Wednesday, February 8, 2012

EDITORIAL: Our Secret Second Bill of Rights

By Christina Fermin
Politics and Society Columnist

On January 11, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced his Second Bill of Rights during his State of the Union address to Congress. This Second Bill of Rights dealt with what he saw as economic rights for the people. He understood that the Bill of Rights was the citizens political rights and what was lacking in the new industrial century was an economic bill of rights to secure the “pursuit of happiness,” guaranteed by our wonderful Constitution. Roosevelt stated in his famous State of the Union address: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.”People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

This Second Bill of Rights was to guarantee every American the right to employment with a living wage; Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies; Adequate housing; Universal medical care and Education and Social Security. Unfortunately President Roosevelt never saw this implemented and died before he could fully pursue it. President Roosevelt, dealing with the Great Depression and World War IIm understood the future implications if Americans did not have economic security. Without economic security, peace would be short lived. Today we have Social Security which is the only part of Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights which were given to the American people. Today, this lone support system for aging Americans is in severe jeopardy because of the carelessness and greed of Congress.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin’s wife, went on an international crusade to ensure these Second Bill of Rights were incorporated into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Today much of Europe enjoys many of these rights because of President Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. Shortly after his death, the Second Bill of Rights fell into the shadows, some hoping it to be forgotten and lost. Michael Moore discovered the black and white video footage in 2008 in South Carolina while filming Capitalism: A Love Story. Now the video can be found on YouTube and other parts of the Internet where it is being remembered and brought back into the political realm.

I cannot help but to speculate as to what kind of America we would be living in today if Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights passed after the Great Depression and the war. Today’s America is radically different and unfortunately for us, our wonderful Constitution, along with the Bill of Rights has been under brutal attack in the last decade. The most recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing indefinite detention to any who commits a “belligerent act” is the most recent evidence. Human rights have never looked as dismal as they now appear since the inception of the Constitution. As we look to the Presidential election coming in the Fall of this year, we need a leader who will lead America to the path of glory and freedom. Where is the leader that will give us this Second Bill of Rights and restore our civil liberties?

Roosevelt understood that without economic security, America was set to repeat history and peace would be short lived. As history unfolds today in the 21st Century Great Depression, these economic social nets that were created to protect us from financial uncertainty wither away. Until people of America and the world have economic security we will never be free nor will we have peace. To be in debt or financially uncertain is not freedom, it is a form of oppression and a ways of keeping the people enslaved. So long as the 1% control the market and control the economy, economic security will never prevail. We the people must hold the unpatriotic acts of elected officials accountable for their betrayal against the oath they have taken in office. Without economic security, the “pursuit of happiness” is a mere phrase that may fade into the history books just as Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights did. The time has come for the people to liberate ourselves from the hegemonic powers of the 1% and move forward. It is time for the people to say, "Enough, I will not buy your products, nor will I listen to your media or watch your television."

Second Bill of Rights Petition

About the Columnist
With a bachelors degree in political science from Florida Atlantic University, Christina Fermin has always cultivated her love for history, politics, sociology, ancient knowledge and teachings, the outdoors, the ocean and the environment. Christina strives to make our world better by helping us all create a new reality and understanding of all taking place here and now. You can reach her at Christina@MySavvySisters.Com



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