Progressive Action Spot

"Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves." Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Civics 101

Besides being extremely physically ill today I am emotionally tortured by what has become of America. I am sickened by how quickly a Country can turn from a place admired by the rest of the world to a Country feared, despised and ridiculed. We were admired – not because we were so superior, as the Nationalistic blind followers want to proclaim – but because we were a Nation of laws, not of men. We were a Country that was governed by the people. We were a shining example of a Representative Democracy, where the government derived their powers from the consent of the people.

The rest of the world had faith that we the people would never stand for a brutal and out of control Executive. How disappointed the rest of the world is…we have let them down, we have not stood up against this Administration, we have not stormed the streets and demanded accountability, we have proven them all wrong – we are no longer a Representative Democracy. We are a tyranny, and by default, we have consented.

It is the rule of law that made our Country great and now that rule of law has been squandered, slandered, beheaded and neutered. What are we teaching our children if we say to them that it is OK to break the law, just change it and make the changes retroactive?

Even more disturbing is that this Congress is changing the law to allow for the torture and the illegal imprisonment of people. To the blind followers: these are not “dangerous terrists”, these are people. They have not yet been convicted of anything and most have not yet even been charged.

There are a couple of great posts at Digby and at Balkanization about this. Unfortunately, there is not very much information at our Democratic leadership’s sites or at any of the campaign committee sites. They seem to have nothing to say about the sellout of America’s humanity.

America was founded on the ideal that we would no longer put up with tyranny.

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."


The men who signed their names to this document, our Declaration of Independence, knew that they were committing an act of treason with the stroke of their pen. They knew that they had put their own lives in danger and their families. They knew that they could be hanged and they understood that their personal futures were bleak. Most of them died penniless and in hiding. It did not matter to them because the ideal of the future that they were creating, for their posterity, far exceeded the personal danger that they faced.

The power and hope in the few words of this declaration are unmatched. They are unmatched because this was the beginning of a thinking society. A period of enlightenment, an age of reason, where we would throw off the shackles of superstition and irrationality and move forward with reason and study and bold new frameworks for existence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

"That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;"


This passage declares that we all have rights. It does not exclude terrorists – or those proclaimed terrorists by this villain sitting in the Whitehouse. America threw off the noose of a king when those men signed this document. We remained free until the 2000 election. America was hijacked then, a coup took place and we did nothing.

Eleven years after this Declaration was signed we held a Constitutional Convention, a very well studied and discussed deliberation where we decided what we would accept as the governing framework of our land. In response to a growing concern that the Constitution, as it stood, allowed for too strong a central government, and without further restraints would lead to tyranny, The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments were adopted.

I am quoting all of them, in full. It has become clear that Americans need a reminder of what these are and what they mean to us as a society.

I - Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition

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.

II - Right to keep and bear arms

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.

III - Conditions for quarters of soldiers
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

IV - Right of search and seizure regulated

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.

V - Provisons concerning prosecution

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.

VI - Right to a speedy trial, witnesses, etc.

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.

VII - Right to a trial by jury

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

VIII - Excessive bail, cruel punishment

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

IX - Rule of construction of Constitution

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

X - Rights of the States under Constitution

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


Amendments IV, V, VI, VII and VIII are violated with this proposed legislation. There is no discussion of the seriousness of this by our elected Representatives and we are not taking to the streets and demanding that this be stopped.

I wonder what it will take for Americans to stand up. I just hope that it is not too late.

7 Comments:

  • At 4:23 PM, September 23, 2006, Blogger Anjha said…

    Done for today...I just cannot stand it.

    We have an extremely gorgeous fall day and I am too sick to deal and I have to do the last mow of the season.

    Hang in there everyone, I know that I will be trying.

     
  • At 4:47 PM, September 23, 2006, Anonymous Seven of Six said…

    Hey, do you have a gas powered mower? I do and I don't own a lawn!

     
  • At 9:24 PM, September 23, 2006, Blogger Anjha said…

    Yes.

    Can hardly afford to fill the tank.

    I do not water my lawn, so there is little mowing the month of August, if at all.

    Damned grammar needs correctin'.

     
  • At 2:35 PM, September 24, 2006, Anonymous Seven of Six said…

    Hey, I hope your feeling better BTW.

     
  • At 5:03 PM, September 24, 2006, Blogger mainsailset said…

    Hope you feel better. It is a gorgeous day here as well and supposed to be nice all weekend. My neighbor used to say that RoundUp was his best gardening buddy. 'tis nice to know that this will be your last mow. I was gone for a week and the farmer's cows got loose and frollicked through my yard which is now well munched.

     
  • At 10:59 AM, September 25, 2006, Blogger Anjha said…

    I am OK. Not as ill as Saturday.

    Main, I have missed you. Where have you been? It is great to have you back.

     
  • At 11:45 AM, September 29, 2006, Blogger jaiellojr said…

    I found this piece on patriotism and I pass it on to anyone critized for speaking out:

    There is a lot of talk these days about patriotism and dissent. Most Americans have confused Patriotism with Nationalism, though the two are often diametrically opposed. Waving a flag is Nationalism. Dissent is Patriotism. "My country, right or wrong" and "USA: Love it or Leave it" is Nationalism. Pointing out dangerous flaws in government policy is Patriotism. Telling people to "Shut up and get in line with the President" or "If you don't like it, move to France" is the antithesis of Democracy. For a better understanding of Dissent and Patriotism, I leave you with these words from some of the greatest patriots in history:

    "It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from the government.
    - Thomas Paine

    "A President is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution".
    -- President James Madison

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither."
    - Ben Franklin

    "If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
    - Samuel Adams

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
    - Edmund Burke

    "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it."
    - President Abraham Lincoln

    "In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce and brave man, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
    - 'Mark Twain'

    "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President."
    - President Theodore Roosevelt

    "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
    - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1912

    "I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
    - James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

    "So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy."
    - Roger Baldwin

    "Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion."
    - Oscar Wilde

    "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
    - George Bernard Shaw

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
    - Dr. Martin Luther King

    "Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."
    - Haile Selassie

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
    - Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

     

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