17 Sep 2010

How about those rights?

It's been 223 years since the US Constitution was written (it was ratified about a year later), and we've done pretty well with it.*

There are two things I especially like about the constitution:
  • First Amendment: 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.
We are not a christian nation. We are a nation of individuals free to practice any religion we want, or none at all. Religious practices can occur on private property, even if it's near ground zero. Further, we can say what we want (hate speech is ok, burning flags, bibles and korans is ok).**
  • Tenth Amendment: 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.
The Congress and executive have abused this one, overreaching their authority in the name of "interstate commerce." That annoys me, because it prevents states from trying different ideas as well as blanketing the country with one-size-fits-all laws (abortion, drugs, traffic, etc.) that don't fit at all.

Happy Birthday!

* Perhaps because of its simple, flexible framework. This can be good (political parties and presidential cabinets are not mentioned) or bad (gerrymandered representative districts and corrupt campaign finance were not foreseen).

** Unlike this: