Peter Silvestri, Cook County Commissioner (9th District) continues a tradition at the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, Chicago Campus of inviting a public servant to be a guest speaker on Constitution Day (Sept. 16) to discuss the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Americans have rights and liberties that citizens in a number of other countries do not enjoy.
Commissioner Silvestri talked about the history of the two party system at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, that was comprised of the Democratic-Republican party (that believed highly in states rights) and the Federalists (who believed that the country should be run by a strong federal government). At the time of the creation of the Constitution, the people who enjoyed the greatest benefit from the document were men that happen to be rich white land-owners.
Americans don’t want to be told what they can or can’t read, which religion they can or can’t participate in or the basic right to a freedom of speech. But the courts have at times upheld guarantees regarding freedom of speech, even if the public and or government in power does not agree with platforms and issues proffered by certain groups (that have at times included the Nazi party members who live in the U.S.).
Students engaged in a lively repartee with Commissioner Silvestri who emphasized that the Constitution is the law of the land. The beauty of the Constitution is that the document allows itself to be interpreted in keeping with the times and that is exactly what has happened through the auspices of the Supreme Court, which has corrected itself over the years. Our system has checks and balances because it is a three-tier platform that consists of an executive, legislative and judicial branch of government.
Peter pointed out that the most controversial of all the amendments was the Equal Rights Amendment, which was first introduced in 1923 but did not get the number of votes for passage till much later in the 20th Century.
We want to thank Commissioner Peter Silvestri for taking time out of his busy day to meet with the students of the Illinois Center for Broadcasting on Constitution Day.