Friday, September 15, 2006


Sunday is Constitution Day, in commemoration of the completion of the draft of the US Constitution that we know today. I took a few moments to read the preamble this morning.
It would be a couple of years between the completion of the constitution and the creation of the Bill of Rights, but Constitution Day has turned my attention toward the amendments, as well.
Most Americans know (sort of) the 1st amendment, which guarantees some of our most important intellectual freedoms. Many others focus on the second amendment, no less important, that guarantees Americans the right to provide for their own defense. I find, however, that a staggering number of people haven't the faintest idea of what freedoms are ensured by the other faint brown words emblazoned on that fragile paper. For those who defile these in practice, I challenge you to have the courage to publicly ask for their repeal:

Amendment IV
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.

Amendment VI
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.

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

Elections are fast approaching. The primaries are behind us, and if you haven't already done so now is a good time to start preparing for the generals. I encourage everyone to read the Bill of Rights, inform yourself on the issues at play on your local ballots, and vote with your mind and your conscience. It is never enough to simply show up and punch the ticket along party lines.

Your politics are your own. Whatever they may be, register to vote.

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