Saturday, December 15, 2012

Daily Kos: Today we should remember the Bill of Rights

Daily Kos: Today we should remember the Bill of Rights:

Today we should remember the Bill of Rights

which on this date in 1791 went into effect when Virginia became the 10th of the then 14 states to ratify 10 of the original 12 proposed by the first Congress.
It is worth remembering that without a commitment by Madison to a Bill of Rights, Virginia almost certainly would NOT have ratified the Constitution.  After all, George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, had refused in Philadelphia to sign the Constitution precisely because it lacked a Bill of Rights.
I am aware that some think the rights as expressed in that 1789 document have been distorted over time, or whittled away, especially by Supreme Courts past and present.  I would not necessarily disagree.  Still, the document remains an important marker, like having a huge elephant in your living room.  It reminds us that our Founders recognized the need to clearly delineate lines beyond which governments should not be able to go.
And perhaps it is relevant when considering this document to consider words from an earlier document, from Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of