The answer: So do I.
You have to consider the context of how we got to this point in
the first place.
A bedrock principle of American law has always been that "all
men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,
and that among these are the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit
The first two centuries of this country's existence established,
by tradition, prevalent practice and precedent law, that these rights
are neither inalienable, nor endowed to all.
If these rights were truly self-evident,
we would not be having this conversation.
Yes, men and women have these rights, have had these rights, have
always had these rights ... if the principle is true, and it is,
men and women in totalitarian countries like the old Soviet and
Nazi Germany regimes have always had these rights, too.
Unthinkable injustices have been inflicted upon whole races of
people in the name of "exceptions" to the rule that all
men and women are created equal before the law.
A major first step in this country was the conclusion of the Civil
War, with the amendment "without respect to race, color or
creed" to the United States Constitution.
If your reasoning was correct, this probably should not have been
necessary. It shouldn't have been. Why was it?
This untidy baggage had to be tacked on to the U.S. State Papers
to remedy a specific evil, namely, that The People had chosen to
ignore pre-existing rights of a whole class of people for over one
hundred years. Protracted and exceptional injustices require exceptionally
specific measures for remedy.
"They should have just enforced
the existing laws" just doesn't cut it for five generations
of enslaved African-Americans.
If you want to quibble about the parliamentary procedure of the
remedial law which is written while your fellow Americans are being
burned, murdered, tortured, incarcerated and lynched by a culture
which condones and even advocates this, I ask you to consider a
couple of points:
a) "enforcing existing law" has
to be done by precedent, but there are no precedents -- or written
intentions -- to enforce at the point of reform.
In order to suddenly enforce a law, for which there has been a
long history of wholesale breach, it is necessary for lawmakers
to provide a written means for citizens and the courts to distinguish
the law from the way things were done before.
A public notice, when issued by lawmakers, is called a law. Reform
means new law, and specifically, that means new law with specifics
which the old law failed in not providing.
b) a human being only has one lifetime in
which to await redress of grievances.
|A law so poorly conceived and written that it cannot stand
without an enumeration of all its instances and specifics, is
"bad law" indeed. But you cannot put off redress of
grievous injustice over the course of several human lifetimes,
on the pretext of your disapproval of the wording. That particularly
specious form of evasion would be the equivalent of drafting
a mild letter of condemnation to Hitler.
If history is showing us that our popular and legislative ethics
are so bankrupt that we have to be told that it is NOT OK to stab
gay teenage cross-dressers in a New Orleans bar or disco on the
Sabbath, this must be done.
The highest purpose of the law is to
protect and enforce individual rights, not the feelings, "traditions"
and sentiments of those violating them.
If the safeguards of the United States Constitution are not specific
enough for the cultural climate in which we find not only them but
the citizens who are to be protected by them, or if those laws are
not strong enough to actually accomplish their charter purpose,
then citizens must act to make sure that they become so, no matter
how painful or unseemly the process may become.
This nation was founded on the integrity
of Process. Process was rooted in individual rights. The founding
was rooted in the discontinuity of violent revolution, establishing
once and for all that when there is a conflict between Rights and
Process, Process will yield until Rights are reestablished.
Human rights must never
again be subordinated to parliamentary procedure and house rules
of order over the course of a whole human lifetime. Once
the breach of principle has become self-evident to victims and beneficiaries
alike, you can only openly break with the principle so many times.
At some point, the institutions charged with upholding the law
become worthless for the preservation of life and liberty.
Taken in this light, the moral neutrality of some, certain conservative
and libertarian organizations which actually do advocate a consistent
platform of individual rights, is particularly abhorrent and discrediting.
This only serves to underscore how wide the breach between principle
and practice has been allowed to grow.
As a civil libertarian myself, my best guess is that conditions
here are so bad (in some respects) that many highly respected thinkers
in individual rights haven't actually got any clue whatsoever how
to get us from here to there. "A moral and cultural revolution"?
Led by whom or what, may I ask?
"Moral revolutionaries", my
People who espouse liberty but refuse to sanction anything concrete
to preserve it are, by far, the greatest cowards of all.
This is the land of the free and the brave. It is time, finally,
for all of us to be brave, and to make us all free.