Wednesday, December 13

Human Rights Past and Present

Last sunday, December 10th was International Human Rights Day. This Friday is the 215th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights. Take time out to read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and refresh your memory about the Bill of Rights. Then ask yourself two questions:

Are we living up to the promise of these documents?

One very interesting thing I learned about the Bill of Rights is that James Madison who was largely responsible for the Constitution being ratified, did not believe that a bill of rights was necessary. But, because the states demanded it, his reasoning changed. Perhaps there is a modern day lesson in that for us.

In Iowa, our state motto is "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain", this is not a small sentiment. I often think about the balancing act between my progressive values and our civil liberties. To lay the groundwork for a just society while still allowing people to choose their own course is tricky business. I think this is where populism comes in, if the people want a free, just society, we need to work to make it happen.

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