LatinaLista — Today is the 221st anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. It's that "piece of paper" that the "Framers" of this nation inscribed with all their hopes that regardless of the transitions this country experienced, two fundamental elements would remain â€” justice and freedom.
While the Framers tried to envision beyond their horse-and-buggy scenarios situations that would challenge these elements, their mistake or naivete was that they didn't ever dream that those challenges would come from within the framework of the very government were were constructing.
No matter how the last eight years are evaluated, it's an understatement to say that the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens were stretched to the limit. In many cases, people's rights were outright violated or dismissed. It became too easy to hide the reasons behind a blanket of excuses about national security.
As the run for the White House continues and each candidate promises to bring "change" to Washington, it is painfully obvious that some things never should have changed â€” namely, trivializing the Constitutional rights of the people.
Finally, there's serious talk and action to bring the issue of Constitutional rights back to the center of the conversation and it starts with each of usâ€¦
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched "I Am a Constitution Voter" campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to get the candidates to focus on the real issues that drive this country rather than spending time on talking about pigs, pit bulls or lipstick. It's also a way for people to let candidates know that Constitutional rights are back on the minds of voters.
The ACLU campaign is asking people to sign a pledge, submit photos of themselves with a "I Am a Constitution Voter" sign and host house parties. There's even a web page to sign up to receive a free bumper sticker.
The next president will have the power to piece back together our Constitution after eight years in which it has been torn apart. Whoever is elected president must act with energy and conviction to restore our lost liberties, end torture and hold accountable those who have broken the law,â€ said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. â€œBy pledging to be a Constitution Voter, you can make sure that the next president will be committed to restoring the Constitution and the fundamental freedoms it protects. When we step into the ballot box this November, our leaders need to know that we care about our liberty. We want the next president to uphold the law â€“ not try to subvert it.â€
The following statements of the ACLU campaign are ones we should all agree, preserve and uphold. After all, it's worked for 213 years (minus 8).
- I believe that no one â€“ not even the president â€“ is above the law.
- I oppose all forms of torture, and I support closing the GuantÃ¡namo Bay prison, shutting down the military commissions, and ending indefinite detention.
- I oppose warrantless spying.
- I believe that government officials, no matter how high-ranking, should be held accountable for breaking the law and violating the Constitution.
- I believe that the Constitution protects every person's rights equally â€“ no matter what they believe, how they live, where or if they worship, and whom they love.
- I reject the notion that we have to tolerate violations of our most fundamental rights in the name of fighting terrorism.
- I am deeply committed to the Constitution and expect our country's leaders to act on that commitment â€“ every day, without fail.