The Pursuit of Happiness

As a young child, many of us were introduced to sports; in particular – team sports.  We had a coach and the game has officials who know the rules of that game inside and out.  Without those, it is pandemonium.  If you don’t know the rules – how can you possibly play the game?

The recent pandemic has brought the dissension between the parties to an apex of assigning blame.  The public at large has gone from concerned, to stressed, to bordering on paranoid with the shutting of small business in the name of ‘saving the population from disease’.  Although concern for everyone’s health and well-being are the driving force behind efforts being implemented, these steps have not managed to alleviate fear.  Lower income citizens considered non-essential workers have been sent home ‘for their own good and the good of society’ to keep them and everyone else safe from this disease.  But many are not feeling the comfort of safety while simultaneously watching their income disappear. Fear and desperation are a dangerous combination in any person.  In a group, it can be deadly.  This is a great opportunity for many of us to gain familiarity with the Constitution; you know that document written by our forefathers in 1787 establishing the rights of every citizen in the United States.

As Americans we have rights. 

By Definition:  Inalienable right refers to rights that cannot be surrendered, sold or transferred to someone else, especially a natural right such as the right to own property. However, these rights can be transferred with the consent of the person possessing those rights.

The Declaration of Independence also speaks about unalienable rights. It says that that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights cannot be bartered away, or given away, or taken away except in punishment of crime. Governments are instituted to “secure,” not grant or create, these rights. (US, 2019)

The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in the form of amendments. The chief purpose of the amendments was to protect the rights of individuals from the government’s interference. They guarantee rights such as religious freedom, freedom of the press, and trial by jury to all American citizens.

  • First Amendment: Freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, the right to assemble, the right to petition government.
  • Second Amendment: The right to form a militia and to keep and bear arms.
  • Third Amendment: The right not to have soldiers in one’s home.
  • Fourth Amendment: Protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
  • Fifth Amendment: No one can be tried for a serious crime unless indicted (accused) by a grand jury. No one can be forced to testify against herself or himself. No one can be punished without due process of law. People must be paid for property taken for public use.
  • Sixth Amendment: People have a right to a speedy trial, to legal counsel, and to confront their accusers.
  • Seventh Amendment: People have the right to a jury trial in civil suits exceeding $20.
  • Eighth Amendment: Protection against excessive bail (money to release a person from jail), stiff fines, and cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Ninth Amendment: Because there are so many basic human rights, not all of them could be listed in the Constitution. This amendment means that the rights that are enumerated cannot infringe upon rights that are not listed in the Constitution.
  • Tenth Amendment: Powers not given to the federal government by the Constitution belong to the states or the people. (Fact, Updated February 21, 2017 )

This is just a fraction of the declarations stated in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  With so much time on our hands, this is a perfect opportunity for all of us to familiarize ourselves with the very document that governs how we operate.  This document was put in place to protect our rights; yours and mine.  It is of the utmost importance that we know this document inside and out. 

Here is a link to the Constitution in its entirety.

Our problem has been that we are playing the game and we don’t know all the rules.  READ THE RULE BOOK!!!  Read it.  Learn it.  You will find yourself enlightened, informed and grateful to those men and woman who contributed to putting this document in place for us so very long ago. 


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