I was revisiting my Constitution and Amendments this morning during quarantine. After all, I had nothing better to do with my time. Interesting read. I remember studying these back in high school and junior high. As I read them, they came back to me. "Ah, yes. I forgot about that one. Now I remember."
I bought this copy during one of my international travels, back when free Americans could still travel. It was in an airport book store. Will we still have those when we get released from quarantine? I hope so. I really liked them. The pamphlet was in a little box on the side of the counter, and they were selling them for a little over a dollar. “Why not?” I asked myself, so I picked one up.
The full Constitution and 27 Amendments are only 38 pages long, and this booklet is only 3” x 5”. It takes a few minutes to read.
As I read it this morning, I was amazed by its simplicity. The wording is very straightforward and simple. It goes straight to the point with no legal double talk. It is written for clarity, not for confusion as are many laws and bills today. Even the Amendments are summarized at the top with one clear statement. The Founders knew what they wanted to say, and they said it. They did not mince words. They did not want any confusion or question. They said what they meant, and they meant what they said.
I encourage everyone to buy their dollar copy and read it. It is rather eye opening, particularly in the midst of quarantine. When you do read it, you will realize just how many of our Constitutional rights are stepped on. Here is a little summary of the more obvious transgressions.
Amendment I - Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition
We are currently prohibited from assembling in groups greater than 10. We are not allowed to enter a house of worship. We are being censored on public platforms which are intended as communication channels. The press and news media are being directed as to what to report and not report.
Amendment II - Right to bear arms
There are those in government who are challenging this right. They feel it is for our own good to disarm ourselves. They ignore so many history lessons like those before, during, and after the World Wars as well as the Revolutionary War, when citizens, deprived of the ability to protect themselves, were at the mercy of injustice. There is a reason this Amendment exists, and the government is questioning the rights of the people. If this right fails, it is a slippery slope for all rights.
Amendment III - Housing of soldiers
This Amendment restricts the entry of government soldiers into our homes. This does not just mean physical presence; it extends to virtual presence as well. No government entity shall be housed in our homes, and yet the NSA is collecting personal data on its people. This is about to extend to medical and HIPPA data as well with forced government testing and tracking of all citizens, invading not just our homes, but our physical bodies.
Amendment IX - Rights retained by the people
This is perhaps one of my favorite Amendments as it says very clearly that the Constitution is not meant to restrict the rights of the people but rather to ensure the rights of the people. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Amendment X - Powers retained by the states and the people
Now we have come to my favorite Amendment, the one that covers everything after. It simply states: “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.” That one statement limits the power of the federal government and ensures the rights of the people and the states in which they live. People say that the Constitution says nothing about the “right to privacy.” Wrong. It clearly does. Read Amendment X, and you will see why this right is protected under the Constitution of the United States. This extends to the right of the people not to have to donate personal medical data and “specimens” to the US government for collection and data tracking.
Amendment XIV - Civil rights
This one is also very clear, echoing the words in the Preamble to the Constitution in its aim to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” It says that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property.” Being forced into your home, being denied the ability to freely travel, being prevented from labor, and being prevented from property which you earned through your own free labor are the restrictions of the current pandemic.
This is not to say that citizens should not, of their own free will and for the benefit of society and their neighbors, take recommended precautions, but those precautions of six feet distance, which would be reasonable and logical even for a simple outbreak of the flu, should not be imposed on citizens by their government. We are reasonable people, and it is in each person’s right, power, and freedom to exercise the recommendations of healthcare specialists and scientists. It is even in their own right, power, and freedom to intentionally become sick if they so choose, perhaps as in the case of caring for or visiting others from a sense of concern or moral obligation.
And when the government selects to control its citizens' actions and movement saying that it is for our own protection and safety, beware. That is the mark of an authoritarian government that is not acting on behalf of its citizens but instead acting on its own self interest. We must value liberty above the government’s urge for control under a false assertion that such a system is acting for our own good. We as individual free people are responsible for our own health and safety, not a system of government.
We the people have the ability to act on our own behalf, and this is not just an ability, it is a set of rights outlined in the Constitution of these United States. No system should violate those rights, and if it does, it is a good citizen who stops and questions such violations. The rights are not hard to understand or access. They are all beautifully outlined in 38 simple pages that everyone can buy for a dollar or read for free on the internet.
These rights and liberties are the reason my father traveled an ocean and escaped a communist, oppressive, and unjust system of government. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past. By all means, let us remember our Constitutional rights which our Founders fought, died, and carefully ensured for all citizens.