Friday, December 10, 2004

A message from Sharon Harris

President of the Advocates for Self-Government:
Dear friends,

A very important American civic holiday is coming up -- one that far too
many Americans are not aware of.

Perhaps you can help bring it to their attention.

December 15 is "Bill of Rights Day" -- a day to celebrate, honor and renew
support for our precious Bill of Rights.

It was on December 15, 1791 that the Bill of Rights the first ten
amendments to the United States Constitution -- went into effect.

One hundred and fifty years later, in 1941, "Bill of Rights Day" was
officially recognized as a national civic holiday, and has been ever since.

The Bill of Rights is, of course, the great protector of American liberties.
It boldly declares that people have certain inalienable rights that
government cannot abridge -- fundamental rights like freedom of speech,
freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, and more. It also
provides procedures for defending those rights -- such as fair trials and
limits on federal power.

The Bill of Rights doesn't just belong to America. It has inspired freedom
fighters around the world. The Founders viewed their Revolution as the first
blow in a struggle to win liberty for *all* the people of the world -- so
the Bill of Rights is truly a document for everyone.

That's why I hope libertarians and other freedom lovers will use this
upcoming Bill of Rights Day as an opportunity to teach their families,
friends, neighbors and others about our precious heritage.

It's a *great* time for a letter to the editor of your local newspaper,
discussing the vital importance of our Bill of Rights freedoms and calling
for reflection on our heritage -- and urging citizens to speak out against
current calls to sacrifice liberty for (alleged) security.

To help with that, here's a short summary of the Bill of Rights, prepared by
students at Liberty Middle School in Ashley, Virginia. (I've added just a
few words.) While this condensed version doesn't have the majesty, depth and
detail of the entire document, it is short and easy to understand, and may
be useful to you in discussions and letters:

THE BILL OF RIGHTS: First Ten Amendments to the Constitution

1. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to
assemble peaceably, right to petition the government about grievances.

2. Right to keep and bear arms.

3. Do not have to quarter soldiers during peacetime.

4. No unreasonable searches and seizures.

5. Rights of the accused.

6. Right to a fair trial.

7. Right to a trial by jury in civil cases also.

8. No cruel and unusual punishments.

9. Unenumerated rights go to the people.

10. Reserves all powers not given to the national government to the states
or the people.

All Americans should be familiar with their Bill of Rights freedoms. Sadly,
numerous surveys indicate most are not.

Those of us who love liberty should do our best to correct that.

Happy Bill of Rights Day!

We now return to your regular, scheduled problems.

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