The “most important election in our lifetime”™ is less than two
away. Most people going to the polls on Nov. 2, A.D.
2004, will be deciding between George W. Bush and John F. Kerry for
of the United States. In the spirit of the American democratic process,
I will evaluate these two candidates through the filter of the Bill of
Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution that spell out
the freedoms and liberties allegedly enjoyed and cherished by all
If a candidate supports a particular amendment, he will receive a plus.
If he doesn’t support it, he will receive a minus. If the candidate is
essentially neutral on an amendment, he will get a zero. Now, let’s see
who the best candidate is!
|I. Freedom of expression and association.||President Bush believes “obscene” or “indecent” speech should be prohibited or at least restricted. He also thinks religion (Christianity in particular) has a place in government and would use tax dollars to finance religious organizations.||
||Senator Kerry believes in freedom of speech and in the separation of church and state. However, he did vote for the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance “reform” act, which, among other things limits political speech before elections. He and the Democrats would also restrict “hate speech.”||
|II. Right to keep and bear arms.||President Bush claims to support the Second Amendment but would sign a renewal of the expired ban on “assault weapons” and would prohibit private firearms sales (the gun-show “loophole”). He has also failed to effectively enforce this original “homeland security” law now that its utility is most apparent.||
||Senator Kerry claims to support the Second Amendment but would “fight” to renew the “assault-weapons” ban and would close the gun-show “loophole.” He has recently voted to ban common hunting cartridges as “armor-piercing” ammunition and also thinks all firearms and their owners should be registered and licensed.||
|III. Freedom from compulsory military service in peacetime.||Despite numerous ongoing military operations, the Congress has not declared war in over 60 years. President Bush has repeatedly denied that he will call for a military draft.||
||Senator Kerry opposes a military draft, but some of his grandstanding Democratic colleagues in the Congress have recently brought legislation calling for one. Partisan politics have thus cost Senator Kerry an easy plus.||
|IV. Right to privacy.||The G. W. Bush administration has defended the privacy rights of some Americans but not of others. The administration also sponsored the USA PATRIOT [sic] Act. President Bush strongly supports the “war on drugs.”||
||Senator Kerry has defended the privacy rights of some Americans but not of others. He also voted for the USA PATRIOT [sic] Act. However, he has decried the G. W. Bush administration’s abuses of the Fourth Amendment during the “war on terror.”||
|V. Freedom from legal double jeopardy and self-incrimination. Right to due process of law.||The G. W. Bush administration has denied due process of law to suspected terrorists and other “unlawful combatants” since Sept. 11th.||
||Senator Kerry has decried the G. W. Bush administration’s abuses of the Fifth Amendment during the “war on terror.” However, the Democratic Party has supported the use of civil courts to accomplish what legislation or criminal proceedings could not.||
|VI. Right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings.||The G. W. Bush administration has denied public trials to suspected terrorists and other “unlawful combatants,” instead establishing secret military tribunals to mete out justice to these individuals.||
||Senator Kerry and the Democrats have decried the G. W. Bush administration’s abuses of the Sixth Amendment during the “war on terror.”||
|VII. Right to a jury trial in civil proceedings.||President Bush has taken no position on the Seventh Amendment but has decried the abuse of civil courts and has advocated tort reform.||
||Senator Kerry has taken no position on the Seventh Amendment but seems indifferent to tort reform. His running mate is a former trial lawyer who has profited from the current system.||
|VIII. Freedom from cruel and punishment.||The G. W. Bush administration has claimed that the Eighth Amendment does not apply to suspected terrorists and other “unlawful combatants.”||
||Senator Kerry and the Democrats have decried the G. W. Bush administration’s abuses of the Eighth Amendment during the “war on terror.”||
|IX. Non-exclusion of other rights.||In recent years, the Republicans have fought against the recognition of “new” or “special” rights. President Bush probably doesn’t even know what the Ninth Amendment means.||
||In recent years, the Democratic Party has worked to protect some rights and privileges, especially for women and minorities, but Senator Kerry is still no champion of this forgotten amendment.||
|X. Other powers reserved to the states or to the people.||President Bush has recently called for a Constitutional amendment defining a marriage as being between one man and one woman, even though his favorite book recognizes that other forms of marriage exist.||
||Senator Kerry and his fellow Democrats have frequently twisted the Constitution to extend federal power over the several states and their people. Of course, the 10th Amendment has been something of a moot point for over 140 years.||
If we add up their respective scores, we can see that Senator Kerry leads President Bush by an “impressive” -2 to -6. Which stalwart defender of natural rights and civil liberties will you vote for? As for me, I’ll be voting for some candidate you’ve probably never even heard of, but one of these two jokers will still win.