I think God that in my part of the country (down South) I was actually taught the truth about American History in the classroom. I remember distinctly sitting in class and hearing from the teacher that the "good guys" in the Civil War were the South. But that was not just opinion. My teacher showed me the facts about it. I further remember reading in the textbooks that the war was NOT about Slavery and freeing blacks. It was about STATES RIGHTS and the right for states to govern themselves without having to bow down to tyrannical practices and oppressive regimes who sought to tax one region of the country, while not wanting to extend that same tax to another. I was also taught the horrors of governmental control in the time of "Reconstrucion" when "carpet baggers" pillaged and plundered a conquered people.
It was a sad story, but was true. That's why my teachers and the textbooks taught it to me, it was historically acurate.
But even before I heard that sad tale, I was taught about the History of our once great nation. I was taught by my teachers that the one thing above all else that made the U.S. of America great, and set it apart from any other nation on the face of the earth, or in history for that matter, was that in America, people were viewed in the eyes of the law as INNOCENT, until PROVEN guilty.
This meant that we as a society thought the BEST of people, not the worst. And we always held them in high esteem no matter who they were, where the came from, and what they believed. We were all equal in the eyes of the law, we were all citizens, and we all had the same basic rights. But the number one right above all others in our free society was the ideal that a every person was viewed as innocent, until through judical process he was proven (beyond any shadow of a doubt) to be guilty. That is, if someone accused someone else of a crime, then he DARN WELL had to have PROOF of it, otherwise he was in contempt and was a perjurer who proved himself to be guilty of lying.
It was a golden age. It was an age of true freedom. For people were polite and often cared for one another. The righteous had no fear of being falsely accused and if they were, they knew the evidence would prove they were guiltless. True fear was only know by the guilty, for if they were caught, they had to worry about witnesses condeming them for what they'd done in a court of law.
Such a law-abiding society makes people want to do right, rather than evil, for there is reward for righteousness and recompense for wickedness.
The early U.S. court system was set up in such a way that it not only protected the righteous, but it also protected the accused, for it might turn out in due process that the accused was innocent all along. Thus, when an accusation was made, the law demanded a writ of "habeus corpus" being presented to the accused, in which he was commanded to be in court for his actions. He was NOT arrested and then dragged to court upon a mere accusation. Rather he was given the opportunity to freely come before a judge. If he did not appear, then and only then was an arrest warrant written and the sherriff sent to apprehend said suspect. But notice he was still viewed as "innocent" until after the verdict of his trial!
Notice how vastly different things are in the United States of America today! Somewhere down the line things have changed. Police now look at anyone who is accused as a "perpetrator." And without a warrant they can arrest said person and lock them up, (in some cases indefinitely without any trail whatsoever). The court case for the accused is not to Prove his innocence, as much as it is to Prove him guilty. And, while he sits for months and even years in jail without release a long and drawn out court case takes place. In other words, in the eyes of the law, the person is GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT! And even if he eventually is aquitted and found innocent, he has still been subjected to the tribulations of imprisonment for a long period of time.
What a horrid system of law! And what's worse is its affect on society. Under the innocent until proven guilty system, people were viewed as basically good and they were well-respected. But under the guilty until proven innocent system, people now look at one another with disdain and suspicion, immediately thinking the worst of them up front. Many want to believe the person is guilty so they treat them as such. And often, a person accused is a person abused by the police, the courts, society, their own fellow prisoners, and their fellow citizens.
What has become of our nation? Because the government views its citizens through the eyes of "guilty until proven innocent" citizens are always thought of as not capable of making good decisions for themselves. They are viewed in some cases as "possible future lawbreakers and miscreants" and for this reason the Government takes it upon itself to pass laws to FORBID its citizens from doing certain things, fearing they will lead to other things. It's almost to the point in which the government arrests people for "thinking" of a crime, without ever committing it, (this is called "Pre-Crime." See the movie "Minority Report" for more), or better stated, for "thinking" at all rather than just doing what they are told!
Gun control is a perfect example. Crazy people commit gun crimes, and innocent people die. But rather than prosecute them for their crime, the government wants to punish everyone else by taking away their guns, claiming no guns equals no gun crime. But why are those with guns viewed as GUILTY of a supposed crime which they have not done? They have not shot anyone. Thus, they are innocent. Should they not be treated as such? Why should they suffer for the crimes of others?
Today, because government wants to take away all guns, many citizens suspiciously view the government through the misguided viewpoint of guilty until proven innocent. They think the worst of them, and wonder what they are planning. Thus, they fear what more they might be accused of in the future, and this breeds the seed of suspicion anew. And rather than both sides viewing the other as INNOCENT until proven GUILTY, they both view each other as GUILTY until proven INNOCENT.
The system is the exact opposite of what the Founding Fathers set up. And a society that views each other as potential violators and evildoers is a society walking on egg shells, waiting to explode upon one another.
So which system is the best? Should we view others as "innocent until proven guilty" or should we view people as "guilty until proven innocent." And what does history say about it?
Well, the United States of America before the Civil War (when Lincoln did away with the writ of habeus corpus) was the freest country on earth. This also made it the most prosperous nation on earth. But look at it now. It's just the opposite.
Those nations throughout history who have viewed its citizens as "guilty" until proven "innocent" have always been oppressive regimes. Hitler in Germany, Stalin in Russia, Mussolini in Italy, Mao Tse Tung in China, Kim in North Korea, and many others show us the fruits of the "guilty" until proven "innocent" mentality. Sadly, they all have one thing in common. They never give those they deem "guilty" any chance to "prove" they are innocent, oftentimes just KILLING them instead.
Hitler killed 6 million Jews that he deemed guilty of impoverishing the German people. Where was their voice? Where was their trail? Stalin killed 11 million of his own people, many of which were soldiers returning from the war in Europe. Why? Because once they had a taste of war he was afraid they would turn on him with their weapons to free themselves from his oppresive rule. Thus, they were sent to camps to die in Siberia and other horrible atrocities. Where was their voice? Where was their chance to defend themselves? Where was their day in court to declare their innocence?
I could go on and on, but I believe I've made my point. My old teachers taught me right. To view others as "innocent" until they are proven "guilty" in a court of law is the definition of true freedom. While viewing certain people as GUILTY until proven INNOCENT is absolute TYRRANNY! Why? Because labeling someone as guilty just because you want to get rid of them, and then executing judgment on them without them having any opportunity to prove their innocence is the epitome of injustice. It is pure evil.
The United States of America is heading the same way that Russian, Italy, Germany, China, and other nations have if it continues this daming ideal of viewing others as guilty until proven innocent. This is why it's so important to have a society set up on the principle of "Innocent until Proven Guilty." For a person who has done nothing is guilty of nothing. They should be left alone to do their own work and prosper.