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Letters to the editor — Sept. 19

Know the Constitution

Sept. 17-23 is Constitution Week. This year, it commemorates the 232nd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America. Below are 10 spot announcements about our constitution, and are provided by the Battle of Shallow Ford Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

1.  Sept. 17-23 commemorates the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America. You might have even heard phrase, “That’s unconstitutional” or “That’s my constitutional right!” Many times, Americans believe that sayings and phrases are in our Constitution, but they really aren’t. Let us celebrate Constitution Week by resolving to be better informed and responsible citizens. Read the Constitution!

2.  Did you know that nowhere in the Constitution does it say, “it’s a free country”? Amendment 1 of the Constitution does not include the words “freedom of expression” but over time it has been ruled to include limits to the freedom of speech/press/assembly for defamation, perjury, contempt of court, hate speech, size of public demonstrations, trade secrets, noise pollution, classified information and treason. Study the Constitution, know your rights and know what it says and does not say.

3.  Our Constitution, the cornerstone of our freedoms, was written to protect every American from the abuse of power by government. The Fifth Amendment states that “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” and it protects us from double jeopardy and incrimination. However, the phrases “innocent until proven guilty” and “presumption of innocence” are not found in the 5th Amendment nor in any part of the Constitution. These phrases are derived from English law and are part of our system and considered common law today.

4.  Did you know that the only place in the Constitution that “Lord” or any reference to God is where the date is written: Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven”? Did you know that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” and “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are not in the Constitution, but both are in the Declaration of Independence? And lastly, this quote, “Of the people, by the people, for the people” is neither in the Constitution nor the Declaration, but comes from the Gettysburg Address.

5.  The U.S. Constitution is the oldest constitution still in active use in the world today and is the basic document of our republic, which protects the individual liberties of all citizens through written law. Did you know that you cannot be denied the right to vote because of race or gender? But remember, the Constitution never clearly ensures us the “right to vote.” The 26th Amendment requires that 18-year-olds must be able to vote; however, states can allow persons younger than 18 to vote if they chose. The qualifications for voters are left to the states, as long as they do not conflict with anything in the Constitution. In some states, felons who are in prison or on probation are denied the right to vote.

6.  American colonists fought, sacrificed, and died to establish and preserve the freedoms now guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States. The right to privacy has come to the public’s attention through various controversial Supreme Court rulings. Privacy is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, but over the years the Supreme Court has made decisions that have established that the right to privacy is a basic human right and as such is protected by virtue of the 9th Amendment.

7. “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” These words, written 232 years ago, are the Preamble to our Constitution. Read beyond the Preamble to understand the structure of the three branches of our representative government. Study the Amendments and the Bill of Rights.

8.  Did you know that Inauguration Day is set in the 20th Amendment? The presidential and vice-presidential terms end and the next term begins on Jan. 20 following an election. For senators and representatives, it ends and begins on Jan. 3 following an election. The time between the election and Inauguration Day is known as the Lame Duck period, particularly if the president was not reelected.

9.  The Equal Rights Amendment, which reads in part, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” was proposed by the 92nd Congress on March 22, 1972, but was not ratified because not enough states approved it. The main reason that states did not approve it was that the process was already in practice.

10.  Did you know that the Constitution does not give the right to have cases heard by a jury of “my” peers? The Constitution does not have the words “separation of church and state” anywhere in it. The only crime that is defined in the Constitution is treason. Specifically, it is adhering to or giving comfort to the enemies of the United States. The Constitution neither prohibits nor encourages that the president and the vice president be from the same party.

These previous spot announcements are provided by The Battle of Shallow Ford Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

— Susan Stewart,
Battle of Shallow Ford Chapter DAR member

Elect Larry Kirby mayor

Clemmons residents are fortunate to have Larry Kirby running for mayor. Kirby is dedicated to serving the people of Clemmons. He organized the Village Yard and was the director of public works for more than 28 years. Kirby was the interim village manager for 2½ years and has worked with our outstanding fire department as well. Whether he is employed by Clemmons or on his own time, he is always looking for ways to lend his support to the people of Clemmons.

Kirby has knowledge of Clemmons past and present and he is willing to work for a bright future. He knows Clemmons from every angle that can be named. He is conservative, financially responsible and he welcomes input from its citizens. He has had many years of experience working in municipal government and he is well acquainted with supporting agencies. He will work toward a more level playing field as decisions are made on land usage and spending in Clemmons as the village moves forward.

If elected, Larry will provide the Village of Clemmons with caring, experienced leadership. Larry is the right choice for mayor. He has my vote.

Please vote Nov. 5.

— Susan D. Jones
Clemmons

Shady politicians

In the last Clemmons election for Village Council nearly two years ago, Mike Rogers came in next-to-last; Mary Cameron came in dead last.

Voters demanded change and booted both of them out.

Now, Mike Rogers and Mary Cameron are both claiming they are seeking “re-election” — what? Are they implying they are incumbents? By definition, an incumbent is someone who is currently in office. They are not.

Mary Cameron is telling voters on Facebook she is seeking “re-election.” Not to be outdone, Mike Rogers has put out some yard signs saying “Re-elect Rogers.” So is all of this swampy campaigning meant to imply that they are currently in office? Do they really think you forgot that you voted them out? Whatever the case, all this “re-election” business certainly feels a little slick.

Let’s send those two this message again — “No, thanks!” We voted them out two years ago. I guess we have to tell them again.

— Laura Reinhardt
Clemmons