Heroic officials willing are defending our Constitution and rule of law. But what about the rest?
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While each of the sheriffs’ statements above was within the context of protecting the particular right most obviously under assault today, they also stand alone as basic operating principles fundamental to America’s retaining its character as a republic conceived in liberty, a character that is not a quaint accident of history but based on our Founders’ deep understanding of human nature. Our national character, including both freedom and federalism, is the cause of American Exceptionalism (which Obama does not believe in). Our national character is our national immunity to tyranny.
Barack Obama and his allies are working to destroy that immunity, just as HIV/AIDS does to a human body, opening the flood gates for a fast-spreading cancer of the rule of men rather than of laws, of socialism (or socialism-lite) rather than free enterprise, of beggar-thy-neighbor sloth rather than the vigor of self-sufficiency, of subservience rather than liberty. The patient, our once-great nation, is already symptomatic.
Taking away gun rights has historically been the first step of tyrants on the path toward taking away all important rights. In addition to the practical impact of various “gun control” measures on law-abiding Americans’ ability to defend our homes and property, the left’s assault on the Second Amendment should be seen as part of a much larger attack: the attempted murder of America as the freest nation in human history.
Garfield County, Colorado Sheriff Lou Vallario put it well: “[T]he intentional degradation of the Second Amendment, for some radical factions, is NOT about safety or guns, but about eliminating our rights and controlling the population. I have no doubt that success with eliminating the Second Amendment will only fuel the fire of such radicals to eliminate the remaining ones.”
What is implied by the sheriffs’ positions — and what needs to be made explicit to all Americans, particularly those who take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution — is that public officials have not just a right but a responsibility to consider the constitutionality of a law or an order, at least until a court has had the final say. As with medicine, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The abandonment of this responsibility is one of the greatest failures of politicians generally and Republicans specifically, turning many into unwitting collaborators in the destruction of our nation. These useful idiots exist at all levels of government, from former President George W. Bush who signed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill despite repeatedly recognizing “constitutional concerns” to local politicians like Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson.
When asked about Sheriff Smith’s refusal to enforce unconstitutional (as he sees them) laws and edicts, Johnson said, “Last time I checked in my civics class, the only ones that could rule a law unconstitutional sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Johnson, while a state senator, was the leading GOP legislative sponsor of the largest tax increase in Colorado history and has long been an econometric. (With Republicans like him, who needs Democrats?) But overtaxing, while at least temporarily harmful to our nation and locales, pales in comparison to the permanent damage done when people like Steve Johnson have neither the courage nor the wisdom to understand that their oaths of office require them to defend citizens’ rights.
A sheriff or a county commissioner might not technically “rule” on a law or order, but they can — indeed they must — consider its constitutionality. Given that courts rule on the constitutionality of only a small minority of laws, and that even in those cases a final ruling may not occur for months or years after a law or order is imposed, public officials have an affirmative responsibility to make their own determinations. Indeed, the lack of court action, much less timely action, regarding most laws, and the increasing partisanship of the judiciary at the expense of the rule of law, makes the judgment of others sworn to uphold the Constitution that much more critical.
Imagine a nurse saying “I think what you’re doing will make you sick, but I’m not going to suggest that you stop. Instead let’s wait to see if you become extremely, perhaps terminally, ill.” That would be a dereliction of duty so severe nobody would allow, or even conceive of it, particularly not most nurses. But that is just what so many of our politicians — sworn to protect and defend the Constitution — do every day by refusing to take a stand when presented with unconstitutional orders.
Whether willful collaborators or simply ignorant, spineless and clueless politicians such as Steve Johnson should not be tolerated. They are a political HIV virus, destroying our national immune system alongside people like Nancy Pelosi who respond to questions about constitutionality by asking “are you serious” as they wait for the opportunity to inject the body politic of a once-mostly-free nation with a final, fatal disease.
Sheriffs across the nation, not least in a wave sweeping Colorado, are to be thanked and congratulated for awakening Americans to the idea that the oath of office is not made of idle words, but of a solemn vow whose abandonment — leading to the political equivalent of full-blown AIDS, allowing a scourge of disease to enter a defenseless body — has terrible, permanent consequences.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?