I believe in freedom of speech. You and I have every right to be wrong, but freedom of speech doesn't mean we get to make up our own facts, and it doesn't protect us from being called on hypocrisy, bullshit and lies.
I believe in freedom of the press. But with freedom comes responsibility, and the press has lost its way in terms of balancing coverage of issues, recalling or reporting any political history past last week, and serving the public interest. The shift from news to infotainment has taken us back to the nineteenth century yellow press, and done much to poison the public discourse.
I believe in the right of peaceable assembly. This does not include bringing firearms to peaceful demonstrations, spitting on Congressmen, or blockading city streets.
I believe in the right of redress to the government for grievances. Being arrested for questioning your beating by a law enforcement officer is not part of this process.
I believe that a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state. That's why we have a National Guard and Reserve forces.
I believe in the right of the people to keep and bear Arms. On firing ranges and in gun safes, not on public streets. Because I believe my right not to be shot trumps your right to open carry, for example. And the statistics on gun deaths are never on the side of freely available weapons.
I believe in my protection from the quartering of troops. I do not believe that NATO or the UN or the Federal Government is planning to station troops in my home, no matter what the Republican party claims. Regardless of one's psychological disturbances, this fails the common sense test. There are over 100 million households in the United States, and no one has that many troops.
I believe in protection from unreasonable search and seizure. This means I oppose USA-PATRIOT and all its dependent laws and regulations, including the Telecom Immunity Act that Obama supported. Our system of warrants and judicial oversight worked quite well before we tore it apart in the name of the War on Terror.
I believe in the right of due process, and protection from double jeopardy. Again, this means I oppose USA-PATRIOT and all its dependent laws and regulations. The prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Baghram Air Force Base are stain on American honor as deep as the Japanese internments.
I believe in protection from self-incrimination, but I also believe in taking full responsibility for one's deeds.
I believe that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. I do not believe that public use includes turning the private property over to a developer in the interests of expanding the tax base.
I believe in criminal trial by jury and the rights of the accused. Just because someone is suspect of a crime, or arrested for it, does not mean they are guilty. Again, the prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Baghram Air Force Base are stain on American honor as deep as the Japanese internments, and a blot on our judicial system. I also believe in fully-informed juries, not subject to manipulation by either prosecution or defense.
I believe in the right to civil trial by jury, again, without manipulation by either party to the suit. I also believe that the right of civil redress should not be dependent on the deepness of the parties' pockets, as this means the rich and powerful can never be fully called to account
I believe that we should be protected from cruel and unusual punishment. Again, this means I oppose USA-PATRIOT and all its dependent laws and regulations. The prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Baghram Air Force Base are abuses upon our perceived enemies that will come back to haunt captured Americans, possibly for generations.
I believe that rights not enumerated in the Constitution still apply to us, regardless of the currents of popular culture, or our national fears and our private prejudices. This includes a right to privacy, a right to healthcare, a right to freedom of sexual expression, and right to freedom from bullying at all levels of society, a right to be free from violence. It also includes a right to be wrong, dead wrong; but also a right not to suffer from the errors of others.
What do you believe?