Tuesday, December 20, 2005

As our nation loses its soul...

Our nation has a soul.

It is called the Constitution.

Terrorists can burn the White House and the nation will survive -- the British burned it in 1814, but the nation moved forward.

A sniper can put a bullet in the head of a beloved President, and the government continues -- 1963 was a sad year, but America endured.

A President can resign in disgrace, and the rule of law will stand firm -- as it did in 1974 when President Ford declared "Our long national nightmare is over."

Let Mt. Rushmore crumble.

Let the Statue of Liberty collapse into the waters of Upper New York Bay.

Let the Liberty Bell turn to dust.

Let even the ink upon the old parchments fade from the Constitution of the United States.

But as long as the words of the Constitution survive and are kept in force our nation will endure.

The only true threat to our country is the abdication of our Constitution.

Have you ever noticed that when joining the American military the soldier, airman or sailor does not vow to protect the people or the government or the land? They are asked to state their names and solemnly swear (or affirm) to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Judges, senators and representatives of congress repeat the same oath, according to the US Code, section 5, subpart B, chapter 33.

Likewise, the President of the United States does not pledge or swear to protect America, Americans, national security, or vital interests. He or she must pledge "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

If the Constitution dies, so does the soul of our nation.

Which brings me to the first ten amendments that were added to the Constitution -- we call them the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment says, "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."

Few provisions of the Bill of Rights grew so directly out of the experience of the colonials as the Fourth Amendment. It had long been part of English law, and Americans were slow in embracing the concept -- which it did after painful experience.

King George and his soldiers had frequently entered homes without permission of the owners or warrants from a court.

After the Revolution, Americans found it easy to think that their own government would respect the English concept, ''Every man's house is his castle.''

No.

Any government will abuse its power over the individual, and so a collection of amendments were added to the Constitution protecting the rights of the citizen.

Which brings me to President George W. Bush.

He is spying on American citizens.

He calls warrants inconvenient -- but under the Foreign Intelligence surveillance Act, a warrant PRIOR to the search is not necessary. The government has three days after the search to obtain the warrent, thus enabling immediate action in dealing with potential terrorists.

Our nation is losing its soul.

Could it be that the terrorists won on September 11, 2001, and we are only just now noticing?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Lorna said...

This is a very well written post, but I'm not sure that the constitution is - or should be- the soul of any nation or any person.

Your post made me think and I read - and feel - much of the sorrow behind it. I'm sorry for your loss

3:16 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I pains me to agree, though the declaration of loss may be premature. Like Nixon, and those in the Executive branch who have been caught abusing the Constitution, the final verdict is not determined by the violation. The rule of law is not destroyed when someone breaks the law – only when those who have sworn to uphold the law do nothing.
It is now on the Congressional, Judicial, Electorate and press to determine whether we lose our soul. The President, who has confused a democratic republic with monarchy, has abused the Constitution, the very document that defines the essence of America. It will be for the rest of us to determine whether we lose our national soul.
As for the terrorists winning (at least this battle) – I thought that was evident when we abandoned the pursuit in Afghanistan. I think it will be clearer when Iraq goes from a secular state that tolerated Christianity to an Islamic nation that closes the churches and the Gospel.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Angelique said...

The Constitution is important because those wacky first Americans were developing a new form of government that had never been done before called democracy. More importantly they developed a Bill of Rights for its citizens. Everyone, of course, has unalienable rights but those were not understood or respected by governments whose ruler was absolute. Your rights were shit if you were everyone else especially if you were poor or weak. I love America, what other country states in it's Bill of Rights that if the government is being tyrannical to its citizens they can revolt. Believe me it's suprising how many modern countries do not have this written down on paper so they can legally bulldoze their citizen's rights. You gotta love those American forefathers for putting our rights down on paper because without it things would be different and not in a good way.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Gord said...

Looking on from a Canadian perspective I have to agree--although I am not sure if the COnstitution is your nation's soul in practice as much as in theory. I wrote a post on much the same theme using the decision to use or destroy the One Ring as a parable. You can find it here:
http://followingfrodo.blogspot.com/2005/12/maybe-terrorists-actually-have-won.html

9:08 PM  
Blogger callieischatty said...

I disagree that we are lost. If that were so we couldn't be having this debate about it.
Don't worry, this too shall pass.

4:23 PM  

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