“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 are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence
If there was ever a time to stand up for your rights – it’s now. There have been multiple assaults on civil liberties this week, from the 9th US Circuit of Appeals Court’s ban on concealed weapons, to the legislation that allows the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to seize your property until you are proven innocent, and the FBI’s assault on your right to privacy. This generates only one logical response: no one can take your rights and liberties away from you, unless you let them.
The problem that is sweeping the nation and thrusting us further into the thrall is that citizens of this country have become so complacent and so use to their freedom that they can’t even recognize when it is being stripped away from them. Consider the second half of the quote above; that the government derives their powers from the consent of the governed.
The question, then, that must be answered is are we consenting to give up our rights and liberties? Or, will we reject the laws that are unconstitutional?
Inaction, in this case, is the equivalent of supporting unjust and unconstitutional laws. If you don’t think that they affect you; if you think that because you don’t carry guns, never go to Oklahoma, and have nothing to hide from the FBI, you don’t need to be worried about what’s going on, you are allowing a precedent to be set for a complete repeal of the rights that do matter to you.
This is literally what the American Revolution was fought over – legislation that was being enacted that didn’t represent the best interests of the citizens.
How do we reject unconstitutional laws? Henry David Thoreau argued in 1848 that citizens ought to break the law in protest of laws that conflicted with their moral beliefs. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks violated unconstitutional laws in an effort to reject the unfair and unjust world that they were born into. Cliven Bundy literally stood up to the federal government over unjust grazing laws in 2014.
Since then, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 has been enacted, and Cliven Bundy has proven that defending your rights and property, even against an overreaching federal government, can yield constitutional results.
This isn’t a call to arms – this is a call to action. Not violent action; not even just one specific action. Participate in the legislative process. Take five minutes to look at what’s being voted on in the Senate, House, or even your state and local governments. Better yet, actually vote on the mid-term elections, and on your local government. The situation in California with the Second Amendment could have easily been avoided if the citizens had elected a Sheriff that would actually follow the Constitution.
If all else fails, don’t give up your rights. Don’t allow a district court to tell you that your right to carry a weapon isn’t covered by the Second Amendment. Don’t allow your property and money to be seized by a police force without due process. Spread the word and protest illegal and unconstitutional NSA and FBI spying on you.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America that democratic peoples will have a more ardent love for equality over freedom. I think he’s wrong. I think that in a democracy, people will relish equality, but I believe that they would die for freedom.