Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Two Other Great Truths

National Archives Architectural Inscription from
Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act II, Scene 2

Preface

Nothing changes simply because it might, it could, or it should. Change happens because it is made to happen. Change happens because those that desire change commit to bringing it about and devote time, labor, and wealth, to the end of change.

Our independence from Great Britain, for example, was not necessarily inevitable. Preconditions necessary to change came into play. Those preconditions included threats to, and loss of, civil and economic liberties, denial of equal representation in government, the exacerbation of dangers attending to the exploration, settling and development of a new land, and the denial of accept rights of Englishmen.

But neither calamity nor oppression necessarily create change. How different this world would be if that were so. If change occurred simply upon realization of circumstances of oppression, no Iraqi invasion would have been necessary to the removal of Saddam Hussein. Under regimes whose histories and brutalities spell the name of the Twentieth Century – from the Soviet Union and Communist China on the grand scale, to Albania and Cuba on the small scale – people continue to demonstrate a shocking toleration for their own suppression, repression and oppression. 

In colonial America, change was preceded by agitation for change. Agitation for change was preceded by realization that the circumstances in which free Englishmen were living would not have been tolerated broadly in their homeland. Realization produced agitation, agitation coalesced a corps of advocates committed to bringing change to pass. Finally, in colonial America, change required active risk of loss.

TWO OTHER GREAT TRUTHS

Imagine the era in which our Nation’s birth was imminent.

From first footholds on the coast of the land, to exploration, to building villages, towns, and then cities, Englishmen and others labored to wrest, first, that foothold, then, an existence, and eventually, an enduring life in that distant, promising, and sometimes strange new world. This story is America’s story.

It is also my family’s story.

One of my forebears, John Beckley, came from England to America as an indentured servant. Beckley worked seven years to pay for his passage and freedom. After, as so many others, he began to build just such a life in America. In the course of his life, he befriended Thomas Jefferson, became the first clerk of the House of Representatives, the first Librarian of Congress and, as some historians conclude, the first political campaign manager in United States politics.

His story matters. Our story, as a People, matters. Understanding our story matters.

This nation did not simply “happen.” Coincidence did not craft our liberties, nor did it separate us from our English ruler. Coincidence did not articulate the Declaration of Independence, one of the most profound statements of the natural rights of men.

An increasingly hostile British government neglected the dangers facing its distant sons and daughters. Worse, that government began predating on them. Special taxes and levies were imposed on goods and services. Taxes and penalties were imposed without representative participation in the process.

An ancient and established right – to have one’s guilt or innocence when accused of a crime decided by a jury of one’s peers – was denied. The hard won livelihoods of colonists were violated by coercing colonists to fund bed and board to the very troops sent by the hostile government to keep subversive sentiment at bay. When those troops attacked colonists, even killed them, the government evinced that same hostility by protecting those troops from the consequences of their criminal conduct.

These impositions, hostilities, and attacks did not come all at once. Rather, they accumulated over time. In fact, some of them were met with such strenuous opposition in response that they were retracted; the Stamp Act of 1765 provoked a significant and burdensome boycott of British goods that led to its repeal, although the repealing Act, the American Colonies Act, asserted the direct power of Parliament to legislate for the colonies.  Over the course of time, like the healed bruises and bones of an abused child, the unmistakable evidence mounted that the American child was not as well loved as his brothers back in England. The constant train of abusive conduct led American colonists ineluctably to the conclusion that only worse abuses and oppression would follow.

It was that temper of those times that set the stage for Thomas Jefferson’s crafting of the Declaration of Independence, his profound statement of the natural rights of man. In our modern times, the connection of the abuses of American colonists’ liberties to Jefferson’s clarion cry of liberty may have become quite attenuated. That this is so was most recently evidenced by the rather blank assertion by TV news reader Chris Cuomo that our rights are not gifts of God

Cuomo might, of course, be right. There might be no God. Or, there might be a disinterested God that grants no rights. Nonetheless, Thomas Jefferson asserted and the signers of the Declaration of Independence agreed, Nature’s God exists and Nature’s God established certain truths as self-evident. On those truths, Jefferson built the case that the Englishmen of the New World possessed the right to dissolve their connection to the Crown and Parliament and stand up a new federation of States.

Of course, for patriotic events, and for the sheer force of its cogency, few statements so soundly lay a claim on the mind, or set fire to reason as thoroughly as these:

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.


Jefferson and the signers of the Declaration knew that a world beyond the American shores would watch what would happen here. They knew that other peoples, living under other kings, in other lands, would necessarily consider what was done, and on what grounds it was justified. In fact, in his preamble, Jefferson wrote:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


Now we have the long view of history to aid us as we consider the premises of that revolution, the provocations of it, and the truths on which it was premised. We also have the benefit of the testing of the truths of the Declaration over time, and the opportunity to evaluate whether, given the present course of events, a like train of abuses and usurpations is driving a free people to a new revolution.

Like most American school children, in elementary school, and in junior and senior high school, at varying levels of detail and sophistication, I learned about the great truths asserted by Jefferson and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. You, too, remember those truths:  that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These familiar truths focus on the rights of every person, on what we today call our civil rights. To observe that little emphasis was placed on two other self evident truths stated in the Declaration of Independence would be, I think, fair.

Those two further truths suffer in desuetude. Perhaps they are mostly ignored, not intentionally, but because, we have, as a people, lived a long period of national remorse of our failing to respect these truths, most particularly because we recognize the inconsistency between the stirring assertion of those fundamental, unalienable rights and our Nation’s checkered history in relation to them, particularly our historic dalliance with, and blood-letting devotion to, the Peculiar Institution of Human Slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, and other tolerated instances of disrespect for those rights.

Of course, schooling on these topics might be different today. In my youth, we lived in the shadow of the burgeoning civil rights movement. As significantly, we witnessed a growing, generational focus on personal rights. For that reason, the other two great truths, self-evident truths, asserted in the Declaration remained hidden in plain sight under the umbra of the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those latter principles pertain to the defense and maintenance of the previously stated natural rights.

So, then, what were those two additional self-evident truths? And, as importantly, was there a nexus between those two further truths and the monumental act of civil disobedience, The Revolutionary War?

Jefferson stated those two truths this way:

That to secure those rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

and

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 institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Let those self-evident truths sink in. Imagine the impact of such a declaration. Remember how different were the times in which they were asserted, in the face of monarchical rule across Western Europe, indeed, right around the globe. Yet, these words declared that the only true and good purpose of government is to secure the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The reason. To secure those rights.

As a practical theorem, this presumption – that governments come into existence and continue in force to secure those natural rights, those civil rights – is one we can evaluate objectively, with a significant body of history as evidence. Do governments exist only for this great purpose? What evidence exists to support, or to disprove, that theorem?

Sadly, substantial empirical evidence exists that this theorem of government – as the servant and protector of liberty – is unfounded, or at least it is not a universal truth. Indeed, it is probably, certainly, easier to prove that governments exist for other purposes, nefarious, dark ones, then the contrary and wholesome purpose of securing liberty.

Abounding examples include the brutal scourge that has been Marxist communism.

In Eastern Europe and Western Asia, the Russian Revolution and eventual rise of the Soviet Union provide ample evidence that the securing of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness did not drive monumental governmental and social change. If securing life was the goal, then how do we explain the millions of people dead in Soviet Georgia and Ukraine under Stalin? If securing liberty was the goal, then what explanation justifies the creation of the Soviet Gulag, a system of internal incarceration for subjects of the Soviet state? If securing the right to the pursuit of happiness was the Marxist-Leninist vision, then how do we explain the assignment of jobs, of housing, and of university courses of study by the state? And how do we explain the constant exodus from such a place?


And what of the Haitian procession of brutal dictators name Duvalier? Or the brutality of Ho Chi Minh’s regime, including the puncturing the eardrums of Catholic school children and slicing off the tongues of the Catholic priests who taught them? How to fit the syphilitic madness and cruelty of President for Life General Doctor Idi Amin Dada into such a theorem?

Hitler. Mussolini. Mugabe. Pol Pot. Khrushchev. Hussein.

Just these few names – chart toppers, if you will, on a hit parade of governmental brutality and denial of individual rights and liberties – lay substantial doubt at the feet of Jefferson’s notions about the purpose of governments. There is no end to the litany of governments and leaders whose aspirations, whatever they may have been, worked themselves out in the blood, forced labor, deprived opportunity, and coerced choices of those trapped under their heels.

Were the framers of the Declaration of Independence in error?

Are governments not really instituted to secure these rights? Or, is there a further truth that illuminates the meaning of the principle they enunciated?

If there is unstated, but intended, a sense that good governments, right governments, are created for the sole and salutary purpose of securing self evident, unalienable rights, then that self-evident truth purchases greater support in reality. After all, our new governments, we understand, were instituted because the British one preceding them became destructive of the rights to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness. And that “good” sort of government just might be what is apprehended in that self-evident truth, for, as they explain their view, such governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

(No Pollyanna here, the very men that pledged their lives on these truths nonetheless acceded to the continuation in force of the Peculiar Institution of Human Slavery. Their singular hypocrisy – declaring the created equality of everyman while impressing into hard bondage and uncompensated labor the men and women of Africa – cannot be ignored. Yet, for the success of their venture, wisely or no, they believed a compromise on the question of slavery was necessary to get the entire enterprise of liberty off the ground. Yet, we should not lose sight of the fact that, had America remained part of the English kingdom, slavery would have ended decades sooner, and possibly at the cost of less blood, fewer lives, and shorter bondage.)

The Declaration speaks of just powers.

The question arises, what are the “just powers” of a government? It seems reasonable to wonder if there is a connection between “just powers” and the reason they government exists: to secure the unalienable rights before mentioned. Perhaps the just powers of a government are those necessary to the securing of those unalienable rights. In other words, a power to secure the natural rights of the people, by the creation and maintenance of an armed force, military or police, would be, by such reasoning, a just power, if at all, because it is necessary to secure those unalienable rights and because its uses are limited to that end, served only by means consistent with it.

In fact, the test of whether American colonists could continue to consent to being governed by the Crown and Parliament is set out in the Declaration. Jefferson does not just set a clarion call for liberty, he justifies that call by setting out a brief catalog of intrusions, violations, denials, and usurpations; of remonstrations to the Crown and Parliament, and to their brothers at home; and of disregard for their oppression. See sidebars.

So, a constant course, a design, could be discerned in the actions and inactions of the British government. How hard would it be to divine an intention from among such acts as denying representation in Parliament, denying colonial legislatures permission to convene, suspending laws enacted by colonial bodies, targeting the colonies with burdensome laws not generally applicable within the Kingdom, denying rights of due process and property, quartering troops among the people in response to petitions and objections to the abuses suffered? That design, Jefferson wrote, was “to reduce the[ colonists] under absolute despotism . . . .”

Despotism is absolute authority. Despotism is autocratic rule. Despotism is tyranny.

The litany of crown abuses given by Jefferson left little room for doubt that King George III was ill-disposed toward the American colonists. The failure of Parliament to act on the constant pleas of those colonists for relief left little room for doubt that the Parliament cared not for the depredations suffered in America by British citizens. The Declaration of Independence left little room for doubt that a people suffering so, under the heel of a tyrant and with the complicity of Parliament, had both a right and a duty “to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” 

Barack Obama:  American Despot?

Have we come to such a time? Are we now under a design to reduce us under the “absolute despotism” of Barack Obama? Have our pleas for rectification of his wrongs gone unheard and unanswered in the Congress?

A few examples serve to outline a justification, at least, for asking these questions, for questioning whether the imperious acts of the President evince a design of rendering the People subject to the singular, autocratic rule of a President that consistently, when afforded the opportunity to do so, gone so far outside the boundaries of his responsibilities and proper powers. Indeed, these examples, which can certainly be supplemented by myriad others, justify asking whether we are witnessing anew the careless push by a potentate of the People toward the precipice of new revolution.

To understand despotic action, to evaluate a claim that our Nation is being led toward such an absolute despotism, we must understand the nature and structure of government in America. Not a democracy, America is a federal republic: fifty separate States, each guaranteed a republican form of government by the United States Constitution, that have created a general government, also republican, or representative, in nature.

The framers of our governments, State and federal, anticipated the dangers of despotism and sought to prevent its occurrence here by fracturing governmental power in two ways. First, as a federated republic, we are a body of States, each constructed on a republican – that is, representative – mode of government. Thus, though a Nation of some 320 million inhabitants, we are not a monolithic nation-state, but 50 separate States. Second, those States have joined together in a single union, the central powers and responsibilities of which have been voluntarily deposited by those States in three distinct, separated branches: the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial.

These structural divisions – between the States and the general government and between the branches of the general government – reflect a reality. That reality is that concentration of power (think “despotism”) endangers liberty.

The separation between States and the general government entirely withdraws from the sphere of the general government’s authority the power to interfere with a broad variety of concerns often referred to as matters of health, safety, and morals. That separation produces a circumstance in which Vermont can permit marriage with parental consent at age 14 and South Carolina can prohibit that same marriage. Likewise, it recognizes that Florida may desire to provide personal injury immunity to amusement park operators while New Mexico can allow personal injury lawsuits for serving coffee hot.

The separation of powers among the branches of the general government likewise withholds from any single branch of the government a sufficient quantum of power to risk the rise of despotic rule.

Given these parameters, we see that the constitutional design limits the power of the President to a specific set of authorities, and does not grant him a broad writ to undertake the exercise of kinds of power belonging to the States, or to the coordinate branches of the federal government. In respect of the separation of power, we have to understand that, in matters assigned to one branch alone, it is a violation of the Constitution, for one branch of the federal government to usurp powers assigned to another branch. The Constitution deposits the power to legislate solely in the Congress of the United States. Neither the President nor the Courts have any legislative power at all. 

While some might pause and wonder over a concept like separation of powers, raising concerns that such considerations are above the grasp of minds not trained in the law, the basics are fairly easy to grasp.

If you will, picture a common circumstance in your life, such as visiting a doctor’s office. You would suspect something awry if you arrived at the office, were checked in at the registration desk by the doctor, had basic vitals and health information taken by a visiting pharmaceutical sales representative, and your examination conducted by the building janitor. Your suspicions would be greatly aroused if you noticed that the doctor was handcuffed to the registration desk, the sales representative had fresh bruises on her face from being punched, and the janitor had a pistol tucked into the back of her jeans. In either circumstance, no one is doing their assigned task, and while some are doing tasks they might manage as well as anyone, others are clearly out of their element.

The separation of powers designed into the Constitution by the States and the People is not so very different. So, imagine if Chief Justice Roberts and a majority of the Supreme Court issued a decision tomorrow declaring that the United States was at war with Russia, ordering troop movements, dispatching our strategic bombers, and recalling the ambassador to Russia. Or, imagine if the President decided to conduct all federal criminal trials before panels of attorneys from the Department of Justice. Not jury trials by one’s peers, but panel trials conducted by the very officials accusing defendants of crimes. Or, imagine if Congress began passing laws declaring named individuals guilty of stated crimes and imposing sentences on them, all the while omitting indictments, pleas, trials, attorneys and the like.


These examples show what a separation of powers violation might resemble. To be sure, the offered examples are blunt instruments, showing ham-fisted grabs for power and obvious constitutional violations. Does subtlety of action, however, mean that a violation of the separation of powers has not occurred? 

President Obama’s Penchant for Executive Action:

When President Obama stated, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” he signaled his conclusion that, on important matters of policy planning and execution, he would bypass the Congress where, in his view, it had failed to act. This tantrum – “I’m not getting what I want out of Congress so I’ll do things that my impatience with Congress confirms are responsibilities of Congress and not the President” – justifies NOTHING.  It merely confirms the President’s lawless disregard for the Constitution.

Thus far, we know that, by executive action, Obama has adopted as a rule of action provisions of the DREAM Act, under so called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” Via executive action, Congress having not enacted the DREAM Act, Obama has opened a door to millions of undocumented aliens living in America that arrived here as children (up to age 16), so long as they show that they are in school, or have completed school,  and are free from any significant history of criminal activity. Via executive action, Obama has announced his intention to expand that amnesty to millions of additional family members of persons that qualify under DACA.

Obama’s administration has signaled its intention to prohibit, by executive action, the importation and sale of one of the most widely popular bullets used by AR-15 owners. Leave aside the constitutional question – no small objection except to Democrats – whether a ban on bullets with militia use and effect may be regulated or suppressed by the federal government. Under which clause of Article II of the Constitution arises this presidential authority to sift among bullets and prevent importation of those not intended for “sporting purposes?”

In both cases – regularizing the status of undocumented aliens and restricting imports and sales of goods – Obama’s executive action violates the constitutional separation of powers.  First, Congress, not the president, has the power to provide a uniform rule of naturalization. So it is beyond the president’s power to make rules in this area.  Second, Congress, not the president, has the Commerce Clause power to regulate interstate and international commerce.

Now, as the Obama administration pursues international agreements, with China and with Iran, we learn that the President will at least consider embodying those agreements in packages that are not treaties. Treaties, of course, must be ratified by the Senate to bind the United States:

The President ... shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur ....

Yet, in a daily press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest asserted that duly elected members of the Senate, who with their fellows enjoy an equal role with the President in the treaty making power, were not qualified to vote on any climate change accord that the United States and China might craft:  "I’m not sure they would be in the best position to decide whether or not a climate change agreement is one that is worth entering into." Further pressed by the Fox News correspondent whose question provoked the response above, Earnest announced a test for qualification for the right to vote on treaty ratification that is entirely a-constitutional:  "I think it's hard to take seriously from some members of Congress who deny the fact that climate change exists, that they should have some opportunity to render judgment about climate change agreements."

Obama’s administration also admitted consideration of raising taxes through executive action:


Pick nits with me over immigration.

Accuse me of counting angels on pinheads over the threatened ammunition import and sales bans.

Still, you cannot deny that as a matter of history, this Nation’s tumultuous rise fixed as a principle of our future government that imposition of taxes without representation was tyranny. The Executive Branch is not a representative body of the people. Moreover, the power to lay and collect taxes belongs to the Legislative Branch, not the Executive:


Thus, this Administration’s acknowledgment that it is looking at such action is its admission that it considering a flagrant constitutional violation with a strong nexus to the provocations leading to the first American Revolution.

You can see for yourself the White House’s assertion of “executive action” on a variety of matters here. A White House document summarizing planned executive actions, prepared for the 2014 State of the Union address is here

Obama publicly remonstrates that he “isn’t a dictator.”  His denials, however, are belied by his frequent and increasing reliance on executive action, particularly when his actions are on matters plainly and solely within spheres of responsibility and authority assigned to Congress by the Constitution.

Suspension of Legislation:

King George III, Jefferson wrote, forbade colonial governors from passing “laws of immediate and pressing importance.” In the push for health care reform, the White House and the Democratic leadership of Congress constantly pressed precisely the case that such reform was of immediate and pressing importance. Its importance was highlighted by the decision of congressional leadership to press for immediate passage rather than to consider amending the Affordable Care Act to make it more amenable to Republican, and thus, bipartisan, support.



Then-Senate Leader Harry Reid, in like vein, addressed the pending reform legislation, stating, “these are serious problems. And serious problems deserve serious efforts by serious legislators to develop serious solutions.

So, without the vote of a single Republican representative or Senator, Congress, enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Act reformulated the health care insurance industry in America, one previously regulated by each of the fifty States. The Act imposed mandates requiring individuals to have health insurance and employers to provide such insurance. Obama, of course, signed the Act indicating his consent to its terms and conditions.

As quickly as the ink dried, however, Obama’s administration began to swiss-cheese the law’s requirements with exceptions and exemptions. In all, over 1000 exemptions were granted, and over 24 implementation deadlines were waived or moved back. These were granted by Obama’s administration but not authorized under the terms of the Act. Each of these administrative suspensions of the Act’s requirements had the same impact, identical in effect, as if Obama had suspended Congress from legislating as to the involved issues.

In another area, Obama has likewise “refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” He did this by vetoing the Keystone XL Pipeline Construction Act.  That legislation enjoyed bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. In effect, the pipeline would lessen dependence on Venezuelan and Middle Eastern supplies of energy. An earlier Obama candidly acknowledged that our dependence on foreign energy supplies weakened us as a Nation. Candidate Obama, in 2008, stated, “The price of a barrel of oil is now one of the most dangerous weapons in the world. [] The nearly $700 million a day we send to unstable or hostile nations also funds both sides of the war on terror, paying for everything from the madrassas that plant the seeds of terror in young minds to the bombs that go off in Baghdad and Kabul. [] Our oil addiction even presents a target for Osama bin Laden, who has told al Qaeda, ‘focus your operations on oil, since this will cause [the Americans] to die off on their own.’

Yet, given the opportunity, Obama vetoed the Act, a law most “wholesome and necessary for the public good.”

Quartering Others amongst Us:

Under British rule, colonists were required to provide quarters and, at times, provisions for British troops. At times, the requirement to provide such quarters and provisions was accepted; for example, during the French and Indian War, troops were housed and provisioned by the colonists, and, as the war was fought to protect them, colonists accepted the burden. The same burden of quartering and provision, however, imposed on the colonists when the troops were posted in the colonies for the purpose of suppressing dissent, caused substantial unrest.

To be clear, however, quartering of troops did not typically mean having to give up one’s own beds and food. The Quartering Acts simply required that quarters and provisions be provided.  It was not that colonists were being forced out of their own beds. Rather, it was that they were assessed considerable financial burdens to support the British troops.

Today, no one living in America can complain that they are being rousted from their beds to provide space for troops.

Yet, by a series of executive actions and inactions, the American people are being strangled financially by a like harm.  The unresolved problem of illegal immigration to the United States, together with recent executive actions calculated to substantially increase the tax burdens of American citizens and legal residents, inflicts the identical set of harms on the livelihoods of Americans.

Some will dispute any comparison between quartering troops involuntarily and being required, involuntarily, to receive, regularize and financially support illegal immigrants.  Remember, the principal objection to the Quartering Act was its costly burden, not just the seeming unseemliness of having to provide bed and board to your oppressors. While the quartering provisions to which the Founding generation objected were temporary in nature, the Obama Administration recently acknowledged in Texas litigation that it had extended deferrals under its DACA program for over 100,000 applicants for an additional three year period.

Given the porous condition of the Nation’s borders, the refusal of Congress to secure the borders, and the words and actions of the Obama Administration, the quartering harms associated with illegal immigration and illegal executive amnesty far outstrip those temporary ones provoking our colonial rebellion.

Erecting a Multitude of New Offices:

It will be said that, under Obama, the number of government employees has fallen to its lowest level since the Johnson presidency.  But the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has resulted in a call by the Internal Revenue Service for an additional 9,000 agents and an additional $2,000,000,000 in funding. 9,000 REVENUE agents ADDED! And to what end, if not to eat out the substance of the people, both through the extortionate command to purchase health care insurance and the punitive imposition of a tax penalty -- the so-called Shared Responsibility payment -- on those that fail to obey the statist command to buy health insurance.

Abolishing Our Most Valuable Laws and Altering Fundamentally Our Forms of Government

As to the latter charge – altering fundamentally our forms of government – the discussion above regarding Obama’s persistent violation of the separation of powers evidences his design to “fundamentally transform America.”

As to the former, with some trepidation I approach the contentious question of the legal structure of marriage in America. Whether you are gay or straight, for same sex marriage or traditional marriage, you should be taken aback by the Obama administration’s wanton failure to defend a federal statute defining marriage for federal law purposes and affirming the sovereign right of each State to define the institution of marriage through its own system of law. Yet, Obama and Holder refused to present the defensible arguments for the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. That failure of duty only marks a waypoint in the present administration’s decision to one-sidedly attack political solutions adopted in the States and in the Congress for an unresolved, still developing, highly contentious issue.

Declaring Us Out of His Protection:

Amity – friendship – is a lost skill. It is, it seems, more intensely missing on the battlefields of politics and ideology today than ever before. Still, being an ideological opponent or a political opponent, while sharing a common heritage in this Nation and a love for this land and its people, had formerly put beyond the pale certain kinds of character attacks and assassinations. The relationship of Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill amply evidence how political opposites had related formerly.

With Obama’s rise, however, we see foreign enemies treated with kid gloves. In Iran, the Supreme Leader smiles while crowds chant "Death to America," and Obama labors to find a nuclear d├ętente with that oppressive regime. Yet, in the very same moment, here at home, Obama’s military and Homeland Security identify as extreme and dangerous: conservatives, Catholics, Christian fundamentalists, constitution advocates, and others whose single greatest threat to America is their evident clinging to God, guns and the Bible.

Obama’s stand-ins, following the 2012 election, were even more direct and chilling in their threats to Americans that opposed the President and resisted his agenda. It is broadly reported that Valerie Jarrett expressed this threat quite directly:

After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us, and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded; the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay.

Apparently the Obama administration believes it also has power to declare war on Americans.

Exciting Domestic Insurrection:

As a nine year old living in the suburbs of Washington, DC, I saw urban centers erupt in flames following Martin Luther King’s assassination. When a jury acquitted the officers that beat Rodney King, I watched on television as Los Angeles erupt in flames. Still, these incidents of manic self-destruction and wanton violence – understandable I suppose in the way that a Buddhist monk’s self-immolation as a political statement is understandable – were infrequent episodes on the road toward fulfillment of the Declaration’s promises of equality.

Today, with the insufferable interposing of Obama’s Department of Justice, the chant “Hands up, don’t shoot!” has come to represent a reality:  America is more deeply divided on racial lines than prior to the Obama presidency. We now know that the rioters’ mantra was a sick fantasy and unrelated to the facts of the Ferguson incident. 

Yes, we are sick to our soul over needless deaths of young black men. And we rightly worry about a too ready resort to lethal force by police. Still, when Obama might have quelled unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, he followed the race-baiters’ playbook. When placation and calming would have protected people and property, Obama could not, would not. Attorney General Holder would not, could not. Their participation in the fomenting of riot shames them, harms the Nation and aligns them with King George, who sought to endanger the lives of colonists by stirring up strife at home in the colonies.

Combined with Others to Subject Us to a Jurisdiction Foreign to our Constitution, and Unacknowledged by Our Laws:

Under Article VI of the Constitution, the Constitution itself is the Supreme Law of the land. Together with the Constitution, federal statutes and treaties share in that supremacy, but the Article’s meaning could not be clearer. Any federal statute, any treaty, inconsistent with the Constitution is subject to the boundaries and binding of the Constitution. So, for example, the Treaty on Small Arms being contemplated for signature by the Obama administration, would threaten the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. That Second Amendment right is Supreme over treaty law, yet the administration continues to consider becoming a signatory to the treaty and subjecting the People of the United States to the jurisdiction of international bodies with respect to handgun ownership.

The kinds of treaties so loved by progressives are just this kind of attack on liberty. Not just the Small Arms treaty, recall the Clinton/Gore push for approval of the Kyoto Protocols on “climate change” that would have hamstrung American business, raised astronomically the cost of energy generation, and reduced our international footing for economic competition.

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We Americans, those sensible to the danger to liberty that a rising tyrant presents, have not failed to seek redress. We have called on the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional powers – budget, oversight, and impeachment – in answer to the tyrannical bent of Obama. We have prayed for their solicitude to our claim that each exercise by him of executive action usurping the Legislative Power does not merely demeaning the Congress, but strikes a deadly blow against representative government, against our Republic.

Our pleas go unanswered.

Congress withholds its disciplinary hand. The President proceeds apace in his constitutional profligacy. In so doing, he looms larger in his tyranny. The precious liberties of the People fall under the looming shade of his usurpation. Still, a Congress entirely in the hands of the political party opposite the President does not heed the danger, does not act to curtail the abuses.

If you see tyranny, whether in its infancy or blossoming into full vigor, in this administration, you have a duty to speak. And the sufficiency of speaking may soon pass. We may be peering into that time, as Jefferson described it, “when[] a[] form of government [has ]become[] destructive of these ends . . . .” If so, will you stand with Jefferson and the Framers, averring “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[?]”