The Trump/Carson/Fiorina phenomenon explained

If you're an outspoken, Jesus-loving, gun-toting, Confederate-flag-bumper-sticker-having American, thank the Bill of Rights. If you're an atheist, protest-attending political activist who owns a Che Guevara t-shirt and sympathy tweets the Black Lives Matter hashtag, you can thank the Bill of Rights, too.

If you're a politician who seeks to control the citizenry, hate the Bill of Rights. Hate it with a vengeance.

After the Christmas party attack in San Bernardino, Calif., last week, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton5 things to know about Boris Johnson Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota The Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic field by 15 points, followed by Sanders and Warren Warren introduces bill to cancel student loan debt for millions Democrats, advocacy groups urge Pompeo to abolish new 'unalienable rights' commission MORE (I-Vt.) couldn’t wait to blame freedom. Both of them tweeted more blame directed at the Second Amendment than at the terrorists.


But it goes both ways. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioAna Navarro lashes out at Rubio for calling outrage over Trump's 'go back' tweet 'self righteous' US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (R-Fla.) also thought he saw freedom at the scene of the crime aiding and abetting the terrorists. "At least two of my colleagues in the Senate aspiring to the presidency, Sen. Cruz in particular," Rubio stated, "have voted to weaken the U.S. intelligence programs just in the last month-and-a-half."

Actually, Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz: 'Fox News went all in for Trump' 2 Republican senators introduce resolution to label antifa as domestic terrorists Ted Cruz: Trump's chances of winning reelection are '50-50' MORE (R-Texas) voted to protect our Fourth Amendment rights.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch — not wanting to let a good freedom grab go to waste — pointed out what looked to her like a glaring First Amendment flaw, saying her "greatest fear" is the "incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric."

So, in the end, members of our political elite have determined that the biggest problems facing this nation are the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution. What a coincidence! Those three constitutional amendments happen to be the only three which contain the phrase "the right of the people." They are also the three amendments most constantly under attack by politicians because they're policy roadblocks — great big signs that read "Do not feed the leviathan."

Don't fool yourself into thinking this is a matter of Republicans vs. Democrats. It's not. It's the politicians vs. the people, and the politicians seize upon the people's most fearful moments. Every time there's a tragedy, politicians scream, "The country's going down! There's too much weight. Quick, toss out the Bill of Rights!" Then, the frightened oblige.

Those who support Republican political outsiders Donald TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota MORE, Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonBen Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist Senior Trump administration official to leave post next week Harris, Ocasio-Cortez pitch bill to increase housing assistance for individuals with criminal record MORE or Carly Fiorina aren't know-nothings; they're flat-out tired of career politicians — of what Abraham Lincoln called "the voracious desire for office." A desire much more destructive to this country than any civil liberty.

The Anti-Federalist writer, known to us simply as "Brutus," wrote Anti-Federalist Paper No. 84 on an issue upon which he had noticed "an entire silence." Why did this document which would soon become the supreme law of the land have a Bill of Rights-shaped hole in it? It might be a good idea, Brutus thought, to expressly guarantee the rights of the people. After all, "Those who have governed, have been found in all ages ever active to enlarge their powers and abridge the public liberty. This has induced the people in all countries, where any sense of freedom remained, to fix barriers against the encroachments of their rulers."

Today, there seems to be a consensus among many of our rulers that the people are too free, and our freedoms are causing unmanageable chaos. Well, here's some bad news wrapped in a little history lesson. Without the Bill of Rights, there would have been no ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Without the Bill of Rights, there would be no United States of America. The Bill of Rights was the compromise, and the people are not willing to renegotiate. So, dear rulers, if you encounter a policy roadblock, kindly take a detour and never forget that the rattlesnake you mustn't tread on has always represented the American people. As Benjamin Franklin put it:

I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal: Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her. Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?

Those who aren't creative enough to solve America's problems without trampling on the Bill of Rights do not belong in office. Period.

Zipperer is assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College.