10 Ways in Which Our Rights Have Been Usurped

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” — Abraham Lincoln

It’s easy to become discouraged about the state of our nation.

We’re drowning under the weight of too much debt, too many wars, too much power in the hands of a centralized government, too many militarized police, too many laws, too many lobbyists, and generally too much bad news.

It’s harder to believe that change is possible, that the system can be reformed, that politicians can be principled, that courts can be just, that good can overcome evil, and that freedom will prevail.

So where does that leave us?

Benjamin Franklin provided the answer. As the delegates to the Constitutional Convention trudged out of Independence Hall on September 17, 1787, an anxious woman in the crowd waiting at the entrance inquired of Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic,” Franklin replied, “if you can keep it.”

What Franklin meant, of course, is that when all is said and done, we get the government we deserve.

Those who gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights believed that the government exists at the behest of its citizens. It is there to protect, defend and even enhance our freedoms, not violate them.

Unfortunately, although the Bill of Rights was adopted as a means of protecting the people against government tyranny, in America today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

“We the people” have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance by a government that cares nothing for our lives or our liberties.

The bogeyman’s names and faces have changed over time (terrorism, the war on drugs, illegal immigration, a viral pandemic, and more to come), but the end result remains the same: in the so-called name of national security, the Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded with the support of Congress, the White House, and the courts.

A recitation of the Bill of Rights—set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and the like (all sanctioned by Congress, the White House, and the courts)—would understandably sound more like a eulogy to freedoms lost than an affirmation of rights we truly possess.

What we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust document adopted more than two centuries ago. Sadly, most of the damage has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution, twenty-plus years after 9/11 and with the nation just emerging from two years of COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates.

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New Transgender ‘Bill of Rights’ Designed to Erase Real Women

More than 80 House Democrats recently introduced a resolution they call the Trans Bill of Rights. The authors claim it will ensure that transgender and nonbinary people are, as a lead sponsor Rep. Marie Newman put it, “free to live as their authentic self.” 

In practice, the Trans Bill of Rights guts protections and programs for biological women. Every American must now decide: do I support this vision of trans rights, or do I stand for women’s rights? It is impossible to support both because they are in direct conflict.

The press materials promoting the Trans Bill of Rights focus on the idea of inclusivity, personal fulfillment, and preventing the bullying and mistreatment of LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming communities, all of which sounds very nice. Of course, Americans oppose bullying and want everyone treated with kindness and respect. But the Trans Bill of Rights isn’t just a feel-good statement of support or warning against bullying. It has serious legal implications — particularly for women.

The Trans Bill of Rights would redefine the term “sex” under the Civil Rights Act to include “gender identity and sex characteristics” and prohibit public accommodations and federally funded programs from offering spaces and programs exclusively for women. In other words, it would become illegal to take into account sex or “sex characteristics,” and single-sex facilities would cease to exist. If a female athletic team cannot discriminate against males, then men will dominate competitions meant for women. If women’s locker rooms, rape crisis centers, and domestic violence shelters are required to take in men, women’s privacy and security will be compromised. If men are allowed to opt in to women’s prisons, then female prisoners will face physical harm.

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Congress Finds Even More Reasons To Disregard The Bill of Rights

With news that Congress is on its way to passing new gun control laws that will make it easier for bureaucrats to disarm law-abiding Americans, the United States is once again repeating the egregious mistake of responding to a perceived “emergency” by crippling constitutional protections for Americans’ unalienable rights.

First we had the post-9/11 passage of the Patriot Act and its creation of a national security surveillance state that tracks and records Americans’ digital communications despite the absence of probable cause, legal warrants, or explicit consent. Then we had the Department of Homeland Security’s recent flirtation with a “disinformation board” meant to regulate speech and censor points of view at odds with the government’s officially sanctioned “narratives.”

Now we have a renewed push for “red flag” laws intended to deprive Americans of their weapons without proper due process or criminal conviction. Over the last 20 years, America’s First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments have been under sustained attack, and, amazingly, it has been elected officials sworn by oath to “support and defend” those same amendments who have led much of the charge.

There’s nothing so dangerous as a politician who undermines the Bill of Rights during a moment of tragedy or crisis. Those rights, set forth as the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution as a redundancy to make explicitly clear what is beyond the scope of the federal government’s enumerated powers, are not wishy-washy suggestions meant to be ignored during times of “emergency.” On the contrary, it is during such times when their safeguards become most critical.

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