Rights We Treasure, And Rights We Don’t

I don’t consider myself a right-wing blogger, tea partier, neo-conservative, federalist or a birther.  I’m just a married man with a .5 kid (my wife is 8 months pregnant).  I stay “in the know: because of my job and many folks often call me for advice on election day.  They know that I don’t look at the party and will always breakdown candidates’ pros and cons with reason.  I’ve never been a big Bill of Rights guy, although I’ve been trying to plow through a very thick biography piece on John Adams for the last year.

But this past weekend, as my wife and I strolled through a brand new public school in Baton Rouge on our way to vote, I was presented with a sign— not  from God, but a sign from a teacher.  A sign that I needed to take a closer look at my rights as a U.S. citizen.  

The sign wasn’t all that noticeable.  It blended well between inspirational posters and proudly displayed class projects.  I imagine it was a simple assignment for Mrs. Menon’s students at ‘The Dufrocq School.’ Perhaps it was even an impromptu project to keep them busy on a rainy afternoon?  It was entitled  “We Treasure Our Rights.”  I thought to myself what a great way to ‘teach’ our children the rights of our country.  The rights our forefathers drafted and debated over for years.  The rights my grandfather died for in Italy during WWII.  The rights we believe in— the fundamental rights of life, liberty and the purist of happiness, which give us all the opportunity to be the best we can be in this great county.  

But sadly I was disturbed by the rights that were listed on this flimsy poster board.  Especially the one that topped the list – ‘I treasure the right to Health Care.’   
I’m glad this sign came into my life because it made me dig a little deeper into my rights.  All of these years I’ve had a general idea of my rights.  I’ve heard debates over what is a ‘right’ and what is a ‘privilege.’  Amazingly, when I went to the current “trusted” source for information, Google, and typed in “rights,” I got 1.6 billion results in .26 seconds.  Unfortunately on the top of this list was “Ask a Lawyer – 19 lawyers are online! Ask a question. Get an answer ASAP.”  In fact, the top six results are all related to my rights if I’m arrested.  I’ve put that in “My Favorites” folder (you never know).
Of course, the ultimate source for our information about our rights is the United States Constitution.  It is often assumed the Bill of Rights is the document under which we live our daily lives, but in 1791 the Bill of Rights only served as an outline for the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  As hard as I tried, I could not find where Health Care was listed in either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.  I did see the right to keep and bear arms, right to a trial by jury, right to not house soldiers without an owner’s consent, right to not incriminate myself, right to protection from unreasonable searches and the right to freedom of speech.  But nothing about Health Care.  
Last year my wife visited Durfocq Elementary to help with a reading program for the students.  She was amazed at the design of the school ($20 million renovation) and how well behaved all of the students were in the school.  So what are Dufrocq teachers teaching in school?  Was this an assignment for educational purposes or indoctrination purposes?  

I guess brand new schools do not invoke brand new thought processes.  

According the Dufrocq’s website, Mrs. Menon is a certified elementary teacher with a master’s degree.  I would expect a teacher with a master’s degree would know the difference between a “right” and a “privilege.” 

I’m sure when folks invoke the first amendment and ask Mrs. Menon why she’s indoctrinating our kids, she’ll quickly exercise her Fifth Amendment right!    

Mrs. Shobha Menon



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