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Eroding the Bill of Rights

   Where is the Constitution these days? What about the Bill of Rights?
  The Judicial, Executive and Legislative branches of the government have been slowly eroding away the efficiency of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the point that they both feel like skeletons of their former selves.

   At a neighborhood gathering over the weekend, we were discussing this very issue. We were all enraged at the way we’ve allowed our politicians to take away rights. When citizens in foreign countries take to the streets, France, or the U.K. for example, things happen.  The politicians are afraid of their citizens. 

   U.S. politicians no longer fear their citizens. 

   It’s because we, as citizens, no longer have power.  As a result of political influence from corporations, decisions such as Citizens United give corporations some of the same rights as people.

   This very Supreme Court decision has been instrumental in allowing Super Pacs to play a part in our politics. Corporations are giving excessive money to the political campaigns and are therefore steering policy away from what’s good for the people, to what’s good for the businesses.

   The US Supreme Court recently decided that strip searches on detainees were constitutional, regardless of the charges for which the detainee was incarcerated.

   The courts allowed for certain reservations, including that there should be no contact with the detainee or that the searches should apply to the general population.

   However, it begs to question if this still allows for an overreach of power of prison officials. With over 10 states prohibiting unreasonable routine strip searches without reasonable suspicion, the Supreme Court decision continues the downward spiral toward the erosion of our rights since 9/11.

   Since 9/11 and the advent of Homeland Security, the political bosses continue to squeeze control of our country from our hands into the hands of the political elite.

   For example, multiple states have introduced bills that would ban employers and colleges from requiring access to employees or student’s social media webpages.

   This seems to be a tentative move in the right direction.   However, when a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives was voted on at the end of March, this was shot down by House Republicans, showing once again that they are not concerned with your privacy. Ufortunately, they are more concerned with their own agenda.

   Freedom of speech is being attacked as well.  The Arizona state senate unanimously passed a bill making it illegal to say mean things online, which means that everyone we know could possibly be charged. We can only hope such a law will not be adopted in other states.

    Additionally, a Tennessee senate bill is making its way through the senate. In essence, it steps into the classroom and prevents teachers from teaching about homosexuality prior to the ninth grade. This is yet another add-on to a misguided sexual education system in America.

   Tie all this with the right to assemble being stomped on by police forces across the country, especially with regards to the Occupy Movement, (think UC-Davis and NYC) the trend toward eroding rights is now an avalanche against private citizens. 

   Voter’s rights are being threatened by a plethora of legislation that is making it harder for voters to exercise their rights to do so.  Women’s rights are on the chopping block through the same types of legislation.

   We think that we are safe, because we are US citizens, but are we? So much of what we thought true about our citizenry is looking startlingly like one of the countries in which the US intervenes to keep these things from happening. No one is intervening on our behalf.

   Maybe it’s time to take to the streets, like the French or the English do. 

   Perhaps we need our own Arab Spring, because if we don’t start acting now we are going to look like one of the countries against which the U. N. holds sanctions for human rights violations.

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