Has Bush ever read the Bill of Rights?

In his spare time, the president should try reading the Constitution.

This past summer, I interned with my state representative, a Democrat, back home in Wisconsin. During an interview, my representative was asked, “If you could tell President (George W.) Bush to read one book, what would it be?”

He suggested instead of a book, the president should start with the U.S. Constitution. This struck me as sound advice. I know Bush is busy, but if he has a minute, he should take a look at the Constitution. He might discover a few things.

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms of religion, press and expression. This means faith is not a divisive wedge but a unifying liberty. The press is not a “filter.” It is the unofficial fourth branch. Finally, espousing opposing views – even in times of war – is not unpatriotic; it is the foundation of patriotism.

The Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. We have a “well regulated militia .” It’s called the National Guard. No one will take away the right to own a gun, but we will enforce responsibility. The assault weapons ban contributed to eight years of declining crime rates. Letting it expire was a failure of leadership.

The Third Amendment prohibits quartering of soldiers in civilian homes without congressional mandate. This means Bush doesn’t have the right to quarter soldiers in the White House during war. But that does not mean leave them out in the cold. How dare he accuse Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of not supporting our troops when Bush lobbied Congress to cut combat pay for 148,000 soldiers. When we go to war, we have a solemn duty to make our objective clear, our rationale honest and have a plan to win the peace. Bush’s behavior is conduct unbecoming of a commander in chief.

The Fourth, Sixth and Seventh and Eighth Amendments protect due process rights. Bush’s Orwellianly-named USA Patriot Act is in direct violation of civil liberties. Portions of the Patriot Act have been ruled unconstitutional on multiple cases by federal judges. Those aren’t activist judges; those are judges protecting the Constitution.

The Fifth Amendment provides the right not to incriminate ourselves. I think Bush understands this one well, because he invokes it every time someone asks him to name a mistake.

The Ninth and Tenth Amendments protect citizen and state rights. These are important as they mean the Constitution is designed to protect rights, not take them away.

Bush might want his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, to look at the 15th Amendment, which protects voting rights for all people.

Bush needs to prove he deserves to keep his job. I can see why he has run such a negative, dishonest and deceptive campaign – his record isn’t much help:

– Record surplus turned into record deficit

– Net loss of 821,000 jobs

– 1 percent middle-class tax increase

– 5 million Americans lost health insurance

– 50 percent increase in health-care costs

– 17 percent increase in Medicare premiums

– Under-funded own education bill by $27 billion

– Environmental laws that allow more pollution

– Overextended military because of unilateral pre-emptive invasion based on faulty intelligence

Nov. 2 is a referendum on Bush’s presidency; an assessment of his record. Bush has under-delivered on every promise and failed his duty to “protect and uphold” the Constitution.

Four more years? Bush doesn’t deserve four more minutes.

Noah Seligman is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]