Armchair Ponderings
The Bill of Rights, a short version!

Guy Geller

Donuts on Cake

Last week I spent an exorbitant amount of time and print space on the illegal attempted takeover of Ukraine by Russia. Putin’s projected 48 hours until victory passed. By the time this is printed, it will have been the beginning of the third week of carnage. Not only will he have egg on his face, but he has been named a pariah and should be tried as a war criminal for his attacks on civilians. His attempted takeover has run into heavy and unexpected opposition by civilians including little old ladies. Shame on him and his generals! This illegal campaign gave me occasion to pause and think about what could happen in this country if China, Russia and Iran decided to spread their wings by attacking the United States interests. Don’t think it can’t happen!

The main document holding this country together is the Constitution written in 1787 and ratified in 1788. It was then amended by the Bill of Rights in 1791. Since then, seventeen more amendments have been added. Now it is constantly under attack by self-appointed groups who think they know better.

Let’s look at the Bill of Rights and what it tells us. First, we learned in civics or history class that the Bill of Rights consist of the first ten Amendments to The United States Constitution. We are all familiar with the First, the Second and probably the Fifth Amendments. What about the other seven? Since then seventeen more amendments have been added, we will save those for another time.

James Madison proposed ten amendments to the Constitution in order to gain support from both houses of congress and of the people. George Mason opposed the new government to the point that he was one of the three delegates along with Edmund Randolph also of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts who refused to sign the Constitution. These amendments themselves would not change the direction of the Constitution but would help the citizens of this new country.

They are a bit lengthier than what I’m going to offer, however this is to go over the intent of each.

First Amendment:
It gives us the right to speak, express ideas in the press (such as I do every week). It gives us the right to assemble or even gather in protest, to ask the government to fix problems. It gives you the right to attend the church of your choice without the government dictating that one church is better than any other.

Second Amendment:
Protects the right to own and bear arms.

Third Amendment:
Prevents the government from forcing homeowners to house military personnel or the right to take over private homes.

Fourth Amendment:
It prevents authorities from conducting “unreasonable Search and seizures” of private property.

Fifth Amendment:
It’s intended to protect the rights of people accused of crimes. Serious charges must be started after a review by a grand jury. A person cannot be tried twice for the same crime or have property taken away without just reimbursement. It gives the accused the right against self-incrimination and cannot be imprisoned without the due process of law.

Sixth Amendment:
Gives the accused the right to a public and speedy trial by an impartial jury. Witnesses must face the accused and the accused has the right to an attorney and the right to provide his or her witnesses.

Seventh Amendment:
Allows for a jury trial in Federal civil cases.

Eighth Amendment:
Bars excessive bail, fines and cruel and unusual punishment.

Ninth Amendment:
Specific rights listed in the Constitution does not limit other rights that have not been listed.

Tenth Amendment:
The Federal Government has only the powers as listed in the Constitution. Non-listed rights belong to the states or to the people.

Now a word to the truckers who protested the COVID-19 mandates by driving two loops slowly, around the beltway surrounding Washington, D.C. Sunday. Though the first amendment allows you the right to protest; stop and think how much better you have it than the people of Ukraine. This may not be the proper time to go on with the protest, now that the reason has been curtailed. Of course, we have to ask, would the ban have been lifted without the threat or the act of the protest?

Donuts on Cake