Oh blessed unerring document, we must protect its sacred words – or at least that’s what many on the right in the US would have us believe. The US Constitution (including the Bill of Rights), was a complete, although unfinished, document and one upon which we are still working. It is not the unerring words of our “founding fathers,” white men who did not implicitly protect, free speech, freedom of religion, physical freedom for people, free press, right to assemble, or the ability to seek redress from the government for grievances .
WTF, I hear you saying. Go ahead and read it, as it was written, its original text. I’ll wait.
Here’s the 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.
It didn’t say the states couldn’t. And they did. States had state religions, banned literature, restrictions on press etc, all the way until the 20th century.
At that time, the federal government did not explicitly prohibit these things, nor protect them as inalienable rights. It simply said, Congress shall make no law restricting or establishing. I know you’re scratching your head. You thought the Constitution was sacred, handed down by a Christian God. Obama wants to destroy it. He is a tyrant. He wants to take away our guns.
Want to know who else was a tyrant?
Abraham Lincoln. He was a tyrant because he wanted to expand the federal definition of freedom to the states.
Want to know something else? Activist judges were the ones to encroach the constitutional protections to the states. Yes, activists judges (as the right likes to call them) gave you your freedom of speech and press.
When did this happen?
1925. Did you get that? It wasn’t until nineteen twenty-five that case law recognized that the Bill of Rights applied not just to the federal government, but to the states. And it wasn’t even really over at the point. It’s still being fought about.
So, let’s remember that the Constitution is not sacred in its original form. It was a complete document, but we’ve been fleshing it out, still working on it, tweaking it to make it better lo these 230+ years. It also goes hand in hand with just as many years of judicial precedent.
Intentions of our “founding fathers?” Their intentions were noble, I imagine, but short-sighted. They left out women, black people, none-land holding whites, did not protect freedom of speech, assembly, press, religion, did not prohibit involuntary servitude, and a whole host of things.
Once we see the document as above reproach we cease to grow as a nation as a people.
Our story as a nation and our document are not yet finished and they will continue to be written and perfected. They are not perfect, just as we are not perfect.
We/it are works in progress.