December 21, 2005

A Matter of Trust

The United States Constitution and of the Bill of Rights are there to protect us from the Government because, fundamentally, the Government cannot be trusted.

First let’s lay some background by talking about the
United States Constitution & The Bill of Rights. Keep in mind that this is the basis of our system of government and was born out of our separation from England after the American Revolution in the latter 1700’s. As we recall the story, a band of colonists organized against the government. That’s right - our forefathers were a band of insurgents who organized against the occupying government. Sound familiar?

One of the things that the reader needs to understand & acknowledge is that the fundamental purpose of our Constitution is to protect the people. The very first words – WE THE PEOPLE – shout out from the inception that the words to follow are there for us. But who (or what) are the people being protected from?

The answer to this question is crystal clear. The United States Constitution was fundamentally designed to protect the people FROM THE GOVERNMENT. That’s right – our forefathers understood the problems and dangers of a Government being too powerful (at the time it was England), and fashioned a series of laws to protect the citizens from the Government.

Think about it…

The first amendment in the Bill of Rights is all about the freedom of speech (Religion, Press, & Expression), protecting the people’s right to dissent against the Government:

“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.”

The second amendment of the Bill of Rights professes the people’s right to bear arms to protect themselves. Protect ourselves from whom? The Government, of course:

“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.”

The fourth amendment of the Bill of Rights specifically protects the citizens of The United States from what the unchecked, unbalanced presidency of our country is currently doing to us:

“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.”

Amendments 5 – 8 all address the processes and issues around how the Government can treat the people in the event of (alleged) criminal activity. These amendments articulate due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, speedy trials, confrontation of witnesses, trial by jury of one’s peers, and cruel & unusual punishment.

Checks & Balances

Our forefathers had the hindsight of knowing that concentrated power was dangerous. The phrase “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is not just a catch-phrase… it’s been proven over and over again. To address this, they fashioned our Government into three distinct branches, with the specific purpose of separating the powers and building in oversight. Again, the underlying purpose was to protect the people from the Government.

Why protect the people from the Government?

The basic premise is trust. There is NO trust, nor should there be. If the Government could be trusted, then we wouldn’t need laws that specifically guaranteed us the freedom to express, publish, peacefully assemble, and practice our own religion. If the Government could be trusted, then we wouldn’t need laws that specifically guaranteed us the right of due process and to bear arms. And if the Government could be trusted, we wouldn’t need laws that specifically guaranteed us the protections from unreasonable searches & seizures and cruel & unusual punishment.

Now we need protection from George

We’ve learned that for four years now the President has been unilaterally ignoring the United States Constitution and personally authorizing wire taps, eavesdropping, and surveillance, on US citizens, without judicial oversight. The ignorant right-wing sheeple out there feel that this is okay with them because the President is keeping us safe from terrorists. Without oversight however, how do we know that the President is only spying on terrorists or suspected terrorists?
How do we know that the Government hasn’t been spying on groups which are not known to be terrorist threats, such as anti-war activists, peace activists, environmentalists, etc? How do we know that the President didn’t abuse this power to spy on domestic political enemies in his effort to get reelected?

We don’t know. Instead, we’re told that we should just trust the Government & the President. Quite frankly, I don’t. What has George W. Bush done to earn my trust after all the lies, scandals, and cronyism? What has George W. Bush done to earn my trust after leading us into a preemptive war in Iraq, based on fabricated intelligence, that will cost upwards of ½ trillion dollars, and tens of thousands of lives? What has George W. Bush done to earn my trust after being asleep at the wheel on September 11th 2001, stealing two presidential elections, alienating almost every international ally, withdrawing from every treaty, robbing the poor to give to the rich, decimating the separation between church & state, and thumbing his nose at the US Constitution (after all, “…it’s just a Goddamn piece of paper…”)?

Ladies & Gentlemen… the George W. Bush Administration is the epitome of our distrust in Government. They are the very reason why we need a powerful and articulate Constitution to protect us from abuse of Governmental power. They have subverted the US Constitution in every way imaginable, and by doing so, they have trampled on the very heart of our American values – freedom, democracy, and civil liberties.


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