Thursday, July 03, 2008

Rights and Left

All over the Liberal Media (and when I say Liberal Media, I mean those who are self labeled as such, i.e. Air America Radio, etc), I see a flurry of accusations regarding the current administration's attacks on American Civil Liberties. From the suspension of Habeas Corpus, Warrant-less wire tapping, the Patriot Act allowing for search warrants to be issued by law enforcement agencies without a judge's signature provided it's under the auspices of national defense-- it would seem there may be plenty of reason to fear the intentions of the current administration. (For a timeline of alleged civil rights violations, check out this site . Check this site out. They also enumerate the violations of civil liberties by the administration.)

So what do you do? How do you keep these violations from expanding? The Democrats won Congress in 2006, but that hasn't really changed anything. Citizens have conducted protests all over the country, but it hasn't really changed anything. Courts have not been able to hold members of the administration accountable for anything, even as egregious as outing our own covert agents engaged in fighting the War on Terror.

At this time only the most crazed of talking heads are talking about subjects like martial law, or certain people refusing to leave office, but what about three or four administrations down the road? If there is another terror attack on U.S. Soil could a future administration take that step in an emergency, and then refuse to reinstate due process for our Republic when the crisis passed? Unfortunately, history is on the side of the Tyrants. Every Republic in history became an Empire; every Democracy in history fell to the rule of might over the rule of reason. If only the Founders could have had the foresight to provide a means to protect freedom from an overzealous administration so our children will be free to waste their time on TV and pizza too. Oh wait...

It's called the Second Amendment, and recently the Supreme Court upheld the fact it supports the individual's right to own a firearm. The Liberal pundits have not been pleased. Now, I am no lawyer, and far more intelligent people than me have interpreted the Second Amendment to mean things like the National Guard, hence the use of the term “well regulated militia” in its text. I have seen the arguments about how “you don't need an AK-47 to hunt deer, or to protect your family from crime.” I even heard a Liberal commentator for whom I have great respect make the argument that the firearms protected by the Second Amendment would be firearms similar to those which existed in 1789.

Again, there are people far more versed in Constitutional law than I, however I don't understand why there is confusion over the intent of the Amendment. The Right to Bear Arms is not about hunting or stopping crime. The Right to Bear Arms is so the Citizenry can defend itself from tyrants. How can I come to this interpretation? It's called “context.” ALL of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights are to protect the citizenry from an overzealous Federal Government. You may remember (or maybe you don't) that there were two primary factions when the Constitution was written: the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. As a compromise between those who wanted a strong central government and those who feared it descending into tyranny, the Framers wrote the Bill of Rights. This is an enumerated list of rights the Federal Government could not screw with to ensure justice for generations to come as the Nation grew.

Should the Second Amendment be frozen in time? Does it apply only to the weapons that existed when the Bill was written? By that reckoning, the First Amendment could only apply to speech or religion which existed in 1789. The Internet would not be protected by the First Amendment. Gangster Rap would not be protected by the First Amendment. Comic books would not be protected by the First Amendment. Television or radio news commentary would not be protected by the First Amendment.

Arguing that the Second Amendment is outdated would mean the Administration is right-- the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, all of them are outdated and the Founders were too shortsighted to imagine the War on Terror. As Liberals argue the Second Amendment is outdated, they are giving tacit approval to the Administration's assertion that other Amendments in the Bill of Rights are outdated.

Now, I do think there is validity to the idea the Second Amendment calls for a State-run militia to regulate the armed citizenry. However, I cannot accept this as being the National Guard for one simple reason: The National Guard can be activated under Federal control. Indeed, I served with National Guard folks in Babylon, not exactly a force meant to protect the citizenry from a tyrannical government (unless we are now saying the Bill of Rights extends to Babylonians too. If the Bill of Rights DOES extend to the Babylonians, then it certainly extends to those in Guantanamo Bay...).

So it comes back to my original confusion. Liberal pundits believe the administration is bordering on tyranny and bending the Bill of Rights to their own interpretation. Yet, it is a similar misinterpretation they wish to apply to the Second Amendment. Conservatives are just as bad when saying it's OK to take Habeas Corpus from certain citizens, but dear God don't touch my guns. We can't have it both ways. The Second Amendment is there to protect us from Tyranny- of course you try to resolve any issues in the system first. Of course voting and protest and the legal system are the primary weapons against tyranny. Of course we as a citizenry have the responsibility of acting like adults if we are going to keep our right to Bear Arms, and if you have violated the social contract by committing a crime, you forfeit the right to be part of the body politic. But when all else has failed, if a President some election decides two terms are not enough, and he is now President for Life. When the rights of the citizens are no longer considered and the infringement of those rights is the norm and not the horrid exception, the citizenry must be prepared to fight for their rights just as the Founders did with the right the Founders gave us for just such an occasion- the Right of the Individual to Keep and Bear Arms.

I don't think we are there, and I am most certainly not calling for armed revolution, but I applaud the Supreme Court decision, and ask my friends on the Left in this Country why they are complaining about THIS Constitutional Right being upheld when so many others are not. I ask my friends on Right to apply the same vehemence to protecting the other nine Amendments as they do the Second. It's what keeps us free, and keeps this Nation one worth defending if you love liberty, and attacking if you are a tyrant.

Dear Right and Left, the Constitution exists independent of your party politics, and objective to political wants. It is a marvelous document that history has not yet progressed beyond. Now, on this anniversary of our Nation's birth, I reprint the greatest gift one Generation ever gave succeeding Generations, The United States Bill of Rights. This is what I have sworn to uphold and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Those enemies include apathy, greed, and closed-mindedness. Right, Left, open your minds and look upon the self evident truths enumerated below granting We the People our Freedom. Amen.

The United States Bill of Rights.
The Ten Original Amendments to the Constitution of the United States Passed by Congress September 25,
1789 Ratified December 15, 1791

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A well−regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

III No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re−examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Use them together, use them in peace (OK- that's actually from 2010:Odyssey Two, but you get the idea...) Happy Fourth.

No comments: