Monday, January 20, 1997

Week of 01/20/1997

Dear President Clinton..
An open letter
- by David Matthews 2

Dear President Clinton,

By the time this article is available to the public you will be taking the oath of office for a second time. Who would have thought it possible that you would be re-elected two years ago, especially after the scathing defeat of your democratic brethren to the republicans?

Anyways, we all know this second ceremony is merely a formality for you - you already have the job and we already know what to expect from you for the next four years. We both know this is just another chance for you to smile and look presidential while watching every Republican who ever desired for your job squirm. But while you’re going to be taking the oath of office for the second time, let’s take a minute to go over it. After all it is an important oath to take.

"I," - state your name here - "do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Simple, right? But there is that one little bit that you seem to have a problem with: "will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

You remember the Constitution, right? It’s the document that enables you to BE the President of the United States. There’s a lot of important things in the Constitution besides the part that covers your job. We call them Amendments. Maybe if we called them Commandments your conservative associates would pay more respect to them. Let’s go over a few, shall we?

The FIRST Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Now, which part does your administration not seem to understand? Bear in mind that you have supported and enacted measures that will restrict the freedom of speech through the Communications Decency Act. You KNEW such measures were in violation of the Constitution, yet you allowed it to be passed, you signed it into law, and you continue to defend it to this day. Is this what you define as preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution?

The SECOND Amendment says "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." Aside from arguments about defines a Militia, one would assume that defending a free State would also fall upon those who uphold the law - namely the police. Yet you enacted a law that would have hundreds of police officers give up their Arms because they have been convicted of domestic abuse - essentially punishing a person TWICE for the same crime.

The FOURTH Amendment says "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Now I realize you politicians hate this particular amendment with venom, but that DOES include electronic information, such as encryption. So why is it that your administration is so aggressively pushing for the keys to all electronic encryption? Essentially that is like asking all homeowners to give the police they house keys and saying "Oh, WE’LL never use it unless we suspect something BAD is going to happen. You can trust us!" This Amendment wasn’t written because of trust in the government. On the contrary, it was written because of the ABUSE of it’s prior government. So what part of this Amendment do you not understand?

Then there’s the TENTH Amendment, which states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." This past November the people of California and Arizona passed laws giving the doctors the LEGAL RIGHT to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes only. And yet your administration is not only dead set against this, but are willing to prosecute doctors who are following what has been made LEGAL BY THE PEOPLE. Now, which part of this Amendment do you not understand?

It’s painfully apparent, Mister President, that you either are ignorant of the meaning that oath, or else you are shamefully negligent in fulfilling it.

It is also a shame, sir, that you have to be reminded about the Constitution, especially given all the lawyers you have in your administration - not to mention your wife’s vocation, and those currently defending you from possible civil and criminal prosecutions. Then again, perhaps it is because of all those lawyers that you seem to have no idea about the Constitution and what it means.

So on the third Monday of January at the start of the new presidential term, when you step up to the podium, raise your hand in the air, and speak the oath of office, by all means think about those words for a minute, and the document that it represents. After all, it’s the one that allows you to be the man you are today.

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