To the Editor:

Sometimes wisdom is only to be found in poetry. In American literature,  in the poem "The Masque of Pandora" (1875), by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the character of Prometheus speaks the phrase that  seems to best describe what we as a nation are experiencing today: "Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad."  To which Rudyard Kipling wrote in his poem "If" (1910), describing how we as rational individuals must act to remain sane :"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you."

The guiding principles of this country were stated in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men."

This is embodied in the Constitution and a national government dedicated "to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity". (Preamble to the Constitution). 

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution expressly provides "Nor [without due process of law] shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property...or deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law." That is reaffirmed in Article I of the Illinois Constitution.

The First Amendment assures "freedom of speech" and the "right of the right of the people "PEACEABLY" (emphasis added) to assemble...and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Why is it so difficult for some people, and some government entities, to understand the existence and legal protection of these rights and remedies, and that rioting and looting is not "due process of law" -- if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.

Herb Caplan

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