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davidbetterman's avatar

Are the Rights guaranteed us by the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights Unalienable?

Asked by davidbetterman (7545points) February 23rd, 2010

Or are they transitory, and we need to constantly be fighting for them?

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17 Answers

Kraigmo's avatar

These rights are morally unalienable. But realistically… they are alienable.

The Drug War along with in rem civil asset forfeiture, and the suspension of habeus corpus, extraordinary renditions, and enhanced interrogations for the Terror War… all prove this.

So yeah we need to keep fighting for them. Especially the pursuit of happiness and the 9th and 10th Amendments. And the rest of the Constitution that most presidents don’t really understand.

susanc's avatar

Yes, they are alienable. We can now have our elections controlled by corporations owned by people from other countries. Thank John Roberts’ court for that, children. Thank George Bush for John Roberts.

Nullo's avatar

@susanc I thought that they could just contribute money, not vote.

jrpowell's avatar

@Nullo :: It is the same difference. If a company can run unlimited ads it will modify the outcome of the election. Just wait for infomercials for a candidate. If you thought it was bad before it is going to get a whole lot worse.

Nullo's avatar

@johnpowell Do you know anybody who sits and watches infomercials?

susanc's avatar

@Nullo: what johnpowell said: money buys influence. Why are you being so literal?
I’m sure you actually understood what we’re now explaining, word by exhausting word.

And again: don’t you know anybody who sits and watches infomercials?
I think you do.
You may think you can filter those out, but I bet some of your acquaintances can’t.

Nullo's avatar

@susanc As a matter of fact, I don’t know anybody who watches infomercials. And I hardly watch television at all.
Why literally? Partly because I have contrariness locked in as my default knee-jerk reaction to Bush-bashing. It was old seven years ago, and hasn’t gotten any better. The other part stems from a conviction that the companies won’t be able to leverage that much out of their ads (assuming that they get as much leeway as we’ve been led to believe that they do – there is bias everywhere), should they decide to run them at all.

Maybe I’m simply a disillusioned cynic who thinks that we’re fnorded no matter who wins.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I think that corporations are now in a state of power that they can control governments. I don’t mean that in a John Grisham kind of way, but they do have a great amount of power with the people in government. I feel there is less of “We The People” and more of “I The Company”. There needs to be more of the former and less of the latter. At this point in time, government is whatever the free market needs it to be. We need to protect our bill of rights and constitution. Not treat it like it was written with a pencil.

davidbetterman's avatar

@johnpowell Is correct in that large companies can alter election outcomes by infusing mega bucks into campaign advertisements.
This may not affect your voting habits @Nullo, but it does affect the votes of millions of other gullible American voters.
As for Bush bashing, the only thing wrong with that is the fact that for all the Bush bashing that occurred during his unlawful presidency, he wasn’t removed from office, but rather was allowed to lead America to the brink of ruin.
Now there is a president who trampled everyone’s right to the pursuit of happiness.

@susanc Quite right indeed.
@Kraigmo Right On!

Cruiser's avatar

I think shenanigans from grassroot organizations like Acorn who go door to door, drive people to the voting booth and tell then which button to push and politicians like the President who accept untraceable credit card donations and campaign donations over the internet has a far greater impact at affecting the outcome of an election than any corporate donation. Here is a small example of what Obama was able to accomplish in just one month…
“Of the $150 million the senator from Illinois raised in September, nearly $100 million came in over the Internet.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/28/AR2008102803413.html

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The Declaration of Independence is a statement of principles, but not a governing document.

Constitutional rights have been constantly in flux regarding interpretation ever since the Constitution was ratified.

This latest Supreme Court decision giving corporations the same contribution rights as individuals is very disturbing; it goes opposite of the way our system needs to survive. We’re on a slippery slope to facism unless this is legislatively or constitutionally overturned.

CMaz's avatar

We have the right to, does not make it a guarantee.

davidbetterman's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land We’re already there in re fascism. we have been since WWII.
In declaring our independence, the written Declaration is most certainly a guiding document, which has been used as a defense in many court cases a hundred years ago as a defense against government prosecution. As such, I would say it is more than merely a statement of principles.

MrBr00ks's avatar

corporations have been considered their own legal entity for quite some time now. The Supreme Court just took these considerations and applied them to campaign finances.

davidbetterman's avatar

@MrBr00ks Using the legal fiction of considering corporations as almost human is one of the worst follies our government has perpetrated against its citizens.

Cruiser's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I don’t see what you are so afraid of. If you haven’t read it the ruling is quite an interesting read as it demonstrates the fundamentals of the First Amendment in all it’s glory, something we should embrace not be critical of….

“Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials ac-countable to the people—political speech must prevail against lawsthat would suppress it by design or inadvertence.”
[snip]
Political speech is “indispensable to decision-making in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speechcomes from a corporation.”

How can you argue with that??

And if you do read this ruling it was brought about not so much because of the amount of potential money a corporation would spend on campaign ads but more so because of the nature of the ad which they called “electionerring communication” we all know as smear campaigns.

An electioneering communication is “any broadcast, cable, orsatellite communication” that “refers to a clearly identified candidatefor Federal office” and is made within 30 days of a primary election, and that is “publicly distributed,” ),which in “the case of a candidate for nomination for President . . . means” that the communication “an be received by 50,000 or more persons in a State where a primary election . . . is being held within 30 days,”

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf

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