Barack And Bill

That’s Barack Obama and the Bill of Rights.

Getting a grasp on what Barack Obama believes in, what principles he holds most sacred, and what his intentions would be as president is challenging. When you cut through the lofty rhetoric and dismiss all the things that Obama wants dismissed as irrelevant (past associations, voting record, statements, actions by his proxies and aides and representatives, etc. etc.), you are left with a really, really tough job: what would a vote for Barack Obama lead to?

I’m going to run the risk of being called a racist and take a look at how Barack Obama might lead the nation by looking at the way he’s led his campaign. And there he has shown an appalling disregard for the Bill of Rights.

Amendment I

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.

Obama hasn’t tried to establish or ban a religion, but he’s shown quite a bit of contempt for it. He spent 20 years in a church whose leader he praised effusively, but never paid enough attention to hear the vile hate Reverend Jeremiah Wright was spewing. When it was called to his attention (translation: “brought up enough times, loudly enough, that he couldn’t just continue ignoring it”), he dumped his 20-year affiliation with the church that married him and his wife and baptized his children.

Also, Obama denigrated a lot of Americans when he spoke of them. “(i)t’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Others might compare that to the infamous declaration that “religion is the opiate of the masses.”

Then there’s freedom of speech. Let’s look at a few examples, starting with the now-infamous “Joe the plumber.” Mr. Wurzelbacher was minding his own business when Obama made an unscheduled campaign stop in his neighborhood. Wurzelbacher figured “what the hell, it’s a free country” and ambled over to ask a question. That question — and Obama’s answer — launched Wurzelbacher into the national spotlight.

Where Obama’s defenders — certainly encouraged by Obama and Biden’s own dismissiveness towards Wurzelbacher — decided that he needed to be exposed and punished for his impertinence in goading Obama into speaking. We quickly learned that he wasn’t a licensed plumber at all, that he was a divorced single father, and he had some back tax problems. Other Obama supporters pored over every detail of his life, even going so far as to break privacy laws and violate Wurzelbacher’s rights in their quest to harass this man.

The message was received loud and clear in some quarters. I found myself looking at my own personal records, and realizing that I have a LOT of things in my medical and financial background I’d rather not be plastered all over the media. That reaffirmed my decision to keep using my nom de plume here.

The right to assemble has been also infringed by the Obama campaign, but that’t nothing unique to them. Both parties have — for entirely reasonable reasons — restricted the assembly areas for protesters at conventions and campaign events. Threats of violence and disruption are all too plausible.

They haven’t had too much reason to deal with the “redress of grievances” thing thus far, and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.

Amendment II

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.

The Obama campaign hasn’t done much on this one, either, but I’m going to get all racist again and point to Obama’s own history on gun law. He filled out a questionnaire that said he supported the complete ban of handguns, but it turned out that an aide had filled out that questionnaire. No, I’m sorry, Obama filled out most of it himself, but that aide answered that question for him. And that aide got it wrong.

Obama also supported a bill that would have banned gun shops from being within five miles of any schools, churches, or parks. That would have been a de facto ban of all gun shops in all but the most remote areas.

And Obama also supported the DC handgun ban that the US Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional. Fortunately, he also supported that decision.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

This particular amendment has always been a bit of an oddball. I once read a book (co-authored by Caroline Kennedy) that looked at the Bill of Rights and court cases that demonstrated each, and they had to struggle to find one that appplied here. It was originally a response to a particularly egregious Act by the British, but it seems so damned specific as to be almost silly. And the Obama campaign, like almost everyone else, has largely ignored this Amendment.

But if I can be allowed to stretch it a a little, let’s look at how many Obama supporters and campaign workers have decided to “quarter” themselves in swing states and illegally voted in those states.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Let’s go back to Joe The Plumber. The invasions of HIS privacy after he was thrust on to the national stage have been not just obscene, but criminal. One person has already been charged with breaking the law in rooting through his confidential information, and another certainly should be.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

I’m gonna stretch a bit here, because this mainly deals with criminal law, but Obama’s proposed tax plans certainly seem in the spirit of “private property (taken) for public use, without just compensation.”

Amendment VI

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, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, 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 defence.

I don’t really see how Obama’s violated the spirit of this one, but if I felt especially snarky, I’d say that his years-long run for the presidency has violated my right to a “speedy trial.”

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Again, if I’m feeling particularly snarky, I could mention how Obama’s endless campaigning qualifies as “cruel and unusual” punishment on the American electorate. Otherwise, I really don’t think the Obama campaign has done much with those either way.

Taken overall, though, it is troubling to see how the most fundamental rights of Americans are being treated by a candidate — directly, through his campaign, or the actions of unrestrained and unchastised surrogates and supporters — for the presidency. And it offers a distrubing view of how things might develop if that candidate becomes president.

I find this most troubling for myself. I have no religion or guns to cling bitterly to, so I guess I’ll have to settle for this blog.

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