Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Fourth of July

On this July Fourth, it might be a good idea, while the families are all together, to sit down and have a serious discussion about what the festivities are all about.

We, as Americans, have been so fortunate, that it is easy to forget how hard our forefathers fought for the freedoms we have enjoyed for the last 230-odd years. Consider how wise the framers of our Constitution were, and how far-sighted.

What would happen today, if, for some reason, we found it necessary to write a new constitution? How many of our current leaders would put aside their selfish agendas and turn away from partisanship and pressures from lobbyists, in order to write a document that would protect each and every American? How many of the amendments do you think we would end up with?

How would the new Preamble sound? Anything like this?

"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Which of these Amendments would survive?

Amendment I [Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition (1791)]

Amendment II [Right to Bear Arms (1791)]

Amendment III [Quartering of Troops (1791)]

Amendment IV [Search and Seizure (1791)]

Amendment V [Grand Jury, Double Jeopardy, Self-Incrimination, Due Process (1791)]

Amendment VI [Criminal Prosecutions - Jury Trial, Right to Confront and to Counsel (1791)]

Amendment VII [Common Law Suits - Jury Trial (1791)]

Amendment VIII [Excess Bail or Fines, Cruel and Unusual Punishment (1791)]

Amendment IX [Non-Enumerated Rights (1791)]

Amendment X [Rights Reserved to States (1791)]

Amendment XI [Suits Against a State (1795)]

Amendment XII [Election of President and Vice-President (1804)]

Amendment XIII [Abolition of Slavery (1865)]

Amendment XIV [Privileges and Immunities, Due Process, Equal Protection, Apportionment of Representatives, Civil War Disqualification and Debt (1868)]

Amendment XV [Rights Not to Be Denied on Account of Race (1870)]

Amendment XVI [Income Tax (1913)]

Amendment XVII [Election of Senators (1913)

Amendment XVIII [Prohibition (1919)]

Amendment XIX [Women's Right to Vote (1920)

Amendment XX [Presidential Term and Succession (1933)]

Amendment XXI [Repeal of Prohibition (1933)]

Amendment XXII [Two Term Limit on President (1951)]

Amendment XXIII [Presidential Vote in D.C. (1961)]

Amendment XXIV [Poll Tax (1964)]

Amendment XXV [Presidential Succession (1967)]

Amendment XXVI [Right to Vote at Age 18 (1971)]

Amendment XXVII [Compensation of Members of Congress (1992)]

How about the articles in the Constitution, itself, the ones that establish the separate branches of the government? Would we even still be a Republic after our current leaders got through with it?

In light of the latest of many assaults on the Constitution by our President, the commuting of Scooter Libby's sentence, it would probably be a good idea if we all started talking to each other about something besides the latest reality show on t.v. and start looking around us. We need to do some serious research into our education system, and the first thing we need to look for is whether or not our children are being taught courses in how our governments work, both state and federal. It used to be called "Civics" when I was in high school. Do they still have "Civics" classes?

Then, we need to do some studying of the laws being passed by our Congress and Senate. Which of our representatives are actually trying to help their constituents, listening to our opinions and then representing our interests, as they are supposed to. Do we have the courage to get mad and say, "My Congressman isn't doing right by me, so I'll have to vote him/her our of office and find someone who will?"

Who will protect the Constitution if we don't? And, if we don't, will there even be a Constitution left?


Kell said...

Brava! *clap clap clap clap clap clap*

Betty said...

Thankew, Kell, dear.

Nancy said...

Great post, Betty. You did a lot of research and a lot of thinking for this one.

Someone said the other day that Iraq needs a constitution and wondered why we don't just give them ours; we're not using it at the moment..

I don't know if they still have Civics class in our schools but when I watch Jaywalking on the Tonight Show I doubt it. The young people I see interviewed have no idea how our government works and don't really seem to care. I certainly hope they are not typical.

Happy 4th of July and

Betty said...

nancy: I hope they are not typical, too, but I'm afraid they are. Happy 4th to you, too.

Sister--Three said...

Betty, I love this post. The Supreme court has overtuned Brown vs the Board of Education with their last case.

her indoors said...

happy 4th of july Betty

gawilli said...

I agree with Nancy's comment - we're not using it at the moment. It is a strange time we're living in.

Chelle Y. said...

I do not know if they call it Civics anymore, but I did teach Government in high school a few years ago.

I think it's sad that most students cannot even name the Bill of Rights. They have not idea what the words are to the Star-Spangled Banner, or what sacrifices the men went through who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Also, not to mention the men who have sacrificed and are still now sacrificing their lives to serve our country.

Lena said...

This has been a fantastically written blog.

Similarly, in Britain it's sad to know that youngsters find WW2 and such things boring. My son's were fascinated at my old da's personal version of the war. It's a shame that those who sacrificed their lives for our future aren't being acknowledged by enough of today's youths.

Hope you had a great 4th of July!

Neil said...

Really interesting stuff Betty...