Americans have no idea what their rights are and from whence they come. The most educated of the population will say our rights come from the Constitution. Few of them can tell you with any certainty what those rights are beyond “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” For the majority of Americans it is enough to say “I’m free.”
However, it is necessary to be clear what that freedom entails. I am free to swing my arms around but not in a space occupied by you. I am free to walk where I choose except where someone has locked the door on their property. Freedom is limited. No one has absolute freedom to act as they please when their actions impact another.
The protestors are mostly college-educated people who want to pursue happiness as well but at other people’s expense. History and civic responsibility are apparently no longer a part of college curricula. The crime of it all, they want to employ the power of an over-reaching government to take away the prosperity of others – all under the supposed guise of Constitutional rights.
I understand this about the Constitution - it is merely an old piece of paper. The Constitution does not give us the right of Religious freedom; neither does it ensure our liberties of any kind. Our history has shown that we only have those rights for which we are willing to stand. For without blood on the line, the Constitution is merely ink on the page.
In Boston, ordinary men stood and died facing overwhelming military superiority. In Valley Forge they stood shoeless in knee-deep snow. In France they waded ashore in the face of withering machinegun fire. And in Korea they drew the line against tyranny.
Americans have relied on the judicial system to define liberty for us. Lawyers in court have to tell us precisely how far our reach can be and just how much of our neighbor’s land we can cross before it is a crime. In the earlier days of the nation such limits were clear and easily defined. We did not need seven volumes of civic ordinances to tell us to respect our neighbors; we only needed one – the only volume most courts in the nation owned until the 20th century.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor,” (Exodus 20:17 NIV). “‘Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.’ Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ” (Deuteronomy 27:17). That was it; plain and simple – and intuitively clear without lawyers.
Nothing the protestors or the professional classes can do can destroy freedom. Legislators and jurists combined with the lazy and indigent cannot put an end to this noble experiment. It is the unconquerable will inside the American body that gives liberty, it is the willingness to face enemies abroad or at home that ensures freedom; even if that enemy is in the White House. No man can take from us that which we will not give. We only need decide to stand.
Justice Ginsburg photo courtesy of: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/lists/ig/Powerful-Women-of-the-Decade/Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg.htm
Michael Moore courtesy of his friends at www.CNN.com