*This essay was composed on the eve of 9/11 for a college assignment. Students were given an opportunity to write about Constitution Day for extra credit. These are just my thoughts and opinions.*
After visiting constitutionfacts.com, I can proudly say that I am a Constitutional Whiz Kid. It does help that I was in history classes for all four years not only in high school, but dabbled in the junior college system as well. I was quite pleased after taking the “Founding Fathers” quiz that I was given James Madison for my answers. The “Father of the Constitution” and the author for the Bill of Rights as well. What I was not aware of was he was the only President who had two Vice-Presidents die during his tenure. Another key point I did not recall was that he created the Bank of the United States, which ultimately lost its charter.
To be quite honest, it angers me that we as American citizens do not taken the Constitution or the Bill of Rights seriously. I realize that I and everyone else was given an American history or civics class in their completion of an education but I do not believe that citizens take it seriously. We should consider it a privilege to live in the United States. I believe a law should be created that an individual cannot get a drivers license and or vote unless they are somewhat proficient in the basics of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. American citizens need a clear understanding the Forefathers ideals of how this country came to be.
President James Madison is rolling in his grave now. Convinced of it. I am disturbed that our rights are slowly being chipped away. First Amendment: 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. Currently, S.987 is making the rounds and in short, it will define who the “true press” is or how our Government is defining the “Covered Person” in the event they would need protection in not forfeiting sources in regards to a story. 1 Basically if an individual makes a wage for a news company, insert major news conglomerate here, that reporter would have protections under this law. However, it is bad news for independent journalists and bloggers. As an individual who has runs their own blog, I would be deemed an individual who would not have the same protections for my sources as a Al Roker. 2 As I recall, this is the “Freedom of Press” that President Madison had declared in the First Amendment.
I would negligent if I did not include the N.S.A. (National Security Agency) scandal, or to mention the F.I.S.A. court (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court). I do realize at the eve of September 11th, that certain measures must take place to protect United State citizens. However, I do not believe that our Forefathers of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights had the Patriot Act in mind that in the end, strip law-abiding Americans of their rights. Even Rep. Jim Sennenbrenner who wrote the Patriot Act believes that the N.S.A. is in clear abuse of the Patriot Act surveillance.3 September 11th was a horrific act against America, but America can no longer allow their Government to scrape the Constitution due to fear. I can’t imagine if that would be okay with President Madison either.
1. S. 987 Amendment, 2013 .4 http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/legislation/upload/Schumer-Graham-SubstituteALB13660.pdf
2. Morgan Weiland. EFF.org Why Sen. Feinstein is wrong on who is a “Real Reporter.” August 9, 2013. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/08/why-sen-feinstein-wrong-about-whos-real-reporter
3. David Kravets. Wired. Patriot Act Author says NSA is abusing spy policy. September 9, 2013. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/09/nsa-abusing-patriot-act/