When James Madison wrote the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, Gouverneur Morris polished it with the genius phrase “We the People.” Imagine if Madison has blog commenters who could have made suggestions. What would the Bill of Rights have become?
As a “rightsmaker” blogger, two years of writing posts declaring over 100 rights has made it clear that feedback has influenced my thoughts and my writing of these rights. There is no question that, if the founding fathers had been able to have the help of a public forum, we would have many more rights than we have now.
Many of us take our rights for granted. But the truth is that Madison was very lucky to even get the original 10 rights of the Bill of Rights ratified at all. Between the contentious debates and the summer heat in which the discussions were held, Madison held his ground, and we have him to thank for holding his own.
If only Madison had a blog. His commenters would have come up with so many more rights than we have. Why? Because the people of 1789 had so many more needs than the upper-class founding fathers.
Here’s a few.
The Right to Food. All the founders were farmers. They had no need for food. Many had slaves that grew and prepared the food for them. They also didn’t live in a drought like Oklahoma farmers found themselves in the 1930s.
The Right to Water. Abundant rivers in America made water plentiful. Americans in 1789 did not live in the desert terrain like much of the people of Africa.
The Right to Life. Did any of the founding fathers suffer directly from abusive life-threatening torture or genocide? It seems they did not.
The Right to Migrate. No one had stopped anyone coming to America in the 1700s, but surely, a blog commenter of 1789 would have written something about how he had escaped persecution from where he came, and how America had given him an opportunity for another life.
The Right to Security. Well, they almost got this one. The 2nd Amendment mentions security, but it is mostly interpreted as the Right to Bear Arms. Wouldn’t someone living in the wilderness of rural America in 1789 have pointed this out? Civil rights lawyer, Connie Rice, has pointed out in her recent book, Power Concedes Nothing, that the Los Angeles teen living in a gang neighborhood of the 21st century could really have used the right to safety more than the right to free speech.
The Right to Reproduction. How can the human race be without this right protected? It is highly likely that a women blog commenter in 1789 may have thought this one up.
The Right to Body Care. Maybe someone who had been publicly tortured and left with disabilities for untreated wounds would have anonymously brought this up. Maybe a husband with a wife who died in childbirth because there was no local doctor would have suggested this.
So, the founders had no blogs. But it’s never too late. We can still have these rights. Can’t we? We the People.