Posts Tagged ‘US Constitution’

Right to Vote; Not yet!


America’s democratic foundational underpinnings are explicitly linked to our right to vote and thereby the participation in the voting process of small “d” democracy is as essential as national defense. The exercise of democracy therein lies in the RIGHT of the We The People to VOTE uninhibited by the very government which represents us.With this fact being an unquestionable reflection of America freedom, it is amazing that America has no coherent approach to elections rules on BOTH the local and federal levels.  Currently America has a wide-ranging mosh-posh of election laws that can be changed at any given time by the local ruling parties.

Most Americans believe that they have the right to vote, but are unaware that the right to vote is not enshrined in the Constitution and this is a fact that some/many on the political RIGHT love to exploit via legislative barriers. Examples of this attempt at voter restriction can be witnessed in the election of 2012 as evidenced by the attempts at voter disenfranchisement via voter ID restriction laws.

The rationale that some have for the need of voter ID laws is their belief that there is a wide range of voter impersonation in America’s voting system. This symptom has yet to produce any tangible evidence of such voter fraud. Those who see the need for this additional level of voter protection ignore the fact that we have in place laws for dealing with the extremely rare (to the point of irrelevance) cases of in-person voter impersonation.

According to a study from NYU’s Brennan Center, Voter ID laws adversely affect the elderly, minorities, low-income groups, and the young that tend to vote for the Democratic Party. Obtaining photo ID can affect a person financially and can be very time-consuming endeavor. Even when a state supplies the ID “free of charge” acquiescence of a state ID can require such documents as a birth certificate that can cost up to $25 in some places, Social Security Card, bills, and other which can great inhibit the voter’s ability to vote.

The facts are out there, but why does America find itself in this state of voting stagnation? Given that the right to vote is not in the constitution, America has relegated the conditions, regulations, and procedures of voting to individual state discretion. This nonsensical local approach to voting has led to a great level of disenfranchisement when it comes to voting, whether intentional or not, the fact is people are denied the right to vote for a myriad of reasons that typically lack any credible rationale.

We The People are denied the right to vote because of ballot box design or availability, inconsistent and unequal provisional ballot counting policies, registration front groups losing registrations (intentional or unintentional, voting machine dysfunction, residency errors, convictions, and the list goes on.

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Uber-Second Amendment Clarification: Argument One/Two/Three!

2ndA 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.”
Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Is the Second Amendment hard to understand? Can those who support unregulated gun rights and/or an armed citizenry for the purpose of fighting the United States government be right that the Founding Fathers feared the possibility that this American government (the government in which they created with checks and balances) would become tyrannical and the only way to preserve freedom from our government is to have an armed citizenry?

Can those that want gun regulations be correct in stating that it was a means to establish a militia approach to the need for defense of the US instead of a peacetime army? Let’s take a peak at this to get an understanding or not! Can they both be wrong in their assertions? Can the true history of the arguments that lead to the writing of the Second Amendment be found?

Americans and pundits have been twisting themselves into pretzels in order to pull their pre-determined definition out of the Second Amendment text. There are a myriad of sites that will purport that this well-crafted amendment clearly states that Americans should have unfettered rights to gun ownership; and they would be wrong. The syntax itself clearly establishes a condition to this particular amendment and the rights it grants. With this assertion, what are arguments for or against unfettered gun rights?

The Second Amendment, of the Bill of Rights, is indeed a well-crafted sentence. By that, I mean its syntax permits only one reasonable interpretation of the authors’ meaning “In order to establish a well regulated militia, for the defense and security of a free state, the rights to of the people to keep and bear arms will not be infringed”. The meaning is clear when a sensible person reads the Second Amendment on its face and even more clarity is obtained via a reading of the arguments behind its adoption. A look at the arguments of those that support the idea that the Second Amendment is about an unfettered personal  right to own and bear arms is in order to point out the fallacy within. Read more…

Taking a real look at the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States

Second Amendment

The right to bear arms?

As passed by the Congress: “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.” As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State.

When looking at the Second Amendment, in its totality, one can get only one understanding from it; that is if one has an understanding of constitutional history. It has essentially has two parts that make up its whole. I find it amazing that most people, especially those I call the “gun-stupid”, only choose to read and adopt the second part of the Second Amendment. Its intent is utterly clear when one reads the entirety of the Second Amendment in conjunction with the Federalist Papers. The Federalist Papers are the written text explaining the arguments for and against the constitution thereby seeking to persuade the states to ratify the Constitution. See; The contention that surrounded the Second Amendment was not based on an argument over the rights of people to have arms; it had/has its roots in a disagreement over whether or not this nation would have a standing army or not.

Based on my interpretation of the Second Amendment and the Federalist Papers (29), I get the following meaning from it “In order to have a well regulated militia in the defense of the United States (or states at that time) the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.  Now this understanding of the 2nd Amendment is a far cry from what the gun-stupid would argue today. If you really want to get a better understanding of what the Founding Fathers meant you will really have to read the Federalist papers, but if you just want a quick rundown here it goes.

The Founding Fathers argued heavily about the whether America should establish of an army during times of peace and at the end of their debate it was settled, that America would not have a standing army during times of peace. This decision would remain as policy until the early 20th century when Congress broke from the original intent of the Founding Fathers and established a standing army. The original Constitution allowed for a standing army for a period of TWO years (which is why today, military appropriations happen every two years; it is a means to circumvent the Constitution) and that was how it was until the early 20th century. It has long been established that the Fathers feared a standing army. They were well versed historians which had seen that countries with standing armies were often times over-thrown by its military, which soon oppressed its people. This has happened  time and time again throughout history, and thus the Founders agreed that America would not have a standing army. Of course this approach to the military would not last, but this was the agreement at the time. Read more…

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