It seems only yesterday when I was in high school and we were studying the United States Constitution. We studied it because it had meaning and was the written basis for all our freedoms. We were idealized then – the Constitution is now merely an historical document, hermetically sealed so that it won’t wither and mold physically—but it definitely molds from lack of respect or use.
The 1st Amendment gave us the “freedom of speech or of the press”. I use the word “gave” as in the past tense because this most basic of all our rights has been subjected to “political correctness” to the point that we have lost the ability to communicate without offending some government imposed social standard. And actual hate speech is narrowly defined solely by the skin pigment of the individual making the statement. There is no restriction on what a person of color can utter; however, a white person must be selective in his words—very selective. The press has become the 4th branch of the liberal arm of the government and is selective and ideological in what they choose to report. The press does retain its freedom but it is a moot point because it is rare to find anyone in the written or voice media that is objective and informative.
The 2nd Amendment is very easy to understand, so easy in fact that one must invent a way to misunderstand what it clearly states. “. . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” There is no wordage about: big guns, small guns, expensive guns, or cheap guns— if you can carry the weapon, it is allowed—no wriggle room there. There is verbiage which precedes the quote, but there are also commas that separate the two coordinated independent clauses from the quote. In other words: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,” is independent clauses which have no bearing on our right to bear arms….. It does not state, as some attempt to claim, that one must be in a militia (military) to own or carry a weapon – and we – the citizens are the militia in any event.
The 4th Amendment guarantees to all citizens that their “persons, houses, papers, and effects, [are protected] against unreasonable search and seizure.” For about 225 years all Americans enjoyed the assurance that these basic rights would not be infringed upon. The basic reason that we had these assurances was because the government did not have the resources or technology to invade our privacy. With the advent of listening devices, wire taps, cameras, and the modern computer all that has changed. Then the Patriot Act, along with the bastardization it has been subjected to by self-appointed patriots and courts has changed all that. Now our emails, telephone calls, and even our physical movements are under constant government surveillance. George Orwell’s “1984” is no longer a work of fiction—it has become a forewarning fulfilled.
The 10th Amendment reserves U.S. citizens’ individual rights in any matter that is not governed by the federal government or the state in which we live. The problem is: from the need for a government permit to erect an outhouse to a permit to dispose of our household garbage—everything in our life is overseen by some government agency, at some level – typically to surreptitiously impose a tax.
Whenever I examine our Constitution, I am reminded of the words of Daniel Webster: “It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” Never in the history of our republic has Webster’s words been more chilling than today—truly the people who reside in the halls of government from Washington to the local city or county are our masters and decide what is best for the serfdom.
Have a good week. Bill Shuey is a freelance writer from North Carolina.