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LETTER TO EDITOR: Why the Constitution is so important

I am writing in response to a letter published Oct. 9. After graduating from Perham High School in 2005, I've tried to keep up with the local news as much as possible. I've read a number of ridiculous letters to the editor over the years, but I've never felt the urge to respond until quite recently.

The contradictions and fallacies in this letter, intentional or not, are appalling and demand a response.

Let me start by questioning what civil liberties have been taken from the author. This letter claims that life has been "disappearing piece by piece," and, while I'm not exactly sure what is meant by that statement, there isn't one example of how the writer's life has changed because of something the government has done. I have no doubt that this person has a legitimate complaint about the actions of the government, but the claims in this letter are unfounded.

Another complaint I have is with the author's "defense" of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The only statement I agree with from the letter is that these are our country's two most important documents. Claiming that the government is ignoring them is a very serious accusation, and, if that's the case, sign me up for the second American Revolution.

Since that's nothing close to the truth, I'm going to use my first amendment right to freedom of speech to explain why the only one ignoring these documents is the author. All of the infringements to the first amendment that are mentioned in this letter (i.e. posting the Ten Commandments at a courthouse) have one things in common: they are a direct contradiction to the first amendment.

The establishment clause, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", has been ruled by the Supreme Court to mean that no government building, like a school or courthouse, can take any stance that isn't religion neutral. The Ten Commandments and prayer to the God of Moses are not religion neutral, which is why they aren't allowed under the Constitution.

There were actions mentioned by the author that are protected by the Constitution, however. Holding a sign that says "Jesus was a Socialist" and flying the American flag upside down are both well within the scope of the freedom of speech we are all entitled to, yet the writer of this letter would have you believe that these things shouldn't be allowed. Apparently freedom of speech is only important if what one is saying agrees with the political and religious views of the author.

I know that it's hard to imagine in the tiny conservative cities of East Otter Tail County that the voice of the people is being answered with the Democrats controlling the government, but at some point you have to take a step back and realize that there are people in this country, a majority in fact, that don't agree with your political views.

If you continue to assume that everyone in this country is a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-war, Christian who doesn't think it's important that everyone has access to health care or that we maintain a middle-class, then my entire letter is for naught. But, if you can somehow put yourselves in the shoes of people from different religious and socioeconomic backgrounds than you, then you might truly understand why the Constitution is so important.