Skip to comments.Freedom with an Exception Clause
Posted on 04/20/2014 7:38:39 AM PDT by Kaslin
Those sworn to represent us in government often represent themselves, instead. And sometimes these same self-actualizing politicians find that our constitutional rights merely get in the way of their political desires.
Years ago, then House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Missouri) proposed substantial re-writing of the First Amendment, arguing: What we have is two important values in conflict: freedom of speech and our desire for healthy campaigns in a healthy democracy. You cant have both.
Gephardts constitutional gambit was designed to provide very healthy incumbents in Congress the absolute power to dictate the terms of any unhealthy campaign spending and, therefore, speech set against them.
Thankfully, it failed.
In The Washington Post last Sunday, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens authored an opinion piece entitled, The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment. Boy, did he mean fix. Fix it good. Fix it so that the amendment would no longer protect your individual right to self-defense, only permitting you to bear arms when working under the direct authority of the government.
Beware politicians with scissors or permanent markers anywhere near our written constitutions.
Take Colorado State Rep. Lois Court (D-Denver). Puh-lease. On her website, Court presents Improving the Citizen Petition Process as a critical issue upon which she is focused, taking copious credit for legislation (HB 1326) passed in 2009, which she claims will improve the initiative process.
Apparently, one persons improvement is another persons machete attack. From all across the political spectrum, howls of protest met Courts massive re-write of Colorados petition law.
The cost of qualifying a measure for the ballot has increased dramatically as a result, complained pro-marijuana activist Mason Tvert.
Colorado lawmakers were supposedly so concerned about the integrity of the petition process that they passed a 24-page bill clamping down on the way signatures are gathered, wrote columnist Vincent Carroll in the Denver Post. But they werent concerned enough to apply the new law to themselves.
The law also allowed an initiatives opponents to sue the measures proponents for fraud, and to win attorney fees expended in their witch-hunt, potentially bankrupting the proponents and not incidentally making it unlikely any person would dare to sponsor an initiative measure in the Rocky Mountain State.
Now fraud is fraud, and should be actionable, of course. But Courts law didnt merely allow proponents to be sued for fraud those proponents committed, but rather, for fraud they had no knowledge of or any involvement in that might be alleged against anyone associated in any way with the campaign. Jon Caldara, head of the Independence Institute, had to face just such a politically motivated lawsuit almost immediately.
Caldara and Tvert joined numerous other citizens and groups in filing suit in federal court against Courts law, arguing that it contained numerous violations of their First Amendment rights, along with attempting to amend Colorados constitution with a simple statute. Last year, the case concluded with the judge striking down Courts usurpation of the initiative petition rights of Colorado citizens.
But Court is back, promoting a constitutional amendment to get this prevent constitutional amendments. A local CBS News report, Colorado Lawmaker Feels It Should Be Harder To Change The Constitution, informed viewers: Court feels its too easy to change the constitution in Colorado.
I know that the people know that their constitution is a sacred document and I know they get frustrated seeing a cluttered ballot, Court said knowingly, though she added, Im not sure they understand the way it all happens.
By definition, of course, no political constitution written by men is sacred. If it were, well, only folks like Court and perhaps, Michael Bloomberg would seek to amend it.
But Courts goal isnt really to make changing the Colorado Constitution harder. She only seeks to make certain changes more difficult. Her amendment, which she claims has bipartisan legislative support, would double the number of petition signatures required for any new addition to the constitution.
But not for an amendment to abolish the supposedly sacred part of the state constitution that she and other pols have long wished to murder in a dark alley: the Taxpayer Bill of Rights or TABOR, for short.
Her changes would not apply to repealing any current constitutional provision, read: axing TABORs limit on state spending and taxes. Yet, it would apply if you wanted further tax cuts or other reforms.
Regular readers know that TABOR is also now being sued by other Colorado politicians and insiders a bizarre, but important federal court case.
Courts constitutional re-write does not lack for audacity. No sooner does the Colorado Constitution say, The first power hereby reserved by the people is the initiative, then comes Court with her magic marker to scribble, EXCEPT so she can create a two-class system the easier path for what she wants to change, the more than twice as difficult process for what others might seek to put to a vote.
In all her self-serving attempts to fix the initiative process she so despises, Courts condescension is crystal clear: We must insure that citizens understand the ballot and the consequences of their votes.
Hmmm, perhaps here she does have a point. State Rep. Lois Court being Exhibit A.
We can't? Then how have we survived for some 230 years?
What we have is two important values in conflict: freedom of speech and our desire for healthy campaigns in a healthy democracy. You cant have both.
A perfect example of the thieves and morons that we, the people, elect to be our overlords.
French Revolution getting closer.
And to think, that if we had one person with more courage than an ostrich and a brain bigger than a jellyfish, it could have all been avoided. We could have had a peaceful separation; but now, we are doomed to the guillotine.
Democrats and other people who consider themselves to be liberal or progressive want a guarantee of free speech for themselves.
And they also want (for themselves) a guarantee of freedom FROM speech (by others) who may say something they just do not agree with or do not want to hear.
Put another way - they want to restrict the free speech of anyone that doesn’t agree with them.
And they see no problem with using the power of government to enforce their belief that the free speech of anyone they disagree with should be restricted.
After all - they see it as THEIR WORLD and anyone different from them doesn’t belong in THEIR WORLD.
That about sums it up! That is the attitude that prevails, imno.
We consider ourselves to be conservative, because we are left with no other label for ourselves. But we are no such thing. The definition of the term liberal changed - essentially inverted - in the 1920s (see, Safires New Political Dictionary). In 1910 Theodore Roosevelt could say, It is not the critic who counts . . . the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena . . . who does actually try to do the deeds . . . - and be called, rightly, a liberal. By the time FDR took office in 1933, he could, entirely unselfconsciously, label himself a liberal, even though he rejected capitalism as much as Barak Obama does. Today, Barak Obama can say, If you own a business, you didnt build that - and expect to be called a liberal.
Owning a business, or anything else, is precisely the credit that you get for build[ing] that (or trading with the person who did build it). To say to an owner, you didnt build that, is to denigrate the very idea of meriting the credit by actually venturing into "the arena where you might actually get embarrassed by someone who has been practicing the game that you have only been watching from the outside. You didnt build that is the cynical claim of the critic.
For a mere critic to be called progressive is no less of a travesty; Americans at large have grown up with the unspoken assumption that people will figure out how to do things better. The critic, especially to the extent that he extends his critique all the way to cynicism, hinders rather than promotes progress.