Friday, December 31, 2004

A look at ourselves

After watching a movie on Christmas that I very much enjoy called "The Majestic," that deals with what this country became during McCarthyism; a subversion of what it was meant to be, it seems appropriate to write this entry.

Periodically in this nation's history, the government and its people have strayed from the values written into the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Even the writers of those documents wandered off the track of righteousness through their adherence to the belief that slavery was not a complete abomination. The evil that was slavery was not America's only failed moment. Our annihilation of Native Americans, racial hatred and oppression, Vietnam, Watergate, the Red Scare, secret government experiments on our own people, tolerance of worldwide genocide, and ... the current Administration's rejection of American values, principles and rights are all stark examples of the United States falling far short of the ideals of the treasured documents mentioned above.

As many people in the blogosphere and media will likely give thought to the year in review at this time, and compile lists of bests and worsts, Poetic Leanings would instead like to leave the year with thoughts of something rapidly being set aside by the Bush Administration.

Bill of Rights

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
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.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
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.

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