Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Bill of Rights being secured, for now, by one vote in the Senate is time for a sigh of relief. But that moment will pass pretty quickly. Think about the fact that 66 Senators are prepared to cut a piece out of the First Amendment and that a majority in the house are too. The second thought doesn't make you feel much relief does it.

This was a game of chicken played by the Republican Party for their political gain. That the party of constitutional "originalism" feels safe in treating the most important part of the Constitution like a stupid teenaged boy treats a jalopy should end their philosophical pretensions but don't count on our "free press" to note this plain fact. They might mention it in passing if they give one of those many speeches they get bribed for making but it won't find it's way into their alleged news.

The most important question is why the Republicans have every reason to believe this will work for them. That answer is plain, Americans are taught to revere the flag and they are kept in ignorance of the Bill of Rights and equally important Civil Rights provisions of the Constitution. Far too many Americans are either entirely unfamiliar with these guarantees of freedom or they have been made suspicious about them through the outright fascistic presentation of them on TV. How many TV programs present the Constitution as a guarantee of freedom as opposed to a collection of loopholes that allow dangerous criminals to go free? That would be really interesting to know.

If I had the power to change the way American History is taught it wouldn't be taken chronologically it would be taken up in order of practical importance. The "Age of Exploration" - "Piracy" would be more honest- would be a detail not what eats up the first month. September and maybe October would be taken up with what really matters, why anyone should really be proud of their country, the way we have made progress in securing freedom and justice for all. You want to bet that even the most mainstream look at those topics would cause the Republicans and their front groups to flip out? Any syllabus that included only the words of the most moderate Republicans of the past on those topics would be too far left for them. Republicans are the party of Jesse Helms, not of Abraham Lincoln. They're not even the party of Ike today.

Freedom doesn't just happen, if there is anything we could learn from recent history that's it. Freedom has to be cultivated and protected like tomatoes in Maine in May. The Pledge of Allegiance hasn't done it, it is useless and could be a hindrance to protecting our freedom. That is what the Republicans in the Senate have really proven by using the flag as a campaign balloon. Like a balloon it either gets popped or the air empties out of it. The rights provisions in the constitution are the only things keeping it from being a used toy, a colorful piece of debris on the floor at a party convention.

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