Listening to Dan Carlin's latest podcast, "Searching for Security", my mind kept wandering beyond what he was talking about. The point of the first half of the show was the erosion of the fourth amendment of our constitution. In case you haven't read it lately, here it is:
"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."
Dan was talking about the warrant less wire taps, illegal searching using "bots" to find people that look at certain types of websites, even seizing of library records and searching of Internet service providers e-mail records for suspicious words and phrases.
The question ended up being whether the fourth may or may not be outdated in today's society. He spoke about Louis Freeh, the FBI Director under president Clinton. He used a quote from Freeh that loosely said "if you ask someone if it is acceptable to tap their phone, they will absolutely say NO. If you ask them if they want a device to help find where their children are, they are all for it."
All the while, I was thinking, "Wow, think about the rest of the constitution and where that has gone too?" The first amendment. Freedom of press, religion, assembly, speech and petition. These words too, have been slowly bastardized to the point of being nearly useless. It too often seems that all laws have to be completely anti religion today. The press is pressured to not be the watchdogs of government. Check out this link: http://www.iptv.org/iowajournal/story.cfm/31 . In order to assemble where we live, there are countless permits and costs. You can't just organize a good ole sit in and not be arrested. Hundreds of thousands of people did manage to make it through the red tape on April 15th only to be played off by the major media outlets as right wing extremists, and as one major unnamed news outlet (name looks like it could mean Communist News Network) said "tea bagging rednecks". Suppose they may have felt a little pressure from the administration or the "party"? Don't even talk about how well you shot at the sporting clays range yesterday while you are in the airport today.
The second amendment. Probably THE most attacked part of the constitution, other than the tenth amendment. I happened across Huckabee's show on Fox News today. He had Charles Grodin on to talk about his new book. Grodin hadn't even been completely introduced yet when he went into a tirade about gun violence. Was the Clinton gun ban an erosion? Is the following proposed bill http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h45/text an erosion of the constitution? I find it ironic the guy proposing it , long time Clinton family friend and Chicago's own Bobby Rush, is a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panthers and went to jail for felony possession of firearms.
The list goes on. There are examples of infringement on every piece of the Contract that our nation was founded upon. At times, the document is used against itself. In today's age of mass transportation and instant information, the necessary and proper clause and the interstate commerce clause are used consistently to destroy the tenth amendment. Read the text of the gun ban proposal at the link above for a classic example. Interstate commerce of firearms is used as the excuse for national licensing. The Second and Tenth are taken away, as they are written, in favor of a part of the body of the text.
This document is the foundation of our nation. Although it is written in far more proper English than we are used to reading in today's lowest common denominator (the bottom number in a fraction for you lefties) age, it is still pretty straight forward and forthright. Why it needs to be "interpreted" has always bothered me. If it outdated, let's not just chip away at it. It's illegal to do so. Let's man up and change it according to the law.
I believe, as Dan said, that the American people would never go for this and the politicians know it. What he left unsaid however, is the fact that politicians are smart. They have figured out that the American public is largely full of people who feel they are too busy to pay close attention. Law is boring and complex so it's extremely easy for them to get around that little stumbling block that holds our Nation together. My fear is now that folks appear to be waking up, it may be too late. The difference between left and right seems to be more like the difference between Valencia and naval oranges rather than apples and oranges.
We have to remember the body of the document had zero chance of passing until a Bill of Rights was included. These ten items secured a small national government free of tyranny in favor of strong local governments of the people. This security is only possible if we the people ensure OUR EMPLOYEES (the Congress and President) live up to the law.
Please check out Dan Carlin's Common Sense and Hardcore History podcasts. He truly is half Ann Coulter and half James Carville. You can find him at http://www.dancarlin.com/ . He never fails to make me think; a lot.
A couple pertinent quotes from Ben Franklin:
"He that lives upon hope will die fasting."
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
There's power in them there words!