If legislators will not honor their oath to uphold the U.S. and N.C. constitutions, we need a deterrence to prevent the total erosion of our rights to an emerging police state
By Michael M. Barrick
RALEIGH, N.C. – This week, the Republican leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly had citizens and reporters thrown out of the gallery and arrested, in clear violation of the First Amendment and North Carolina’s Open Meetings law.
And, as Chris Fitzsimon of North Carolina Policy Watch observed, GOP leadership promises of transparency when they gathered here earlier this week for a special session are, “ … simply put, a lie.”
Welcome to Donald Trump’s America, where the Republican Party is emboldened enough to disregard the Constitution and the Rule of Law, and use law enforcement as their own personal army. This kind of nonsense understandably led to a revolution a couple of centuries ago.
So, here is something I am sure the Republican leadership will understand since they are such guardians of the U.S. Constitution: with you folks in office, the Second Amendment has never been more important. You have undeniably demonstrated you pose a clear and present danger to our fundamental rights and institutions. In fact, you have done so repeatedly to suppress votes as numerous courts have ruled.
You violate our most basic liberties in broad daylight, under the glare of television lights, in our hallowed buildings to undermine the will of the people as expressed on Election Day. If you are brazen enough to do that, you are certainly not beyond bullying your opposition in ways once considered unimaginable in this country.
The founders of this nation understood that and, in due course, determined that they had to throw off their oppressors. They had learned that life without liberty is no life at all (Ironic, in light of slavery). Still, in 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
We hope, of course, that we can transition through these rough waters peacefully. Isn’t that what Christ taught? (I only ask because the GOP claims exclusive ownership of the faith). Also, I can’t imagine Jesus throwing out his followers. He was a little more hospitable than that and was pretty big on making sure his message was heard loud and clear, not hidden. Clearly, the GOP’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. The watchful eye of the people and the press does not presently deter the GOP. Maybe they just don’t get the First Amendment. But we all know they have the Second Amendment memorized.
So, here’s a suggestion to the North Carolina Republican Party: show us you can be trusted with the First Amendment. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
If you can’t be trusted to do that – to honor your oath of office – you can be sure that your constituents will take the Second Amendment quite seriously should your coup-d’etat extend into our homes. And do us a favor. Do not feign outrage at our disgust with you. You – the leaders of the North Carolina Republican Party and your puppeteers – have gone beyond the pale in violating our rights. That’s how revolutions begin – with arrogant leaders disregarding the law and basic human rights. You have done so. It is up to you to admit your error and back us from the brink. Failure to do so will make for a very harrowing 2017 in Raleigh and elsewhere.
© Michael M. Barrick, 2016
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