“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” – Ronald Reagan
“Man is not free unless government is limited.” – Ronald Reagan
The above two quotes from Ronald Reagan sum up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is an absolute abomination that the current government violates both of these statements as well as the Founding Documents of this country. The problem is that many people within this country are oblivious to the apparent disregard our government & politicians have for the principles of our Founding Documents.
This last statement follows up the previous post in this series with this question: In your government and/or civics classes, did your curriculum include a study of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Or was it a footnote in the history of this country? In my classes in the 70’s, the answer is “No.” My son’s textbooks and classes definitely did not.
The Constitution of the United States is a very simple document that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the three branches of government. The Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments to the Constitution) are the Rights of the People have over the government. Both documents are easy to read, and can be read in 15 minutes or less. But the implications of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are far reaching.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” – Preamble to the Constitution of the United States
“THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.” Preamble to The Bill of Rights
When read together, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights state that the People have power over the Government, not the other way around. Let’s take a few examples of where the Government is not following our Founding Documents.
The most recent example of a violation of the Founding Documents is the Federal mandating of the purchase of health insurance. No where in the Constitution does it state that as a condition of citizenship a person must purchase a product offered by a private company. Our Supreme Court has played it fast & loose by accepting (wrongly) that this act is a tax – the fact remains that a citizen must purchase this product or face a penalty.
Another issue that is facing the modern Citizen is privacy. The Fourth Amendment states,
“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.”
The warrantless gatherings of emails, phone records, and other information by the NSA is a violation of the Fourth Amendment if not in practice, then in spirit. Now I understand that the Patriot Act supposedly authorizes the gathering of such records, and if so, the Patriot Act violates the Fourth Amendment.
The Fifth Amendment states:
“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
In 2005, the Supreme Court held that government, under eminent domain law, could transfer property from one private party to another if “just compensation” is given and the transfer is in the public good. At issue was a person did not want to sell their property to a developer wanting to build a shopping mall. For the sake of jobs and tax revenue, the government sued and won. This ruling legalized the virtual theft of private assets on the whim of whoever is in power, and I believe in violation of the Fifth Amendment, no matter what the Supreme Court ruled.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” – Ronald Reagan
It is now up to the average citizen to educate themselves as to the rights of a Citizen of the United States, and to what limitations that the government is legally to follow. In today’s low-information voter, that isn’t likely to happen until government personally impacts that person. Usually, it is then too late.
We must indeed be vigilant and vocal with our representatives, holding them accountable to their oaths to this country and to the People they represent. Otherwise, we will indeed get the country we truly deserve.