Hamilton was right. The Bill of Rights was a terrible idea. Most parents grasp this fairly quickly. “Stay in the yard.” is unambiguous. “Stay in the yard, and I especially better not see you in the Johnson’s yard.” is an invitation to wander.
And wander they will. I have papers, a house, effects, and my wife and I are both people with other people in dependence. We like to be secure in those things. If we have to have a Bill of Rights it’s nice to know that there is one that takes our circumstance into consideration. I just wish someone acknowledged the damn thing.
Two news stories from the last few days give me pause.
The first is from Martha’s Vineyard. If you want to be in the Presidential presence there are security protocols that must be observed. If you don’t like it, you can choose not to attend and avoid the intrusion. But what if the Presidential presence comes to see you uninvited? Golfers and diners at the Vineyard Golf Club were so visited when the President made an unexpected appearance. One diner, objecting to the uninvited wanding asked if he could be left to finish his soup. “So, you’re not cooperating?” was the ominous response.
Even though the intruding security detail had no legal right to search him and he was well within his rights to tell the agent to piss off, it’s understandable that he didn’t. Word is they are getting audity as of late. That he was the only one reported to have objected at all to the Praetorian sweep is at least some credit to him.
The second is from Oregon and involves a chicken in the road. So distant is the memory of the spirit that tamed the West that when confronted with a chicken – and I pause to point out that I am referring to an actual physiological chicken, scientifically known as gallus gallus, frequent main course, and synonym for coward – that was blocking traffic the police were called. What is a citizen to do but call for the constabulary.
I’m comforted by the “Am I being detained? Am I free to go?” videos that keep popping up on youtube. There is an assertion by law enforcement that the homeland and border security trump constitutional protections within one hundred miles of a United States border. Bad news for Los Angeles, Seattle, the whole of Florida, New England, et al, and I mean pretty much al. One of the operating principles of the war on terror was that we “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.” That was not the operating principle at Lexington and Concord and I suspect revolutionary combatants would be very much surprised to find their home town subject to a secondary tier of liberty and an exception to the rule of law. This absurd border within a border assertion, among others, needs challenging.
There is a lot of bravery on display in those youtube videos. The law is on their side as free citizens with an innate right to proceed unmolested. That doesn’t mean they won’t be arrested or worse. We need more brave people willing to stand up for their basic rights. As these two stories show, obstructions include the bullies taking advantage on the one side and the hapless clamoring for delivery on the other. Here’s to hoping neither’s number is as great as I think it is.