Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Founding documents protect natural rights

I think people in this nation forget that the Declaration of Independence is still a full and binding, legal document. In it our founders wrote:
"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.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
By this statement, none of the Amendments are even necessary. By writing this, Thomas Jefferson "assumed" that people reading it knew that by "men" he was referring to human beings, both men and women, and by saying "that all men are created equal," he was referring to all men regardless of race, creed, sex, color, health, etc.

So by wording it this way, Jefferson meant that all people --men, women, blacks, homosexuals, bisexuals, smart people and idiots -- are accorded the same inalienable rights at birth, and these rights cannot be taken away by any government. To protect these rights, the Constitution was written so that it prevents the U.S. government from making any law that takes any of these "natural rights" away.

It was assumed, therefore, that "by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," Jefferson was assuming people understood that this was a beginning of the list of natural rights, and that people would "assume" that the rest of the natural rights are also included in this.

Yet later founders believed -- and accurately so -- that this may be misinterpreted, so they created the Bill of Rights, that protect these rights for the third time. The original Constitution protects them for the second time.

So the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, if read correctly, should give gays, blacks and women the same rights as me. Yet people amid society acted to take those rights away, and these good people had to fight to get these rights back. This is what lead to emancipation, women's suffrage, and the current plight of gays.

Yet it shouldn't be this way. If "All men are created equal" is read as it was intended, all men and women would be treated as equals. Yet the intent of the founders was misinterpreted almost as soon as it was written. And so it is that innocent people have their god given rights taken away by society, and they must continue the fight to get them back.