Freedom means different things to different people. In some lands and in some religions, freedom means the right to kill others who don’t believe as they do – getting others to do what they tell them to do or else. For the ones to be killed or forced to do what others demand, it is slavery: economic, physical, sexual, religious slavery. You name it.
We here in America have been blessed with the broadest freedoms ever enjoyed by any people, anywhere at any time. Some may argue that point, but I believe it to be true. The freedom to live, and to pursue our dreams, provided we do not take the freedoms of others; freedoms having their origins with God.
The Constitution was written to limit the size and power of the federal government, thus protecting individual freedoms. Specific rights(freedoms) were guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Those documents were designed to protect individual citizens from the tyranny of the majority and the tyranny of government. That is called the rule of law.
Those protections are there only if the provisions of the Constitution and Bill of rights are strictly enforced. That is called original intent. If we don’t enforce the intent of the Founding Fathers, we have neither freedom nor protection. That is why we are a republic, rather than a democracy. The Founders knew well from history that a democracy always self-destructs when the people discover they can take from others to give to themselves. That self-indulgence of the people has always been used by those seeking absolute power by catering to it. That is called the rule of man.
The rule of man is the basis for what is called the living Constitution. It is a simple fact that if you abandon the idea of protecting the rights of the individual for the rule of the majority, the individual will in time lose his rights and his freedom. History tells us that has always been the case. Unfortunately, we have deviated so much from original intent that we are now on the verge of becoming the democracy that always self-destructs.
Over time I have had arguments here in the Daily Republic with others over original intent versus the living Constitution. Some of those I have debated with were retired and active teachers in American history and government. The really sad truth is that these teachers have delivered a false dogma to their students, a dogma that can never be unlearned. This travesty has occurred in many universities and schools across the country. Teachers have substituted their limited knowledge and poor judgment for the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. One even maintains that because there have been presidential exceptions, we now have a Constitution based on exceptions, not the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
Pity. That way of thinking is almost seditious. We must begin to teach truth or perish.
America’s public schools, including those here in our own, fail to prepare many children for life and success. Without basic skills, America’s freedoms and opportunities are not available to them. Pity.
Schools in Massachusetts have fewer than half the dropouts as California schools. Why? They expect more from both teachers and students. And they get it. If child doesn’t read at grade level, he stays until he does. That’s tough love. If Massachusetts is doing it, why can’t the Fairfield-Suisun School District?
Apparently, providing kids the basic skills they need to achieve and build families isn’t a top priority here. It should be because those skills are necessary for our citizens to create and seize opportunities, build families and practice their faiths.
So, where are we now as a community and a nation? Do we understand our freedoms? Do we have the skills to realize them? My answers to both questions are, no and no. Pity. Few people seem to care.
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or email@example.com.