Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back to Basics – Know your Rights

 It is not surprising that a November 2010 Rasmussen Poll showed that many Americans believe government is operating outside the Constitution.
According to the poll, 44 percent of likely voters say that government has overstepped the Constitution, while 39 percent take the opposite view and 17 percent are uncertain.
Almost half - 48 percent - view the government as a threat to individual liberty and while most believe the Constitution is fine as it is, 39 percent would like to see more restrictions placed on the government by the Constitution.
Almost two-thirds of elected officials failed at basic civics test including first amendment rights and free market.  When a person is elected to a federal office they take an oath to defend and uphold the constitution yet few seem to know what it says.
In spring 2008, a random sample of Americans took a straightforward test designed to assess each respondent’s “knowledge of America’s founding principles and texts, core history, and enduring institutions”—ISI’s definition of civic literacy. Over 70% of Americans failed this basic test of the kind of knowledge required for informed and responsible citizenship.
If you are not aware of your rights and the limitations on government, how will you know when your rights are violated? As James Bovard, author of Attention Deficit Democracy said “To blindly trust government is to automatically vest it with excessive power. To distrust government is simply to trust humanity - to trust in the ability of average people to peacefully, productively coexist without some official policing their every move. The State is merely another human institution - less creative than Microsoft, less reliable than Federal Express, less responsible than the average farmer husbanding his land, and less prudent than the average citizen spending his own paycheck.”
We are very blessed to be born in this country. This is not an attack on the nation but rather a call to everyone to be aware of the actions of the federal, state and local government. If you believe it does not affect you, you are mistaken.  Laws that govern you, taxes and fees you pay and the impositions on liberty come from governments all too often.  That is what this is about- Liberty. "But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.  It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government." -- Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837
The federal government and state governments, like here in Oklahoma, have web sites that publish the text of bills from the time they are introduced until they are passed or fail. You can also read the summaries of bills, journals of the proceedings and more. There are also websites by your representatives and local town councils. It is easy to contact the elected officials and via the web and email and even in meetings and by phone, to stay abreast of changes in the laws and the direction of the country. As little as an hour or two each week will enlighten a person a great deal about what the governing bodies that serve you are up to. If you own or even mange a business, you are likely to spend a great deal of time following the actions of the employees. The same should be true of the average citizen of our great nation in following our public servants.
One of the most basic steps is to read and learn the US Constitution. A transcription of the Bill of Rights can also be found at along with many other founding documents. The Bill of Rights enumerates your freedoms, that is, lists them and tells the government they cannot infringe upon them. The Constitution describes the functions and limits of government of the United States. The first step is to fully understand your rights. I would also suggest becoming aware of the US Code. The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Since 1926, the United States Code has been published every six years. In between editions, annual cumulative supplements are published in order to present the most current information.
The Oklahoma Constitution and State Statutes are also available online. These help Oklahomans in becoming aware of the local laws, rights and limitations on government.  Most counties and towns have similar sites with related materials. For these most local governments it is east to join in the city council meetings as well as boards of education. This will also keep you informed and allow you to directly participate in this nation’s government.
Voting alone has not stopped people of selfish intent from getting into positions of power. We must know who the person is. Watching a 30 – 60 second ad on television will not give you the truth, as we know. “Voting is no substitute for the eternal vigilance that every friend of freedom must demonstrate towards government.   If our freedom is to survive, Americans must become far better informed of the dangers from Washington -- regardless of who wins the Presidency." -- James Bovard in Voting is Overrated 
This blog attempts to keep you informed with links to the bills and news sources for articles and other blogs. There is only so much one can do. But as thousands of us do this, more people will be able to become and remain informed. Sites like the Drudge Report and Infowars also post a host of news items and editorials with source links so you can judge for yourself rather than being driven to a conclusion.  There are many more sources as well.
According to Rasmussen Reports, only 28% of voters believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed.  Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters think America would be a safer place with less spending on the military and more money put into securing the borders. The debate rages as it has for decades whether there really is a constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, but 65% of American Adults favor prayer in public schools.  And 64 % of likely U.S. Voters say the country is heading in the wrong direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken the week ending Sunday, February 13.
If we are heading the wrong direction it is time to take control and move this country in the right direction- towards liberty which brings prosperity.  Back to the limited government and founding principles that allowed this great nation to become the bastion of liberty it once was. Getting informed and getting involved will put you back in the driver’s seat and make the public servants serve the public instead of the other way around.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

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