Constitution of the United States of America.
The first sentence of The U.S. constitution contains what appears to be a grammatical error. When the published copy of the Constitution was hung up for the world to see. The union of politics and words became further interlinked, as they have always been.
Thomas Jefferson’s use of “more perfect” has sparked the literary mind. One school of thought offers perfect is total unison, nothing could ever be more perfect. To be more perfect would mean what ever was perfect was never perfect until the point it was perfect.
Another school of thought offers “more perfect” is correct grammar as perfect is an exaggerated word. Nothing is ever perfect and to have the sense of entitlement to use perfect invites the use of “more perfect”.
No matter which school of thought you fall into, we learn about the nature of grammar from our constitution. The laws and rules of grammar are debated, changed, and tangible.
A writer must understand why he uses one word or another, as a politician must understand why he votes for one bill or another. When a writer goes to print, his job is to defend his word. When a Politician goes to vote, his job is to defend his vote.
If a writer’s grammar is weak, he will look like a fool to the literary world. If a Politician is uninformed, he will look like a fool to the televised public. We can see many places were the life of a politician and a writer have intertwined skills sets.
Grammar has politics of its own. One filled with strange rules and amendments.
In the beginning, there was “I Am.” The prefect sentence with a noun and an action. “I”, the noun, states a person place or thing and “am” ,an action, denotes a state of existing. “I am” means I exist, only with less letters.
The job for a writer is to explain themselves in a way that pays tribute to the first sentence. Writers pay tribute in many different ways. Hemingway was known for his understated use of words, while Twain offered verbose alternatives to “I Am.”
Both authors are debated and they both could defend their use of words. They knew the politics of words.
In the coming installments, we shall explore the politics of words. No system is free from politics. The infusion of free will leads to interaction and inevitably to politics.
Politics are the process by which people choose to make decisions. Similarly, grammar is the process by which people choose to communicate.
Grammar and Politics are subjective and we all fear the day when acronyms like “TTYL” and “LOL” find their way into our spell check as the day when a politician’s abuse of our freedoms finds its way into our law.
How would such a change occur? Through the debate of people who understand the subtle nuances and it’s time for us to join the debate.