We the people of the California Republic, sovereign, forward-looking, informed by reason, inspired by our faith traditions and committed to the preservation of our enduring values establish this constitution for the California Republic.
Commentary on the preamble from the 2031 edition of "The California Constitution for Students:”
The opening phrasing "We the people" harkens back to the language of the United States constitution. Thomas Jefferson reminds us that it is the responsibility of the people to regularly renew their commitments to the principles of rule of law, democratic governance and the Enlightenment values that informed the foundations of the United States. In the late 2010s and early 2020s, office holders of the federal government of the United States were actively undermining these values and principles. More importantly, it had become clear that the citizens of many states in the United States were firmly committed to a series of policies and principles that are fundamentally antithetical to the people of California. These states are welcome to pursue whatever policies they wish to, of course, but their attempts to use the federal union to impose their values on the people of California were unwelcome and unacceptable. We the people of California took up our rights as a free people to govern ourselves.
Sovereign people have the capacity to make decisions for themselves and can create organizations and institutions to serve their needs. Fundamental principles of democratic governance that derive from Enlightenment thinking remind us that all power in a state derives from the consent and from the will of the people. This constitution represents the intention of a free people to govern themselves and to do so in a way that they have decided works for a 21st century society.
"Forward-looking" peoples build communities that are mindful of the needs of young people and future generations. California has long been that part of the United States most interested in aspiring to improvement, change and the future. This is the place where dreams are made. It's a fundamental part of California's identity, perhaps the most fundamental part. California will always be oriented to the future, to dreams and to building a better future based on the needs of our people. It is antithetical to the concept of California to build bridges to the past, but we are mindful that the Enlightened values that led to the foundation of the United States in the first place are of the 18th century. Still, they form the bedrock of this constitution and our relationship to each other.
"Informed by reason" asserts that the people of California are not interested in living in a country that is informed by irrationality, deceptive practice, "alternative facts," lies or shameless appeals to religious fundamentalism. This is connected to the notion that we are a forward-looking people. While we are forward-looking, we build our future on the principle that people of reason using logic and thoughtful argument in public forums are best able to make decisions that drive the mission of the Republic forward.
"Inspired by our faith traditions" reminds us all that while reason is the only sound basis for making public policy decisions, there is always a moral and ethical component to the expression of the sovereign will of the people that reason doesn't help resolve. California is multi-ethnic, multi-religious and cosmopolitan. It is the home of communities of all religious and ethical traditions worldwide. We commit to using the wisdom of these traditions to help make our decision-making more aligned with the needs of the oppressed, the underserved, the mistreated, the poor and the needy.
"Enduring values" draws on the more than two centuries of American principles, practices and traditions that have informed the history and behavior of the United States up to this moment. This constitution, by its very existence, implies that the current direction of the United States represents a fork in the expression of these enduring values. This fork, which places the current behavior and practices of the United States on one side and the appropriate expression of these values on the other, has stimulated the movement for California independence that inspired this document.