Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Frightful Reflection and the Bill of Rights

TV, books, and entertainment media in all its forms has always been a reflection of the current society.  In some ways, that is superb, and astounding, and we can learn about the worries and the lives of the time based entirely on reading a book from another decade.  In others it is worrying and frightful, particularly when one looks at what is on TV today.  The monsters of today are still monsters.  Vampires still suck blood, werewolves still attack people (though no longer devour them, it seems) and monsters as a whole are still monstrous.  But it feels as if that monstrosity has in a way matured.
To my horror, people seem to flock to the beautiful monsters.  Whether it is a man who tortures others because of childhood bullying or it is a handsome vampire who still kills, and does so freely, but gets away with it because of his beauty.  I think that is my biggest problem with monsters on TV.  The vampires are only what I could call an Anne Rice Vampire.  They are more like an incubus who drinks blood than anything else.
Knowing what I know about media and the mirror it shows society all I can do is weep.  Our monsters are no longer in the shadows, hidden.  Or, at least, the faces of these monsters are not, though their true nature often is.  Instead, they are lauded, adored, because of superficial reasons.  The modern monster of man, the monster we see and acknowledge as monsters, are not those that dwell in shadows but those that stand in the spotlight, smiling, declaring their vegetarian nature, and how against hunting they are.
They are the monsters who claim that by spying on the bad guys, they are in fact good guys.  In order to spy on the bad guys though, well, they have to spy on the good too.  How else do they know who is bad or who is good?  There is no longer a presumption of innocence.  Instead, you are guilty, particularly if you lack the beauty of the heroes or the seductive nature of the monsters.
To me, I think, the monster on TV and in the books reflect the true nature of our society today, and it is a nature I want with all my heart to change.  The fact that you can buy an expensive sports car whenever you please should not be a get out of jail free card for burning down a dance studio.  Nor should being a spy for the ‘greater good’ excuse you from using the moral compass that you hopefully have.  It doesn’t have to match mine, but surely you believe in the one thing so many world religions espouse: Do No Harm.  
Or at least try?
It scares me that money or looks can get someone, anyone out of trouble.  Whether it is out of the trouble of bullying and harassing another, or out of the legal trouble that breaking the key laws that the US based its cultural identity around.
We are a cultural melting pot, and things change, from year to year, from decade to decade.  Change is not necessarily bad, and in many ways can be amazing.  But we have a unity, and it isn’t based on the laws that change so often in our nation, but in a single founding document that we all agree on.  But, I think, I may need to put it in modern words and modern terms so you can maybe see why these glittering monsters, these pretty littler liars and bloody rich killers concern me so.  They are, by virtue of money and media in powerful positions.  And lately, all of them have been ignoring what brings our culture together.
Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but this is how I have always read the opening of the Constitution:

We the People of the US, come together to life together, and ensure that justice is served on these lands that we claim are ours.  We come together to ensure that any man, woman, or child can have justice, that all of our people do not have worry about rioting, or warfare, or bullets being shot in the streets.  We are here, to provide a form of protection made of the people willing to protest, and here to ensure that it is possible to rise above poverty and into a life where you can provide for yourself.  We come together as a nation to secure the right of liberty, of freedom to be, for ourselves, and all who come after us.  We, the People of the United States do claim and proudly establish out support of this Constitution for the United States of America.
And maybe I just don’t speak legalese well, but this is our bill of rights, as I understand it, in the most plain terms I can think of to say it:

Amendment I:
Congress cannot force you to believe a certain way, or penalize you for believing whatever it is you believe.  No religion will be outlawed by them.  You may saw what you wish, and the press cannot be told what to share with the people.  Congress cannot tell people they can or cannot gather, nor can they deny them the right to create a petition, or the right to have their grievances heard.
Amendment II:
People, average, everyday people, will be able to protect themselves, and their nation, even from those who govern them, if necessary. And people, citizens, not necessarily members of the military, will form a militia ran by the common man will be encouraged as a necessity to ensure freedom.
Amendment III:
No soldier, no military personnel may take over your home and force you to host them, in tiems of peace or times of war.  If they must, for some reason, do so, they can only do so in a legal manner, following every last step of the law.
Amendment IV:
No one had to worry about the security of their private life, or private business.  Random searches cannot be conducted even with probable cause, because only a warrant with probable cause, an oath that only what is on the warrant will be search, and a in depth description of what is to be search can make a search legal.  All of your business, no matter in what form, is your own and cannot be rifled through without first a court issued warrant.  Any of your ‘effects’, that is, anything you own, that you regularly carry cannot be taken and looked through.
Amendment V:
No one, no matter what, will be punished for a capital crime unless they first have had a trial in front of a Grand Jury.  The only exceptions are in the military forces, or in the militia, and only then if the US is in a time of war.  No person, no man, no woman, no child will ever be tried twice for the same crime.  No person will be forced in any criminal case to act as a witness against their-self.  No person can be killed, be locked up, or lose their property without fair treatment through the judicial system first. Nobody’s private property can be taken for public use without being given something else, whether cash, other land, or what have you, that comes to the same value of what was taken.
Amendment VI:
If someone is accused of a crime, they won’t be forced to wait in the limbo of the justice system for any long amount of time at all before they are given a public trial, that anyone can attend, and they must be tried by a jury with no feelings of attachment to them or their victim.  The trial will take place in the state and district where the crime was committed.  The accused must be told, before the trial, of why it is believed they committed the crime, and of what crime it is believed they have committed.  They will have a chance to know the witnesses against them, and they will have, required by law, the chance to have witness’ on their side, and legal aid on their side.
Amendment VII:
If there is a non-criminal court case, involving a money related argument more than twenty dollars in value, then the right to an impartial jury is still reserved.
Amendment VIII:
No one will be required to pay a bail that they cannot afford.  In other words, if a loan is required for a person to post bail, than that bail is excessive.  No unaffordable fines will be imposed on anybody.  If they cannot afford the fine, then the fine is too large.  No one will be subject to any punishment that causes any mental, physical, or emotional damage, nor will any punishment be out of the ordinary in its nature.
Amendment IX:
No constitutional amendment gives anybody the right to deny anybody else their constitutional amendment. Nor can any amendment be used as an excuse to be insulting, cruel, or otherwise a jerk to another human being.
Amendment X:
Anything not explicitly in the US Constitution, is reserved for the states, or for the citizens themselves, to decide, so long as the constitution does not forbid it explicitly.
I hope you can see why I am worried based solely on those two parts of that full and total document.  I want more than just opened eyes.  I want you to ask yourself why.  I suppose, because I have often asked why in my life, that I want you to always ask the whys, and to ask them of the people who both know, and can change them.
One Final Byte: Stop and ask why for everything one time.