Recently, I traveled to Washington DC for the first time for an art exhibit. It only took 38 years. On the flight there, I had the opportunity to read The United States Constitution from start to finish. It was very insightful to reacquaint myself to a document that seems to be referenced incorrectly and attacked frequently in our current political climate.
For example Article I, Section 8 states that Congress shall “…promote the progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The progress of Science and the Arts seems to have come to a stop in some political corners. With the questioning of global warming, the rewriting of history in textbooks, the denial of existence of dinosaurs and the creation of the planet, scientific evidence takes back seat to religious beliefs in policy making.
In Article IV, Section 3, I was reminded that the territories of the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico are owned by the United States. Senator John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. I don’t remember the fuss being made over his birth certificate being so aggressive.
Amendment I includes the Freedom of Speech and of the Press, Freedom of Assembly and Right to Petition the Government, and the Freedom of Religion. With the Occupy Movement and Tea Party protests, this amendment allows for diverse opinions. A freedom that is not common and welcomed throughout the world.
Included in Amendment I is the Freedom of Religion clause that protects persons who don’t believe or want to participate in religious activities. In fact, most of our founding fathers believed that government should have no religious undertones. Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
Amendment XXIV makes it quite clear that: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.” Even though this was ratified in 1964 to stop the disenfranchisement of poor and minority voters, currently some states are finding loopholes to do so. For example, Republican legislatures in Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia are rolling back early in-person voting which disenfranchises Democratic and minority voters.
We will be truly free when race, gender, sexual orientation, and economic status no longer buys or hinders rights in America. The preamble states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Sounds good to me.