The forgotten holiday: “Bill of Rights Day”

By on December 6, 2001

When I began writing for the Chronicle earlier this semester, I had to frantically seek out exciting and significant material to print in a world where, frankly, not much was going on. I also had to make politics interesting for the college community, a crucial task in itself. That was on Sept. 10. The next day I ached for the hullabaloo over the political incorrectness of the Quinnipiac mascot.
Sept. 11 gave rise to a new America, and now holidays are observed and celebrated with a great degree of heartiness. In this season of perpetual hope, as Kevin McCallister’s mother calls it, there is another holiday that should not be forgotten, and that is “Bill of Rights Day,” which is on Dec 15.
Although this holiday lacks the fat man in the red suit, the lighting of candles, the exchanging of gifts, and well, fun, it does not, however, lack American significance.
On Dec. 15, 1791 the Bill of Rights was passed. It consisted of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and these serve as the very pillars of our great nation. They deem each individual worthy of his own certain liberties that the government cannot intrude upon, and these liberties are made unmistakably clear. Unfortunately, many do not know what the Bill of Rights consists of. Many often “plead the fifth” when asked an incriminating question, yet this is not all-inclusive when understanding what the Bill of Rights enables Americans in the way of freedom.
This Dec. 15, we should all take the time to make sure that we understand the rights that we are endowed with, if only for the reason that it will help protect us from the police.
The Liberator Online, a Libertarian Party publication, outlines the first ten amendments succinctly. The First Amendment grants the freedom of religion, speech, press, the right to assemble peaceably, and the right to petition the government about grievances. This amendment recognizes what most Americans hold dearest: tolerance of distinctions.
The Second Amendment, for all the gunslingers of QU, ensures the right to keep and bear arms. This amendment also ensures the eternal conflict between moms and Charlton Heston.
The Third Amendment states that citizens do not have to quarter soldiers during peacetime, which is not very applicable in contemporary America. since I cannot remember a time when I opened my door to find several soldiers looking for a place to sleep.
The Fourth Amendment is what the students grumble about the lack of to their resident assistants; it protects them from unreasonable searches and seizures. Reasonable cause, however, warrants the right to search and seizure, so the thirteen empties on the desk will need an extraordinarily good explanation.
The Fifth Amendment protects the rights of the accused, as he is “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law”, as the disclaimer from the show Cops points out.
The Sixth Amendment follows up on the fifth, as it grants the right to a fair trial, and the Seventh Amendment grants the right to a trial by jury in civil cases.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments, even though our society sometimes wishes that criminals like Timothy McVeigh were tarred and feathered then dropped on the Empire State Building, bottom down.
The Ninth Amendment states that unenumerated rights go to the people, and the Tenth reserves all powers not given to the national government to the states or people.
So before the “stockings get hung by the chimney with care,” and in between spins of the dreidel. Remember why our nation has the great lengths of freedom that it cherishes: The Bill of Rights.


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