I don’t promote television programing for children to watch because honestly, quality programing for children is virtually non-existent. Although I will admit that BabyFirst TV has been a life saver over the past few years. However, the rest of the usual cartoon suspects, right down to Dora and Diego, tend to leave me questioning their suggestive influential subjects. I’m not going to start about killing kiddie television here, but as I was watching one of my favorite programs last night (The News) a statement was made that I just couldn’t fathom. The United States has the highest prison population of any country in the world. Talk about breaks and screeching tires…say what??? (Read more here)
I couldn’t sleep after hear that. I spent the remaining hours of the wee morning on search engines and pondering just how easy it is to be locked up for a crime that you didn’t commit. Or worse yet, something that you didn’t even know was a crime, but became a chargeable offense under the arm of the law that you didn’t even know existed anymore, but was dug up for personal or political gain.
During 2011, the number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities declined by 0.9%, from 1,613,803 to 1,598,780. A closer look at the figures show that over the last three years there has been a slight decrease in male inmates while female inmates steadily rose, causing me to wonder how many of them are mothers, and how many children have been left out here with us, motherless. You can find more details in the Bureau of Statistics report here.
I couldn’t sleep not because I feared for my own freedom, but because I feared that the loss of my freedom would ruin the lives of my children. Then I began to think about the children in this country with incarcerated parents, and the ripple effect that period of incarceration would have on all their lives. And that’s when I decided that it might be important to really know my Constitutional Rights. The next few hours I spent delving through The Constitution, and as the sun came up, I found myself disheartened. Here I had come to believe through the steady repetition of others stating, “I know my Constitutional Rights” or “That’s a violation of our Constitutional Rights” that the Constitution defined the original rights of citizens in this country. The Preamble alone tells you the Constitution was drafted to protect a system of legal process. In my personal opinion the closest the Preamble comes to expressing the rights of citizens is in Article IV where it states what the system is allowed to do with persons charged of a crime. The Amendments that follow give us the illusion of citizen rights, but in actuality in only gives us the foundation of argument for cases to be decided in court.
Deflated by my conclusion and groggy from lack of sleep, I dragged on through the day not even wanting to talk about what I had learned. I wasn’t sure if it was significant, or something fabricated by exhausted brain that had somehow fallen victim to insomnia. So last night, I crawled into bed early thinking I could make up a little of what I lost the night before, but again, I couldn’t sleep. Several hours and routine security checks around the house later, I found myself finally slipping off to sleep as I watched CBS “Up to the Minute”. Amazingly on the border of dreamland, I heard “Coming up next, a story about The U.S. Constitution that you don’t want to miss.” Seriously?
The story turned out to be about a four part series premiering tonight that you may want to set your DVR’s for, or if you’re reading this after the fact you can look it up over at Constitution USA with Peter Sagal. The reason I’m writing to you today is because I am hoping that my words here have peaked your interests just as much as mine have been over this issue, and that maybe you wouldn’t want to miss this special. It might be a really great lesson for you and the kids about this great country of ours. Raise Em Educated, Raise Em Real.