Monday, June 7, 2010

Constitutional, U.S. and TX, details...

There are some who would try, once again (there’s always someone not happy with how history has been documented), to rewrite the story of the United States of America. This is just a short refresher on what I feel are salient points from the past; precedent for the future.

In 1775 the second Continental Congress convened in colonial Philadelphia and produced both of the following documents:

1. The Declaration of Independence (announcing the creation of these United States of America);

2. The Articles of Confederation (creating a weak central government that was to coordinate the activities of the 13 new States).

Those who propose a smaller, less intrusive, federal government have somehow forgotten that that has been tried and declared a failure here already.

1787 was the year that saw another convention in Philadelphia, PA. This one came to be known as our Constitutional Convention, after a document (similarly named) emerged. The U.S. Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation creating a stronger, more workable, central government for the USA.

1836 was the year that Texas declared its independence from Mexico. Ten years later the Republic of Texas had serious debt and was facing a difficult dispute with Mexico about the southern border; Mexico claimed the Nueces River as the border while Texas claimed territory further south, to the Rio Grande. Upon acceptance of the U.S. offer of statehood, the border war shifted from Texas vs. Mexico to the U.S. vs. Mexico: the Rio Grande became the border.

The noise one sometimes hears about Texas seceding from the United States should be balanced with the notion that, as an independent nation, border defense (amongst a multitude of other things) becomes our solitary responsibility once again. Such lonely and expensive pursuits have been tried and found wanting.

Some elements of the U.S. Constitution have been bandied about of late, so some details need to be clarified.

The Bill of Rights, Amendment Two, reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The aforementioned Amendment relates back to The Constitution, Article 2, Section 2/1:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States

It is a mystery to me how one comes to believe that somewhere in those words a singular noun or pronoun exists, let alone the idea of defining an individual’s right to, “keep and bear arms.”

This is where Texans find the individual’s right to, “keep and bear arms.”

The TX Constitution, Bill of Rights, Article 1, Section 23:

RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.

The US and TX Constitutions are amendable documents, because none of the originators thought they were able to foretell the needs and circumstances the future might create.

We have, in these United States of America, created a formidable union that attempts to allow for all the potential fallibilities and foibles of humanity while assembling a whole that accrues the strength that is the sum of all its parts. We can’t, don’t and won’t always agree on all the details associated with the continuity of such an immense conglomeration, such as are these United States, but we must try to come together and make our best effort.

We must work together to invest in, maintain and improve that which we’ve inherited, so that future generations can have the power of opportunity that we were given by our ancestors.

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