Direct Representation: The Consent of the Governed.

Direct Representation: The Consent of the Governed.

In our last discussion we talked about Taxation without Representation and we touched on the notion of Virtual Representation.  In the 1760’s a brand new notion began to emerge in the colonies as they began to argue for Direct Representation.  Sometimes this was expressed through the term “The consent of the Governed.”

Under Virtual Representation as seen in the British Parliament, it was stated that the Parliament had the best interest of all England and her colonies and territories at heart.  By the 1760’s many colonists began to strongly debate that point.

Originally, the colonist settlements were mostly farming communities.  Both Jamestown in Virginia and Plymouth in Massachusetts were grand experiments in socialism.  Both failed miserably.  There was a common field where everyone was expected to contribute and then everyone would benefit from the results.  The problems with this form of society was soon noticed, much faster in Plymouth, but both colonies eventually discovered the pitfalls.  Certain residents did not contribute as much time and energy to the fields so others had to worked harder to provide for those who worked less.  A single male had to work harder to provide for a married family who, either because the wife’s pregnancy or her need to care for the smaller children would also have a need to consume more food than the single man.

Plymouth rejected the common field and then portioned a piece of land to each family according to their size and they had to sustain and provide food for themselves.  The living conditions in Plymouth quickly turned around when everyone realized they had to provide for themselves.  This began to establish a principle of land ownership.

The European model was based upon the feudal system. In essence, the king owned all the land and he would appoint lords over smaller territories and the lords were expected to implement the wishes of the king, if they wanted to hold to title anyhow.  If you displeased the King you were replaced because the King owned all the land.  In each of these feudal settlements, industry  was controlled at the King’s discretion.  Most of that controlled was exerted through cost control measures established through fees, tariffs and taxes implemented on the shopkeeper.  The same thing was done to the farmers who worked the land but it was implemented at a greater extent on shopkeepers.  This resulted in making their services to the farmer more expensive which in turn, affected the farmer.

The theory of Natural Rights that included Property Rights was discussed in England but in America, the notion of property rights was more than a theory.  As they moved from simple farming and their principle cities became trade oriented, the distance between the King and Parliament to the colonies made it more difficult to regulate the growth of trade in the colonies.  To leverage some control, the King appointed governors over the colonies and those Governors appointed key positions in local municipalities.  At the same time, each municipality was allowed to elect a few representatives to a governing legislative in their colony but the Governor had a right under the law to veto a representative as well as to shut down that elected legislative body at his whim.

As trade began to grow in the colonies the people began to realize how much power these appointed positions held as how an oligarchy of an elite few began to hold power over the community.  The Governor could also appoint an individual to multiple positions giving him more control over the elected legislative body.

For the most part, all taxation went through the elected legislatures.  The Governor received a request and expressed that request through the elected body.  They would then implement a tax to meet the needs of the request.  That rapidly began to change in the 1760’s.  Parliament began to by-pass the local elected representatives.  They began to impose taxes through their claim of Virtual Representation as well as an assumption of the Supreme Authority of the King and Parliament.

The philosophical arguments against this form of governance became established facts in many colonial minds especially because this began to impact the tradesmen the hardest.  They formed coalitions to put pressure on their elected representatives but in many cases, the hands of these representatives were tied by the power of the appointed governance and the fight for natural rights gave rise to a cry for the consent of the governed through Direct Representation.

To try and simplify this concept, consider your family.  In each family certain rules are established; chores assigned, responsibilities distributed.  Some of those rules may establish things like bedtimes, types of clothing to be worn and types of food to be eaten.  The Parent arbitrates those rules.  A good parent recognizes needs and abilities because that parent is within the home and is therefore the best person to recognize their family’s needs as well as the most effective means to achieve those needs . But what happens if another Parent down the street comes in and without the Parental authority in the home begins to change those rules.  Let’s say that your community has had a great bumper crop of broccoli and the Parent down the street decides that you must now eat broccoli at all your meals because this is what is best for the whole community.  The child cannot make an appeal to their Parent unless they have direct representation.  If that Parental authority is granted to someone who isn’t your parent, your representation is removed.

Let’s say that over the years you, as a child had an allowance granted to you based upon your completion of certain tasks within the house.  With direct representation to your parents you might be able to negotiate a higher allowance based upon age, responsibilities and needs.  The Parent, considering your request along with the needs of the immediate family in meeting your request may grant that request.  This is Direct Representation.

As you become an adult and then have your own family and outsider who steps in to remove your Parental Authority without your consent removes your ability to govern over your family as you feel is proper.  When an outsider begins to tell you what your property may be used for without your consent this initiates a violation of your personal rights to property.  The more removed from your immediate control, the less consent you have in government.

When any government uses appointed positions, which are often granted as political favors and those appointed positions begin to establish fines, fees, tariffs and taxes as well as rules, mandates and regulations your consent in government is gone.  Even if you agree with the all the rulings, you still have not been asked to give your consent so your consent is irrelevant.  You may agree, but your consent was not asked, so you still have no consent in the governance.

By-Passing the local elected representatives and granting governors the right to appoint positions of leadership in communities or to form committees all appointed as special favors by the Governor, the cry for Direct Representation and the Consent of the Governed was heard across the colonies.  All elected leadership should be in hands of the people.  True and honest government, they argued, required the consent of the people through elected representation.  The King, many in Parliament and those who had been appointed to these choice positions through a feudal system of governance called this sedition and treason.  Those arguing in favor were fighting for our natural rights and for the Liberties and Freedoms established by Divine Providence and written by His Hand in the hearts of men everywhere.

Recognizing man’s fallen nature, it is easy to point to self-interest as evidence that the fallen nature on all mankind is true.  It is within the nature of mankind to protect and promote the things that will best benefit them.  There is nothing wrong with this concept until that person is granted the authority to impose their own self-interest upon another without that person’s consent.  This requires that another individual must sacrifice a portion of his own self-interest to provide for another against his will.  The end result of this is that one group prospers while the rest make all the sacrifices.

Corrupt governments and institutions use this to manipulate currency, food supply, industry and nearly everything that affects your life.  It is a return to the feudal mentality that the government owns your land and the product of your labor and as such they are entitled to decide how much they want to take and how much you need to survive.  The more power they exert the more resources they require of the people and the less they think the people need for their survival.  In order to secure these resources and interests, committees, agencies and bureaucracies are established to make all your decisions for you. This is a return to the feudal system mentality and re-establishes a monarchical type of governance through an oligarchy.  The end result is always Tyranny and Oppression.

 

 

 

No Taxation Without Representation

This is the second part of a series intended to help us better understand the original intent of our Founders.  Understanding this concepts is essential in a correct understanding of the Constitution.  It also helps us to understand why certain elements of the Constitution came into being.

It is sometimes stated that this expression originated from a sermon by Peter Mayhew in Boston sometime around 1750 however it was fiery Boston Lawyer James Otis who took it as an expression that fueled the flames of the fire of Independence.  Citing Otis on his arguments on the Writs of Assistance, John Adams wrote:

From the navigation act the advocate [Otis] passed to the Acts of Trade, and these, he contended, imposed taxes, enormous, burthensome, intolerable taxes; and on this topic he gave full scope to his talent, for powerful declamation and invective, against the tyranny of taxation without representation.

From the energy with which he urged this position, that taxation without representation is tyranny, it came to be a common maxim in the mouth of every one. And with him it formed the basis of all his speeches and political writings; he builds all his opposition to arbitrary measures from this foundation, and perpetually recurs to it through his whole career, as the great constitutional theme of liberty, and as the fundamental principle of all opposition to arbitrary power.

The argument was a simple one.  Since the colonists were considered citizens of the British Empire, they had the same rights as an Englishman.  According to the English Bill of Rights 1689 the imposition of taxes without consent in Parliament was forbidden. Since the colonists had no representation in Parliament the taxes violated the guaranteed Rights of Englishmen.  Parliament argued that the Colonists had Virtual Representation

The notion of Virtual Representation claimed that the members of Parliament spoke for the interests of all British subjects rather than only for the interests of the district that elected them.  This notion was completely rejected throughout the Colonies and by many in mother England. That is important so remember that.

Prior to the 1750, the Crown and Parliament interfered very little with colonial Governance.  When the Crown or Parliament needed revenue an appeal was made to colonial ruling bodies who would then decide how that revenue was to be collected.  That all rapidly began to change in part because of the almost constant state of War between England and France.

In American classrooms, we talk about the French and Indian Wars as an isolated event in world history that took place on the American Front with the French and the Amer-Indians combining forces to take on the American Colonies protected by England..  Actually it was far from something isolated to the Colonies and many agree that it was in fact, the first World War.  There was not a continent that was not affected by it or not engaged in some manner in the conflict.  To the rest of the world this is the Seven Years War.

From 1740 through 1748 England had been engaged in a bitter conflict known as the War of the Austrian Succession.  The dust had hardly settled on that conflict when, in 1754, a young Colonial Officer encountered a French patrol early in the morning in the British owned territories near the Allegheny River.  The Colonial Officer led his small unit in for the attack winning the day but essentially launching the French and Indian Wars which escalated into the 7 Years War.  That young Colonial Officer was George Washington.

England had suffered great financial loses in this war and the somewhat prosperous Colonial settlements were seen as a way to help recoup those loses and pay for the war.  That began exertions of power through taxation that sparked men like James Otis to rise.

Now it is obvious that actually having Representatives from the Colonies serving on Parliament was simply impractical due to the distance alone, generally the colonists were not looking for serving in Parliament.  The opposition was not really about having to pay the taxes.  It was all about how the taxes were implemented.

Rather than working through the various Colonial Legislatures, Parliament began to bypass these legislative bodies and to tax the Colonies directed through the appointed Governors.  Governors were appointed by the Crown.  In Colonial charters the Governor had authority but that authority was expressed through the Colonial Legislatures. Colonial Legislatures were elected by the people. Now all of that was rapidly changing.  Governors’ were being told to by-pass these legislatures and implement laws, taxes and regulations without the consent of the Colonial Legislatures.

This history played a critical role when our Founders began to frame the Constitution of the United States of America.  Three branches of government were instituted giving Congress legislative Authority but limiting that authority by enumerated powers and granting individual State Rights as expressed through their own charters and Constitutions.  Each State would send representatives to represent their own state in Congress allowing them to represent the interests of their state in the Federal Government.  The elected representation had dual roles, to protect the Union of the States while also protecting the Individual rights of the state they represented.

While the election process for these representatives followed principles of a Democracy, the law was something different.  Laws passed through Congress had to first consider the limits of the Constitution of the United States and then to respect the individual state Constitutions through the representative powers in Congress.

Through the years this has changed, mostly through abuses in the executive branch.  The Constitution allows for the executive branch to establish a cabinet and advisers but these appointments were to be made with the approval of Congress.  Likewise, any suggestions for new laws was also to made through an appeal to Congress for consent.

Committees could form, but those Committees made recommendations, not rules, laws, mandates and regulations.

That is no longer this government.  Once again we have appointed people serving in Departments who are making rules, laws, mandates and regulations without the consent of elected representation.  Each of these acts places a financial burden on the citizen who is virtually helpless to do anything about it because they have little to no voice through elected representation.  This financial burden results in higher taxes and so here we are, largely thanks to a movement that identifies themselves as being Progressive having moved us back to Pre-Revolutionary times of Taxation without Representation.  It should be obvious to any thinking person that this is not Progressive, this is Regressive.

Let’s take a moment to consider just one aspect of Taxation without Representation.  Your community wants to build a new playground for their children.  Your community leaders know they do not have the money to build the playground the community wants so they consider how to raise the money to get the playground built because there is an election coming up and without the playground, the representative’s ability to hold on to their office is in jeopardy.  Enter the Department of Parks and Recreation.  No one in this Department is elected but they are offering grants to communities for just such a project.  Your community’s elected official apply for the grant and they are approved.  Their reasoning “If we don’t take it, somebody else will.”

The important factor left out of the discussion is that since the money is coming from the Federal Government, the money is generated through taxes.  People who live no where near your community and have no way of using this playground have been taxed to provide for the grant that built your playground.

At the same time, playgrounds like this are being built all across the country so you are paying for playgrounds in other communities based solely on the argument that “If we don’t take the money, somebody else will.”

This is Taxation without Representation.  A grant like this should go through Congress, not through some appointed body.  There is no one to hold accountable as a representative and no one really to blame except your local municipality who takes the money.  It might help them get re-elected but at what cost?

Other examples include heavy regulations put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency that results in lost jobs and revenue through the expense of compliance.  Again, these rules do not go through Congress resulting in legal battles at the expense of the tax payer.  You can get mad at your rep and vote them out but the EPA is still going to be there.  You are still going to be taxed without a representative voice to fight for you.

Your local school board takes a lot of heat, some of it rightly so.  At the same time, some of the local school board’s financial obligations is meeting compliance with regulations established by the Department of Education, all appointed without elected representation.  They design curriculum, programs and regulations all at exorbitant cost, none of which has to be approved by Congress.  This is Taxation without Representation.

While Unions make up less than 13% of the workforce with public sector unions accounting for about a third of that.  Non-Union citizens (who are the vast majority) have no say in those elections.  Through strikes and collective bargaining rights, these unions negotiate wages, pensions and other benefits that are often out of line with private sector workers.  All of this results in higher taxes even though the majority of the population has no elected representative in that process.  This is also Taxation without Representation.

There are countless other examples of these sorts of egregious actions that was clearly identified as acts of Tyranny by our Founders.  There are many who are getting awake to this as an abuse, but more need to be aware of what is happening.  Understanding how our founders felt and what helped bring them to this conclusion helps us to see where our Government has strayed from original intent so we can argue for a return to those values that once defined us as Americans.

 

Part one of this series is Natural Law: Those Pesky Unalienable Rights which can be found at https://jmrodkey.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/natural-law-those-unalienable-rights/

 

 

 

Natural Law-Those Unalienable Rights

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, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Our Founder’s understood a principle of governance called Natural Law.  The expression is thrown around a lot these days so a basic understanding of the concept is necessary so that we know when someone uses the term incorrectly.  The mere concept of Natural Law is, according to its proponents, instinctual in the individual.  It is built into us.

Think about that for a minute.  From the earliest philosophers who entertained this notion, they all agreed that Natural Law was a universal concept in all human life.  To them, it is one thing that binds all human life regardless of skin color, race, ethnicity, etc.  While early philosophers danced around the issue it was Cicero who stated from where this attribute of Natural Law originates.  Cicero stated that it comes from God.

The argument is simple enough.  If it exists in all and is common to all; if it occurs naturally from within then its source must originate from a higher authority than any mere mortal institution or form of Governance. If Natural Law is observed we experience order and justice, when Natural Law is abused we experience chaos, despotism and tyranny.

Now if man was a moral creature in all aspects, Natural law would be enough  Certainly if we all embraced the universal notion of Natural Law, which would require respecting the same Natural Rights of others, we would need nothing more.  Man, however, is also a fallen creature prone to perverting that which is Natural and turning it into something unnatural.  Sometimes they will do this while maintaining their actions are totally moral.

If both Natural Law and Sin Nature are true than the internal struggle between Natural Law and Tyranny exists as a possibility in each of us as well.  It should be something we can witness and prove through example.  Just as empirical science must be proven, contrasting it to theories built upon speculation, Can we witness Natural Law and Sin Nature in daily life?

For the individual, an act of Tyranny is the belief that the Rights granted you through Natural Law apply only to you or to those you choose respect, but not to all.  This than leads to the corrupted notion that your right to happiness can come at the expense of another.  We can witness this internal struggle even in childhood.  Consider children at play where one child sees another child’s possession, desires it and then claims the possession as their own. This is obviously an act of aggression that is seeking to ignore the Natural Rights of another for pure self-interest. The good parent intervenes and teaches the child a lesson in Natural Rights built on the concept of the right to property.

Let’s suppose the child who wants the possession of another child has parents who can afford less possessions.  Does this change any aspect of the Natural law?  Does that abolish the rights of the child who parents can afford to provide more?  Do the parents have a right to intervene and force the more privileged child to surrender a portion of their possessions to the less privileged child?  No. Absolutely not.  The more privileged child has a right to the things that belong to him.  The parents of the privileged child might seek to teach their child something of compassion and the gift of sharing but unless the child willfully decides to relinquish that which is rightfully his, the child’s Natural Rights are abused and the abusers are guilty of Tyranny.  The freedom of will of the child is taken away if the parents force the child to relinquish his possessions as well as for the child to exemplify charity.

Some would define this as Social Justice.  The question however is, how can it be defined as justice to provide for one through an act of Tyranny that forces loss for another?  If justice is truly blind, she is blind to economic status as well as to matters of race, ethnicity and skin color.

Some might define this as being moral.  Again, how can something declared moral take, by force, from one to provide for another?  This is Immoral Tyranny cloaked as Morality but it is, in reality, a perversion of Natural Law and therefore unnatural…immoral.

The most immoral aspect is that it removes the ability of the more privileged child to commit the moral act of Charity, replacing it with the Tyranny of a theft of his possession.

Our Founders focused on three primary Natural Rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The Right to Life gives us the opportunity to make healthy or unhealthy choices.  Any law which mandates an inability to make unhealthy choices is a law in violation of Natural Rights.  You see, Natural rights must exist in the realm of free will.  We must have the right to choose and that includes the right to choose a destructive lifestyle.  The consequences of that choice is our responsibility not the governments.  The only time the government should intervene is if we exert a force of Tyranny over others by forcing them to make choices in their life, whether those choices are healthy or unhealthy.

Liberty is the right of self-expression.  It gives us the freedom to choose to embrace God or reject Him.  It gives us the choice to follow specific courses of actions in our life and in the pursuit of that course of action, have the right to succeed if we make right choices or to fail if we make poor choices.  Tyranny steps in when we try to force others to make the same choices.  It enslaves us through the law to deny our own freedom to choose, even if we choose poorly.

The Pursuit of Happiness is clear enough, it allows us to pursue Happiness but does not guarantee the same result to all.  Each individual will pursue the things that make them happy.  Obtaining that happiness might be hindered by financial position but this, when left to Natural Law, creates an inner quest in us to obtain what is necessary to gain the means of getting those things which we feel provide us with contentment or happiness.  When government intervenes and provides the means freely, the inner quest is corrupted by providing a shortcut to the goal through no pursuit of your own.  In order to obtain this, government must take from one pursuit, to provide for another while removing the ability to to pursue from both individuals.  As such, it corrupts that which is Natural turning it into something unnatural.

As our Founder’s began to explore these aspects of governance they saw, in Britain, a Tyranny to replace Natural Law with an unnatural corruption of the laws.   They saw that the only course of actions was to remove themselves from a corruptible governance to something more in align with the Natural Rights of mankind.  They saw this not only as their right, but as their moral obligation.  It was a pursuit to restore the things to man granted to him by the hand of Divine Providence.

It was not something new or alien, it had been laid out many times before.  For 15 years prior to the Declaration, the arguments, made against corrupt governance in the colonies from both within the colony or through exertion from the crown and Parliament, was framed around the Natural Rights of man.

It was around this context that 55 men would gather in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 and begin the debates on the Constitution of the United States of America. How do you establish a strong enough government that would still respect the Rights of the States as well as the Natural Rights of the Individual?   After 5 months they produced a document that is probably as close as we will ever get.

Over the years, just like the principle of Natural Law, the Constitution has been perverted by self-interested individuals, organizations and others through a rejection of the principles of Natural Law.  Without it, the Constitution means nothing.

The National Popular Vote: A Threat to the Constitution

Article 1; Section 1: All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

During the debates on the Constitution in 1787 one of the hotly debated issues was the manner in which a President and Vice President would be elected.  The debates on this matter are easily accessible and no representative is without excuse for not knowing these debates.  The most assured point is that the election of the President was not to be a popularity contest.  Small states sought equal representation in elections so that the larger states could not unfairly use their population and size to undercut the voice of their own states.  This was to be a Republic, not a mob rule democracy.

It is sentimentally nice to think that all that should matter in a national election is the popular vote.  Whoever wins the most votes, wins the election.  This thinking has been brought on through an educational system that fails to understand the advantages of an electoral system that seeks to give fair representation to the minority voice as well.  Just as large States should not have the ability to impose their will on smaller states, as the founders said at a time when the entire population of the United States of America was less than 4 million people; today we should be looking for ways within the individual states to give fair and equal representation to the entire state.

In Pennsylvania, Presidential elections need only focus on major cities.  These major cities are also the most rampant places for voter registration fraud and as seen in the last Presidential election, literal voter intimidation.  Just glancing at a map of how the people voted we find that most areas in the state voted opposite of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh but the voice of the rest of the state is silenced through the popular vote.  The rest of the state, through the winner take all democracy stance yields ALL electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state rendering all other votes null and void.  Now we are seeking to turn that into a nationwide Democracy of mob rule rather than the Republic, for which WE STAND.

We are a Republic.  Not a Democracy.  Perhaps no principle exemplifies this more than the Electoral College and if it were implemented as intended, to give equal representation to all voices, then there would be no discussion of a national popular vote.

Benjamin Franklin was asked after the signing of the Constitution what type of government we had been given and he replied “A Republic, if you can keep it!”  The National Popular Vote will take us one giant step towards destroying what is left of the Republic.

We are a nation guided by a rule of laws firmly established in the Constitution of the United States of America.  Those laws are intended to protect the rights of all, not just the majority view of Democracy which was described by our founders as being “two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner”.     Many are fighting to destroy what is left of the Republic our founder’s gave us and the National Popular vote is another attempt to move away from being a Republic towards being a pure Democracy.

Even when not abused, as it is during this administration, the office of the President of the United States of America is far too important an office to be decided solely upon a majority vote.

Franklin said that the Republic would stand until people realized they can vote themselves more money.  We are in those times.  Votes are generated through entitlement programs, not based upon what is good and right for the whole country.  Major cities voter bases are largely populated by people who are dependent upon entitlements from the Government.  Corporations establish their offices in major cities where they benefit from more of the government’s doling out of corporate welfare initiatives.   Most of the major cities are drains to the economy of the rest of the country and are in such debt that they are crippling the rest of their state.  The education in these cities is often deplorable.  Living conditions for many in these cities is often far below sub-standard.  And each of these cities in crises have demonstrated a shift from the governance of a Republic to the governance of a Democracy and we wonder why they are failing.  Now we seek to embrace that ideology for the whole country.

The National Popular Vote is an affront to all that our founders fought for.  It was a viewpoint during the Constitutional debates that held no strength and was held by only a few representatives, who conceded upon hearing the arguments against it.  The National Popular Vote is an affront to all that a Republic Stands for.  As the language of the bill states, it works towards the complete elimination of the Electoral College by rendering it pointless.  As such, it is an attempt to change the Constitution of the United States without going through the Amendment process.

By forming a collective of states under a contract, it seeks to establish a new form of governance replacing what our founder’s intended and it seeks to undermine the Constitution of the United States.

Does the Constitution frame what we, as American’s believe?  Are we a Republic or are we a Democracy?  That is the real question this bill poses cleverly disguised in a feel good winner take all popularity choice.  I for one, am passionately opposed to it because I do believe we are a Republic and I do believe the Constitution is a rule of law that should not be strategically by-passed through an attempt at manipulating its intent or rendering just one of its principles useless purely for political gain without first seeking to amend the Constitution as provided for within its own language.

The Electoral College was unique to America in its foundation of the principles of a Republic and remains unique to America in recognizing the rights of each individual state while giving strength to the weaker voice of the smaller states.  Any attempt to remove it is to topple one of the pillars of America.

Defendants of the proposal are quick to state that they are not in violation of the Constitution of the United Sates according to the 12th Amendment of the Constitution.  That might be true but what about Article 1; Section 10 (printed here with the violating sections in boldface and underlined).

Article 1; Section 10: No State  shall  enter  into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque or reprisal;  coin  money; emit  bills of credit ; make  anything but gold or silver  coin a tender  in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder,  ex post facto law, or law  impairing  the  obligation of contracts; or  grant  any title  of  nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Control of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Some of our Founders thought on Democracy vs. a Republic

• Virginia’s Edmund Randolph participated in the 1787 convention. Demonstrating a clear grasp of democracy’s inherent dangers, he reminded his colleagues during the early weeks of the Constitutional Convention that the purpose for which they had gathered was “to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and trials of democracy….”

• John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, championed the new Constitution in his state precisely because it would not create a democracy. “Democracy never lasts long,” he noted. “It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.” He insisted, “There was never a democracy that ‘did not commit suicide.'”

• New York’s Alexander Hamilton, in a June 21, 1788 speech urging ratification of the Constitution in his state, thundered: “It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.” Earlier, at the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton stated: “We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.”

• James Madison, who is rightly known as the “Father of the Constitution,” wrote in The Federalist, No. 10: “… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.” The Federalist Papers, recall, were written during the time of the ratification debate to encourage the citizens of New York to support the new Constitution.

• George Washington, who had presided over the Constitutional Convention and later accepted the honor of being chosen as the first President of the United States under its new Constitution, indicated during his inaugural address on April 30, 1789, that he would dedicate himself to “the preservation … of the republican model of government.”

• Fisher Ames served in the U.S. Congress during the eight years of George Washington’s presidency. A prominent member of the Massachusetts convention that ratified the Constitution for that state, he termed democracy “a government by the passions of the multitude, or, no less correctly, according to the vices and ambitions of their leaders.” On another occasion, he labeled democracy’s majority rule one of “the intermediate stages towards … tyranny.” He later opined: “Democracy, in its best state, is but the politics of Bedlam; while kept chained, its thoughts are frantic, but when it breaks loose, it kills the keeper, fires the building, and perishes.” And in an essay entitled The Mire of Democracy, he wrote that the framers of the Constitution “intended our government should be a republic, which differs more widely from a democracy than a democracy from a despotism.”

In light of the Founders’ view on the subject of republics and democracies, it is not surprising that the Constitution does not contain the word “democracy,” but does mandate: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government.”

 

Change proposed for state’s electoral vote process

There is now a debate in Pennsylvania about a shift from a winner take all approach to the electoral college representation of the state to a district approach that would allow the electors to split the vote.  I have extremely mixed emotions on this proposal.

How Electors are allowed to vote has changed state to state over the years so maybe a little historical background will help.

During the debates at the Federal Convention of 1787 (now called the Constitutional Convention) the method for electing Presidents was a hotly debated issue.  The two extremes were presented: one completely by popular vote and the other was election solely through The Senate.  Part of the complication involved George Washington who everybody pretty much understood would become the first President of the United States and he was presiding over the Federal Convention.  Nobody really wanted to offend him.  When this part of the debate finally surfaced it was addressed that it was a decision necessary to secure for future President’s who would follow Washington effectively removing any criticism of Washington from the debate.

The process of the election of a President underwent several transitions until the compromise was arrived at which became Article II, Section 1.  The content of the argument was strongly against popular vote because of the unfair representation of the smaller states in such an election. The smaller states felt that two or three large states could control the entire election process in the larger states favor.  The larger states conceded the possibility of such a thing.  With the 3/5 representation of slaves awarded to the South, Northern States feared that the North would never see a President unless a fairer form of representation was in place.  That led to the compromise.

The elector system provided that each elector had two votes.  One of those votes could not be for a resident of their own state (a step to help protect small states).  The winner of the electoral votes would become President and the one with the second highest votes would become Vice-President.  In the first election there was only one person running for President, there were two candidates for Vice-President.  6 of the 10 states chose their chose electors by popular vote. The other three states had not ratified the Constitution yet so they could not vote.

It is often stated that George Washington won the first election by a unanimous vote.  He had no opposition so that shouldn’t have been surprising.  What is surprising is that only about 1.3% of the population voted.  Only 38,818 people voted.  In 1792 for Washington’s second term it was worse.  Only 13,332 people voted. The emergence of a two party system in 1796 doubled voter turnout from 1788 with 66,841 voting.

Washington became President and served two terms. After announcing he would not seek a third the next election saw the evolving of a two-party system.  The results of that election was that the leader of the one Party became President and the leader of the second became Vice-President. That generated a Party war which resulted in something many historians feel was one the nastiest election in America’s history.  Talk about the politics of personal destruction-that would perfectly define the election of 1800 to a Tea.  That campaign was so bitter that it quite literally destroyed the once amicable relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams that was not resolved until many years later.

That election had Hamilton trying to assure a Federalist victory so he influenced the electors to vote for Jefferson and Aaron Burr both Federalist candidates.  Adams lost but since the electors all did as Hamilton suggested there was now a tie between Jefferson and Burr that had to be resolved in the House.  It took several days and several votes to resolve this resulting in the proposal of the 12th Amendment in 1803 which was ratified in 1804 in time for the next Presidential election. It was during the debates on this vote that hostility broke out between Hamilton and Burr.   That hostility never really ended finally resulting in duel in 1804 which took the life of Hamilton.

As another part of Hamilton’s effort to shift manipulation of elections in 1800, he persuaded strong Federalist States to choose the electors only from their legislative Bodies.  Pennsylvania followed his suggestion but Hamilton’s plan backfired.  When the Electors had been chosen by the people Pennsylvania voted 14 to 1 for Jefferson in 1796.  Chosen by the legislative body, the electors split their vote 8 to 7 in favor of Jefferson in 1800.

The 12th Amendment in 1804 still gave the electors 2 votes but added the ruling that one would be specifically for President and the other specifically for Vice-President.. From its inception, the states would decide the electors and the rules governing them.  In the two elections between Jefferson and Adams, Pennsylvania electors split their votes between the two.  In the first election it was 14 for Jefferson and 1 for Adams, in the next election it was 8 for Jefferson and 7 for Adams.  Since that time Pennsylvania has been a winner take all state with the electoral college.

Other states have moved in and out of electoral winner take all positions throughout the history of elections and the Constitution allows for how the electoral process of deciding electoral voters as well as how their votes are counted being decided in each state.

The first census was taken in 1790 and the total population of the United States was under 4 million.  Today the population of Pennsylvania alone is 12,702,379.

Considering the debates ay the Constituional Convention, I see this current discussion framed around a return to the debate in the Constitutional Convention except now it is within the State of Pennsylvania.  Should the voice of the largely populated districts of the state be the voice that represents the whole state or should the state be divided by electors giving each district a voice through their elector?

If our electors had represented their districts the face of Pennsylvania would have been 11 electors for Obama and 10 for McCain, instead Obama received all of the votes of the electoral college.  Obama still would have won Pennsylvania but it would have also demonstrated how divided the state was.  Is casting all 21 votes for Obama in 2008 closer to a pure democracy that 11 to 10?  I’m not sure I know the answer to that but I do think it becomes a more relevant picture of the actual vote. While I’m not passionate in the defense, I lean towards the 11 to 10 option and see that as less progressively Democratic and more restoratively Republican in form.  As I said, I lean that way but but am not so convinced that I couldn’t be persuaded otherwise with a strong enough argument.

Knowing that your district had a more equal voice in the State election for President, would this increase voter turnout as well as party efforts to get out the vote in those districts?  That’s another very important question to ask, one that can not be answered until the process is in place and that requires the consideration of the impact to the voters of the State of Pennsylvania in a change to the electoral college;  one that we made before to strengthen the Federalist Party position shortly before the Federalist party collapsed.

We have been so indoctrinated to believe that we are a democracy and that the majority rules forgetting that we are a Republic and that rules are in place to protect the minority and this includes the Presidential election.  The notion that only the popular vote of the people should elect a President was held by a very small minority of the Constitutional Convention.  That small minority argued passionately but resolved under compromise to a ruling that had weaknesses but a great strength as well.  The vote of the small state would be given strength through the electoral process.  Within the framework of the state, should this also apply?  Right now, I don’t know the answer to that but you can bet I’ll be following it closely and listening to all arguments.

Telling The Truth-A Revolutionary Act

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

Perhaps the most famous quote on truth occurs in the Bible as Pontius Pilate is looking into the face of Christ and asks the philosophical question “What is Truth?”

The thing that forms truth for each of us has a lot to do with perception.  Perception becomes truth for many people, but is truth really a relative concept?  Perceptions can be formed without all the information to make an informed decision and then opinion becomes truth regardless of the facts that might actual stand in opposition of that opinion.

For Progressives, perceptions based on emotional response is essential to maintain their “truth.”  Take, for instance, Van Jones’ recent diatribe on the Tea Party and his feel for the need to burst the Tea Party Bubble.  In his diatribe he goes off on the the Tea Party and then defines his perception.  “We are the only Government in the world that’s supposed to have a puny old government that can’t help anybody. They call it small Government…I Call it puny Government.  They want us to have a puny little government and then throw us overboard with no help from anybody and they call themselves Patriots.  They take a wrecking Ball and paint it Red, White and Blue and smash down every institution that made America great.  They smash down the Unions.  The smash down the safety net. They smash down public school, They smash down the sense that we’re all one country but they’re the Patriots and were not.  Who’s fighting for liberty and justice for all in this country….it ain’t them, it’s people like us.”

I have no doubt that Van Jones believes this rot as Truth but it is an opinion with very little basis in Truth.  It is a statement to generate an emotional response devoid of logic or evidence.  It is built around the concept that the center of America, her heart and her soul, is the Government and not the people.

If you begin with that as your truth, your are doomed to failure.  IT is the violation of every principle that this Great Nation was built upon.

Justice is not the same thing as equality.  Justice never means that every person receives the same proportion of material goods regardless of their skills, abilities and endeavors.  Justice requires that poor choices are not rewarded nor does it stand for worthy choices being punished.  Taking from the labors of one to provide for another might make everyone equal in material goods but it is not justice.  Those who have squandered their resources through poor choices and bad judgement should not be rewarded for their actions anymore than those who made wise choices and solid judgement should be punished.  That is not justice for either person.  Justice involves consequences.  A criminal should not escape punishment for his crimes because others who didn’t commit that crime aren’t punished, nor should a person who hasn’t committed the crime be expected to share in a portion of the jail time to make things more equal for everyone.  True justice also requires the right to fail.  You make bad choices, you fail.  That is justice.

The Declaration of Independence provides the framework of equality as the founders saw it.  We are all created equal.  Regardless of our skin color, race, ethnic background, each of us are created with life, liberty and instilled with the desire to pursue happiness.  Society and government places obstacles in our way in our pursuit of these.  We do not all live the same number of minutes. Life is not equal but it is a right denied by many of the same progressives who insist on abortion as a right of choice that imposes upon the right to life of the unborn.  Liberty is our right but government policy imposes on our Liberty and we are no different if we impose our right to Liberty on another without respecting their right to Liberty.  Liberty should be equal for all but it is not, that does not remove the truth that we are born with this right.

The Pursuit of happiness.  We are all born with that desire, not all of us will obtain all that we desire though.  Not obtaining it never removes the right to pursue as long as that right does not involve theft.

The safety net that Van Jones says the Tea Party wishes to smash down is governmental theft.  It is the government taking from one person to provide for another.  Everywhere, except in government, this action is illegal.  The theft is not voluntary, it is mandatory.  There is no Christian Charity in this action.  If Christian leaders went into the home of their parishioners and demanded money to provide for the poor or threatened some sort of Church Prison for evading paying those fees, the pews would soon be empty.  The overturning of the tables in the temple demonstrates that Jesus was incensed when the church extorted money from the people.  They sold sacrifices at inflated prices that were necessary for Jewish ritual.  They also manipulated currency by making you exchange your dirty secular money for temple money at an inflated price so your money had even less purchasing power.  Then they took a portion of that money and dispersed it for projects to hold the people accountable to them.  They were moneychangers and they profited by changing money of the people, devaluing it and then inflating prices all for personal gain.  Sound familiar.

Yes, we are encouraged to give.  We are encouraged to help the poor.  We are even encouraging to sacrifice in our giving.  It is still voluntary, not mandatory.

There was a time when the people needed to organize against corporate corruption.  They formed unions to get a fair wage and reasonable working hours.  That is no longer what Unions are doing.  Today Unions make more than a fair wage because they make more on the average than the same employees in the private sector.  There is also the problem with a public sector Unions funded by taxation to provide, not just a wage but vacation and benefit/pension packages that always exceed the same vacations and benefit/pensions packages they are extorting from the rest of the non-union tax paying worker.

The Tea Party is not against education.  It is opposed to constantly raising taxes to dump more money into government run educational programs that time and again have been proven not to be working.  The Tea Party says get rid of the Department of Education and let the communities decide what education is best for their children.

The Tea Party believes that we are one nation and for that reason we should speak one language.  We welcome diversity to add to the flavor of the melting pot that is America but, as has been the tradition of all immigrants to this country until recently, the cultures merged and shared.  They did not isolate themselves as an entirely different entity.  They shared their foods, their culture and their life.  They did not demand special privileges, special language exemptions that places additional burdens on our schools and government.  They came here to become an American.  Not to raise their own flags above Old Glory, not to demand entitlement, but to be free…to be American.

The Van Jones’ of this world are not fighting for Liberty and Justice.  They are claiming to fight for equality but their equality requires taking from one by force of punishment to provide for another with no requirements.  You might level the material playing field but there is nothing equal because the one has worked for their security and the other has stayed home to watch Oprah.  One has made choices on the size of family they can afford and the other has no choices to make since they are rewarded for making more babies.  You deny real equality to one group, you deny Liberty and you deny justice to provide things for another group.  That is not what made America a great Country.

The Spirit of American Exceptionalism, where people gave to charity freely, where they helped without being forced to, where philanthropists stepped in and provided needs in their communities and we all came together to build our neighborhoods together, not to get a check but to do the work.  Where the entrepreneurial spirit in America was free to soar to discover new ways of doing things, not regulated by government to hold them back.  When farmers weren’t paid not to produce crops; when business weren’t rewarded for sending jobs to oversee markets; when government didn’t prop up failed business policies with bailout money to save something was that was too big to fail.  Sorry, but if they had to be bailed out they already failed and it was government policies from the Van Jones’ type think tanks that caused them to fail.

The fact can not be debated, right to work states are more financially secure that states that shield and promote unionism.  Major cities under liberal Progressive policies have turned from once prosperous places to slums for most of the residents.

Progressives are wonderful with distorting truth with emotional responses and making it appear that no matter how bad their policies are, they will benefit the poor.  We’ve been hearing that for a very long time.  I seem to recall a biblical story of Jesus being challenged because a young woman poured an expensive perfume over his feet and the one challenging him stated that the perfume could have been sold to feed the poor.  Instead of embracing this forced socialism the challenger cried out for, Jesus rebuked his challenger.  It was the woman’s.  She had labored to purchase that perfume and was free to do with it as she chose, not as another dictated.

Perception often taints truth for us.  We must always work to dispel perception to embrace truth.  That requires that we deal in facts and realities not emotional distortions.  It doesn’t matter how we feel, what really matters is what truth is.

Rick Perry called Social Security a Ponzi scheme because it is a Ponzi scheme.  Let’s not stop there.  Government Welfare, corporate or private, is theft.  War waged for personal interest or empire building is genocide.  Abortion is murder.  In each case it is denying something to one individual or group of individuals-something to belongs to them-and then providing only a portion of what was taken to another individual or group of individuals. In each case it is a government trying to play God and manipulate the outcome by changing how the rules of the games of Life is played.  Each time they change the rules our rights and liberties are sacrificed.

Van Jones has a right to his opinion.  He has a right to express that opinion and we have a right to demonstrate where he is wrong.  They have played on our emotions and many people went along because we thought we would feel better.  That is, after all, what they promised.  After a 50 year war on poverty ask the poor how the government did with that one.  Do they feel better? Do you feel better?  Is the Country healthier?  Poll after poll answers that one for us, overwhelmingly people do not feel better.  Overwhelmingly people believe we are going in the wrong direction yet they keep going in that direction in spite of all the promises and the feel good hopey changey rhetoric.  Two and half years of having that hopey changey rhetoric forced down the throats of Americans and our debt has increased by about 5 trillion dollars.  Union pensions are 2/3 unfunded.  Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is going belly-up at a faster rate than expected.  The cost for necessities goes up every day.  Food, Clothing, energy…we are paying far more than we were three years ago.

We are at war but refuse to call it war.  We are in a recession but refuse to call it a recession.  We are broke but because the Federal Reserve can just print more money regardless of the consequences, we refuse to admit we are broke.  That is the difference between perception and truth and it is time for those who represent us to start speaking the truth.  It might not make us feel good at the moment, but it is now necessary to save what is left of this country and restore her to the glory of her destiny.  You see, like us, she was born with the same unalieanble rights and her rights are being stripped away as well.

An Appeal to Heaven

The Tea Party Movement was born out of a reaction to an abuse of power.  The Obama Administration pushed a piece of legislation that quickly became known as Obamacare and in one overwhelming unconstitutional sweep the alarm clock went off for many Americans.  It was too much, too fast.  While the birth of the Tea Party came at this moment in time, its conception was accomplished long before.

For years they had been slowly moving in our midst: nudging, then nudging a little more.  We knew it was wrong, we knew the things they were doing was beyond the scope of Constitutional powers but we were busy with our lives; too busy to care enough to do something about it.  It wasn’t like they didn’t make great leaps in the past but those leaps were always associated with a crisis: Wars, depressions, national emergencies. During those times the government moved and pushed and we all too willingly stepped aside thinking the government had our best interest at heart yet at the same time there was something deep in the pit of our stomach that just didn’t seem right.

Obamacare was something different.  The Administration had no crisis to respond to, they simply had an agenda.  Obamacare would pass. They would climb any wall ”If we can’t climb the wall, we will jump over it. If we can’t jump over it, we will pole vault over it. If we can’t pole vault over it, we will parachute over it, but whatever it takes to pass the Health Care Legislation, we will do it!” or so Nancy Pelosi claimed to America.

Abuses of this sort of power are becoming more commonplace, or perhaps we are just more aware; more alert to the abuses.  We have moved from the protests, the sharpies and the poster board with witty expressions of our frustration.  The voice of a million people gathered on the steps and lawn of the capital building was a voice of a million our elected representatives chose to ignore.  We have moved from protest towards holding our individual legislatures feet to the fire.  They will hear us now or they will fear us in the only arena that every politician fears; in the voting booths of every municipality across this country. They will be held accountable because the future of this country depends on it.

Throughout the Tea Party movement we have realized that substantive and truly sustainable reform begins locally.  Every dollar that we send to Washington, every dollar sent to Harrisburg eventually winds up funneling a portion of its value back to our local municipalities.  I say a portion because a large piece of that dollar goes towards funding huge bureaucracies and agencies sent up by our Federal and State governments.  These Bureaucracies and agencies have so expanded under this administration that in less than three years they have managed to catapult our national debt by 4.5 trillion dollars to sustain them.  Under this administration’s expansion of these bureaucracies and agencies, mandates and regulations that are punishing job creating factors in our societies have also rapidly increased.  Environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations place burdens on business that result in higher prices for everything we buy including food, clothing and energy.  According to Walter Olson in a report to the Cato Institute regulations will cost $1.75 trillion in compliance costs as observed by estimates established by the Small Business Bureau.  That’s greater than the record federal budget deficit — projected at $1.48 trillion for the fiscal year of 2011 — and greater even than all corporate pretax profits.  While the liberal media and this administration lauds numbers like 117,000 jobs created in a month, what they do not say is that 200,000 jobs must be created each month to sustain the current population of the United States.  Each month that number isn’t met, the need for more jobs increases because the previous month’s job requirements were not met.

Since only a portion of what we send to State and Federal Government actually makes its way back to us, our municipalities are faced with difficult choices. This has resulted in school boards and municipalities constantly increasing the tax burden on the citizens.  Regardless of how much you are paying in local taxes, NO MUNICIPALITY IS SELF-SUSTAINING ANYMORE.  They are all dependent on grants from the federal and state level for their very survival.  As high as our taxes are, it isn’t enough to fund local government anymore.  Much of the cost is directly connected to the amount of money your local municipality and school board must spend to comply with new rules and regulations coming from the Federal and State levels.

If all that wasn’t enough, the push by the Federal government to force local municipalities to comply with the U.N’s Agenda 21 results in ordinance plans like Harry Roth’s major intrusion into personal property rights.  As we stand and allow this to happen we deserve to be punished for our inaction.  While we might deserve it, what about our children?  Do they deserve what we are allowing to happen to them?

Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will still be paying for the excesses of the governments of OUR generation and this is unconscionable.  This is generational theft.  Before a child of this generation enters kindergarten the price on their head to the government is already more than $40,000 just to sustain the current debt.  As should be obvious to all of us after the last round of budget debates, this shows no signs of decreasing.  We can blame the government, but we must bear a large part of this burden.  Our silence, our unwillingness to stand in the gap and be counted is also to blame. We are saddling future generations with the debt that we are running up now.  Unless we start demanding hard choices about what our collective obligations are to each other and to our children, how we will meet these obligations, and what we must do to begin to remove this burden from future generations, the financial security of those future generations is at risk.

We are robbing from the cradle and if we do not turn this around future generations will basically be holding the cost of a mortgage to a house before they own the property; a property they will NEVER own.  This isn’t the American dream that we grew up on.  This isn’t the vision of brighter tomorrow.  If we do not stand, if we do not speak, we must bear some of this burden.

Your involvement at the local level to turn this around is essential.  Over the past 8 months The Lebanon 9-12 Project has worked to provide you with information about local candidates.  We will continue to do this.  Over the past 8 months we have worked to provide you with information on legislation and to raise the alarm when local municipalities were abusing grants.  We will continue to do so.  We aren’t going to stop there.  We will be expanding our efforts through our meetings, through our literature, through our newsletter and through our website.  This still isn’t enough.

In the upcoming months we will be assembling municipality information and sending out email notifications of public meetings to our membership.  The groundwork to accomplish this has already been put into place.  By the time your municipality announces in a public notice that your municipality is voting on a proposal, the discussion on that proposal has already taken place in previous meetings.  It is often too late to turn the opinions of elected representatives around at this point in time.  The time for that is before the vote, when the discussions begin.

If necessary, the current volunteers on the board will do this but we really could use your help.  If you would like to represent your municipality by being the notifier of these meetings to other members who live in your municipality, let us know.  The more we become involved, the more we are informed and the more informed we are, the better citizens we become.  It isn’t just for the future of the Lebanon 9-12 Project that we ask this, it is for your children, your grand-children and all the generations that will follow that we ask this.  We need to stop stealing from them and start sacrificing for them.

We strive to be here to help in any way we can possibly help but consider – while liberal ideology might make us squirm – it does take a village.  The Lebanon 9-12 Project is just one community of the greater County of Lebanon.  The more help you are willing to offer, the more potential we have in making a difference where we live.  Each of you possesses skills, talents and abilities.  Never undersell yourself. Together we can accomplish greater things than we have realized in the past several months.  The future is not yet set and we can turn this around.  The key to that course of action is one simple word.  WE! WE can turn this around. You, me, all of us working together for the common goals of smaller government, fiscal accountability and a restoration of this country to the principles of Constitutional governance as intended by our founding fathers.

Thomas Paine’s words are just as real today as they were when he wrote them encouraging a weary army in the winter of 1776.  “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

We truly are standing on the precipice.  Time, however, is running out.  We can not wait for our elected representatives to fix our problems.  We must join together to work towards solutions.  We must become the change we are expecting from others.

We have gathered and we pledge ourselves to the cause of Liberty.  That struggle for Liberty is not just a struggle for our individual Liberties.  The Statue of Liberty stands in the harbor of New York as a beacon of Liberty to the world.  Her crown is unlike any other crown in that the points of her crown do not point upward, they point outward.  Like the beams of light from a noble halo the light of Liberty was not to remain within the context of my Liberty, but in the context of our Liberty:  from within us and then reaching out to all corners of the world.

The time to stand is now and so we make this appeal. The alarm clock that woke you was not just any alarm clock; it was the bell of Liberty calling out to you.  It’s ringing was a voice that said will you stand with her, will you defend her, will you join with others locking arms is support and say what needs to be said.  The choice is yours.  If you choose to remain silent, you speak; and the silence of your voice is shattering.