Back in the early days of the Republic, the framers went to great trouble to draft and ratify the Bill of Rights. And every four years, our leaders pay homage to the framers by neglecting or disparaging that creation.
Not all of it, of course. Americans generally favor religious freedom (the First Amendment) and the right to own guns (Second). But the ban on any establishment of religion (First) is a favorite target of believers who think the government has a sacred duty to promote Christianity.
Then there are the Fourth Amendment, which bans unreasonable searches, and the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees the right against self-incrimination. These are often seen as obstructions erected for the perverse benefit of bad people, who would not be so bad if they had read more Bible stories in school.
So politicians rarely rise to defend these provisions or the rights they safeguard. Civil liberties, writes Steve Chapman, are the Penn State Nittany Lions of our political realm: They have many enemies, and their friends often look embarrassed.