Let me introduce myself. I am a mother and grandmother who has lived her entire life here in West Michigan. Michigan…A state that I hardly recognize anymore. The once safe neighborhoods that I remember as a child are gone now to be replaced with fear of sex offenders and drug dealers.
Grand Rapids where I grew up was once the Furniture Capitol of the World and Detroit the Automotive Capitol. Now all that’s left are the office furniture manufactures trying to compete against State and Federal Prison Industries and the BIG Three competing against foreign made cars and trucks. The loss of jobs have been devastating.
We now face the highest rate of unemployment in the nation, home foreclosures due to predatory lending practices and rising property taxes.
Small family owned business can no longer survive under the constant rising rates of Single Business Taxes while Global International Corporations continue to receive huge tax breaks.
I see an apathy of helplessness in people due to lack of education in the most fundamental tools the Founders built into the Bill of Rights for us to use. I can remember my teachers telling us in grade school that if we didn’t know what our rights were, then we wouldn’t know when someone violated them. How true this statement is.
How many people in Michigan have ever read our Bill Of Rights?
How many know what Article 1 § I or Article 1 § III states?
§ 1 Political power.
All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection.
§ 3 Assembly, consultation, instruction, petition.
The people have the right peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Sec. 1 tells us that, “ALL political power is inherent in the people.” It doesn’t say that political power is in the government or those we elect to government. It doesn’t say that we must ask government permission to exist. Instead is says that “Government is instituted for our EQUAL benefit, security and protection.
And how about Sec. 3?
We have the right to peaceable assemble!
To consult for the common good!
To INSTRUCT our representatives!
And to PETITION FOR REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES!
§ 14 Jury trials.
The right of trial by jury shall remain, but shall be waived in all civil cases unless demanded by one of the parties in the manner prescribed by law. In all civil cases tried by 12 jurors a verdict shall be received when 10 jurors agree.
This is perhaps the most violated of our rights here in Michigan. The Right to a Trial by Jury. Most convictions in Michigan are obtained by a plea bargain. Once the prosecutor finishes piling on enhancement charges, a court appointed attorney brow beats the defendant into a guilty plea and the case never goes to trial.
Now you might ask what’s wrong with this picture. What if the defendant is someone who is objecting to a bad law and wants the jury to nullify it. Well, first, do juries know that they have that power? Unfortunately that’s been left out of Civics Class in our schools since at least 1960. That’s why Michigan has the highest incarceration of any neighbor state.
Again, these are some of the subjects that I will be addressing in my OP ED articles on this blog.