Conversing: What if we could turn back time?

By Elaine Silverstrim - Alliance for Compassion and Truth

WILMINGTON — In the sweltering summer of 1787, delegates from the 13 sovereign states that had formed a confederacy to win independence from England (affirmed by treaty in 1783), met to amend the original Articles of Confederation which had held from 1777 through that time. Sadly, the articles were good for winning the war but were proving inadequate for solidifying the peace.

It took very little time for the delegates to more or less agree that major changes were needed. And a plurality struck out in a new direction, essentially scrapping the original articles and creating the now revered Constitution of the United States.

They had no crystal ball as they entered The Great Debates of that time. We have heard a great deal of late about the Federalist Papers. But we may have forgotten these tracts were written in response to equally vigorous Anti-Federalist tracts. Eventually, compromises were made and the Constitution was ratified, slowly and cautiously. We were handed a Republic, if we could keep it.

Have we? Amid all the present-day conversations and concerns, often echoing the arguments of the federalists and the anti-federalists, we hear such phrases as “constitutional crisis,” “unconstitutional”, “constitutional.”

Beginning this Saturday, Jan. 11 and continuing the second Saturday of February and March, the Alliance for Compassion and Truth will be hosting Conversations that Count — by taking a step back and reading and conversing, even debating, the contents of our Constitution as written — at the Wilmington Public Library.

One question we will raise for these sessions, will be, “If we could turn back time and be present at those fateful deliberations, what comments, suggestions and feedback would we provide?” Given 2020 insight, what might we have wished to say to our founding fathers?

Let’s gather and look with fresh eyes at the document that presumably handed us a Republic, of the people, for the people, by the people.

From 10:15-11:45 a.m. this Saturday at the library, bring your copies of the U.S. Constitution, your open and inquiring minds and respectful open conversation. Let’s turn back time for a bit and consider where we are now and where we hope to go – together.

For more information, visit

By Elaine Silverstrim

Alliance for Compassion and Truth