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Founding Fathers

March 16, 2002
"Civil Liberties Take Back Seat to Safety" (March 10) seems to suggest that American citizens are losing their civil liberties, by making a point of how noncitizens are being detained for immigration violations and suspicion of being part of a terrorist network. The reporters noted sympathetically how one student from an Arabic country was being deported for a visa violation, and how unfair it was, despite a previous Supreme Court ruling that judged otherwise. The short history lesson I got was that American citizens suffer more than their enemies when we try to protect ourselves against foreign threats.
June 29, 2010 | By Johanna Neuman, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Robert Carlyle Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat who was often called the conscience of the Senate for his devotion to the system of constitutional checks and balances and the prerogatives of power, died early Monday. He was 92. Byrd, who served longer and cast more congressional votes than any other member of Congress in U.S. history since taking office in January 1959, died at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va., a family spokesman said. He was admitted to the hospital late last week with what was believed to be heat exhaustion and severe dehydration as a result of the high temperatures in the capital.
July 14, 2000
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) makes excellent points in "Jefferson Didn't Want to Split Church, State" (Commentary, July 10). To understand the 1st Amendment, you have to understand the context of the time in which it was written. Religion was thought to be indispensable to the continuation of democracy. Consider that the day after the House of Representatives passed the 1st Amendment in 1789, it passed by a 2-to-1 majority a resolution calling for a day of national prayer and thanksgiving.
June 2, 1985
Thank you for publishing a superb letter from the chief of naval operations, which responded to Bob Toth's article (Dec. 30, 1984), "Role of Religious Faith at Pentagon." The admiral alludes to a problem that is more menacing to America's survival than is the combined threat of Russian missiles, pollution of the environment, crime in the streets, and deficit spending. A more grave challenge, by far, is how to reverse a steady trend toward the corruption of basic American values.
November 12, 1990
In the final paragraphs of his article, Steffens ridicules the notion that there is a force in society poised to wrest our freedom of expression from us. He asserts that the American people can be trusted to defend our freedoms. The danger of this argument is that it leads to the conclusion that the Bill of Rights is superfluous because "we are a good people, a fair people." Consider the philosophical thought and the historical necessity that gave rise to the Bill of Rights. The guarantees of freedom of expression (press, religion, assembly)
October 30, 2004
Re "The Electoral College Does It Better," Commentary, Oct. 27: Writer Benjamin Zycher offers that the electoral college "occasionally frustrates the will of the plurality or the majority. But the founding fathers understood the dangers of direct democracy and struggled to create a system that reflected the will of the people while constraining the majority." Actually, the founding fathers were for democracy, for one small group -- property-owning, taxpaying white males. The wisdom of our system is that we took the principles the founding fathers applied to that small group and gradually expanded democracy to include everyone.
August 20, 1996
Re the GOP platform officially recognizing English as the nation's common language, Aug. 13: English is the nation's common language, and it will, and should, continue to be. However, the fact that immigrants, especially first-generation immigrants, often speak a language other than English is hardly new. During the great steel strike of 1919 in the Monongahela Valley of western Pennsylvania, posters urging the workers to return to their jobs had...
November 22, 1998
I am appalled that we let politicians like Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove) continue to run for office. Men like this who turn the American voters against someone honest and trustworthy like state Treasurer-elect Phil Angelides deserve to lose whatever office they're running for. If more lawsuits were threatened for politicians like this, our government would turn into the democratic haven originally planned by our founding fathers in...
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