Many people are Feeling hopeless about the future of our country, simply because there is too much of everything holding us down: far too much indebtedness, too many wars, too much authority in the hands of a centralized government, too many militarized police, too many rules, too many lobbyists, and just too much bad news. Read on for more, just get ready, it WILL shock you,
It’s more difficult to maintain hope that things will improve, that the structure can be changed, that legislators can be ethical, that judges can be fair, that good can triumph over evil, or that freedom will ultimately win out.
Exactly where does this leave us, then?
The solution was given by Benjamin Franklin. On September 17th, 1787, as the participants of the Constitutional Convention marched out of Independence Hall, an anxious lady in the throng waiting at the door asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Dr, what have they got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin responded with, “A republic,” if you can retain it.
What Franklin means, of course, is that after everything has been said and done, we get the government we deserve.
The Founding Fathers and Mothers of the United States thought that citizens are the reason for the existence of government, and hence created the Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Its purpose is to safeguard, defend, and maybe expand our liberties, not limit or abridge them.
Our Bill of Rights was meant to safeguard citizens from tyrannical governments, but in modern America, governments do what they want and citizens have no recourse.
Because of the government’s complete lack of concern for its citizens’ safety and freedom, “we the people” are in a constant condition of fear, trauma, and obedience.
In the guise of national security, this same Constitution has already been progressively whittled away at, subverted, stripped away, whittled down, and typically thrown away with the support of the House and Senate, the White House, as well as the courts. The bogeyman’s name and face may change over time (terrorist activity, the battle against drugs, uncontrolled immigration, a viral disease outbreak, and much more to come), however, the end result stays the same.
Given the current climate of government surveillance, militarised police, SWAT team invasions, asset seizures, land rights, overcriminalization, armed aerial surveillance, whole security checkpoints, stop and pat down searches, vaccine regulations, lockdowns, and the like (all approved by Lawmakers, the White House, and the courts), reciting the Bill of Rights may seem like more like a memorial service to freedom and rights lost than a confirmation of rights we truly possess.
What we have now is a pale imitation of the strong document that was approved over two centuries ago. Regrettably, most of the harm has been incurred by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
Twenty-plus years after 9/11, when the country emerges from COVID-19 lockdowns & mandates, this is what it is like to live underneath the Constitution.
1st Amendment is designed to preserve the ability to voice your thoughts, gather and demonstrate peaceably without first being bridled by the government. It also safeguards the freedoms of the press, in addition to the ability to pray and worship without hindrance. In other words, the government has no right to stifle free speech in the United States. The whole of America was indeed a “free speech zone” in the founders’ minds.
The liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment are under continual threat, notwithstanding the document’s crystal-clear safeguards. Americans are being targeted for expressing their right to free speech by criticizing corrupt officials in government. People who have the audacity to video police officers engaging in harassing or abusive behavior are being detained and charged with crimes. Reporters who cover cases involving whistleblowers are facing criminal charges. Several states are considering laws to silence journalists who report on corporations’ use of cruel and abusive behaviors. Religious groups are being penalized for trying to feed and shelter the homeless. Those demonstrating are being met with tear gas, batons, arrests, and herded into “free speech zones.” And under the cover of “state speech,” the judges have concluded that the government may discriminate arbitrarily over any First Amendment activity that takes place inside a so-called govt forum.
To ensure “the rights of individuals to carry and keep arms,” the 2nd Amendment was drafted. The main goal of this amendment was to arm the people so that they could stand up to an oppressive government. While the Second Amendment right to own and bear arms has been upheld by the Supreme Court, ordinary citizens have little recourse when faced with red flag gun regulations, heavily armed police, Riot squad raids, or government agencies with weaponry more at home on the battlefield.
By making it illegal for the military to enter a private residence without “the agreement of the owner,” the Third Amendment reaffirms the idea that civilian, democratically elected authorities are superior to the armed forces. It is evident that we have what the founders of this country feared most: a standing military on American soil, with the law enforcers, growingly training like the army, trying to act like the armed services, and posing like military forces, complete with highly armed Armed officers, heavy weaponry, assault vehicles, etc.
Except in cases where they have probable cause, government officials are barred under the Fourth Amendment from conducting surveillance, touching, or intruding upon citizens or their property. The Fourth Amendment protects individual liberties and the security of one’s person. With the unjustified expansion of government police powers in recent years, including pat-downs and even rectal and uterine spot checks of people, electronic eavesdropping (company or otherwise), or invasions of privacy rationalized in the name of battling terrorist activity, in addition to the global sourcing of other illicit behavior to private contractors, the 4th Amendment has unfortunately suffered the most damage and has been nearly eviscerated.
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments are complementary to one another. These amendments were put in place to guarantee individuals a fair hearing before a civilian court and the right to hire an attorney if the government attempts to take away their life, liberty, or property without first establishing their guilt. But in the new suspicious culture, we live in, when monitoring is normal, these basic ideals have been flipped on their heads. If the government may freeze, take, or stake a claim to personal property (money, land, things) at will, through government asset forfeiture programs, you have no real rights.
Having a trial in front of a jury is a fundamental right that was established by the Seventh Amendment. But when people don’t know what’s in the Charter of rights and freedoms education has all but vanished from most school curricula—they’re more likely to be on an uneducated jury that can’t tell justice and the law apart from their own prejudices and concerns. However, as more and more people are realizing, the ability of the court to invalidate the acts of the government is not to be ignored and helps keep justice fair and proportional. By nullifying a law with a jury, citizens send a message to the government that they, not the government, have the last say on what constitutes a fair law.
The Eighth Amendment, like the Sixth, prohibits harsh and unusual punishment and is meant to safeguard the rights of those who have been wrongfully convicted. The Supreme Court’s decision that “cruel and unusual” punishments should change with the “changing norms of decency that reflect the evolution of a growing community” leaves us vulnerable to a lawless culture.
The Ninth Amendment ensures that additional rights not listed in the Constitution are held by the people. This amendment is a clear expression of popular sovereignty, the concept that authority originates from the people rather than from the rulers. However, it has been flipped on its head by a federal government that considers itself paramount and that continues to adopt more and more laws that limit our liberties under the guise that it has an “important government interest” in doing so.
The Tenth Amendment, which declares that “the people and also the States shall have sovereignty over all things not expressly delegated to the United States by the Constitution,” has long been made irrelevant by the centralized Washington, DC, ruling elite (the president, Congress, and the courts).
If we are to draw any conclusion from this laundry list of restrictions, it is that our personal liberties have been sacrificed in order to provide the state with more authority.
Starting with the words “We the people” was no accident, since they are among the most important in the whole document. Preamble text states:
To that end, be it resolved, that the people of the United States, acting collectively, do ratify and adopt this CONSTITUTION for the United States; that we thus establish justice, keep the peace, provide for the common defense, advance the general welfare, as well as safeguard the benefits of liberty to us and our posterity; and that we thus establish a more perfect Union.
That is to say, it is our responsibility to ensure that the government abides by the Constitution.
The state and its representatives are intended to serve us, the people.
We the people of the United States are to be the final arbiters and protectors of our country’s security, freedom, laws, and wealth.
A lack of knowledge about one’s rights and the proper functioning of government makes it difficult to be a decent citizen.
To paraphrase the National Review: “How can Americans possibly make wise and informed political decisions if they don’t comprehend the basic foundation of their government?” We, as American citizens, have had the right to govern ourselves yet it appears that we are gradually losing the ability to exercise that right.
Americans are fundamentally illiterate.
Few American individuals really understand what constitutional protections they are entitled to. The rights provided by the Constitution and also the Bill of Rights are not being adequately taught in American schools. According to a poll conducted by the Annenberg Law And Policy Center, just 36% of respondents were aware of all 3 branches of the United States government, while 35% were unaware of any of them.
Only one in a thousand persons in a study conducted by McCormick Tribune Liberty Museum were able to correctly list all five rights guaranteed by the Constitution. While just a fifth of respondents knew all five Simpsons characters by name, over half (52%) knew at least two. Half of the population may not know what the First Amendment guarantees them, but they can identify at least 1 of the 3 judges on American Idol.
Unfortunately, the situation will only worsen from here.
In the study, many participants’ understandings of the First Amendment were far from conventional. To provide just two examples, a shocking proportion of respondents thought that the “right to possess a pet” and the “right to drive a vehicle” were guaranteed by the First Amendment. About a third more thought that the right to “take the Fifth” was guaranteed by the Constitution.
The situation is not much better for educators in positions of authority. The Institute for Survey Analysis and Research showed that 20% of teachers couldn’t identify any of the liberties guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.
Politicians and other officials at all levels of government share this lack of knowledge. They swear allegiance to the Constitution and promise to protect it from “adversaries foreign and domestic,” but their ignorance of the Bill of Rights frequently makes them our foes.
So, what is the answer?
Education on “their rights, interests, and duties” was a top priority for Thomas Jefferson because he knew it was the only way to ensure the survival of democracy.
If we believe the people are not educated enough to wield their authority with a healthy discretion, the solution is not to remove it from them but to explain their judgment via education, as Jefferson said in 1820. This is the real remedy for violations of the Constitution’s separation of powers.
Everyone in public office, starting with the President, is responsible for maintaining the principles outlined in the Constitution and indeed the Bill of Rights, and this includes a thorough understanding of these documents. One approach to achieve this is to have government officials enroll in a course mostly on Constitution and then pass a comprehensive test on it before they are permitted to join office.
There are others who argue that high school graduation should be contingent on students’ passing the citizenship test for the United States. Some people think it should be a standard for entering university. I’d go as far as to say that the citizenship test should be a prerequisite for elementary school graduation.
A great way to learn your rights and speak up for what you believe in is to join The Rutherford Institute, where you’ll get a pocket Bill of Rights as well as a Know Your Rights card. This card may be used to discuss the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Rights with your kids.
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