Glad … for the Bill of Rights

I’m so glad we … live in the place where the Bill of Rights was drafted.

Imagine a world so dark and oppressive that someone had to draft such a document.

The First Amendment alone is a masterwork that sets down five essential unalienable rights that should have been self-evident, but apparently they weren’t because they had to write them down.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Imagine a world where someone had to document that:

Government has no right to set up an official state religion or otherwise interfere with your ability to worship in the manner you choose;

Government has no right to say you can’t speak your mind;

Government has no right to keep you from writing and publishing as you please;

Government has no right to keep you from gathering for a peaceful purpose; and

Government has no right to ignore your complaints about what it’s doing — it has to listen and consider remedies.

And that’s just the beginning! The Bill of Rights sets down that the government can’t stop you from taking measures for self-defense, it can’t arrest or detain you without cause, it can’t search you or your property without justification, it can’t lock you up and throw away the key — oh, and my favorite, there’s a line in there that just because one of your rights isn’t on the list, it doesn’t mean you don’t have that right.

Imagine a government so nasty that someone had to write down all of these reminders.

Eh, err, what’s that? You don’t have to imagine? Well, then, I’m even more glad.

Imagine a world where nobody thought to stand up to tyrants and say, “Hey, buddy, you can’t do that to us.”

The Bill of Rights was passed Dec. 15, 1791, and we’ve been having conversations about it ever since, most of them starting with one of us waving the document and saying, “Hey buddy, you can’t …”

And as long as we’re having those conversations, there’s hope for us all.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and an insistent cat. Author of Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, A Bridge at Crossroads, Refuse to be Afraid, and A Scream of Consciousness.

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