Another 4th of July has come and gone leaving behind a tattered and torn Constitution for a people that had rather watch [and worship] “Idols” and the numerous “Amazing Soaps de jour” on TV than add their voices to protest.
Bush’s Bill of Wrongs is supplanting the Bill of Rights [BOR’s] while most of the country yawns. Have we forgotten why the Constitution was revised by the addition of the first 10 Amendments - The Bill of Rights?
It was revised by the Founders because they worried that the Constitution they had just written was so powerful that it could lead to a repressive central government.
The first 8 Amendments list basic rights to protect the citizens from abuse by the federal government. The separate states could still enact laws that took these rights away and the BOR’s could not protect them.
When the Congress in 1866 noted that state laws were circumventing the 13th Amendment which prohibited slavery, it proposed the 14th Amendment.
Part of it reads: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Because of these words, discriminatory tax laws are invalidated; homeless and underage laborers are protected; basic medical services for the poor are guaranteed. They are also the basis for gay rights and protect women’s reproductive choices.
Without those words, government can run roughshod over all of the gains women have made toward equality. And we know that the present administration and the Republicans are determined to centralize power at the federal level and destroy the protection at the state level.
In celebration of those words and the 4th of July, we figuratively lay 14 red roses on the Constitution knowing full well how close Bush is to burying those words and women’s rights along with them.
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