Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Two quotes

A review. First, I offer one of my favorite quotes from poet William Stafford:
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give - yes or no, or maybe
Should be clear: the darkness around us is deep...

I offer this second quote in the service of an awake people. It is from the U.S Bill of Rights, Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Italics are mine:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Remember? We mustn't forget that the reasons these rights are in our constitution is to guard against tyranny, and it is so easy for leaders to argue that safety is more important than liberty. Today, democracy requires our vigilence. The signals we give should be clear. Or are "We, the people" asleep?