Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Pretty simple – those of us that are broke won’t be called upon to pay trillions of dollars in bail or fines. The interesting thing about the 8th Amendment is that it’s another one the US Government ignores whenever it’s convenient for them to do so. Remember when Guantanamo first started showing up on your radar? Do you remember the news stories from the time? Do you remember the abuse and atrocities vested upon our prisoners? The “naked pyramid”? The flushing of the Koran? I do. All I have to say about this is: It’s one motherfucking sentence. Sixteen words, three punctuation marks, and very VERY clear to any idiot that can read. It seems that our Government has a problem with literacy.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
And we’ve come back to Hamilton’s complaint (and the ‘fix’). Remember, Hamilton was concerned that by listing the human rights, that would open us up to legalistic definitions of what our rights are (and they could be systematically stripped away by taking away rights that just aren’t enumerated). This Amendment says (in plain language) that if it’s not in the Constitution, you still have your rights. Just because some are listed, does not mean that they all are.
One would think that this would be a valid argument for things like gay marriage, but after 200 years of anally raping our nation’s most important document there are all sorts of things that the Government thinks it has a right to take away from you.
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.
And we finish up with the declaration that, whatever is not in the power of the Federal Government will be in the power of the people or the State.
See, when our Nation was founded, the idea was that we would be a loose collection of states that would more or less leave each other alone, only relying on the Federal Government when absolutely necessary. The States rejected the idea of a combined Government because they understood that people are different and they will always be different. What is “good” for New York may not be “good” for New Hampshire. What is “good” for Vermont may not be “good” for Virginia. After 200 years, what’s “good” for Utah must be “good” for Florida, right? Yeah, I don’t think so either. It looks to me a lot like the States are just too fucking lazy to keep their own shit clean, so they just forward their workloads up the chain of Government and let someone else deal with it.
Remember when I mentioned the word “enemies”, with a caveat that I would explain it later (way back on page one?). This is that.
The reason that I felt this needed it’s own section is because it doesn’t quite fit into the Bill of Rights, at least, not directly. But it’s critical that it be discussed because so many of the negative consequences that our Government has allowed has been due to the fear of our “enemies”.
Sometimes enemies are obvious – the guy coming at you with an axe probably means to do you harm. When Germany is kicking all of Europe’s ass and we know that the likely outcome is that we will be left defending ourselves (alone) against them later, it behooves us to get a military force over there to do some damage while the problem is still small enough to deal with (Syria, anyone?). Sometimes. But sometimes we are told that we have an “enemy” and that enemy doesn’t really exist. Sometimes – say for 50 years or so – we’re told that the Russians don’t like the US and that they’re going to launch nukes at any moment.
But the problem with stuff like this, is that it’s pretty much “not true”. Equivocating a Government with the populace that the Government governs is no less bigoted than saying that because the Catholics have a problem with homosexuality, all Christians hate gays.
We have over 7 billion people on this planet, and I seriously doubt that most of them hate me (this could change though, if the website becomes more popular – but until people start reading it and passing the links out…). Most of them don’t even know me.
They may hate my Government. They may hate the way that our Government works. They may hate the douchebag tourists that show up and don’t know how to behave in polite society. But they don’t hate me. And I don’t hate them. They are not my enemies. My enemies are those that would try to take my rights away from me – be it the right to work, the right to speak, or the right to exist. Those that would violate my (and my family’s) privacy. These fundamental truths, conceived by men with more foresight than deodorant, may not be perfect, but they really are the best thing going. Now if only we could convince our Government of that…
Note: If you have suggestions for topics, debates, discussions, or just something you’d like to get my opinion on, ask! I really have no planned release schedule for my articles and I’m always looking for ideas, so if you have one, shoot me a comment or an email. You might be disappointed, but probably no more so than you usually get from reading my work.