America at a Crossroads

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As we look to the future of our great and noble nation, America is facing a great dilemma. At this time, we are at a crossroads of what America will look like 20 years from today. The legacy we leave for our children and grandchildren is in the hands of the citizens of the United States today.

So many speeches and sound bites and videos are being produced that it is almost impossible to tell right from wrong. Anything can be captured, then changed and then can be used out of context. We hear so many times comments made about the Constitution, what the founding fathers intended when penning the roadmap for our nation, states rights and freedom and liberties. The truth is, our nation does not remain stagnant and the original concept of our great nation and what the founding fathers originally intended is not totally in line with what we have today. Case in point, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the controversy.

When the Constitution of the United States, the foremost miraculous document in world history, was signed by the founding fathers, the authors delivered this to the states for their approval. This ratification process did not go well as several states refused to sign without a written Bill of Rights. At that point in our history we faced a major hurdle in forming our new nation. America’s future was at a crossroads. Luminaries such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were against a Bill of Rights and wrote of their opposition in the Federalist Papers. Madison stated that it would be impossible to list all the liberties guaranteed to an individual and by making a list many implied liberties would be ignored and thus not recognized as a guaranteed freedom. On the other side of the argument, Thomas Jefferson felt that a Bill of Rights was important, as it would reinforce the Federal Government’s commitment to liberty. Ironically it was Madison who wrote the first draft of the Bill of Rights, the Amendments to the Constitution, and presented it to the first Congress of the United States. The Bill of Rights then went to the states for approval.

The Bill of Rights was approved but the original concept was that the individual states remained independent and the rights of the citizens would be determined by the states in which they lived. The courts upheld this interpretation as it felt that the Federal Government’s liberties contained in the Bill of Rights did not protect citizens from their own states.

A new crossroads developed following the American Civil War. A new conscience embraced America and the 14th Amendment was created. This began the debate that the Bill of Rights was to be applied to individual states. Legal actions took place within 30 years of the 14th amendment and the Bill of Rights was becoming the requirements of the individual states and thus guaranteed the rights included in the Bill of Rights to every citizen. Another crossroads was navigated but as every door closes behind you another one opens in front.

In 1924 The Democratic convention was being held in New York City. The Tammany Hall delegation from New York had leaders such as Jim Farley, Al Smith, Joe Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt. They wanted the KuKuxKlan to be written out of the platform of the Democratic Party. A large number of delegates were members of the Klan and when the final vote for the highly contested proposal took place, the attempt was rejected by four votes. A crossroads for the Democratic party did not go well and the Republicans won the presidency. Eventually black voter rights were recognized and barriers were torn down that allowed blacks the right to vote. In the mid-1950s Governor Earl Long of Louisiana saw an opportunity to obtain a large black vote for himself and ultimately the state Democratic party. He championed the black voter rights and thus garnered a loyal following. Another crossroads was navigated for the good of the citizens but this time with political benefit.

Today we have a new crossroads. It is simple, do we maintain a country that maintains the original promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or do we embrace a new country that guarantees everyone a level living condition but stripping a guarantee for the pursuit of happiness thus stripping liberty from out great nation. Do we want a handout from a central control point in Washington that will dictate how we are to act, how we are to think and how we must live? Does Louisiana want the same life styles as the residents of New York City any more than the residents of New York City desire the quiet rural peace of Louisiana? A socialistic centralized government will strip the individuality of the American citizen, kill the entrepreneurial spirit of a great people and destroy the moral fabric of a noble people.

We are at a new crossroads and how we navigate the twists and turns up to the intersection and then taking the correct path will determine the fate of our proud nation for the future.

GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Tuffy Fields may be reached by emailing thelouisianaexplorer@yahoo.com.