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CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

Constitutional Rights suffer in varying degrees with all forms of government but certainly fare worse under emperors, monarchies and dictators. Socialism doesn't work well because it encourages an unequal division of labor and responsibility. Communal arrangements fare only slightly better. A true democracy is unwieldy and inefficient.

With great thought and much determination our forefathers sought to create a new type of government that would preserve the constitutional rights of its citizens by instituting a revolutionary type of government - a government that served the people and answered to the people - one where the elected were the servants and the people the masters.

To accomplish this, they provided a Constitution and Bill of rights that set safeguards at every level to protect the people's constitutional rights. You will note from a study of the Constitution that a good portion is devoted to requirements to be met for election to an office, that the three branches of the government are kept strictly separated to balance the power, that terms of office are staggered, that voting can oust an undesirable official, that impeachment power is granted to remove the Executive (President) or members of the Judiciary (Supreme Court).

Laws are unfortunately a necessary evil for civilization and the people give up rights when a law is formulated. A people could exist without laws if each individual lived on a separate island or if men were angels. Knowing that laws are necessary, but often unevenly applied, the greatest threat comes from a biased authority that threatens constitutional rights. This is most prevalent with a dictatorship or other form of a sovereign rule. If you will refer to Section 7 of the Constitution, you will note that in an effort to defend constitutional rights, great effort and thought was devoted to laws, their origin, to the passage required through both the House and the Senate and then to the president, who could sign or veto. Even with all that, a veto override was provided for so that neither Congress nor the President could unduly wield power.

Perhaps in this day of "double-speak", we should examine just why certain individuals seek to destroy the Constitution and common-sense of right and wrong and when excuses are made as to "just what the definition of is, is."
Possibly, this is just not conjecture but instead a wilful act of destruction of basic constitutional rights.

It certainly is appropriate to study an original of anything should you really want to know how it was constructed or formulated, why and what was originally intended. With that in mind, and having a basic understanding of the English language, let's examine what the craftsmen and signers of the Constitution meant in reference to constitutional rights.

Quoting Thomas Jefferson: "On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying to determine what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

And: "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion."

Quoting James Madison: "Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is a danger of oppression. In our government, the real power lies in the majority of the Community... Government is the mere instrument of the major number of constituents."

And: "Whenever there is an interest and a power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done and not less readily by a powerful and interested Party, than by a prince.

And: "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." (This is certainly apparent in today's political climate wherein thinly veiled attacks are being made on our constitutional rights).

Quoting George Washington: "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence...From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable."

Quoting Patrick Henry: "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined." (These men considered the right to arms as being the supreme of all the Constitutional Rights).

Quoting George Mason: "Disarm the people...that was the best and most effective way to enslave them."

Quoting Samuel Adams: "The Constitution shall never be construed...to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."

Quoting Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would sacrifice Liberty for temporary safety deserve neither Liberty nor safety." (Franklin was adamant in his belief that no constitutional right should be traded for safety).

Quoting Noah Webster: "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed...The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops..."

Having briefly examined the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the thinking of those that drafted this unparalleled document, it should be apparent that to surrender our Constitutional Rights is to doom forever the most successful form of government ever devised by man.