Rights. What rights do we, as citizens of the United States have? Not a whole lot.
“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 Happiness.”–(Declaration of Independence)
The Constitution itself does not confer any rights. Any Constitutional rights are implied. They don’t get spelled out until you get to the amendments:
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.
Ok. So there’s the right to peaceably to assemble. That’s why we have “free Speech Zones” far away from anywhere the President may actually be appearing.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
And the right to bear arms. But not military grade hardware. So if you’re actually going to fight it out with the United States Military forces in a firefight…good luck. One drone and you’re toast.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures…
Can you say “Homeland Security”?
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed,…and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Unless, of course, you are accused of being a terrorist.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved…
Do you even know the difference between a suit at common law and a suit in equity? Bottom line, in the former, you can have a jury, in the latter, a judge decides your fate.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Finally, the Constitution mentions the right to vote. Up to now, it’s been an implied right. And, to the extent it is a right, this amendment allows men to vote, even if they were once slaves. The right to vote still doesn’t extend to women, however.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Four amendments later and the implied right to vote finally extends to women.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.
In reaction to the Vietnam war, where we were drafting 18 year-olds to die ‘for their country’ the inherent unfairness of sending young men (women weren’t drafted into military service) to fight and die, without their having a voice in politics gave rise to the 26th amendment.
What’s missing here?
The right to drinkable water.
The right to breathable air.
The right to food.
The right to an education.
The right to health.
In short, a whole lot of rights guaranteed (or at least promised) to people living on other industrialized nations are not guaranteed rights in the United States of America.
Here in the U.S. of A. we have the right to life – and some people would take this to mean the right to life of a fertilized egg as being more important than that of a living, breathing human being (the impregnated female).
We have the right to liberty – if your rich. The poor can get incarcerated for petty, non-violent crimes. The rich can rob and kill without fear of incarceration.
And we have the right to the pursuit of happiness. As long as your happiness doesn’t challenge the status quo.
Water rights, on the other hand, are bought and sold. And food? Ask Monsanto.
There’s no right to clothing, but you will get arrested if you do without.
And there’s no right to shelter. And, again, you can get arrested for being homeless.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that Nature’s God abhors imbalance; and that chief among the imbalances in Nature is the disparity in wealth between the haves and the have-nots.
Balance will be restored. The only questions are how, and at what cost.