I hear that word "rights" thrown around today as if it's some catch all for the things that we want in life. Everything we want becomes a "right" and that which is we don't, becomes a "right" to be free from.
But that is not true, none of it is, and our rights are expressly and directly addressed. They are innumerated, defined, and protected. "Rights" are not some ever expanding wish list. They are the things upon which we have staked our lives, the lives of our military, and our combined determination. They are THE social contract upon which our society is built, and as such, any change to them requires a move so impossible (we call it an Amendment), that they are in essence written in stone.
Yet, what are they? What are those ideas to which we are beholden? Well, let me lay them out for you. This list IS EXAHUSTIVE. If it's not on this list it's not a "right," it's a community agreement at best, and an abject bullying of / theft from your fellow countrymen at worst.
We have the right to be represented by a representative of our choosing (Article I Sections II & III)
We have a right to determine within our state how we select those representatives (Article I Section IV)
We have a right to be protected by the military (Article I Section IIX)
We have a right to a trial, a law cannot be made against us Ex Post Facto, and we are free of the nobility and its trappings (Article I Section IX)
We have a right not to be tariffed by another state (Article I Section IX)
We have a right to be free of levy taxes (Article I Section IX)
We have a right to hear the state of our union from the President (Article II Section III)
We have the right to impeach the President or Vice President for Treason, Bribery, or High Crimes & Misdemeanors (Article II Section IV)
We have a right to a trial by jury of our peers and in our own state (Article III Section II)
We have a right to have all of our governments be a republic ONLY (Article IV Section IV)
We have a right to amend the Constitution (Article V)
We have a right to have ALL law's legality based wholly and solely on the Constitution Alone, and a law may not act against the Constitution AS WRITTEN (Article VI)
We have a right to be free of all religious testing for public service, either for or against (Article VI)
We do not have a national religion, nor can the government prevent the practice of any religion. (Amendment I)
We have a right to have a press that is free of government interference (Amendment I) We have a right to PEACEFULLY assemble to tell the government what needs to be addressed (Amendment I)
We have a right to own guns and to form militia groups for the defense of our states (Amendment II)
We have a right not to be forced to quarter soldiers in our homes against our will (Amendment III) We have a right not to be searched or to have our property taken without a legal warrant (Amendment IV)
We cannot be tried for the same crime more than once (Amendment V)
We do not have to testify against ourselves (Amendment V)
We have a right to be compensated, at market rate, for anything the government takes from us (Amendment V)
We have a right not to be imprisoned without a trial for long periods of time (speedy trial) and have the right to legal representation (Amendment VI)
Any civil suit above the amount of $20.00 shall have the right to a trial by jury (Amendment VII)
We have a right against excessive bail for the crime, excessive fines for the crime, nor to be subjected to cruel or unusual punishment (Amendment IIX)
The Constitution cannot be used as an argument against further rights granted by Amendment (Article IX)
All powers not given to the Federal Government are retained as the SOLE discretion of the state (Amendment X)
We have the right not to be forced to indentured servitude or slavery (Amendment XIIV)
All naturally born persons on our soil have the right of citizenship (Amendment XIV)
All Constitutional rights apply to all citizens equally regardless of color, race, or former condition of servitude (Amendment XV)
We have the right to vote regardless of biological gender (Amendment XIX)
We have the right to be free of Poll Taxes (Amendment XXIV)
We have the right to vote once we attain the age of 18 (Amendment XXVI)
There it is folks, the sum total of our CONSTITUTIONAL Rights. Oh, the rights you thought were there aren't listed? Well, that's because they aren't rights, but rather social norms that we've adopted and adapted to. That doesn't make them rights, and it doesn't make them protected.
You could also include LIFE (the right to continue to live and not be murdered), LIBERTY (the right to be in control of, and responsible for, your own life and actions), and the PURSUIT of Happiness to those, because they are codified in the Declaration of Independence upon which the Constitution is founded and as decided by the Supreme Court. We don't have a RIGHT to: Food
Education (general or higher)
Universal Income / Money
Recognition of our lifestyle by others
Freedom FROM Religion (Even the separation of Church and State is on shaky ground as it's not Constitutional)
You see, we've been slowly conditioned in this country, since the 1960s, to believe that our list of RIGHTS is expanding without an amendment to codify them. People believe that since the amendment process is so hard, that they should be able to create these new rights without needing one, but that's wrong. You can't change ANY contract without an amendment, and the Constitution IS OUR SOCIAL CONTRACT one with another.
Your desire for something, or desire to see something happen, does not make it a right. Something acceptance by society does not make it a right. The ONLY thing that makes something a right is its inclusion in our social contract, and barring that, you can only appeal to law and reason as to why someone should allow something or not. You cannot appeal to a RIGHT that does not exist.
So, if you want to talk about what we should or shouldn't have in society? Go ahead. You want to talk about what social norms we should or should not accept? Go ahead. These are all State's Rights issues anyway according to the Constitution, but don't call them RIGHTS because they aren't.
Your RIGHTS end where mine begin, and vice versa. If you want that to change, then file an amendment. If you don't, or if it doesn't go through, then I OWE you nothing. Just because I choose to allow it doesn't make it your RIGHT.
Maybe we'd have a greater appreciation for the enormous amount of tolerance present in our society if we truly understood how much of what we take for granted today is, in fact, a tolerance, and not a RIGHT.