Some time ago I’d promised to post a link to the “Speak Your Mind” segment I did for WFIU.
“This is Andy Horning, and I have what I think is a reasonable request:
I want politicians to obey written laws, as written. No “interpretation” from the bench; no “legal precedents;” no ifs, ands or buts.
If a law is unclear, politicians can clarify it in print. If a law is bad, then they can change it, or delete it – in print.
But I want no more fudging or cheating. I want politicians to obey what’s written, as written.
In other words, I want the Rule of Law under state and federal constitutions, right here in the USA, that we say we’re fighting for in Iraq.
That’s it. That’s what I want.
Yes, I know. Constitutions are called “outdated,” as if they can’t be amended. Constitutions are called “living documents,” as if that makes it OK to swindle them, too.
It’s no surprise that politicians say such things. Constitutions are a leash on politicians, after all, and you’d never expect those bad dogs to beg for the leash.
But most of us have problems with constitutions too.
Take the Bill of Rights. Many of us want the 2nd Amendment, but many of us don’t. About half of us want the 4th and 5th Amendments, but half don’t. It seems that nobody wants the whole 1st amendment, and almost everybody completely ignores the ninth and tenth.
We apparently can’t accept that the whole constitution is both the best compromise ever, and the law. We’re quick to call an unconstitutional foul when it suits us, but are otherwise happy to ignore the laws that protect us from oppression, slavery, genocide and war.
I challenge you to take just a little time and actually read the state and federal constitutions. See for yourself if you’re willing to give your neighbor his freedom in order to secure your own. I’m betting that you’ll conclude that the best compromise of all time is good enough.
So let’s do this: Let’s demand that our politicians keep their oaths of office, and obey the laws that both authorize, and limit, their powers. Let’s accept nothing less.
Then we will enjoy the blessings of liberty – by allowing others theirs, too.
For Speak Your Mind, this is Andy Horning.”
On Friday, the MP3 should be in WFIU’s Archives section.
I feel sick that not everybody got the message that the press conference had been cancelled; and that some brave patriots (including Paul Wheeler, dressed like a 1770’s patriot, and my old comrades Eric Barnes and Kurt St. Angelo) went to the Statehouse anyway.
While it looks like a good time was had by all…I apologize!
A lot of people had planned to drive two hours or more each way (including me and my family), and that made no sense on a sleet/snow/death day like Saturday, so I cancelled.
Attached is a copy of the letter I sent to the Governor in both hardcopy and digital form; and here’s roughly what I would’ve said at the press conference:
“On December 15, 1791, the Bill Of Rights was ratified to protect citizens from the threat of ungoverned government. Over the last two hundred and sixteen years, those precious laws have been twisted, inverted and …”interpreted” until they’ve been stolen from us, and our rights are now just an illusion.
We are here today to ask that our politicians keep their oaths of office. We say it’s time that all politicians and law enforcement personnel who swore to uphold and defend both the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Indiana …do just that.
We ask, in short, that politicians obey written laws, as written. No exceptions. No provisos. No ifs, ands or buts.
Thank you. I will now take questions.”
Don’t worry; we’ll reschedule another event.
In the meantime, assemble your own proof of the abuses heaped upon us by politicians (that’s the easy part). And get ready.
Remember, the problem isn’t taxes, wire-tapping, wars, immigration, gay marriage, the Colts, or the Central Library expansion. Those are only symptoms.
This is certainly not about Mitch Daniels or even Ron Paul (even though I support Dr. No 100%). Ideas are bigger than people.
We must not nibble at the branches of our corruption tree, or be distracted by what are only the symptoms of our communal disease. We need to strike at the root of all of our most serious problems.
We need to treat the cause. We must ask for the law, as written, to be obeyed. Nothing else will do, you know. Nothing else has ever worked.Please pass this along. Shout it in the streets. And then get ready.
The next wave of citizen awakening is beginning.
It is time, now.
I’m a little up-to-here with those who deify Thomas Jefferson, and who’ve never even heard of George Mason. Without Mason, American may have never had the three-branched and separated federal powers; and there’d have certainly been no Bill of Rights.
George Mason was a prominent (and phenomenally prescient) anti-federalist, which propels him to the top of my short list of history’s People We Should Have Listened To.
Yes, the Declaration of Independence is wonderful. But it’s really not as good as the work that preceded and inspired it, George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights.
So here, in its entirety, is that Virginia Declaration of Rights. I’ll try to shut up and let the words speak for themselves, but whenever I interrupt, it’ll be in blue:
A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS made by the Representatives of the good people of VIRGINIA, assembled in full and free Convention; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of Government.
1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
This is a much more clear, understandable and sensible statement than Jefferson’s admittedly more poetic “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” John Locke coined the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of property,” but it was Mason who first made it law. (While George Mason never freed his slaves, he hated slavery and argued and wrote against it often)
2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the People; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.
3. That Government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community;–of all the various modes and forms of Government that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of mal-administration;–and that, whenever any Government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right, to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the publick weal.
4. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments and privileges from the community, but in consideration of publick services; which, not being descendible, neither ought the offices of Magistrate, Legislator, or Judge, to be hereditary.
5. That the Legislative and Executive powers of the State should be separate and distinct from the Judicative; and, that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burdens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by frequent, certain, and regular elections, in which all, or any part of the former members, to be again eligible, or ineligible, as the law shall direct.
Please read that again. Particularly the part starting with “they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station…” If only we took this to heart!
6. That elections of members to serve as Representatives of the people, in Assembly, ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for publick uses without their own consent or that of their Representative so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented, for the publick good.
Please read that again, too. This is so good it makes me grieve that we don’t do it.
7. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the Representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.
8. That in all capital or criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favour, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no man be deprived of his liberty except by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers.
9. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
10. That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.Oh my. If only…
11. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by Jury is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred.
12. That the freedom of the Press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotick Governments.
13. That a well-regulated Militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that Standing Armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
Is this clear enough? People defend their own lands. Professional, permanent standing armies are dangerous. Is this brilliant, or what?
14. That the people have a right to uniform Government; and, therefore, that no Government separate from, or independent of, the Government of Virginia, ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.
15. That no free Government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
16. That Religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.
These last two are woefully missing from our U.S. Constitution. This is brilliant. Just brilliant.
George Mason, I tip my hat to you, sir. We owe you much.