Monday, March 9, 2009

Change of Heart

How quickly the mind races as new ideas are presented from all sides of an issue. I'm still struggling with the quandary of the Constitution's protection of persons versus citizens, but a very good point was made to me by hohotread.

The founding fathers made no distinction between "people" and "citizens" in regards to rights. The 14th amendment was the first to even make a distinction between "citizens" and "people." The ones before extended all rights and privileges to "the people." Only general practice made a distinction between "citizens" and "others" such as slaves, women, and children. I feel the need as a historian to point out that "democracy" means "rule by the citizen body," which in ancient Greece meant specific males. Even in ancient Greece, though, laws extended to everyone, it was "rule"--the right to vote--that was restricted. So it is in the U.S.

I think the distinction is pretty clear. Rights specifically granted to citizens (like voting) are for citizens, rights granted to "the people" are for everyone. While one could argue that some laws need to make a distinction, the thrust of the linked article seems to be an attempt to remove legal protection from non-citizens. If the protections in the Bill of Rights did NOT extend to non-citizens, any new immigrant would have been prey for the government and legal system to harass mercilessly. Since the U.S. was entirely dependent on immigrants to expand, this would have crippled the nation in its most vulnerable years.

This has provoked further thought on my part and I am still working to put those thoughts into a cohesive mass, but let it be known that I am a man willing to reason through conflicting ideas, in hopes of finding a reasonable answer.

I think this is a genuinely appropriate time to mention that I am not a fan of the word, "hypocrite". Reason: A man's paradigm shifts as he learns more, and I expect that every man should continually strive for knowledge and the paradigm shifts that accompany that information. Ignorance, rather than hypocrisy, is the problem. I define ignorance as a lack of knowledge combined with an unwillingness to learn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I don't think that anyone is going to call you a hypocrite here, and if they do, then they probably have some factors of their own life that they probably aren't too intelligent.

Nobody knows all things (as much as they would like to), and nobody looks at any topic from every direction. We are constantly growing and learning. People who deserve to be called hypocrite are those that go on and continue to preach one thing while simultaneously acting contrary to their own words.

Growth is much different.