Monday, December 15, 2014

Value your freedoms on Bill of Rights Day

Even through all of his New Deal efforts to reinterpret and undermine these foundational ideals, FDR nonetheless recognized the integral role of the Bill of Rights. It's no stretch to say that our elected officials in D.C. could use a refresher course!
RJ: Today is Bill of Rights Day. The observation, first ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, commemorates Dec. 15, 1791, when the first 10 amendments to our Constitution — known as the Bill of Rights — took effect. President Roosevelt ordered the recognition because he saw the Bill of Rights as “the great American charter of personal liberty.” And it’s not difficult to see why.

Although the Constitution was a monumental achievement that put power in the hands of the people, it was incomplete. It needed to be amended not only to strengthen our form of government and, in turn, our nation, but primarily to protect our most fundamental rights and freedoms. And for 223 years, that’s what the Bill of Rights has done.

As a result, the Bill of Rights has served as the focal point in the centuries-long debate about what it truly means to be an American. Over the years, as some in our nation have placed other, lesser ideas about government above the framework the Founding Fathers established, the public’s regard for the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights, both individually and collectively, has eroded. And our government, the very institution whose job it is to uphold the rights that protect our freedoms, has shown time and time again that it’s too happy to infringe on those rights — especially if its operatives believe we really don’t care about protecting them.

The Second Amendment, which gives Americans the right to keep and bear arms, is under constant attack, regardless of how often guns save lives through self-defense. Gun critics, like so many who believe the state can be trusted with ever more power, are more than willing to sacrifice your freedoms in exchange for the illusion of safety.

The quadrupling of warrantless wiretaps under the Obama administration, as well as the National Counterterrorism Center’s ability to create a database of information about U.S. citizens — even if they’re not suspected of a crime — constitutes an assault on the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unlawful search and seizure.

The First Amendment, the most important provision of the Bill of Rights, is despised by many circles across the political spectrum who can’t stand to hear ideas they disagree with. As more and more groups want more and more kinds of speech criminalized, or at least subject to intense screening and regulation, it is vital for our leaders to reiterate the importance of our press and citizenry freely discussing ideas — no matter how unappealing or uncomfortable they may be to others — without fear of prosecution. Instead, we see the Justice Department seizing cellphone records of reporters and editors at The Associated Press, and university leaders cracking down on speech that offends the delicate sensibilities of intolerant faculty and students.

The Internal Revenue Service’s inappropriate scrutiny of tax-exemption requests by conservative groups compromised those groups’ rights to peaceably assemble, engage in political expression and petition the government for a redress of grievances.

We do not, nor will we ever, live in a perfect nation. But the Bill of Rights ensures that we can all work together to a create “a more perfect” one. This Bill of Rights Day should serve as a reminder to value the freedoms we have — freedoms that so many across the globe do not — and to inspire us to exercise them and fight to keep them.
An Article V Convention of the States might certainly help them along in remembering our rights and their oaths.

Related link: Celebrate Bill of Rights Day on December 15!

No comments:

Post a Comment