The Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments to the constitution of the United States. If ever there was evidence that the republic in question was just a way for wealthy colonists to avoid paying taxes to Britain.
They didn't think to guarantee these rights at first since they certainly would not abrogate their own rights while running the country themselves. It must have been realised that sometimes the visible reins of power would fall into the hands of slightly differently minded men who might try to limit their freedom to retake those reins...
Do we really think that these ideals apply across the board when we teach them to school children? We create a nation of individuals so concerned about their "rights" and the concept of "majority rule" (majority rule? how about majority get out of the way?!) that we never look to see if those rights are actually needed or wanted by most citizens, or safe guarded by the rules meant to protect them.
The right to free speech certainly has not applied at most times in the history of the United States, which has been more of a history of how much censorship prevails at any given time. Oh sure, in modern times you can put just about any depictions of violence out in the public eye, and even a few (blush) sexual images could leak out - but try to say anything meaningful or critical and your voice, if not silenced, will be lost in the deafening roar of "infotainment".
Window dressing is all they are. We brainwash ourselves, with our mutual back patting and congratulatory post election editorials. So power just changed hands again without violence in this great republic. Changed hands from whom to whom? Sure, the Democrats (as currently constituted) are slightly more "liberal" or "progressive" than the Republicans - ok, they are a lot more progressive sometimes - but neither party will ever seriously undertake to upset the business world of the American-based multinational corporations - neither party will do anything for long that champions the individual human being and their rights over the "economy" and the stock market.
We dominate the world's economy and dictate how they will buy and sell, how they will govern themselves! We eradicate movements for freedom and self determination elsewhere and teach our children to parrot sayings like "one man, one vote", "give me liberty or give me death", and "government by the consent of the governed". We grow up believing that the U.S. has stood for good and right in this world, when it has stood only for protecting and preserving the business interests that make their "homes" here.
© Huw Powell