It was 218 years ago on Dec. 15, 1791 that America's Bill of Rights was ratified, America's first ten amendments, and became a part of America's new Constitution. These were the "unalienable rights" those Americans wanted as part of their Constitution, but which, some feel today, are being slowly watered down and destroyed by the new administration.
How America obtained its Bill of Rights is an interesting story, a story few know about today because it is seldom taught in our schools anymore.
Today there is more news about how a minority, a very small number of individuals - are mocking God and America's God-based culture. These individuals are successfully removing from government the values America was founded upon as they work to remove the influence of God from our government, including our schools. Recently, here in Georgia, opponents to the 10 Commandments in Barrow County received the headlines. Here in Cherokee County the same issue drew many proponents to the Justice Center, but the few opponents got the major headlines.
This is a crucial time in America's history. Are today's Americans like those Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence "and accordingly all experience has shewn, that Mankind [us today] are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security [and happiness]."
Where are today's historians, those whose job it is, to remind Americans of what happened when other nations, using the same tactics being used in America today, destructed from within? Will Durant, in his 11-volume, "The Story of Civilization," pointed out nation after nation fell, and the people suffered greatly, when the few were successful in taking over the government by using their constitution to gain power, and then subdue the people using false promises, fear and intimidation to silence the people.
In 1933, Hitler gained control of Germany through the election process. His storm troopers intimidated the people, came close to destroying all Jewish citizens, and by May 1945 had succeeded in totally destroying Germany, leaving the German people totally devastated. The people were afraid to speak out against Hitler. And it has, and is happening in our generation - in Iraq - Saddam, and it is happening in other nations as well. Can it happen here in America? Have elected officials, by ignoring the principles established by the founding fathers, put their stamp of approval on this madness. No nation has ever survived after taking the "laws of Nature or of Nature's God" out of their government, and then, with corrupt laws subdue the people through fear into submission, a fear that is spreading throughout America today.
Jefferson also wrote in his Declaration of Independence "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." Note Jefferson's emphasis on the word Creator. He capitalized it. Was Jefferson being insensitive? In today's world Jefferson would be "politically incorrect" and taken to court. Jefferson knew, as do 90 percent of all Americans, that American rights were, and are dependent upon the mercy of the "laws of Nature, or Nature's God" - Jefferson's God.
This takes us back to the 1787, Sept. 17, when 39 men signed the new Constitution of the United States. What our history books seldom tell us is that there were three of the founding fathers who refused to sign that Constitution. They were George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, and Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph.
And because these three patriots rallied the people Washington promised them that the needed changes would be the first order of business in the new Congress. It was. The Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788. The states, responded to Mason's plea, submitting 189 proposed amendments to the Constitution. Madison reduced them to 12 and sent to the 13 states for ratification. Ten were finally ratified on Dec. 15, 1791. They are America's Bill of Rights, those rights now under serious attack by the new administration.
Does America have a Mason, Gerry or Randolph today with the courage to stand up to our Congress and to the federal courts and point out their errors? Does today's average American have the courage to take a stand and say enough is enough? These three men gave America its Bill of Rights. Now it is up to "We the people" to protect those rights the founders died to give us. Do we have the courage to stand up today? Yes! I think we do!
Donald Conkey, a retired agricultural economist, lives in Woodstock.