Way back in 2001, a future Democrat president of the United States in a radio interview described the Constitution as a “charter of negative liberties.” That was Barack Obama, of course, and he went on to grumble that the nation’s founding, political document “Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”
In a perfect world – or in a perfect America, at least – that one statement should have prevented Obama from ever being elected president. At the time, of course, very few people thought of the Illinois state senator as a future president and so his disturbing attitude toward the Constitution did not raise any red flags. Unfortunately, Obama was merely echoing how nearly all Democrats think about government power versus individual rights.
Uprooting Constitutional Rights
In the post-Obama years, the Democratic Party has shifted much further to the left and its members now barely even try to conceal their contempt for the notion of individual sovereignty. Take, for example, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), who suggested, during a September 8 appearance on MSNBC, that most Americans today do not approve of the Bill of Rights.
Clyburn is a 26-year veteran of Congress and currently the Democratic Party’s whip in the House of Representatives. He is not a man who makes spontaneous, off-the-cuff, or flippant remarks. His every public statement echoes the world-view and the agenda of his party. It would be quite wrong, then, to think that his jaw-dropping dismissal of constitutionally protected rights was nothing more than a random thought. If Clyburn can say it on national TV, it is a sentiment shared by and approved of by the party’s leadership.
Furthermore, there is no possibility, here, of taking the congressman out of context. Clyburn was very clear about his opinion. He claimed that if the Bill of Rights “were put before the public today,” he was not sure that “we would hold onto [it].”
“There would be a strong support [sic] against the Bill of Rights,” he told host David Gura. “Go through the Bill of Rights and I’ll tell you I run into people every day who would like to see so much of those guarantees uprooted.”
As disturbing as these statements are, one should not really be surprised that a Democrat would say such things in today’s America. The opposition party has always considered individual freedoms to be not only dangerous but obstructive of its collectivist, government-first agenda. It is only since the failure of Obama to bring about the full “fundamental transformation of America” that the left has ceased pretending to support individual rights.
Clyburn was not challenged to explain himself or to back up his claim that most Americans now wish to surrender their rights to the government – he was appearing on MSNBC, after all, and the so-called journalists who work there do not question the motives or claims of Democrats. The closest he came to elaborating upon his contention was to say: “Especially when I see what people are doing with the Second Amendment and no telling what they would do with the First Amendment.”
A Government With Unlimited Power
It goes without saying that Democrats want to eliminate Second Amendment rights, so no surprise there, but Clyburn’s clear implication that the First Amendment is potentially harmful is truly shocking. Consider the things protected by just this one Amendment: Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the rights of citizens to publicly assemble, to protest and demonstrate, to hold their government accountable, and to practice whichever religion they choose. Does the Democratic Party consider these rights to be, potentially, a threat to the nation? More accurately, it considers these rights to be, potentially, a threat to the government.
Consider what else would be lost if the Bill of Rights was somehow nullified or repealed: The federal government would have the power to indefinitely detain anyone, deny them legal due process and the right to a trial by jury, as well as any ability to mount a defense against whatever crime with which he or she had been charged. It would be able to order federal agents or law enforcement officers to enter and search any home, office, or place of business without probable cause and without a warrant.
Without the Bill of Rights, the government would be free to demand of an incarcerated person any amount of money as bail and would also have the ability to seize anything and everything a person owns. With the protection against “cruel and unusual punishments” removed, the government could kill and torture those it deems “criminals” or “enemies of the state.”
And, of course, without the Tenth Amendment, the federal government could practically nullify America’s republican system by usurping all authority from the states, rendering them entirely powerless and, thus, eliminating the entire concept of sovereign statehood.
Clyburn’s comments should not be taken lightly. The very idea that an elected government official can publicly proclaim that the very document which restrains the power of the government is no longer relevant should be, to any rational person, quite terrifying.