Friday, January 29, 2010

How did they know to do that?

Well, as some of you know, my wife and I home school my son, who is now 14 and in 8th grade. We've been studying the US Constitution and I've been reading some of what these founding fathers - these absolute geniuses - have written, and asking myself, "How did they know to do that?"

It's astounding to me that they thought through SO many things in SO much detail, and I thought I'd take a few minutes to enumerate just a few of the things I'm talking about.

The first thing that struck me was right at the beginning of the document - Article 1, Section 3. They set up the Senate so that every two years one-third of the Senate would be up for re-election. They did this on purpose so that there would always be experienced people in the Senate. In my opinion, this is evidence that the intent was that it was not meant to be a career, but a service to your country. Having experience meant having been in the Senate for a few years (3, or 4, or 5, etc.), not 30! They INTENDED there to be frequent turn-over in that chamber, but they also didn't want a bunch of rookies all learning the ropes at the same time. THAT'S thinking ahead!

The next thing was, a Senator or Representative can not be arrested if they are going to the House or Senate, nor can they be arrested for what they say on the floor of the House or Senate (Article 1, Section 6). This way, they can speak their mind and conscience without fear. When you think about it, it just makes sense - if you just arrest the person you disagree with, they can't vote. My point here is, who would have thought ahead enough to think that through? Maybe they'd run across similar things in other governments they were familiar with, but still...genius.

Next, we have Article 1, Section 8, (sub-section 12). Congress may create and support (read: finance) an army, BUT it can not appropriate money to that use more than two years in advance. At first glance, this may seem just a budgeting necessity. But actually, the limit of two years helps to prevent the military from taking over.

Now I'll skip ahead to the Bill of Rights. Right away, the First Amendment guarantees five specific rights. The one I'm most interested in for this post is the right of assembly. We take this right for granted, but there was a certain amount of foresight that went into this. Without this right, we would not be able to assemble for any reason unless permitted by the government. That means no churches (except a state-run church), no clubs, or any kind of private organization. It also means no assembling to protest the government. The lack of this right often leads to dictatorships. Again, it seems pretty obvious, but they somehow knew that this right MUST be SPECIFICALLY listed so that there could be no misunderstanding or manipulation of law by those in power.

Amendment 5 addresses the rights of the accused. No citizen can be forced to give evidence against himself. Therefore, there's no advantage in torturing someone to force information from them (in theory, at least). I think this was a remarkable idea and well thought out.

Amendment 5 also allows, unfortunately, for the government to take away a person's property - but at least they stipulated that the person from whom it's taken MUST be JUSTLY compensated. THAT'S a far cry removed from most other places in the world!

The last thing I'll talk about here is Amendments 9 and 10. The Unlisted Rights. The fact that the Constitution does not list a specific right does not mean that the right does not exist. And the states or the people have any rights not forbidden by the constitution. The federal government can not take away these rights. This shows that our founding fathers realized that they were human and could not foresee every eventuality. These men were AMAZING!

1 comment:

  1. If yo ask me all of the Constitution was sheer genious. My favotite line is: (Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) Of course, this was later changed by the 14th amendment and our freedom started to erode with the income tax. then later, social security, then medicare and medicaid and now. Obamacare. I thing we are stating to spiral out of control, away from how our forfathers envisiond this country. I am ashamed of what this once great nation is turning in to and am fearful for our childrens future with in it.