“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” — Preamble to the Constitution
The Constitution is the law of our land and has been for over 200 years.It was written as a way to unite a diverse group of colonies and to limit the power of the government. Specific safeguards were included to deny the tyranny of an autocratic power. The three branches of the government, executive, judicial, and legislative, were set up with a system of checks and balances to keep any one branch from holding too much power.
The amendments were added to address various issues as they arose. James Madison put forward the first 12 amendments in 1789. Ten of those became the Bill of Rights. Of the other two, one was never passed. The other, concerning Congressional salaries passed in 1992 as the 27th amendment.
The 1st amendment covers a lot of ground, ground which has been trampled in recent weeks. It has five parts to it.
The first is that government shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion, nor can it prohibit the free exercise of religion. This calls for a separation of church and state. And it means the government can not regulate religions or the practice of religion, ANY religion.
The second part has to do with freedom of speech. The government does not have the right to prohibit one’s free speech. The Supreme Court has stated that there are cases where speech can be regulated but those would be handled through to court system. Abusive language, obscenities, and defamation are considered speech which can be regulated through the courts. The government cannot censor or deny freedom of speech.
The third part has to do with freedom of the press. Freedom of press was considered important and the press is often called “the fourth branch” of government. This protects the obtainment and dissemination of information without the fear of censorship or punishment.
The fourth part is the freedom to peaceably assemble. This means that as long as the assembly is not blocking traffic, people have the right to assemble. It does not mean that states can make laws to arrest or harm those assembled. Currently, eight states have proposed laws to criminalize peaceful protest.
The fifth portion gives citizens the right to address the government with grievances. They should be allowed to discuss problems without the fear of punishment.
As a people, we need to remind our government who is in charge. WE THE PEOPLE!!!