Last week I travelled to the UK for business. During my time there, I met with one of our business partners located in the Salisbury plains of southeast England. In this area there are many treasures of antiquity, including such famous monuments as Stonehenge. After our meetings, my host was kind enough to take me to lunch, where I had traditional British fair (gammon steak, eggs and chips, with a pint of the local bitters - just one, I swear). After that, he took me to the Salisbury Cathedral. This is a massive structure which compares favorably to the greatest and most famous cathedrals of Europe. Many historic figures, major and minor, are buried there. Of greatest interest and source of local pride is a unique treasure - a perfectly preserved copy of the Magna Carta, which was one of the original seven created at the time of its signing. The phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword" is an oft quoted one, and of course is meant to capture the truism that often a significant truth or belief will trump in the long run the most ferocious of military might. The Magna Carta is amongst the most famous symbols of this truism. The principles of individual rights and limits on the powers of the state have influenced documents and political thinking since. As the curator and our guide pointed out to me, three specific principles in the U.S. Constitution can be traced directly to the Magna Carta. So the next time you put pen to paper (or keyboard to computer) consider the power you are wielding and wield it for good!


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