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By Carol Corning, Executive Director of
Main Street Clinton
These are men and women who take matters of liberty & justice very seriously and self-determinedly into their own hands.
Among them and exemplary of the extraordinary measures they enact -- with the express purpose of calling public attention to what they see as supreme violations of constitutionally guaranteed rights -- is a man named Rick Stanley. And according to his supporters, the stage is set for Stanley's current situation to become infamously and sadly synonymous with Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The thumbnail on this brewing scenario, according to various sources, is that on December 15, 2001, Stanley holstered a loaded pistol within the Denver city limits. As a predictable result of Stanley's purposeful civil disobedience, the Denver police arrested him for violating a city ordinance.
"Peaceably, though fraudulently, arrested and charged with a 'crime against the state' (for) peacefully exercising a (constitutionally) protected right in a non-threatening manner which harmed no one," is Stanley's version of what happened, which essentially put is that the police acted unconstitutionally because the local ordinance which claims to revoke a citizen's inalienable right to "keep and bear arms" is in violation of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, thus making the law itself illegal and the issue of Stanley (or anyone else) wearing a sidearm moot.
Stanley alleges that no office or officer of government, in accord of the powers granted to government by the U.S. Constitution, has the authority to classify any such benign conduct, whether involving a firearm or not, as "illegal" and that therefore the law enforcement officials, from Stanley's constitutional purity point of view, become the criminals by and through the enforcement of what Stanley challenges as unconstitutional rules.
In a nutshell, Stanley and others like him are challenging their fellow citizens to wake up and smell the constitutional coffee by "disobediently" pointing out that the U.S. Constitution does NOT grant rights to the people, but that in fact it promulgates a very narrow and closely defined set of rules which govern the conduct of government, specifically limiting the scope of things that government may do and reserving ALL rights and powers of authority to the jurisprudence of "we the people" (you and me) regular, average, common folks.
Yet Stanley and his like-minded cohorts assert that the average U.S. citizen today has become ignorant of such facts and that regulatory measures, such as the Patriot Act, are vanquishing huge chunks of everyone's "Creator endowed" freedoms while "we the people" are not only standing idly by, immersed in a blind haze of constitutional ignorance, but by and through our apathy we are actually enabling a self-destructive tide of lemmings to shred the "self-evident truths" articulated by the founders of our nation. Speaking of which...
Today, as I write, is Columbus Day. Revered in some circles as the theoretical inception of The Great American Dream, the holiday has, in recent years, been rejected by various groups of people who view it as a celebration of genocide and conquest. In its place, Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated.
As with constitutional conundrums, however, noteworthy folks of academic letters allege that such new canons deliver "everything but the one educationally justifiable thing," which could be generally defined as the "serious study" of complex issues by average citizens.
"Our country began unofficially on April 19th, 1775, when townspeople armed with rifles repelled members of the British Army who had been ordered to confiscate colonial weapons at Lexington and Concord," an email newsletter directed to the 700+ members of the "Second American Revolution Militia" reports.
"Rick (Stanley) has an unalienable right to 'keep and bear arms' that is protected by both the Second Amendment and the Colorado constitution," asserts Libertarian Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik, point being that no matter our individual opinion about whether or not it is "okay" to "keep and bear arms," it is our guaranteed liberty to do so and that -- unless the Constitution itself is re-written -- the government has no power or authority to prohibit a peace-abiding citizen from the committal of such an act.
"What I am really asking you to do," Badnarik requests in a letter to Colorado Governor Bill Owens, "is to honor your oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. I am asking you to recognize Mr. Stanley's unalienable RIGHTS."
Equally along these lines, but taking a far less adversarial approach, have you heard about the Free State Project? Well the thumbnail here is that this Internet networking and civic activism project, which was founded only 2 years ago by Jason Sorens, a Yale graduate student in Political Science, now has roughly 5000 "committed" members and plans to congregate "20,000 or more liberty-oriented people to a single state of the U.S." where they will work collaboratively within the political system "to reduce the size and scope of government" with the intention to "reduce and eliminate burdensome taxation and regulation by reforming state and local law, putting an end to federal mandates, and restoring the tenets of constitutional federalism."
Their stated intention is to "demonstrate the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world" by enabling "a society in which the sole role of civil government is the protection of individuals' rights."
And to this bottom-line thought, I heartily, reverently and emphatically say YES.
And before I go any further with what I've got to say today, I'll ask again a question that's been on my mind a lot lately. That is: Can we imagine everyone in the whole world actually "thriving" all at once...??? Do we believe this is a realistically achievable reality...??? And do we have the "right" to be willing to settle for anything less...
With thoughts like this as a continual backdrop to everything else, I began to think about what this "thriving" stuff is all about. That is, what does "thriving" look like to the naked eye? Who is doing what, and how is everything going when we "feel" like we are thriving? Like I said, what is thriving all about?
For our family, it really looks a lot like what we are doing right now... at this very moment, with most of our energy and time going to tending our routine. Homemaking, homeschooling and earning-a-living gobbles up oodles of our day-to-day, which is randomly interspersed with an odd assortment of little projects that we weave in, in the hopes of enriching our cranny of these Ozark Mountain woods.
For example, Adam (our eldest at home, soon to be 17, pictured at right on the bow of the pontoon with his sister, Shawna, age 10, standing on the shore) has been apprenticing with a construction crew, de-constructing 4 (huge) commercial marina docks. He is learning a tremendous amount about the importance of innovation, logical thinking and reliability, plus he's acquiring a fundamental set of marketable skills.
As a bonus, we had the chance to get quite a few large Styrofoam float blocks... so we are experimenting with building an oversized cold frame with them, to see how successfully we may overwinter a couple of tomato plants.
Now this may not make it on your scale of
"thriving," but it is a highly industrious undertaking for us
considering that we are not all that agrarian. That is, while we have a
fairly well-versed comprehension of fundamental agricultural principles
(and I grew up watching my grandfather cultivate an annual and
outstanding vegetable garden which -- thanks to my grandmother's
preserving skills -- fed our family of five for an entire year),
producing a significant edible harvest from this abundant academic
understanding has been, for us, a challenging task...
And this is important to our continual
thriving, because (for a variety of reasons) we must relocate our
trailer before we can start constructing our above referenced domehome.
And of course, I make no assertion that these standards are unilaterally "high" enough... but at the same time, it sure would be a good start....
Wishing all of us a life worth living, filled with all those things we prefer, desire, wholeheartedly celebrate and richly deserve to enjoy.
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