Let me start this little piece with a confession: I feel like crap. The cottonwood is snowing allergens outside; my sinuses are full and my head hurts. I have medicines for this but they don’t work as well when the sky is swimming with the evil plankton of spores.
That being said, I have things to write about, some of which you might find disagreeable.
Disagree! That’s the American way.
I believe in the Constitution of the United States of America. Here’s my take on parts of the Bill of Rights.
Amendment I: 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.
Okey Dokey. This means that there is to be no national religion. The Republican Party can be full of evangelical Christians but the government shouldn’t get involved with preventing people from practicing the religion of their choice, be it Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, or those Hale-Bopp comet folks. If someone, in the name of religion, breaks the law then they should be punished like anyone else. Fly a plane into our buildings and we will hunt you down and kill you. Bomb our buildings and we will hunt you down and kill you. Starve your children, beat your children or your spouse, or burn down someone’s house or threaten them and we will hunt you down and punish you appropriately. But we don’t storm every mosque because a handful of evil wing-nuts interpret their sacred text to allow killing civilians.
This also means we can write, speak, blog, chant, sing, paint, draw, sculpt, hum, or mumble pretty much whatever we want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. We can also distribute our work through books, letters, posters, sky-writing airplanes, emails, and flower arrangements if it doesn’t hurt anyone. We can also criticize our government and demand a hearing on the behavior of any government institution from the CIA to the local Department of Parks and Recreation.
Also, bonus, we can burn any flag or effigies of our leaders or pretty much whatever symbolic protest we want so long as it’s open-burn season and it doesn’t hurt anyone. And you don’t have to like it if we do.
Would I burn the US flag? No. I happen to be a pretty patriotic lefty. Should I have the right? I already do and I’m pretty happy about it. I can also use any word I feel the urge to, ditto flipping you the bird and being generally disrespectful. I can be as rude and as stupid as I like.
I can’t throw rocks and I can’t flip over someone else’s car and I can’t spit on folks and I should be properly punished for doing so, even if my team wins the NBA championship.
There’s also nothing in there about not praying in public schools. Pray all you want, just don’t force my kids to partake in prayers they don’t perform at home.
Amendment II: 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.
Okay, I’ll buy it. I don’t own any guns but I’m glad I have the right to go buy one if I so choose. Hey, buy all the guns you want. Keep them clean, give them a nice cozy gun cabinet, and shoot all the animals you have permits for or all the skeet you can flip into the sky. Be careful and mindful where and when you fire them, though, because if you hurt me or my family accidentally or purposefully I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger - within the law, of course.
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.
This speaks for itself. Don’t come a-knocking if you don’t have a warrant, G-man. The government shouldn’t be able to shake folks down just because they have the badges. And remember that I work for the Man but still believe we need to be protected from the Man from time to time. The men and women working for the Man are not perfect.
I’m adding some emphasis to the next one to illustrate my point regarding Gitmo and to better explain myself to J-bro, a brother whom I love and respect but with whom I disagree on this issue.
Amendment V: 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.
We can hold you in times of public danger, Mr. and Mrs. Afghani, but you still deserve due process. Three years of interrogation is not due process. Sorry, Secretary Rumsfeld.
Oh and Mr. Bin Laden we will continue to hunt you down and we will kill you. Given the unlikely opportunity, I would personally pull that trigger or plunge that knife into your heart you evil bastard.
That’s my Constitutional rant. I’m a great deal to the left of the mainstream Republican Party but I’m frankly disappointed with the disorganization and often short-sightedness of the Democratic Party. The fringe has yet to produce much but more than one trick ponies and wing nuts.
I’m quite proud to be an American but I reserve my right to dissent when I think the government is not acting in the interest of the people of our great nation.
I wish to also express that I am going to sleep tonight sick as a dog but sleeping peacefully because of the brave men and women who fight to protect the rights I’ve mentioned. Declared or not, we are at war and it’s going to be a long, hard, bloody one.