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Freedom Taken for Granted Will Be Lost
Throughout our history Americans have taken their freedom for granted. We are born with it intact, and are taught to expect the rights designated in the Constitution to apply to our lives from beginning to end. The original framers of this impressive document based its content on this premise, having defeated the British, and feeling the effects of true freedom from oppressive government for the first time. Americans were able to plan their lives around the needs of themselves and their families without government encumbrance.
During the last few days of the Constitutional Convention, George Mason posed the idea of enumerated rights being included in the document that would guide this nation toward a more secure future for its citizens. The idea was almost forgotten. Then, James Madison advocated the Bill of Rights, seeking to “remove the fears and quiet the apprehensions of many good people”, and to “effectively guard against any undue administration of the Federal Government”. Although these freedoms were already intact for this newly-formed free society, these forward-looking framers saw the potential for government intrusion and erosion of the rights individual Americans could someday face.
Never before have we placed ourselves and our nation in more peril than we have today. I would suggest that the majority of Americans could not name even five of the original Bills of Rights. We take for granted they will be there for us and future generations. This could not be more untrue or more dangerous.
Daniel Webster put forth the idea that almost anything to befall us, such as the physical destruction of our capitol buildings, economic woes, and natural disasters could be overcome, but if we fail to maintain our constitutional government there will be no good outcome. It will never be recovered.
The modern consensus of Americans seems to concede that their individual rights are subject to loss due to those who choose to abuse them. This is the beginning of our destruction.
The first amendment, providing for free speech, has been under attack for quite awhile. There is ever-growing pressure for “politically correct” speech, somehow defined only by the liberal left. While Democrats can call for civil discourse among political groups, they can also besmirch, falsely, anyone disagreeing with their failed policies. It never bothers their pundits to label African-American Republicans as “Uncle Toms”, “Oreos”, or worse, in order to hide the fact that they are actually free-thinkers, not bound by their skin color to the entitlement party, the Democrats.
The second amendment, protecting our right to bear arms, is also under severe attack. It is true the amendment calls for a “well-regulated militia”, but separately, and specifically, states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. This amendment does not give the government, federal or local, the authority to infringe this basic right. The movement to start with something seemingly simple, like background checks, is only the beginning of the erosion of our right to bear arms. If one person, whether insane or simply evil, chooses to use a firearm illegally, are we really willing to absolve our right to defend ourselves from other unlawful individuals or illegal government intrusion?
The third amendment, negating the ability of the armed forces to take over our homes to house themselves, seems on the surface to be a bit dated. However, if we give up the second amendment doesn’t it seem that the third could also soon be lost? In fact, the loss of the freedoms delineated in the first two amendments will inevitably lead to the loss of all others.
The only remedy is for American constitutionalists to secure these guaranteed freedoms in all forms. We must teach the Bills of Rights to our children, whether or not taught in the public schools. We must teach them to be truth-tellers, even if offensive to those not willing to face truth. We must also teach them to keep and bear arms in a responsible manner. If we do not take on the education of our children in all aspects of American life and values, the amoral values of big government will be instilled. More importantly, our youth must see us standing strong on our principles, not just shaking our heads and pining over our political losses. Generations of Americans have given their lives to uphold these rights. Are we ready now to negate the sacrifice of so many to just get along, ignoring the rising assault that will forever destroy the nation created for our future generations?
Americans need to realize that compromise is not always the best course of action. We cannot afford to compromise the very principles making this nation the greatest in the world. We must step up to the battle cry for freedom, just as our forefathers, with the understanding that a loss of one of our rights is a loss of all.