Teaching of Critical Race Theory in Schools is Unconstitutional

by Diane Rufino, September 14, 2021

North Carolina’s Public Enemy #1, Governor Roy Cooper, has done it again….  He has vetoed H.B. 324 (“Ensuring Dignity & Nondiscrimination/Schools”), which would have prohibited the teaching of Critical Race Theory in North Carolina public schools.  

Critical Race Theory stems from a dark period in our nation’s history when the states either supported slavery (the South) or were firmly “anti-black” (the North and the western territories) which, unfortunately saw them descended into an era of outright discrimination with the Jim Crow and other segregation laws.

The United States made good on its mistreatment of African-Americans by amending the US Constitution with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, then passing key and comprehensive civil rights legislation in the 1960’s (The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and then the Voting Rights Act of 1965), and finally with court-ordered desegregation plans and affirmative action policies. By 2013, with the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Shelby v. Holder, the judges of the highest court in the land deemed the county to have done everything legally possible (and perhaps even more) to remedy past consequences of slavery, oppression, and discrimination. And slowly, affirmative action programs and special provisions regarding legal remedies are being struck down by federal courts.

And just as our racist history has been addressed by law and amendments to the Constitution, as well as state constitutions, progressives have devised a new way to keep talk of racism alive and incessantly in the news and in our national dialogue – Critical Race Theory.

George Mason warned of the sins of slavery back in 1787 at the Philadelphia Convention (aka, the Constitutional Convention) when the delegates attempted to prohibit slavery with the creation of the new, the second American union of states. He said: “Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven on a Country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes & effects providence punishes national sins, by national calamities. . .It is essential in every point of view that the general government should have power to prevent the increase of slavery.”

The United States is now being punished by slavery with the notion that everything revolves around race; everything involves racism, discrimination, or white supremacy. It is the issue that most divides us. Critical Race Theory is the new Jim Crow segregation type doctrine.

Our country is indeed being punished in this lifetime.

Parents are beginning to fight back. 26 states have either submitted bills to prohibit the teaching of CRT in their schools or have taken other measures to prevent it.  North Carolina has entered the fight.

And we were so close.

Several months ago, the Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly introduced a bill, H.B. 324 (“Ensuring Dignity & Nondiscrimination in Schools”) which was intended to ban the indoctrination of students in concepts like Critical Race Theory and other related controversial ideologies in our state-run, public schools. It passed both houses of the legislature, twice. Republicans have the majority in both houses. Each and every vote was strictly along party lines.

On September 10, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the bill. With his veto, he has condemned the youth of North Carolina to another dark era in history. With their ability to indoctrinate students in their classrooms (rather than actually educating them), he has elevated NC teachers to a status that substitutes for the parents, for the family, and even for the church. The Golden Rule gives way to racism.

HB 324 was introduced in response to concerns from hundreds of North Carolina parents, students, and teachers who encountered indoctrination in our public schools that taught students what to think rather than how to think. These concerns were compiled by Lt. Governor Mark Robinson’s Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students (F.A.C.T.S.) Task Force and were shared with legislators as HB 324 moved through both chambers of the legislature.

Concerned citizens and concerned parents expected Governor Cooper to veto the bill. He has vetoed every single bill pertaining to a matter of morality and rationality. The will of the people, through their elected officials in Raleigh, was reflected by the General Assembly passing H.B. 324 twice.  Not just once, but TWICE !! Yet one man, one ultra-liberal who happened to be elected as Governor, thought he alone should decide the issue.

Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the NC General Assembly will need to convince a handful of Democrats to join their side in order to override Cooper’s veto. And so, in the coming days and weeks, we mustn’t sit back and wait to see what happens.

Now is the time for ACTION !!

With that in mind, I appeal to ALL CONCERNED CITIZENS & CONCERNED PARENTS…. PLEASE GET INVOLVED. This is your state and your country. Write to every Democratic member of the NC house and senate and let them know your feelings regarding CRT, let them know of your expectations of their position to care for our state, and then vent (as politely as possible) your frustration in their loyalty to party and agenda rather than to the good people of NC, its concerned parents and its youth.

I’ve posted the North Carolina flag upside down because our state is truly in a state of distress.

Aside from the activism avenue in fighting against CRT in North Carolina, I’ve been trying to address the legality of Critical Race Theory and its instruction in schools. I believe it is unconstitutional and in violation of federal and other civil rights laws as well.

I wrote the following letter offering my two-cents, my legal opinion, regarding the issue of Critical Race Theory being taught to our children in the school system:

IMPLEMENTATION OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Critical Race Theory, being taught in schools all over the country (including NC) and teaching that because whites want to maintain their advantage in society, they’ve structured society to their benefit and to the detriment of blacks (ie, systemic racism), is an unconstitutional doctrine and therefore unenforceable.

CRT is unconstitutional on several levels – as violative of the Fourteenth Amendment (“Equal Protection” Clause), the First Amendment (“compelled speech”), and violative of the NC state constitution as well (Article I, sections 1, 5, 14, 19). Additionally, CRT is inconsistent with civil rights laws, specifically the Civil Rights Act (1964). Finally, it is inconsistent with the key phrase in the Declaration of Independence – “all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights.”

According to the legal opinion of Montana’s Attorney General, teaching a theory that holds whites are inherently racist and blacks are systemically discriminated against by them is unconstitutional (Equal Protection Clause) and violates the federal Civil Rights law. For that reason, he believes there is comprehensive justification for banning teaching the theory in schools. And 25 other states agree. They’ve introduced bills or taken other steps to prevent CRT from being taught in their public schools.

CRT clearly discriminates “on the basis of race, color, or national origin,” in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,, and various sections (Article I) of the NC constitution. Training programs, teachings, or assignments which force students or employees to admit, accept, affirm, or support controversial concepts such as privilege, culpability, identity, or status, constitute “compelled speech,” which is something the First Amendment forbids the government from forcing people to do.

If a public institution such as a school tries to restrict people’s speech or behavior, it may be also a First Amendment violation.

Diane Rufino, attorney

Greenville, NC

***  Please feel free to use this letter in your own town, your own district, in your own state to get the message out and to help sway public support AGAINST Critical Race Theory.

References:

NC State Constitution – https://ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Constitution/NCConstitution.html

Shelby v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529 (2013). Referenced at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-96_6k47.pdf ]

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SOLUTIONS FOR AMERICA: How to Preserve the Land of Liberty Our Founding Fathers Gave Us

from Etsy

by Diane Rufino, September 1, 2021

Why do I say that we need to preserve our country?  Why does America need saving? 

As I made abundantly clear, in my article “A Re-Declaration of Independence,” which I posted on January 23 of this year, [https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/ ], the history of the federal government has been a history of repeated abuses and usurpations, all having in direct effect the establishment of an absolute tyranny over the fifty states. Please read the article. It will certainly wake you up, if you aren’t already woken up. At stake is the future of our country.

In short, what was once “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” has become anything but that. The government, which, according to the Declaration of Independence, is merely but a temporary institution, existing only so long as it serves its primary purposes, which are to secure the individual’s inalienable and God-given rights and to provide safety and security to the States and to its citizens. Once that government becomes destructive of those ends (in other words, fails to serve those purposes effectively), the states have the right to withdraw from their allegiance to it and the people have the natural right to “alter or abolish it.”  Does anyone think that the current federal government would ever allow any state to leave the union? Does anyone think that the current federal government would ever allow any group of citizens, let alone an overwhelming majority to “alter or abolish it”?  The government spies on anyone it considers a troublemaker. One only needs to read the guidance that Obama’s Homeland Secretary, Janet Napolitano, put out just 2 ½ months after he took office, on April 7, 2009, in which his administration targeted conservative individuals and groups (those who “cling to their guns and religion”) as being most likely to become “homegrown terrorists.” The guidance was titled: “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” [https://fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf ] to know that will never be allowed to happen. The government is in the business, first and foremost, of preserving itself and its power….  not securing the rights of the People.

If we are to preserve the country and the government system that our Founding Fathers gifted us, and if we are to preserve and secure the US Constitution, as written and intended, we need to look into some very serious solutions.  I have come up with four that I think are worthwhile: 

1.  Nullification & Interposition

2.  Exercise of State Sovereignty per the 10th Amendment –  State Escrow Accounts

3.  American Citizens Acting Together to Withhold Federal Income Taxes (What are we getting in return for the taxes the government demands, other than to support others who don’t want to work?)

4.  An Article V Convention of States – to break up the country into two new Unions (in order to end the incessant bickering and hatred between the two radically different, opposed political ideologies).

But first, I think it wise to address the notion that Abraham Lincoln, with his Civil War, has forever changed the country and forever changed the government in Washington DC.

A BRIEF HISTORY: The Civil War —

As a eulogy, President Abraham Lincoln delivered these words on November 19, 1863 on the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, PA: “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal……..  that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

That was 148 years ago. The portion of the speech (The Gettysburg Address) that I’ve noted is probably the only truth in the memorial message that most Americans consider as one of the most important speeches of all time. To be sure, to be accurate, the speech was indeed strong on style but it was weak in substance.

In 1787, indeed, our forefathers conceived of a land of Liberty, inspired its people to declare their independence from Great Britain, and drafted the most critical and revolutionary documents on earth to secure freedom and liberty for its people. And yes, indeed, they designed a government system “of the people, by the people, for the people” which was explained in the Declaration of Independence as the natural law form of government.

American journalist H.L. Menchen (1880-1956) offered this excellent critique of the Gettysburg Address: The Gettysburg Address is poetry, not sense. It’s doctrine is that Lincolns’ soldiers sacrificed their lives for the course of self-determination; “that government of the people, by the people, for the people” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. Lincoln’s soldiers actually fought against self-determination. It was the Confederates who fought for the right of the people to govern themselves   Many Southerners know this to be true.

Before getting into the meat and substance of this article, which is how to reign in the unconstitutional government that now sits in Washington DC and how to reclaim our country, let’s first address the misconception that the so-called Civil War changed forever the American concept of “Union” and the notion of “limited government.” 

THE GREAT WAR THAT “FOREVER CHANGED THIS COUNTRY” —

To serve his desire for power and that of the newly-created Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln aligned himself with radical elements in the North (and the western states) and especially with the “money men” (northern businessmen) to distort the meaning and intent of both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and to stir discord throughout the country. He divided and conquered. With respect to those states (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri),, the border states, that were still on the fence regarding secession, Lincoln sent in the military to prevent them from leaving the Union. To those states which had already left, he invaded them, destroyed their land, destroyed their economy, destroyed their way of live, and conquered them. He not only divided their loyalties but he tried to divide the races as well, which the Reconstruction-era Radical Republicans of the North did so effectively after Lincoln was assassinated. He eagerly and dishonestly started America’s bloodiest war, waged it in violation of the established laws of war, killed at least 700,000 of the people he was tasked to protect, and killed the constitutional republic of our Founders. A fourth to a third of Southern soldiers were counted dead, with the Union Army suffering similarly (although many of its soldiers were paid European mercenaries), and not counting the vast amount of citizens who died later. Civilian deaths were pandemic and impossible to classify, and perhaps up to one fourth of colored people, slave and free, died as a result of the War. By using the Emancipation Proclamation (issued in Jan. 1863 purely for political expedience, in order to prevent European powers from entering the War on the side of the South), he thought he could incite the slave population to rebel against their slave masters and their families and demoralize and dissuade Confederate soldiers from fighting. Again, the seeds of Lincoln’s use of slaves as pawns to gain the upper hand in the War (which up until that point they were losing) has had long-lasting, detrimental effects on our country. With Reconstruction as a means of retribution against the South, the handling and managing of the “defeated Confederate states” served to usher in an era of segregation and discrimination and a legacy of racism that continues to divide our country today. As George Mason said during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787: “Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven upon a county. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes nation sins, by national calamities.”  How prophetic !

If the War was fought to “Preserve the Union” or “Save the Union,” as Lincoln explained, why was almost all the fighting done in the South. Why was all the physical, geographical damage confined to the South?  The Southern states just wanted a simple and peaceful separation from the Northern states, just as the 13 colonies wanted such from Great Britain (hence the reason for the Declaration of Independence). In fact, they followed all the exact same steps that the colonies followed in the years 1776 – 1787. The Southern states believed the federal government was supposed to be a “common government,” to serve all of the states equally, not one region over another. But yet, the government was not “common”; rather, it had become a government to serve Northern moneymen, northern businesses, and northern interests, at the expense of the South. Hence, Congress continued to impose punishing tariffs on the South, using a portion to fund the government and the rest to funnel to the North, for Northern interests and projects. And so, as the Declaration articulates: “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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –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 to institute new Government…,” the South separated from the Union, abolished their allegiance to the Northern states and to the federal government, and instituted a new government.

From the South’s point of view, leaving the Union was simple. The blueprint has been laid out when the 13 original states decided that “the history of the present King of Great Britain was a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the States” and therefore, according to the “laws of Nature and of nature’s God,” they were entitled and within their sovereign right to leave the Union with the North, declare their independence, and establish a new country. 

There were, however, very basic and foundational problems with the effort to “preserve the Union.” But Abraham Lincoln didn’t care. For his own political benefit, he changed the national dialogue: Instead of the Constitution creating “a more perfect union” (as its very words explain), according to Lincoln, it created “a perpetual union” and as such no state had the right to secede and leave it.  That was his rationale for waging war on the Confederate States.

Before leaving his seat in the US Senate, Jefferson Davis, who would soon become the first president of the Confederate States of America, made this plea: “Let us go in peace.” 

The North fought because their president – a single man – started a war. He started a war unconstitutionally. Lincoln had promised to enforce a high tariff during his campaign of 1860. On March 2, 1861, Congress passed and then-president James Buchanan signed into law the Morrill tariff, the highest ever tariff – 50% of some articles and 60% on other ones. On March 11, the Confederate States of America enacted a 5% tariff. The following day, the “money party” (ie, the Republican Party – the party of Northern merchants, manufacturers, and bankers) demanded war. To note, these money men originally were happy to see the southern states go; “let them go,” they said. But once they realized the money situation, they quickly changed their mind and pushed for war.  “Bring them back!”  It was bad enough that an independent South would deprive them of the protective tariff revenue and their own tax-free existence, but far worse, the tariff differential would move Northern trade to low-duty Southern ports. Southern independence could not be allowed !! The only way to prevent losing Southern money was by war.  The money men applied pressure to the Republican Party, and therefore to Lincoln. The Republican Party (ie, the Northern mercantile party) used its majority control in Congress to enact measures that subsidized Northern commerce and infrastructure at the expense of the Southern farmer. The tariff, the national bank, and the so-called “internal improvements” (the hallmark issue of the Whig Party, which resurrected itself with the newly-established Republican Party in the 1850’s) that so injured the South, were examples of party greed, ambition, and factional aggression.

James T. Pace writes in his book ‘SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE: WHY WAR?”:

    “Over and over again, Abraham Lincoln declared that he went to war for one reason and one reason only – to ‘preserve the Union.’ The claim is impossible, absurd. Impossible because nothing is preserved by destroying it. Absurd and a lie because he pursued office by agitating dis-union; when elected, he blocked all negotiation (repeatedly refused to acknowledge and speak with delegations from the newly-independence South Carolina), and as soon as he was sworn in, he went immediately to work to design a strategy and to direct a conspiracy to make war.

     Lincoln’s invasion of Charleston Harbor (deceptively explained as the need to reinforce the men there), calling up an army, demanding the remaining southern states to provide troops to wage violence on their neighbors, declaring war upon the seceded states – caused six more states to secede. How did that ‘save the Union’?  If he had not made war, those states would have remained in the union. They refused to join his unconstitutional war because the Constitution, as well as the Declaration of Independence, still mattered to them. Lincoln sent in troops, established military control of border state governments (including Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri), arrested state officials, scattering them in unknown prisons. He ordered the arrest of Maryland’s legislators, and when the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court protested, Lincoln ordered his arrest. Kentucky and Missouri did eventually vote in convention to secede, but they could not exercise that sovereign decision because of Lincoln’s army occupation.”

Abolitionist Wendell Phillips, a resident of Massachusetts wrote in April 1861: “Abraham Lincoln has no right to a soldier in Fort Sumter. A series of states think they should have a separate government. They have a right to decide that question without appealing to you and me. Standing with the principles of 1776 behind us, who can deny that right?”  The “Principles of 1776” that he was referring to include the Lee Resolution and the Declaration of Independence.  The plan for our American independence was initiated on June 7, 1776, when Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution in the Second Continental Congress proposing independence for the American colonies.

The Lee Resolution contained three parts: an official declaration of independence, a call to form foreign alliances, and “a plan for confederation.”  On June 11, the Congress appointed three concurrent committees to address each part. The committee we are most familiar with was the one tasked for drafting the Declaration of Independence, with Thomas Jefferson appointed to do the actual drafting. Our early history remembers that the

Declaration of Independence was itself a secessionist document. It could have easily been called a Declaration of Secession and Independence.”

Charles Pace continues in his book: “How did this war save the Union? How can Lincoln claim to be defending the Union when the South was merely pulling away?  The South was running away and the North was invading and bringing war. The Southern people were never a threat to the peace and security of the North. The Southern economy was never a problem for the North. Who was Lincoln defending? What was he defending?  Secession was a right specified and expressly reserved (or inferred) by all the ratifying parties (the States) to the Constitution, denied by none, claimed several times by New England (with support given them by the South), and even taught at West Point.”

Love of money was the root of the evil that injured the nation. There was no valid reason for war. And it certainly wasn’t fought over slavery. “The Union must be preserved” was merely a righteous slogan for what was really on Lincoln’s mind, which was that “the Tariff must be preserved.” 

Lincoln didn’t save the Union. He killed it. He forced on the American people the most evil enemy of liberty – an aggressive, unrestrained, and consolidated government.

As author Mr. Pace wrote: “From the ashes of death a new life always arises, and so it did in America. The old country, governed by an institution of limited power, was done. Rising in its place was not a phoenix of hope, of re-uniting brothers once again in love and harmony, but a bird of prey.” For political power, for a resumption of the money train from the South (tariff revenues) to the northern money men, the victors, the Northern states, the Republican Party, destroyed their own country.

Robert E. Lee, the gentlemanly general, gave us this dire warning: “Everyone should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in the hope that truth may find a place in history and descent to posterity. History is not related to campaigns and battles and generals, but those events which display principles” (and character).

And Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, told his troops in January 1865: “There is another reason to persevere. If we are defeated, to our punishments will be added the injury of truth. We shall be forced to drain the last bitter dregs from our cup of humiliation and read the story of our struggle written by New England historians.”  (In other words, they can’t let the North win; the victors always have the benefit of ‘telling the story’)

Charles Pace writes in his book “Southern Independence”:  Lincoln had changed forever the nature of the American Union.”  I don’t understand why he has concluded that Lincoln changed it forever. One man alone, taking government in his own hands, acting unconstitutionally and weaponizing it for his own political purposes and in doing so, destroying the southern states, destroying their economy, and killing almost 700,000 of his people does not – CANNOT – earn him our praise. We are still a nation of freedom-loving individuals, the majority always being thankful to our Founding Fathers for the country they gave us and believing we still have that country. It doesn’t mean we have to accept Lincoln’s new vision of “union” or of government (a consolidated government). Acting unconstitutionally doesn’t make Abraham Lincoln a great president. It makes him a tyrant, It makes him a traitor. And he should have been treated as such by Congress, instead of its members supporting him in his political war and overlooking all his many unconstitutional acts.  Likewise, he should be treated as such by history. Instead, he is given perhaps the largest and most impressive of national monuments on the national mall in Washington DC.

FEDERAL TYRANNY: The Reason We Need  Solutions

From the years 1765 – 1776, Great Britain not only enacted many tax measures on the American colonies (such as the Stamp Act and the Tea Act – “No taxation Without Representation!”), but also took punitive measures against them (such as the Intolerable Acts, the Quartering Act, the disbanding of colonial legislatures, the confiscation of firearms and colonial stockpiles of ammunition, the imposition of martial law, etc). The colonies were tired of petitioning and appealing to the King, appealing to Parliament, asserting their rights as British subjects, and in general, being treated like insolent children. And so, what did they do about it?  They made the decision to separate from Britain (to secede from Britain) and to declare their independence.

In the Declaration of Independence, written in a style that copies the protest documents throughout England’s history, Jefferson used these eloquent opening words: “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.”

He then declared the fundamental principles on which the 13 states (the colonies had organized into states at that point) would base their independence and base their sovereignty. It was called “individual sovereignty” and we all know how it was defined in paragraph two of the Declaration. (“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; That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –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 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..”)

Jefferson then explained: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world…..”  With those words, he listed 27 grievances against King George III. Those grievances, the original states believed, were serious enough to warrant secession.

And that brings me to the history of the united States. Has history repeated itself? 

I go back to the national tragedy that was the Civil War and the duplicitous reasons President Lincoln gave for refusing to let the southern states go in peace. Its consequences were so transformative that I have a hard time letting the event (and the events that followed) go.

It is said that a large government, a consolidated government (like the one Lincoln ushered in) always breaks the law. It always assumes powers that it believes it must have, taking them away from their original depositories, which are the States and the People. And I have to agree. History has repeated itself.  The history of the federal government, all three branches, has been a history of repeated abuses and usurpations, all having in direct effect the establishment of an absolute tyranny over the 50 States and over the People.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

The question is this: With Lincoln’s unconstitutional invasion of the Southern states, newly and peacefully organized into the Confederate nation, in order to beat them and subjugate them back into the Union (thus violating the Tenth Amendment, destroying the concept of “States’ Rights), and wholly ignoring the core principles of the Declaration of Independence – the right of secession and the right to form a “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”) and with the new, all-powerful federal government that Lincoln waged war for, who will the watchmen? Who CAN be the watchmen?  Who will govern the governors?

Tyranny is an arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; a despotic abuse of authority. Tyranny is when a government or its ruler exercises power unconstitutionally.  Government, especially the government that Lincoln fought his war to create, has the means to take such power. He alone made that scenario perfectly clear. It has the purse and the pen, and it also has the sword; it has the money to buy “friends” and supporters, the pen to write unconstitutional laws and to create unconstitutional agencies, and the sword to force and to punish those who pose opposition. Power can only be controlled, or checked, by an opposing power – one of equal standing. Every government must be designed and constructed so that power is limited by an opposing power, or it will ALWAYS end in tyranny. Our Founding Fathers knew this; they understood this concept. And that’s why our government system is based on dual sovereignty – the federal government versus the States. That is why federalism (the division of power between two equal sovereigns) is a unique American feature. That feature is so important that the States demanded that it be restated and re-emphasized in the Tenth Amendment.

The States were tasked, and I argue must continue to be tasked, with the most important of government functions – to check the power of the federal government. If they fail to do this, as they have since the earlier years, the antebellum years, then tyranny will be the result. And tyranny has been the result.  [Refer to my long article “A RE-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,” posted on January 23, 2021 – https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/ ]

As the topic of this article is “Solutions for America: How to Save the Land of Liberty Our Founding Fathers Gave Us,” let me finally get to its substance. I have four solutions, as I mentioned at the very beginning of this article, to help save our country and to preserve our most precious founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and our US Constitution (original meaning and intent). Three solutions involve the States, which are tasked to be the most powerful and important of “checks and balances” on the federal government, and one solution involves the will and the concerted action of the People.

SOLUTION 1 – NULLIFICATION & INTERPOSITION

Nullification is, as Thomas Jefferson wrote and explained, the “rightful remedy” to address unconstitutional acts by the federal government. The States, under the concept of dual sovereignty, as defined by “federalism,” and as emphasized in our US Constitution by the Tenth Amendment, are the parties who have the sovereign power and right to serve as the ultimate check on the actions of the federal government. No other constituents have such power and ability to do so, unless the American people, en masse, act in concert or otherwise revolt.

But using the term “federalism” and citing the Tenth Amendment…  these are merely words; they are merely context. What gives life to our Founding Father’s government design (its designed of limited government and checks and balances) is ACTION. Inherent in federalism and in the Tenth Amendment is the understanding that States, in their sovereign capacity, have the right and the responsibility to stand up against the government in DC should it abuse its powers and should it act unconstitutionally. That action is known as “nullification” and “interposition.” 

Nullification means “null and void,” and essentially what the term means is that when the government acts outside the Constitution, in abuse or disregard of the powers expressly delegated to it (by the States and the People), it acts without authority, without the legal right to do so, and therefore such actions are “null and void” and “without any power to be enforced.”  The question is, who has the standing and the authority to make such a call?  The States do.  That is precisely their role in our system of federalism and in our system of checks and balances. The government itself would never admit they’ve violated the Constitution, and certainly, as we all know, we can’t count on the federal courts or the US Supreme Court to call out their violations.

Nullification is as much a Jeffersonian doctrine as the doctrine that says that all individuals are endowed the alienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and that governments, instituted among Men and deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, are responsible, above all else, to protect those

rights. Thomas Jefferson, who not only authored of perhaps our most important morally-defining founding document, the Declaration of Independence, but he also authored the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom (1786), and he strongly advised James Madison to introduce the Bill of Rights as the first set of amendments to the newly-adopted US Constitution.

I’ll explain how Jefferson introduced the term “nullification” into our lexicon below, in his Kentucky Resolves of 1799.


“Interposition” is the other tool inherent in each State’s arsenal of sovereign responsibilities. It goes hand-in-hand with nullification. It is the more effective tool in restraining the federal government. “Interposition” means “to intervene between two parties; to insert between one thing and another” (Webster’s dictionary). Once a State identifies an unconstitutional act by the federal government and declares such to its citizens, its duty does not end there. Oh no. It must address the second part of nullification, which is to prevent the enforcement of such unconstitutional action (whether it be an act of Congress, and executive order, the creation of an unconstitutional department, such as the Dept. of Education, the EPA, etc etc, or even an unconstitutional or arbitrary ruling by the federal courts or Supreme Court (we call this “judicial activism,” which explains such cases as Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Obamacare ruling, the Obergefell ruling regarding gay marriage, Roe v. Wade, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, Wickard v. Filburn, and many more).  Interposition was articulated by James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” in his Virginia Resolves of 1798 and takes such forms as preventing the arrest of anyone who violates an unconstitutional act, arresting any federal officer who enters the state to enforce such law, preventing the state courts from adjudicating said violation, etc.  Nullification and Interposition essentially mean “notice and action,” which is the only course of action that ensures that a free people are not subject to the abuse and over-reach of government.

As an aside, many people believe that the so-called Civil War put an end to the sovereign right of secession and the Jim Crow era put an end to the sovereign right of nullification. As a constitutionalist, any ruling by any federal court that invalidated nullification and interposition is, in and of itself, unconstitutional and therefore to be nullified and ignored and rendered unenforceable by interposition. The federal courts are only limited to the “interpretation” of the Constitution. Nullification and interposition, as explained, are inherent sovereign rights, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence. They supersede the Constitution; if nothing else, they are inherent in the Tenth Amendment.

Here is a bit of history to explain how and why the doctrine of Nullification meaningfully entered into our American experience: 

After the Constitution was ratified and our first US Congress was established, Thomas Jefferson wondered how the country would respond in the case its government passed a law that was clearly unconstitutional. As Secretary of State under our first president, George Washington, he already witnessed the wheels of government try to enlarge provisions in the Constitution to give the administration unchecked powers to tax and spend. Washington would establish the first National Bank. Jefferson knew the trend would continue. And it did.  Our second president, John Adams, signed the Alien & Sedition Acts into law, which were laws addressing the Quasi War (undeclared) with France at the time. The French Revolution just killed off the monarch and his family and tensions flared up between the new French republic and its old rival, England. There was an influx of French immigrants and Americans were split in their support of the old French system or the new republic. Although the Alien Acts (3 of them) were offensive, it was the Sedition Act that was most glaringly so. The Sedition Act made it a crime (fines and jail sentences) should any person “write, print, utter, or publish, OR cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, OR assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States….”   The Constitutional red flags went up at once.  The immediate violations jumped out to men like Jefferson and Madison, and many others. While the Alien Acts violated the 10th Amendment and the Due Process clause of the 5th Amendment, the Sedition Act was a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment and its guarantee of Free Speech (most importantly, political speech!)  John Adams, a Federalist, saw nothing wrong with any of the laws.  Neither did his Federalist co-members of government or his Federalist judges.  Thomas Jefferson, the Vice President at the time (since he got the second highest votes in the election of 1796) wasn’t a Federalist. He was a Republican-Democrat (a party he founded).  [Notice that the Sedition Act protected everyone from slander EXCEPT the VP !!].  The Checks and Balances didn’t work. Political power was more important than the rights the government was created to protect!

And so, convictions quickly followed. Journalists, publishers, and even congressmen were fined and jailed. Not a single person targeted was a Federalist. The only ones targeted were Republicans.  The men who wrote our founding documents – Jefferson and Madison – began a series of correspondences to discuss what should be done to prevent such unconstitutional laws from being enforced on people who had a rightful expectation of exercising the liberties promised in the Declaration and in the Bill of Rights. (And of course they had to be very careful lest they be convicted under the law!)  Jefferson saw that there are 3 possible remedies when a government tries to enforce unconstitutional laws.. (1) Seek an opinion from the Judiciary; (2) Secession; or (3) Nullification (including Interposition).  Jefferson advised against the first two remedies.  He said the first was unpredictable and unreliable. He believed justices were men motivated by the same passions, political motivations, thirst for power and legacy, and personal opinions as politicians and could not be counted on to be impartial interpreters of the Constitution. He also realized that the judiciary was only one branch of government (the least powerful at the time), and although it would render an opinion, Congress and the President were not required to abide by its ruling. Furthermore, the courts were all Federalists at the time and were part of the problem!.  Jefferson said secession was certainly a legitimate option (after all, the Declaration itself was a secessionist document), but said it was far too extreme and every effort should be made to keep the union together in a workable fashion.  The third option, he said, was “the rightful remedy.”  Nullification, he said, was the remedy inherent in the states’ ratification of the Constitution, inherent in the doctrine of federalism, a remedy grounded in law itself, and the remedy that would allow hot tempers to cool and would prevent states from threatening to leave the Union.  Madison agreed. 

Nullification is the doctrine which states that any law that is made without proper legal authority is immediately null and void and therefore unenforceable. Laws have to be enforced by officials – federal and state. When the government passes a law pursuant to its powers, it is supreme and binding. Every level of enforcement recognizes the law. States are obligated to uphold it and help enforce it.  An example are the federal immigration laws.  When the government passes a law that it has no authority to make – such as the Sedition Act, which offends the 1st Amendment which is a strict prohibition on the government with respect to individual speech (political speech) – then in terms of legality, the law is null and void.  For a government to try to enforce it would be an act of tyranny. (Tyranny is defined as a government that abuses its powers and enforces unpopular laws).  Since the law is null and void, no enforcement agency should force the law on the people. Government will never admit its law is unconstitutional or unenforceable and so it is up to the states and the communities (and their enforcement agencies) to prevent such law from being enforced.  The states are the rightful parties to stand up for the people against a tyrannical act of government. When the government assumes power to legislate that it was not granted in the Constitution, it usurps (or steals it) from its rightful depository, which are either the States or the People (see the 10th and the 9th Amendments).  Every party must always jealously guard its sphere of government; it’s bundle of rights.  States have their powers of government and people have their rights of self-government (ie, control over their own lives, thoughts, actions, and property). Again, if we look at the Sedition Act, the government under John Adams passed the law by attempting to steal the rights of free speech from the People.

Well, immediately, Jefferson and Madison got out their pens and drafted the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and of 1799 (Jefferson, for the Kentucky state legislature) and the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 (Madison, for the Virginia state legislature).  Both states passed them, declaring that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable in their states.  The Virginia Resolutions were especially forceful because they announced that the state of Virginia would take every step possible to prevent the enforcement of the laws on its people.

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Jefferson wrote:

       1. Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1799, he wrote:

       RESOLVED, That this commonwealth considers the federal union, upon the terms and for the purposes specified in the late compact, as conducive to the liberty and happiness of the several states: That it does now unequivocally declare its attachment to the Union, and to that compact, agreeable to its obvious and real intention, and will be among the last to seek its dissolution: That if those who administer the general government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by that compact, by a total disregard to the special delegations of power therein contained, annihilation of the state governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence: That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers: That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is the rightful remedy……

In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison wrote:

       RESOLVED……. That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

The government hates the doctrine of Nullification and has used every opportunity to discredit it.  And it makes sense.  And doctrine that gives power to the States is offensive to the federal government. It makes them harder to control. We all know how angry the government gets when any state criticizes or attempts to frustrate the government’s laws, policies, and agenda.  Nullification, like secession, is a fundamental sovereign power reserved to each state. Since the states did not form the Union by unlimited submission to the common government they created, certain powers remain vested in them.  Despite what Lincoln claimed, the states did NOT create, or attempt to create, or even envision creating a “perpetual” Union by ratifying the Constitution.  Those words are merely wishful thinking by a despot and traitor.

SOLUTION 2 – EXERCISE OF STATE SOVEREIGNTY PER THE TENTH AMENDMENT (Specifically, the Creation of State Escrow Accounts)

One of the hallmarks of a tyrannical government is a bloated budget. We see this to be true of our current federal government; federal spending is insanely out-of-control. We complain about it, politicians make it one of their campaign issues, but no one seems to want to focus on a meaningful remedy.  Rather, most spend their time blaming one political party or the other, demanding a balanced budget amendment, or calling for an Article V Convention to amend the Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment. The latter two are totally unnecessary if one is willing to simply acknowledge that the Constitution itself, by its very word and spirit, requires limited spending.  Any amendment will merely affirm the government’s incorrect assumption that it has broad and unlimited taxing and spending powers. And once that amendment is added, our government will no longer be a limited one.  The Constitution will be one that is incapable of reigning in the powers that be.

Any real remedy to the out-of-control spending that plagues our nation and threatens to burden our children and grandchildren must address the reason for that spending.  The reason we have this problem is that the federal government believes the “Welfare Clause” is a separate grant of power (not true) and had been enlarging its sphere of control through the creation of endless departments and agencies (and their associated bureaucracies).   

For example, there are the more than 1,100 “grants-in-aid” programs (“conditioned” federal grants, usually for a specific purpose) that spend one-sixth of the federal budget on matters that are the exclusive business of state and local governments. Social Security and Medicare spending have increased greatly, owing to advancements in the science and healthcare field allowing Americans to live longer, and entitlement programs have been enlarged, owing to the unrelenting waves of immigrants and refugees flowing into our country and to the great many Americans who are having children outside wedlock or otherwise simply don’t want to work

According to a 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “How Congress Bribes States to Give Up Power,” author James L. Buckley wrote:


    “Those programs, which provide funding for Medicaid as well as everything from road and bridge construction to rural housing, job training and fighting childhood obesity—now touch virtually every activity in which state and local governments are engaged. Their direct cost has grown, according to the federal budget, to an estimated $640.8 billion in 2015 from $24.1 billion in 1970.

       Their indirect costs, however, go far beyond those numbers both in terms of dollars wasted and the profound distortions they have brought about in how we govern ourselves. Because the grants come with detailed federal directives, they deprive state and local officials of the flexibility to meet their own responsibilities in the most effective ways, and undermine their citizens’ ability to ensure that their taxes will be used to meet their priorities rather than those of distant federal regulators. The irony is that the money the states and local governments receive from Washington is derived either from federal taxes paid by residents of the states or from the sale of bonds that their children will have to redeem.

       Congress finds the authority to enact those programs in the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution’s general-welfare clause in Steward Machine Co. v. Davis (1937). More recently, in the court’s 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius decision upholding the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Congress may use federal funds to “induce the States to adopt policies that the Federal Government itself could not impose,” so long as participation by the states is voluntary. To put it another way, Congress is licensed to dabble in areas in which it is forbidden to act, which it does by bribing the states to adopt Congress’s approaches to problems that are the states’ exclusive responsibility.

      It is impossible, in this article, to detail all the costs imposed by those programs, but here are some of the most egregious ones: They add layers of federal and state administrative expenses to the cost of the subsidized projects; distort state priorities by offering lucrative grants for purposes of often trivial importance; and undermine accountability because state officials bound by federal regulations can’t be held responsible for the costs and failures of the projects they administer.

      Finally, and of prime importance, those programs have subverted the Constitution’s federalism, its division of federal and state responsibilities, that was intended to prevent a concentration of power in a central government that could threaten individual liberties.

      The states are free to decline to participate in the programs, but that has proved very hard to do. Money from Washington is still regarded as “free,” and state officials are delighted to accept grants, strings and all, rather than raise the extra money that would be required to pay the full cost of the projects they freely undertake with federal subsidies. What makes declining grants particularly difficult is the fact that if a state does not participate in a program, its share of the money—derived in whole or part from its own taxpayers—will go elsewhere.”

[Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/james-l-buckley-how-congress-bribes-states-to-give-up-power-1419541292.  Mr. Buckley is a retired federal appellate judge and a former U.S. senator.]

As the wise man, Thomas Jefferson, once explained: “The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits.

I have proposed a remedy. Borrowing from Jefferson, I like to call it the “Rightful Remedy” for curbing federal spending. The remedy relies on the sovereignty of the states, on the federal nature of our government system, and on the Tenth Amendment. 

In short, the remedy summons the states to step up to their unique and historical responsibility to act as the last safeguard of their citizen’s individual’s liberty.  The remedy would have each state, through their Treasury Department, establish an “Escrow Account” or “Escrow Fund” into which it would deposit its citizens’ federal income tax withholdings or funds.  To be clear, citizens of each state will direct their federal income tax withholdings to go to the state Escrow Account rather than to the IRS.  Similarly, citizens who don’t receive a salary but have other assets that the government taxes will send their federal income tax check to the same state Escrow Account instead of to the IRS.  The funds will remain in the Account while the State Treasurer (either as a solo effort or in collaboration with other state treasurers) evaluates the federal budget for constitutionality.  The Treasurer will review each item of spending and evaluate it according to the original meaning and intent of the Constitution (as it was debated, understood, and adopted by the People of each state, acting in convention in the years 1787-1790 to establish the Union of states) to see if it consistent or inconsistent with Article I, Section 8.  After reviewing each item, the NC Department of State Treasurer will determine the percentage of the federal budget that is constitutional (as opposed to that portion that is unconstitutional and should rightfully be reserved to the states).  The State Treasurer will then re-calculate each individual’s federal income tax burden according to its determination of constitutionality. 

The State Treasurer will then forward to the IRS that portion of each individual’s tax burden that corresponds to the constitutional purposes of the budget and the remainder will remain in the State Escrow Account.  The state can then determine what it should do with the amount remaining in the Account.  It may choose to keep it there (“just in case”).  But preferably, it will offer the taxpayer a choice: to have the remaining amount returned to him or her, or to allow the state to keep it to help fund state projects that normally would have required federal funding, including “conditioned” grants. The latter option will give a huge boost to States’ Rights, freeing them up from their dependence on the federal government.

The State could also have its citizens direct their FICA withholdings to a state Escrow Account (a different one, perhaps – a state “Social Security Escrow Account”) rather than to the IRS in order to protect their interests when they enter their retirement years.  The State Treasurer could research the best investment scheme to invest the funds for the citizen so that when he or she reaches the age of retirement, the retirement funds that he or she receives will be secure and plentiful.

This remedy, in general, achieves several goals:

  • It reminds Congress that not all of its spending is constitutional.
  • It divests Congress of the broad interpretation of its taxing (and spending) powers that the Supreme Court has generously provided over the many years.
  • It puts an important check on the scope of the federal government by the sovereign that was always intended to provide that check – the states (under the Tenth Amendment and under Compact and Agency theories).
  • It helps States break free of their dependency on the federal government and hence resume their sovereign responsibilities and sovereign status.
  • It forces government to divest itself of the functions and agencies that it can no longer ‘pay for.’
  • It forces government to “exist within its means” (just as ordinary people are required to do).
  • It provides an element of transparency and accountability in government.
  • It reduces the individual federal income tax burden and allows citizens to keep more of their own money, or at least to have it spent in their “own back yard” (in their own state, to accomplish goals that benefit them more directly).  
  • The reduced federal income tax burden allows the states to tax according to their own schemes in order to fund directly their own projects, as they themselves see fit for their people.
  • The scheme introduces a degree of innovation and creativity on the part of the state (“50 independent laboratories of innovation”) which will serve to make our government system most efficient.
  • If the federal government becomes too abusive and continues to usurp reserved state powers or if it threatens individual liberty, it is much easier to shut it down and effect the remedies provided to the People in the Declaration of Independence (“to alter or abolish” government) by withholding tax funds completely. 

If our country doesn’t get its finances in order, and if we, as a People, don’t get our government back to work for us instead of for itself and its longevity and get it back within reasonable boundaries in our lives, in our livelihoods, and on our property (all forms), then we will lose everything good about the experiment that was started by those who reached our shores to escape various types of persecution from their own governments and who instigated for independence.


Thomas Jefferson was optimistic about the country he so intimately helped to form: ““I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Forcing the federal government to tax and spend for constitutional objects only will force it to reduce in size and in spending, and to concentrated on those objects it is constitutionally tasked with. Henry David Thoreau said it best: “Government is best which governs least.”

SOLUTION 3 – AMERICAN CITIZENS ACTING TOGETHER TO WITHHOLD FEDERAL INCOME TAXES

Money talks…..

This is a simple solution but would take a great effort to get a majority of citizens on board to act.

Ronald Reagan once said: “The American people are not undertaxed, the government in Washington is overfed.”  I interpret this statement as meaning that the federal government is doing a lot of unconstitutional taxing and spending.

The government cannot financially support itself, fund its programs, fund our armed forces and security services, take care of citizens (healthcare, medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlement programs; including to immigrants, including illegals and refugees), support international organizations such as NATO, support other countries, etc without the tax dollars that it demands from working Americans and others who have taxable assets.  If Americans simply make a concerted decision NOT to pay their federal income tax by April 15, then government will shut down.  No government; no problems !! The States can easily join together and pick up the functions that government was carrying out. No government, no tyranny.

If the People choose to use this solution, the must first plan ahead:

First, each person must go to their human resources department and decline to have their federal income tax, and other mandatory taxes, automatically taken out of their paychecks. (Before doing so, be sure to record the withholding taxes taken out of the paycheck)

Second, when depositing one’s paycheck, take the amount corresponding to the withholding taxes and put it in a separate account or one’s savings account.

Third, when April 15 comes around, Americans send nothing to the IRS and the government will be forced to go very lean or shut down altogether.  (A dangerous notion, perhaps, but an honest and constitutional government is better any day of the week than a tyrannical one).

Fourth, we condition our compliance with the federal taxation laws only when taxes are lowered (to meet only constitutional objects of government) and when the government agrees to divest itself of unauthorized authority (when it gets rid of the US Dept. of Education

Ideally, this solution, this plan, must reach all taxpayers.  But how might this be accomplished and organized??

I look back to 2009, when a simple rant by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange was the single spark that ignited the entire Tea Party movement.  Tea Party groups sprang up almost overnight in towns and cities all over the country.

If people are given hope that they can make change and show government who’s in control, it might just work, If We the People hold back our federal income taxes, we show how much power we can actually have. We take back the sovereign power inherent in our humanity and which is clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence.  

It’s time for us to be the people that our Founding Fathers expect us to be. They gave us an incredible country and a brilliant government design but they entrusted us, the people, to guard it and protect it, so that succeeding generations will always enjoy the blessings of liberty.

Jefferson offered some wise words: “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.’

SOLUTION 4 – AN ARTICLE V CONVENTION OF STATES (to Break Up the Country into Two New Unions (in order to end the incessant bickering and hatred between the two radically different, opposing political ideologies)

Above I talked about Jefferson’s advice on how to address palpable abuses (ie, unconstitutional actions) by the federal government. Jefferson offered three possible solutions: (1) Challenge the action in federal court; (2) Secession; or (3) Nullification (with Interposition). The first, Jefferson said, was unpredictable and unreliable. He believed justices were men motivated by the same passions, political motivations, thirst for power and legacy, and opinions as politicians and could not be counted on to be impartial interpreters of the Constitution. Today we know that although the judiciary is one of three branches of government which are supposed to check one another, it has merged with the others to form a federal monopoly on the meaning, scope, and intent of the Constitution, and hence the scope of its powers. In Jefferson’s time (as Secretary of State under President John Adams), the courts were all Federalists and were part of the problem!. The second, according to Mr. Jefferson, is always a legitimate option but argued that it was too extreme. The third option, as he articulated, is the “rightful remedy.”

With respect to the second option, it should be noted that support for secession has grown steadily over the years. In fact, support was so palpable in 2012 after Barack Obama was elected to a second term that the White House website received secession petitions from all 50 states, including such progressive states as New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, and Illinois. The Petition for Secession submitted by Texas was the most popular, with more than 125,000 signatures. Two years later, when Reuters conducted a poll, it found that nearly one-quarter of Americans said they supported the idea of their states breaking away, a position most popular among Republicans and rural westerners. Most recently, we have heard of counties in California that wanted to secede from the rest of the state (claiming that they didn’t want to be subject to the progressive politics of big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles), And just this year, 5 counties in Oregon petitioned to secede and join with their neighboring state of Idaho (again over progressive politics). The point is that when the time is right, secession becomes the most viable (and legitimate, despite what Lincoln said!) option to enjoy a government that actually represents them.

Back to government tyranny. What happens if the federal government has acted outside the legitimate bounds of the Constitution and has gotten away with it?  Some examples might include the Obamacare ruling, declaring that government has the authority to mandate healthcare insurance; the issue of term limits, requiring Congress to balance the federal budget every year, requiring Congress to cite a specific provision in the Constitution granting authority for each law it proposes, and the unconstitutional granting of taxpayer funds to states in the form of grants), I would submit that there is a fourth option which is an Article V Convention. Congress will never pass legislation that limits its powers or that personally limits representatives in their political ambitions or political benefits, and so it must be up to the States to permanently rectify the offensive conduct. And thru an Article V Convention, the States can seek to amend the Constitution to right the wrongs of the federal leviathan, the federal “machine.” This option, most will admit, although legitimate in spirit, can be tricky and unpredictable. The reality is that it can become a “runaway convention,” just as the Philadelphia Convention (ie, the “Constitutional Convention”) was in 1787, which resulted in a new US Constitution (to replace the Articles of Confederation) with a completely new government design.

A brief review of history shows that, upon the advice of several states following the Annapolis Convention of September 11, 1786 (they submitted an official report from the Convention), the US Congress called for a convention of the states in Philadelphia, to begin on May 14, 1787, to address the defects in the Articles of Confederation – ““to render the constitution … adequate to the exigencies of the Union.”  Although the work of the convention was officially to amend the Articles of Confederation, the Virginia Plan (Madison as author) began with the phrase “Resolved that the Articles of Confederation ought to be so corrected & enlarged as to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution; namely, “common defense, security of liberty and general welfare.”

As we all know, and I hope students are being taught this in our public schools, the delegates did the very opposite. From the very beginning (thanks to the scheming of James Madison and his Virginia delegation), they scrapped the Articles altogether and drafted a completely new blueprint for their “common government.” This blueprint was the US Constitution.

In short, and to reiterate, the remedies to saving our republic lie with the States, or to the People.

US Presidents like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump acknowledged this in their inaugural addresses to the American people:

When Ronald Reagan promised to reduce Washington’s influence over state and local government in his first Inaugural Address (1981), he said: “All of us need to be reminded that the federal government did not create the states; the states created the federal government.”

And when Donald Trump was sworn in, he echoed Thomas Jefferson and said:

     “Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning, because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

      For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government, while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs, and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes, starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment — it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today, and everyone watching, all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country. What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country, will be forgotten no longer.”

There are provisions in the US Constitution which recognize the sovereign power of the People and the States. There is the Ninth Amendment (which recognizes additional, unlisted rights reserved to the People), the Tenth Amendment (the powers reserved to the States), amendments one – eight of the Bill of Rights (inalienable and civil rights that the People are entitled to), the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments (the Reconstruction era amendments primarily for African-Americans, abolishing slavery, acknowledging US citizenship and equal rights, and granting them the right to vote), the Nineteenth Amendment (women shall not be denied the right to vote), and the Twenty-First Amendment (citizens who are age 18 and older shall not be denied the right to vote).  And then there is Article V…..  

Article V (the “Amendment Process”) reads:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, OR, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

The Philadelphia Convention of 1787 provided two methods of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution. In the first, Congress, by two-thirds vote in both houses, proposes amendments to the states. If three-fourths of the states (38 at present) vote to ratify the amendment, it becomes part of the Constitution. Since 1789, Congress has proposed 33 amendments by this method, 27 of which have been adopted. In the second method, if the legislatures of two-thirds of the states (34 at present) apply, Congress must call a convention to consider and propose amendments, which must meet the same 38-state ratification requirement. This alternative, known as the Article V Convention, has not been implemented to date. Several times during the 20th century, organized groups promoted a convention that they hoped would propose amendments to the states, or to “prod” Congress to propose amendments they favored. The most successful was the movement for direct election of Senators, which helped prod Congress to propose the 17th Amendment. The most recent, which promoted a convention to consider a balanced federal budget amendment, gained 32 applications, just two states short of the constitutional threshold. When the balanced budget amendment campaign failed in the 1980s, interest in the convention option faded and remained largely dormant for more than 20 years. (Note that some states – Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado – have rescinded their Article V applications).

In just the last five years, the Convention of States resolution has passed in 15 states: Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Utah, and Mississippi.

Reviewing the history of the Article V Convention alternative, the record of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 clearly demonstrated the founders’ original intent. During the convention, they agreed that a second mode of amendment was needed to balance the grant of amendatory power to Congress. This method, clearly identified in Article V as co-equal to congressional proposal of amendments, empowered the people, acting through their state legislatures, to summon a convention that would have equal authority to propose an amendment or amendments, which would then be presented to the states for ratification. In other words, it provides a mechanism for the States to bypass Congress. (This alternative has never yet been used).

Only the states can summon an Article V Convention, by application from their legislatures. Some of the issues concerning this process include procedures within the state legislatures, the scope and conditions of applications for a convention, steps in submitting applications to Congress, the role of the state governors in the process, and limitations on what changes or amendments should be made to the Constitution.

“The Great One,” Mark Levin, advocates for this approach.  Mr. Levin wrote a book back in 2013 entitled “THE LIERTY AMENDMENTS: Restoring the American Republic,” in which he proposes what he believes is the only viable solution to restoring constitutional governance, which is an Article V State Convention.

In his book, Mr. Levin writes: 

       I undertook this project not because I believe the Constitution, as originally structured, is outdated and outmoded, thereby requiring modernization through amendments, but because of the opposite – that is, the necessity and urgency of restoring constitutional republicanism and preserving the civil society from the growing authoritarianism of a federal Leviathan.  The Statists have been successful in their century-long march to disfigure mangle the constitutional order and undo the social compact. To disclaim the Statists’ campaign and aims is to imprudently ignore the inventions and schemes hatched and promoted openly by their philosophers, experts, and academics, and the coercive application of their designs on the citizenry by a delusional governing elite. Their handiwork is omnipresent, for all to see – a centralized and consolidated government with a ubiquitous network of laws and rules actively suppressing individual initiative, self-interest, and success in the name of the greater good and on behalf of the larger community. The nation has entered an age of post-constitutional soft tyranny

      Unlike the modern Statist, who defies, ignores, or rewrites the Constitution for the purpose of evasion, I propose that we, the people, take a closer look at the Constitution for our preservation.  The Constitution itself provides the means for restoring self-government and averting societal catastrophe in Article V.  Article V sets for the two processes for amending the Constitution [the second of which I have included above].

The fact is that Article V expressly grants state legislatures significant authority to rebalance the constitutional structure for the purpose of restoring our founding principles should the federal government shed its limitations, abandon its original purpose, and grow too powerful, as many delegates in Philadelphia and the state conventions had worried it might.   [Levin, pp. 1-13]

In this excerpt from Levin’s book, we see that he tacitly admits that it is possible for an Article V Convention to turn into a “runaway convention.” Additionally, the petite constitutional attorney Publius Huldah says the same. She takes Levin to task in her article, “Mark Levin Refuted: Keep the Feds in Check with Nullification, Not Amendments!,” by claiming that while he believes that such a convention is safe and legal and can be controlled, he never explains why Article V can effectively prevent it from happening and turning into a runaway convention. (In her opinion, Nullification and Interposition are the most effective ways to curb the actions of the federal government).   

And then there are the opinions of some of the greatest legal minds in the country who agree that Article V doesn’t provide enough details to be able to control a convention of states. {See their quotes and comments in the ADDENDUM section]. I’m not a great legal mind, but I too agree and perhaps that’s what our Founding Fathers envisioned.  Perhaps they left the language in Article V open to give states the option of radically changing their common government.

In fact, five years ago, in September 2016, the group pushing this option, Convention of States, held a mock convention to come up with proposed amendments to the Constitution. The results show how they plan to use a convention to implement an extreme agenda into the Constitution and how a convention CANNOT be limited. The changes they proposed would drastically alter the federal government and put civil rights and needed programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, at risk. (Some might say that Medicaid needs to be re-addressed due to the ease of claiming it fraudulently)

And that is what I propose SHOULD happen…  A Runaway Convention.  Either the states state the exact intention of their convention in their applications (although I’m not sure 34 states will be on board) or they do what Madison did and sabotage the intended purpose and push for a different agenda.

What is the “agenda” I am talking about?  I propose using an Article V Convention of states to divide our country into at least two distinct and independent unions.

Why do I propose a “runaway convention”?

Let’s face it, our country is hopelessly divided. One can feel revolution in the air. The country is so divided that we may not long endure as a constitutional republic. Our US Constitution may not endure. It certainly doesn’t mean today what our Founders, and the states which ratified it, intended.  And so, as Sasha Issenberg asks in her 2018 Intelligencer article, “Divided We Stand….:”: If our country is so hopelessly split, why don’t we go ahead, make it official, and break it up?  As she wrote: “Let’s just admit that this arranged marriage isn’t really working anymore.”   I have written on this subject many times myself.

And who honestly hasn’t also thought this would be a perfect solution to the chronic division, the hatred, the mistrust, the abuse, the attacks, the hassles, the accusations, the smear campaigns, the name-calling, the illegality and fraud in elections (to totally erode public confidence in elections), the government harassment and spying (on political opponents, that is), the barrage of fake news, the political agendas in public schools, the attacks on our Founding Fathers, the incessant accusations of “racism.” the assaults on our nation’s image, the protests, the mobs, the endless looting and burning of cities, the rise in violence, etc etc. The futility of having ideological opposites constantly grinding away at one another is just too much to bear. One can almost finally imagine the futility on the part of the southern states of remaining in the Union with the northern states which essentially despised them and used the government to plunder their wealth. It was simply better to leave, they said.

It’s not only unbearable, it’s threatening the very fabric of our country. It is threatening every one of the foundations our country was built on. The Church – gone. Family – gone.  Education – essentially gone. The Constitution – transformed.  Honest elections – gone.  Honest politicians – unheard of (except for a few good ones).

Clearly, the big ideological rift is between the Democrats and the Republicans. Democrats have become even more a party of cities and upscale suburbs whose votes are inefficiently packed into dense geographies and who share an extreme leftist political opinion; many are socialist and/or Marxist and want more government. And Republicans are the party of suburbs and rural areas; they tend to be conservative, cling to their religion, guns, and family values. The ideologues do not see eye-to-eye. Each side accuses the other of derailing the country, of interfering with the changing social dynamics or forcing social change. The truth is that the two political parties have divided the American people along sharply ideological lines. The are, in truth, enemies.

Nate Cohen wrote in his article “Why Political Sectarianism is a Growing Threat to American Democracy” (April 2021):

“This threat to democracy has a name: sectarianism. It’s not a term usually used in discussions about American politics. It’s better known in the context of religious sectarianism — like the hostility between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq. Yet a growing number of eminent political scientists contend that political sectarianism is on the rise in America.

Whether religious or political, sectarianism is about two hostile identity groups who not only clash over policy and ideology, but see the other side as alien and immoral, (as an enemy).  It’s the antagonistic feelings between the groups, more than differences over ideas, that drive sectarian conflict.

Any casual observer of American politics would agree that there’s plenty of hostility between Democrats and Republicans. Many don’t just disagree, they dislike each other. They hold discriminatory attitudes in job hiring as they do on the Implicit Association Test. They tell pollsters they wouldn’t want their child to marry an opposing partisan. In a paper published in Science in October by 16 prominent political scientists, the authors argue that by some measures the hatred between the two parties “exceeds longstanding antipathies around race and religion.”

More than half of Republicans and more than 40 percent of Democrats tend to think of the other party as “enemies,” rather than “political opponents,” according to a CBS News poll conducted in January. A majority of Americans said that other Americans were the greatest threat to America……….

But the two parties have not only become more ideologically polarized, they have simultaneously sorted along racial, religious, educational, generational and geographic lines. Partisanship has become a “mega-identity,” in the words of the political scientist Lilliana Mason, who claims the clash is between white, Christian conservatives and a liberal, multiracial, secular elite.”

And so, I conclude that aside from revolution (violence) and aside from secession (which might become violent), an Article V Convention might be the way to peacefully divide our country into at least two separate and independent countries (or perhaps two separate and independence “territories,” each with sovereign rights and powers).

I think that scholars – men and women who are as intellectual and with the same moral and religious character as our Founding Fathers, who have the same enduring faith and loyalty to the Constitution and to the principles and values upon which our country was founded – should come up with a strategic plan

Again, at stake is our constitutional republic, our nation’s founding values, and our very precious founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  They must survive. The common government, as devised and intended by our Founders and by the individual States, must survive. Dividing the country up might be the only way to save them.


References:

Charles T. Pace, SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE. WHY WAR?  Shotwell Publishing (Columbia, SC), 2015.

Diane Rufino, “A Re-Declaration of Independence,” Forloveofgodandcountry’s Blog, January 23, 2021.  Referenced at:  https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/

Diane Rufino, “The Rightful Remedy to Curb Federal Spending:  State Escrow Accounts,” Forloveofgodandcountry’s Blog, November 8, 2015.  Referenced at:  https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2015/11/09/the-rightful-remedy-to-curb-federal-spending-state-escrow-accounts/

Diane Rufino, “Nullification vs. Article V Constitutional Convention: Where is the Honest and Open Discussion?” Forloveofgodandcountry’s Blog, January 5, 2014.  Referenced at:  https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2014/01/10/nullification-vs-article-v-constitutional-convention-where-is-the-honest-and-open-discussion/

Diane Rufino, “NULLIFICATION – The Power to Right Constitutional Wrongs,” Forloveofgodandcountry’s Blog, July 9, 2015.  Referenced at:  https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2015/07/09/nullification-the-power-to-right-constitutional-wrongs/

“Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” issued by Secretary of Homeland Security on April 7, 2009.  Accessed at: https://fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf

James L. Buckley, “How Congress Bribes States to Give Up Power,” Wall Street Journal, December 25, 2014.  Referenced at: http://www.wsj.com/articles/james-l-buckley-how-congress-bribes-states-to-give-up-power-1419541292.  Mr. Buckley is a retired federal appellate judge and a former U.S. senator.]

“The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress,” Congressional Research Service, updated Oct. 22, 2012.   Referenced at:  https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R42592   [a companion report, CRS Report R42589, The

Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress,

identifies contemporary issues for Congress and analyzes the congressional role in the Article V Convention process in greater detail]

Jay Riestenberg, “US Constitution Threatened as Article V Convention Movement Nears Success,” Common Cause, March 21, 2018.  Referenced at:  https://www.commoncause.org/resource/u-s-constitution-threatened-as-article-v-convention-movement-nears-success/

Amos Perkins, “OPINION: The best way to save America may be to break it up,” The Wichitan, October 23, 2020.  Referenced at:  https://thewichitan.com/68290/uncategorized/68290/ 

Sasha Issenberg, “Divided We Stand: The Country is Hopelessly Split. So Why Not Make it Official and Break It Up?”, Intelligencer, November 14, 2018.  Referenced at:  https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/11/maybe-its-time-for-america-to-split-up.html  

List of State Partition Proposals –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_partition_proposals

Nate Cohen, “Why Political Sectarianism is a Growing Threat to American Democracy,” The New York Times, April 19, 2021.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/us/democracy-gop-democrats-sectarianism.html

Margaret Wood, “May 1787: The Beginning of the Constitutional Convention, Library of Congress, May 25, 2016.  Referenced at:  https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2016/05/may-1787-the-beginning-of-the-constitutional-convention/

Full text: 2017 Donald Trump Inauguration Speech Transcript, Politico, January 20, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/full-text-donald-trump-inauguration-speech-transcript-233907

FULL VIDEO – Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address (Jan. 20, 2017) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRBsJNdK1t0&ab_channel=ABCNews

FULL VIDEO – Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address (Jan. 20. 2017) – https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000004863342/donald-trump-full-inaugural-address-2017.html

ADDENDUM:

I.  The war of 1861-1865 could not rightfully be called a “civil” war because:

(1)  A civil war is two groups within a country fighting for possession of government. One group wants to take power and control away from the other group. The southern states (13 in all) had seceded peacefully from the Union and immediately formed a new sovereign country, the Confederate States of America, and adopted its new constitution.. The South, the Confederacy, had no desire to overthrow, possess, or even destroy the federal government because they had legally and willfully separated bonds with it. They just wanted to escape and live in peace.

(2)  Sovereign states cannot engage in a “civil” war. The States were pronounced “sovereign” by the British King and Parliament in the Treaty of Paris (1783), by other foreign nations, and by their own documents (ie, the Declaration of Independence, the Lee Resolution). No State surrendered its sovereignty or was thought to have done so. Nobody suggested (except Lincoln) that membership in the Union was compulsory and perpetual. In fact, three states – New York, Virginia, and Rhode Island conditioned their ratification of the US Constitution upon their absolute right to “reassume the powers delegated, withdrawing from the union entirely.” These were known as Resumption Clauses. In short, no state surrendered their independent sovereignty in joining the Union of 1788.  And according to compact theory (ie, contract law), if one member to the federal union had the right, it would also apply to all the others.

New York’s Resumption Clause declared, “That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness.”

Virginia’s Resumption Clause read: “We, the delegates of the people of Virginia…Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power, not granted thereby, remains with them, and at their will…”

And Rhode Island’s version read, “That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness.”

Question: Could there ever be secured freedom and liberty in an association without the right to withdraw over abuse and tyranny? Do you think any state would have voluntarily joined the Union if such a right were forever denied?

(3)  By joint resolution of both houses, on March 28, 1928, Congress established that the official name of the War of 1861-65 shall be “The War Between the States.”  (still not a correct name). The correct name for the War would be “The War to Prevent Southern Independence.”

II.  FULL TEXT OF LINCOLN’S GETTYSBURG ADDRESS:

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

III.  SECESSION

The Declaration of Independence, the British Government, and the Articles of Confederation defined the people of each state as sovereign. They formed a federal republic whose aim was liberty (“to secure the blessings of liberty”) – freedom from tyranny, freedom from outside rule. They did this by delegating to the federal government (the “creature”) only those powers which were expressly delegated by the US Constitution and confirmed by each State’s ratification of it. It was a compact of separate states who joined voluntarily, with never a thought that their right to leave it would be questioned. Nowhere in the document does it say the Federal Government has the power to force States to remain in the Union.

In fact, three states—New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia included “Resumption Clauses,” which would allow the states to leave the union to “resume” their status as independent states.

New York declared, “That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness.”

Rhode Island said, “That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness.”

Virginia stated, “Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.”

If even one state made its ratification conditional upon the right to resume its sovereign powers (ie, the right of secession), and that ratification was counted towards the adoption of the Constitution and the creation of our second American union, then that same right applied to every other state who ratified the Constitution and joined the Union.  All states come into the Union on equal footing.

IV.  WHAT LEGAL SCHOLARS HAVE SAID ABOUT AN ARTICLE V CONVENTION:

“There is no way to effectively limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda.  Congress might try to limit the convention to one amendment or one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey.” – Warren Burger, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1969-1986)

“I certainly would not want a constitutional convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?” – Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1986-2016)

“There is no enforceable mechanism to prevent a convention from reporting out wholesale changes to our Constitution and Bill of Rights.” – Arthur Goldberg, Associate Justice of the US. Supreme Court (1962-1965)

“Questions about such a convention have been debated for years by legal scholars and political commentators, without resolution. Who would serve as delegates? What authority would they be given? Who would establish the procedures under which the convention would be governed? What limits would prevent a “runaway” convention from proposing radical changes affecting basic liberties?…With these thorny issues unsettled, it should come as no surprise that warning flags are being raised about a constitutional convention.” – Archibald Cox, Solicitor General of the United States (1961-1965) and special prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice (1973)

“Any new constitutional convention must have the authority to study, debate, and submit to the states for ratification whatever amendments it considers appropriate…If the legislatures of thirty-four states request Congress to call a general constitutional convention, Congress has a constitutional duty to summon such a convention. If those thirty -four states recommend in their applications that the convention consider only a particular subject, Congress still must call a convention and leave to the convention the ultimate determination of the agenda and the nature of the amendments it may choose to propose.” –  Walter E. Dellinger, Solicitor General of the United States (1996-1997) and the Douglas B. Maggs Professor Emeritus of Law at Duke University

“First of all, we have developed orderly procedures over the past couple of centuries for resolving [some of the many] ambiguities [in the Constitution], but no comparable procedures for resolving [questions surrounding a convention]. Second, difficult interpretive questions about the Bill of Rights or the scope of the taxing power or the commerce power tend to arise one at a time, while questions surrounding the convention process would more or less need to be resolved all at once. And third, the stakes in this case in this instance are vastly greater, because what you’re doing is putting the whole Constitution up for grabs.” –Laurence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School

“The bigger threat is that a constitutional convention, once unleashed on the nation, would be free to rewrite or scrap any parts of the U.S. Constitution. Do we really want to open up our nation’s core defining values to debate at a time when a serious candidate for the White House brags about his enthusiasm for torture and the surveillance state, wants to “open up” reporters to lawsuits, scoffs at the separation of powers and holds ideas about freedom of religion that are selective at best?” – David Super, professor of law at Georgetown University

“Note what [Article V] does not say. It says not a word expressly authorizing the states, Congress, or some combination of the two to confine the subject matter of a convention. It says not a word about whether Congress, in calculating whether the requisite 34 states have called for a convention, must (or must not) aggregate calls for a convention on, say, a balanced budget, with differently worded calls arising from related or perhaps even unrelated topics. It says not a word prescribing that the make-up of a convention, as many conservatives imagine, will be one-state-one-vote (as Alaska and Wyoming might hope) or whether states with larger populations should be given larger delegations (as California and New York would surely argue).”- Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies

“Danger lies ahead. Setting aside the long odds, if California and 33 more states invoke Article V, there’s a risk that we’d end up with a “runaway” convention, during which delegates would propose amendments on issues including abortion, gun rights and immigration.” – Rick Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine

“Holding a Constitutional convention when the U.S. is embroiled in extremely toxic, uninformed and polarized politics is a really, really bad idea.” – Shelia Kennedy, professor of law and policy at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

“But no rule or law limits the scope of a state-called constitutional convention. Without established legal procedures, the entire document would be laid bare for wholesale revision. Article V itself sheds no light on the most basic procedures for such a convention. How many delegates does each state get at the convention? Is it one state, one vote, or do states with larger populations, like California, get a larger share of the votes? The Supreme Court has made at least one thing clear — it will not intervene in the process or the result of a constitutional convention. The game has neither rules nor referees.” – McKay Cunningham, professor of law at Concordia University

“The result will be a disaster. I hate to think of the worst-case scenario. At best, the fight over every step along the way would consume our country’s political oxygen for years.” – David Marcus, professor of law at the University of Arizona

“At present, there are no rules regarding who can participate, give money, lobby or have a voice in a constitutional convention. There are no rules about conflicts of interest, disclosure of who is giving or expending money. No rules exist that address political action committees, corporate or labor union involvement or how any other groups can or should participate. Not only might legitimate voices of the people be silenced by convention rules, but special interests may be given privilege to speak and affect the deliberations…there are no rules limiting what can be debated at a constitutional convention. Given the potential domination by special interests, who knows the result?” – David Schultz, political science and election law professor at Hamline University

“An Article V convention might propose an amendment to restore or expand the liberties of the American people, but it also could propose an amendment that diminishes the liberties of the American people, or of some of the people. “ – John Malcolm, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

“But nothing in the Constitution limits such a convention to the issue or issues for which it was called. In other words, anything and everything could be on the table, including fundamental constitutional rights. Nor are there any guarantees about who would participate or under what rules. Indeed, for these reasons, no constitutional convention has been called since the first in 1787.” – Helen Norton, professor and Ira C. Rothgerber, Jr. Chair in Constitutional Law at the University of Colorado

“The lack of clear rules of the road, either in the text of the Constitution itself or in historical or legal precedent, makes the selection of the convention mechanism a choice whose risks dramatically outweigh any potential benefits.” – Richard Boldt, professor of law at the University of Maryland

“We live in deeply partisan times. There are no certainties about how a constitutional convention would play out, but the most likely outcome is that it would deepen our partisan divisions. Because there are no clear constitutional rules defining a convention’s procedures, a convention’s “losers” may deem illegitimate any resulting changes. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the process itself would likely worsen our already vicious national politics.” – Eric Berger, associate dean professor of law at the University of Nebraska College of Law

“There are no such guarantees. This is uncharted territory…We should not now abandon the very document that has held us together as a nation for over two and one quarter centuries. Rewriting the Constitution is a dangerous errand that would not only unravel the legal ties that have kept us together for so long but would also undermine our sense of national identity and the way that view ourselves as a people.” – William Marshall, professor of law at University of North Carolina

“Terrible idea…Today’s politicians don’t have the timeless brilliance of our framers. If we were to rewrite our constitution today, we wouldn’t get a particularly good one.” – Adam Winkler, professor of constitutional law and history at the University of California, Los Angeles

“I believe it’s a time for constitutional sobriety. It’s a time to keep our powder dry and not to move on an uncharted course. We are not the founding fathers. This would be disastrous.” – Toni Massaro, constitutional law professor at the University of Arizona

“Having taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, and having studied constitutions from around the globe, I have difficulty imagining anything worse.” – Bill Rich, professor of law at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas

“There are no constitutional limits on what the convention could do, no matter what the states say going into it.” – David Schwartz, professor of law at the University of Wisconsin Law School

“The Constitution allows for the calling of conventions on a petition of enough states, but not limited conventions of enough states. If the delegates decide they don’t want to be bound by the (state) resolution, they are right that they can’t be bound.” – Richard H. Fallon Jr., constitutional law professor at Harvard University

“Once you open the door to a constitutional convention, there are no sure guidelines left. This is the constitutional equivalent of opening a can of worms.” – Miguel Schor, constitutional law professor at Drake University School of Law

“Thus, neither the states nor Congress may limit the convention to specific subjects. While the goal to propose a balanced budget amendment may provide guidance to the convention, it would not have the force of law…Put simply, the rewards of any constitutional change is not worth the risks of a convention. ” – Sam Marcosson, professor of law at the University of Louisville

“Even more frightening is that the entire Constitution will be in play during a convention. The First Amendment could disappear, so could gun rights. There is no guarantee that any of our current constitutionally protected rights would be included in a new constitution. The only guarantee is that all of those rights would be imperiled.” – Mark Rush, the Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University in Lexington

“Most significantly, we advise the Legislature that a federal constitutional convention called with this resolution could potentially open up each and every provision of the United States Constitution to amendment or repeal. In other words, a federal constitutional convention could propose amendments to eliminate the protections of free speech; the protections against racial discrimination; the protections of freedom of religion; or any of the other myriad provisions that presently provide the backbone of American law.” – March 2018 legislative testimony of Russell Suzuki, Acting Attorney General, and Deirdre Marie-Iha, Deputy Attorney General, of the state of Hawaii

“Whatever one thinks about these proposed amendments, trying to pass them through an Article V convention is a risky business. The Constitution does not specify how the delegates for such a convention would be chosen, how many delegates each state would have, what rules would apply at the convention or whether there would be any limits on what amendments the convention could consider. A convention that was called to address a specific issue, such as budget deficits, might propose changes to freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms, the Electoral College or anything else in the Constitution. There is no rule or precedent saying what the proper scope of the convention’s work would be.” – Allen Rostron, associate dean for students, the William R. Jacques Constitutional Law Scholar, and a professor at the University of Missouri

“Whether I like or dislike the specific proposal is not the point — the point is that a constitutional convention is a risky and potentially dangerous way to propose amendments.” – Hugh Spitzer, professor of law at the University of Washington School of Law

“A Constitutional Convention could be dangerous and destructive to our country, and citizens should approach the idea with the same wariness the founders did…Do we really want to tinker with this nation’s fundamental rights – especially at a time when our country is deeply divided politically? Let’s not risk opening what could be a Pandora’s box of chaos and an existential crisis for the country.” – Dewey M. Clayton, professor of political science at the University of Louisville

“If a national constitutional convention were held, all of our rights under the current Constitution, and all of the government’s reciprocal obligations, would be up for grabs. Nothing in the Constitution constrains the process that would apply if a convention is actually called. Anything could go, including the process for ratification itself, and there would be no Constitution cop on the block to ensure that things don’t go seriously haywire.” – Kim Wehle, professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and a former assistant U.S. attorney and associate independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation

“Amendment by convention has never been attempted and little is certain about the powers and prerogatives of such a convention. The basic problem is that there appears to be no effective way to limit the convention’s scope once it is called.” – Stephen H. Sach, Attorney General of Maryland (1979-1987)

“It is unclear, for instance, what the agenda of the convention that the states would call would be. Some people even think that the scope of the convention would be unlimited, and that makes a lot of very rational people wary of making the whole Constitution up for grabs.” – John O. McGinnis, the George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

“The dangers stem largely from the fact that it is an uncharted course…The alternative route in Article V is one that has never been taken. This route is obviously legitimate, but it is an unknown…Moreover, the convention would have a plausible case for taking an even broader view of its agenda. Convention delegates could claim that they represent the people who elected them, and that they are entitled to deal with any constitutional issue of major concern to their constituency. The states, quite unthinkingly and without consideration of the implications, have started a process that may eventually produce a shock to them and to the country. It is a process of undeliberate constitution making that would make James Madison turn over in his grave.” – Gerald Gunther, constitutional law scholar and professor of law at Stanford Law School

“In these contentious times, democratic institutions, norms, and views are under unprecedented stress. When debating whether to adopt a resolution to apply to Congress to call for an Article V Convention, Maryland legislators should keep in mind the possibility that the call could add to a widespread perception of national disarray and push the American Republic closer to a breaking point. The perils of an Article V Convention running amok and altering the core framework of the American Republic are high. This method of reform should therefore be used only as a last resort.” – Miguel González-Marcos, professor of law at the University of Maryland

“There is a risk of a runaway convention.” – Michael Gerhardt, constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law

“So the fear among some people is that if we were to have such a constitutional convention that the whole Constitution would be up in the air again. It might be possible that the whole thing would be undermined, and no one would know going in what might replace it.” – Daniel Ortiz, constitutional law professor at the University of Virginia

“First, the national convention method may not result in any amendment, because it generates many uncertainties that can defeat the passage of an amendment. These uncertainties include what the legal rules are that govern the amendment process, what actions the other states will take, what role the Congress will play, and what amendment the convention will propose. Second, this method may result in a different amendment than the one that the state legislature desired through a runaway convention. Even if the state legislature specifically provided that the convention should only address a particular amendment, it is quite possible that the convention could propose an entirely different amendment and that amendment would then be ratified by the states.” – Michael B. Rappaport, professor of law at the University of San Diego

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My Letter to All North Carolina Democrat State Senators (Expressing Disappointment in Their Party-Line Vote of the NC “Anti-CRT” Bill)

Denver post illustration/Getty Images stock photo

by Diane Rufino, August 28, 2021

I wanted to share the letter that I wrote and sent to ALL state Democrat Senators today, expressing my great disappointment in their party-line vote against H.B. 324 (North Carolina’s “anti-CRT” bill):

Hello NC Democratic Senator,

I wanted to write you and share my extreme disappointment in your vote in opposition to H.B. 324.  You have shamefully voted against the interests of concerned North Carolina parents and concerned citizens. You have let them down, putting race above a sound education… putting party against citizens. 

By your vote, you have broken the cardinal rule that we cannot undue past racism and past discrimination by instituting new policies of racism and discrimination. When will it end?  When can we start teaching our children about love and acceptance, about community and character ?  WHEN ??  Love and acceptance comes more natural to a human child than hate and rejection.

Here is a little history for you:  

Addressing the topic of power, Saul Alinsky wrote: “The organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems, and organizations must be based on many issues. The organizer must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression. He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act. . . . An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent.”

Joseph Stalin once said: “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”  – Joseph Stalin

And Hitler wrote “whoever has the youth has the future”. (In Hitler’s Germany, education would be the key that ensured that he had “the youth” of Germany). Hitler’s view on education was that it served a sole purpose – to ensure that a child was loyal to the Nazi state to ensure that the Third Reich lasted for 1000 years.

One way in which the Nazis aimed to indoctrinate the younger population was through reforming the education system. They aimed to de-intellectualize education: they did not want education to provoke people to ask questions or think for themselves. They believed this approach would instill obedience and belief in the Nazi worldview, creating the ideal future generation.

The Nazis first focused on changing what students learned. They changed the core curriculum to emphasize sports, history and racial science as the most important subjects. In 1936, sport was taught for a minimum of two to three hours every school day. By 1938, this had been increased to five hours every day. Subjects such as religion became less important and were eventually removed from the curriculum altogether.

The Nazis also adapted where the students learned from. They introduced new textbooks which were often racist, and promoted ideas such  imperialism (“manifest destiny”). Any textbook used to educate students had to be approved by the party.

The Nazis also placed great emphasis on who the teachers were. Under the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service Act of 7 April 1933, just three months after Hitler became chancellor, all Jewish teachers, and teachers with undesirable political beliefs (such as communists), were dismissed. This act also made membership of the Nazi Party compulsory for all teachers. The National Socialist Teachers League, creation in 1929, became responsible for the control and education of teachers following the Nazi rise to power. All teachers were required to attend a one-month compulsory Nazi training course, which emphasized Nazi ideology and the importance of advocating the regime’s ideas.

CONGRATULATIONS Senator…   With your vote, you joined the ranks of the worst socialist minds of the 20th century.  I hope you are happy with yourself.

Sincerely, 

Diane Rufino, attorney
Greenville, NC

(252) 916-9605

blogsite: https://forloveofgodandcountry.com

MARQUIS WHO’S WHO IN AMERICA

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Arizona Senator Wendy Rogers Speaks in Greenville, NC About Her State’s Forensic Election Audit

Wendy Rogers

by Diane Rufino, August 24, 2021

Last night, I went to see Arizona state Senator Wendy Rogers in my town of Greenville where she spoke about her state’s full forensic election audit, something she has been fighting very hard for. She explained how Arizona has the blueprint now for all other states to follow suit, including North Carolina.

Senator Rogers strongly urges North Carolina to do the same – to conduct a forensic audit of its 2020 election results. She said that if the NC General Assembly is not willing to do so, then it must be up to the people, in grassroots and in political organizations, to force them to change their mind. “Otherwise, we will lose our country,” she said in closing.

To all North Carolina citizens, as well as to all citizens of states questioning their 2020 election results, please contact your state representatives and tell them you have no confidence in the 2020 state elections and demand a full forensic audit of those results. While it’s true, North Carolinians were able to vote successfully for Donald Trump, that is not the only vote that matters.

What is a “forensic audit,” you may ask. It is a formal, in-depth examination of election results, looking for evidence of illegal activity. It looks at the machines, the hardware, and each individual ballot (scrutinizing on at least 3 different levels for evidence of ballot tampering). The purpose of a forensic audit is to ultimately come to a conclusion as to whether a crime (election tampering; election fraud; illegal hacking, etc) has been committed and to be able to use its evidence to help with a legal case.

Senator Rogers says the years-long problem of election tampering/ election fraud and corrupt practices is preventable and fixable. What needs to be done, she advocates, is 5-fold: (1) Paper ballots; (2) One Election Day; (3) Absentee ballots for veterans, and others who are out of their voting jurisdiction; (4) voter ID; and (5) regularly cleaning up voter rolls.

So far, it looks as if Wisconsin and Pennsylvania may try to follow suit with an forensic audits.

Sen. Rogers asks all of us to go to http://www.wendyrogers.org and SIGN THE PETITION TO DECERTIFY the 2020 NATIONWIDE ELECTION.

Please take the time to listen to Senator Wendy Rogers’ remarks. I promise you that it will make you feel like a red-blooded American again, with the vigor and determination to get in the game and to help take this country back from those determined to steal it for their own nefarious purposes.]

Sandy Smith, who is running for US Congress from the 1st congressional district, is the first speaker. The second speaker, a dynamic speaker, Kim Coley, takes the stage at 23:45 min. And finally, special guest speaker, AZ Senator Wendy Rogers takes the stage at 36 minutes.

A more up-close video of Sen. Rogers (full remarks) can be found on my Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/diane.rufino.7/videos/321384276343901

**** Video is courtesy of Mr. John Woodard (Real American News)

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My Letter to NC Senators Asking Them to Vote in Favor of H.B. 324 (the “Anti-CRT” bill)

Today, I wrote letters to our North Carolina state senators, asking them to vote in favor of H.B. 324, which, as I understand it, will prevent the teaching of Critical Race Theory in NC public schools. 

This is what I wrote:

Hello Senate Pro Tempore Berger, 

I’m writing to please ask you to vote in favor of H.B. 324, which, as I understand it, will prevent the teaching of Critical Race Theory in NC public schools. 

We can’t undo past discrimination by instituting policies that teach more (and new types of) discrimination.

By emphasizing Critical Race Theory in public schools and teaching it to our children, teachers, administrators, the school system, and yes, government as well will be indoctrinating young minds to focus on race, on skin color, rather than what is most important – seeing one another as equal human beings. We’re talking about children whose brains are not yet fully developed and who are especially vulnerable and susceptible to what is taught to them.  Social values should be left to the parents. Schools and teachers must never be allowed to take the place of a child’s family, parents, and perhaps even his or her religion.  

My great fear is that this new racist doctrine of Critical Race will result in a resurrection of racism where it hasn’t existed for many years. 

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.  

And Nelson Mandela said: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate (or be taught to hate), and if they can learn (or be taught) to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Thomas Sowell wrote: “The past is a great unchangeable fact. Nothing is going to undo its sufferings and injustices, whatever their magnitude….  Neither the sins nor the sufferings of those now dead are within our power to change. Being honest and honorable with the people living in our own time is more than enough of a moral challenge, without having to indulge in illusions about rewriting moral history with numbers and categories.”

And finally, in the Supreme Court case Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. 1 (2007), Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Instead of teaching such hateful policies as Critical Race, why can’t our schools emphasize The Golden Rule, which is much more in line with what great men (not race-baiters) have said about righting the wrongs of our country….  be peaceful, loving, and judge one another on the content of one’s character and not the color of his or her skin.

I know at heart you fall on the right side of this issue, but I wanted to go ahead and send you my heartfelt views and concerns on this issue. 

Summing up, I hope the NC Senate will do the right thing for its young citizens and pass this bill. Schools are for education, not indoctrination, 

Most Sincerely, 


Diane Rufino

Greenville, NC  (Pitt County)

August 23, 2021

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You Don’t Stop Discrimination by Instituting New Policies that Discriminate

by Diane Rufino, August 21, 2021

Many years ago, when my children were in elementary and intermediate schools, I saw something that troubled me so much that it has continued to stick in my mind. I went to Wintergreen Elementary School to have lunch with my son (he was a shy one) and when I walked in and signed in, I had to wait at the office area while the first grade classes made their way, single-file, down the hall to the cafeteria. The teachers led the way and chaperoned their classes as they walked to lunch. There was one little girl, a black girl, poorly-dressed, clearly not getting enough attention at home (or maybe simply from a very poor family), walking with her head down. She looked like she was abused and used to being abused. And sure enough, her teacher, her white teacher, was standing next to her, in a bullying type manner. The teacher’s body language, as well as the young girl’s, told me that that the teacher was being unprofessionally harsh to her. She was scolding the poor child for some reason or another and told to “walk faster.” In short, she was being treated as if she was nothing more than a nuisance, of less worth than the other students.  

My heart broke. I felt so sorry for the little girl. Was this a case of discrimination?  Was I witnessing my first instance of racial discrimination?  I couldn’t be sure. All I know is that a teacher should never treat a down-trodden child, no matter what his or her color, as a human being of lesser value.

I waited by the office area for my son’s class to make their way to the cafeteria so I could walk with him. When we finally got into the cafeteria, I looked for that little black girl to make sure she had a decent lunch. I spotted her, with her head still down, at her table and it looked like she had a suitable lunch.

The sight of that poor humiliated little girl has forever stuck in my mind.

The second instance of racial discrimination occurred this year and very close to home. About three-four months ago, a neighbor three doors away saw a black man walking in our development and for no other reason than that, she called the police. She told the police that he didn’t belong and “looked suspicious.”  First of all, he did not “look suspicious.” He was not breaking any laws. He was simply trying to talk to homeowners about the “Good Word.” My neighbor acted out with what I can only conclude was racial animus. The police came and “talked to” the young man. No doubt, he felt humiliated, And if he hadn’t felt the sting of racial discrimination before, he certainly felt it that day for sure. I felt so bad for the young man, as any decent human being would. Luckily, the residents of our all-white development race-shamed her. As the scenario played itself out, she and her husband sold their house and moved away about two months ago.  Good riddance.

This brings me to the topic of this article…..  Discrimination. And not just racial discrimination…..

As we all know, discrimination is the unfair or prejudicial treatment of people and groups based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity (nationality), gender, age or sexual orientation. In other words, it is based on unfair and invidious stereotypes. Nelson Mandela once said this of race-based discrimination: “Racism is a blight on the human conscience. The idea that any people can be inferior to another, to the point where those who consider themselves superior define and treat the rest as subhuman, denies the humanity even of those who elevate themselves to the status of gods.”

Discrimination strikes at the very heart of being human. It gives a view of one’s heart. A person either has a Christian heart (a good heart) or a black heart.  Anyone who thinks another person is of less worthy as a human being because of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or sexual orientation is harboring a sickness in their heart and in their mind. Discrimination harms someone’s rights simply because of who they are, what characteristics they were born with (inherent traits, unchangeable) or what they believe. Discrimination is harmful and confers a sense of inferiority on another. It is also extremely humiliating.

We all have the right to be treated equally, regardless of our race, ethnicity, nationality, class, caste, religion, belief, sex, gender, language, sexual orientation, age, health, or other status. Yet all too often we hear heartbreaking stories of people who suffer economically, psychologically and legally for no other reason than they think or act or believe “differently” from those who are in a position of power over them. We also hear heartbreaking stories of persons who discriminate against others in their ordinary course of living. I call it “random acts of hatred.”

Acts of discrimination may not bother others, but it bothers me greatly. So far in my life, thankfully, I’ve only witnessed, first-hand, two acts of racial discrimination. Additionally, I’ve witnessed “different treatment” of fellow Italians back in my home state of New Jersey. Background checks, for example, included a deep dive into connections to mobsters or mob families.

I’d like to make clear that there is no copyright on discrimination and oppression. Almost every ethnic group, (religious group, immigrant group, sexual preference group, etc) has experienced discrimination at some point in our nation’s history… some more than others. The black race specifically has suffered the greatest amount of discrimination – for almost 200 years, from the years of slavery and then the segregation laws (Jim Crow era),  through to the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s. And almost every group has their bad element, which unfortunately tends to give a bad name to the whole group. It’s the basis of profiling and subconsciously, it forms the basis of a lot of our judgements and decision-making. I’m Italian. We have the mafia, crime syndicates, extortion schemes, hitmen. I can’t help that. I have no such characters in my family or in my circle of friends. But yet the first question that people will ask when they hear my name (Rufino) is this: “Do you have any mobsters in your family?” Or “Have you ever met a mobster?” Was there a mob presence in the town I grew up in (northern New Jersey)?  Yes there was. A friend of mine, Debbie, who lived a few blocks away had to live with the sight of seeing her father dead in their garage. He was gunned down, mob style (kneeling down and shot in the back of the head). And my sister’s friend, Johnna, had her family swimming pool dug up to look for Jimmy Hoffa’s body. I understood the stereotype of my people. I lived with it.

Other ethnic groups have done the same.

For example, the Irish were treated for many years as undesirables. They came to America in large numbers between the years 1820 and 1930.  It’s estimated that as many as 4.5 million Irish arrived in America between those years. Between 1820 and 1860 alone, the Irish constituted over one third of all immigrants to this country. In the 1840s, they comprised nearly half of all immigrants. The Irish were called “Micks,” which was a disparaging term. The name stuck because many of their last names had ‘Mc’ or ‘Mac’ in it, which roughly translates as “son of/daughter of.” In the mid-19th century, Irish immigrants were discriminated against in employment and in other areas as well. They were met with signs and ads that read: “No Irish need apply” or some other message to that effect.

When the Italians followed suit and came to America, they were treated just as bad, if not worse. Italians immigrated to America in two waves – the first wave starting in the 1880s, and the second wave in the early 1900’s (when Italy suffered its great depression). Italian migration grew steadily up until 1921 when Congress passed a law (The Immigration Act of 1921) to restrict immigration (severe restrictions included those on Italians and other ethnicities). About 80% of Italian immigrants were from the impoverished south of Italy or from Sicily. Only about 50% were literate and most were men. For the most part, these were men came to this country looking for work, hoping to make enough money to go home and buy their own farm.

Italians were called such derogatory names as “guineas,” “dagos,” or “whops.” They were called “guineas” to insinuate that their tan skin meant they were related to Africans.

They too were met with signs and ads that read: “No Italians need apply” or some other variation of that theme. They faced other types of discrimination – in housing and in the criminal justice system. They were often victims of police brutality.

Violence was perpetrated on them in other ways as well, for no other reason than they were of the Italian race.  On March 14, 1891 one of the worst mass lynchings in US history occurred, in downtown New Orleans. Eleven men were hung or shot to death by a mob seeking ‘justice’ for a murdered policeman. The victims were all Italians. And that wasn’t an isolated case. All five Italians living in Tallulah, Louisiana, were lynched in 1899 after a disagreement over a goat. In all, there were about 50 lynchings of Italians in the period from 1890 to 1920.

In a 2015 article by Chris Woolf (“A Brief History of America’s Hostility to a Previous Generation of Mediterranean Migrants — Italians,”), he highlighted an editorial in The New York Times, which included this description of Italians: “These sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins, who have transported to this country the lawless passions, the cut-throat practices, and the oath-bound societies of their native country, are to us a pest without mitigation. Our own rattlesnakes are as good citizens as they…  Lynch law was the only course open to the people of New Orleans to stay the issue of a new license to the Mafia to continue its bloody practices.” 

Italian immigrants have been portrayed in other media outlets as ignorant, lazy, greasy, prone to crime, ignorant of the law, ignorant of democracy, and prone to addressing wrongs with personal vendettas and acts of violence. There is one scene in The Untouchables (with Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Andy Garcia as the Italian character) where Sean Connery’s character, Malone, says to Andy Garcia’s character, Stone: “You’re a lying member of a no-good race.”

My best friend growing up in East Rutherford, NJ, was a girl named Donna Lynch. She lived about 3 blocks away from me. She was full Irish. Her father and my father, a second-generation Italian, got on famously. Whenever Mr. Lynch saw my father, he would say call him: “You gineau.”  And my father would greet him with “You dirty mick.” It always a light-hearted tribute to the stereotypes of both nationality groups and Donna and I would laugh.

While it may have taken a long time for Italians to assimilate into American culture, they have more than proven their love and appreciation for this country. They served heroically in America’s wars – World War I and World War II. In fact, in WWI, “Italians made up an estimated 12 percent of the men who joined the US military — despite being a much smaller proportion of the population.” Italians showed their patriotism and devotion to service during the attacks of 9/11. A good proportion of the firefighters and rescue workers who rushed into the burning and crumbling NYC Twin Towers were Italian.

As Mr. Woolf concluded in his article: “Today it’s hard to imagine America without the Knights of Columbus, the Sons of Italy, and of course, pizza.”

Jews have been discriminated again, individuals from the Middle East have been discriminated against (even before 9/11, refer to the Immigration Act of 1921), Poles have been discriminated against, Catholics have been discriminated against, and so on and so on.

Perhaps no one group was treated worse than the Chinese. From 1863 and 1869, between 15,000-20,000 were “hired” to help build the transcontinental railroad. They were paid less than American workers and lived in tents, while white workers were given accommodation in train cars. When they dropped due to exhaustion and died, no one cared. They were expendable. As if that wasn’t bad enough, The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to the United States and for Chinese nationals already in the country to ever become US citizens. It was the first time that an ethnic group was singled out by name as being undesirable. Historians report that there was “horrific violence” against them.  The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first in a long time of acts targeting the Chinese for exclusion in the US population. (The law remained in place for more than 60 years).

And then there are the African-Americans… the people who suffered the most. Ironically, they were valued much more than the Chinese (and perhaps other races as well) because they were chattel (= property, slaves), capable of an economic benefit for their owner. They were workers, servants, cooks, nannies, etc.  But while the stigma of belonging to another human being, of being a slave, of being treated as if the only worth that the person with black skin has is in service to another was not unconscionable enough, the US Supreme Court handed down a most egregious judgement. Chief Justice Roger Taney, in the infamous Dred Scott case (1856), ruled that “a negro, whose ancestors were imported into the US, and sold as slaves,” whether enslaved or ultimately freed, were not citizens of the United States. According to his majority opinion, African-Americans were “beings of an inferior order. so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Taney asked the question: “Can a negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guaranteed by that instrument to the citizen? One of which rights is the privilege of suing in a court of the United States in the cases specified in the Constitution.”  He concluded that negroes were never intended to be and could not be citizens of the United States. As Taney explained: “The words ‘people of the United States’ and ‘citizens’ are synonymous terms and mean the same thing. They both describe the political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and conduct the Government through their representatives. They are what we familiarly call the ‘sovereign people,’ and every citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty. The question before us is, whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty? We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them.”

The question of citizenship having been decided, Taney concluded that the Court lacked jurisdiction and dismissed the case on procedural grounds. Taney further held that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional and foreclose Congress from freeing slaves within Federal territories. The opinion showed deference to the Missouri courts, which held that moving to a free state did not render Scott emancipated. Finally, Taney ruled that slaves were property under the Fifth Amendment, and that any law that would deprive a slave owner of that property was unconstitutional. In other words, the Supreme Court upheld slavery and further held that persons of African descent could never be American citizens.

Luckily and thankfully, the stinging ruling of Justice Taney was rendered null and void by the 13th Amendment, which was passed 12 years later on December 6, 1865. The Fourteenth Amendment, an amendment codifying the Civil Rights Act of 1865, was ratified in 1868.

What followed then was a further insult to African-Americans, which was the era of the Jim Crow laws in the South, which lasted until the 1950’s. Parts of the South also refused to enforce the ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education ruling (1954) which prohibited de jure (“by law”) segregation in public schools.  Martin Luther King Jr. described those years this way: “Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.”

They say discrimination against African-Americans (referred to as “negroes” and “blacks”) is predominant in the South; they call it “racism.” There is a long history of relations between whites and blacks in the southern states (the Northern states were simply “anti-black”). During the years of slavery, despite the talking points from the left, groups like BLM, proponents of Critical Race Theory (and Race Theory in general), and the rhetoric from poverty pimps such as Reverend Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Rep. Maxine Waters, and other such race-baiters, for the most part, there was a good relationship between slaves, and blacks in general, and whites. In many cases, slaves were treated as members of the family. Their children played and grew up together. They got good physician and dental care. When slavery was abolished, many former slave owners gave their former slaves a plot of land, some farm animals, etc. During the War of Northern Aggression, Lincoln hoped for slave insurrection (violence against the wives and children of their slave owners, therefore causing Confederate soldiers to desert the southern army and rush back home to their families to protect them. (Nothing of the sort happened; instead, the slaves remained loyal and even felt a sense of duty to protect the families).  But then something changed after the War.  It was called The Republican Party and the Reconstruction Acts (acts of punishment; retribution).

The way I see how the relationship between blacks and whites deteriorated has everything to do with Abraham Lincoln’s decision to use slaves as a pawn in his game of “waging war to subjugate the South back into the Union.” When the government sought to prohibit slavery after the War, with the 13th Amendment, it did so under the political agenda of the Republican Party. (there is a whole history, not a good one, surrounding the Republican Party and its ambitions). After the War, there were two dominant parties – the Republican Party (dominant party in presidential elections) and the Democrats (the Southern Democrats being a more radical version). Of course, all the freed slaves associated with the Republican Party, the party of their liberation. And every Southern Democrat could count on that. Then, in order to punish the former Confederate states for not adopting the Fourteenth Amendment when it was first sent to them for ratification, Congress (without southern representation) passed the unconstitutional Reconstruction Acts, which organized the southern states into military districts, run by former Northern generals, and placed certain conditions on them in order to be re-admitted to the Union. Those conditions included ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment, altering their state constitutions to prohibit secession, and prohibiting all those who supported the Confederacy to vote or serve in government, including local government. Who were allowed to vote?  Republicans. (ie, freed slaves).  Republicans were responsible for the War; they were responsible for denying the South their independence. They were responsible for destroying their lifestyle, their farms, their cities and towns, their fortunes, their economy, their infrastructure, their means of income, and killing so many of their young men.  So, in a matter of just a few years, the North managed to make enemies (political enemies) of the southern whites and the freed blacks. Blacks were all of a sudden seen as siding with “the enemy.” A relationship that was once friendly turned antagonistic. And that is why I believe the Jim Crow laws were enacted. The Southern Democrats were not going to sit back and accept the enormous social change that the North imposed on the South. Right or wrong, the South just wasn’t ready for a fully integrated society.

I understand why many blacks are bitter.  Racial injustice was the black man’s burden and America’s shame. But I have such great respect for them for enduring so many years of hardship and discrimination and patiently (until the 1960’s) waiting for the law to catch up with their reconstruction amendments. Martin Luther King Jr. helped organize the black community to push for meaningful change, but he urged them to do it peacefully. He said: “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.” He also said: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”

Wise words indeed.

Martin Luther King’s leadership, his call for peaceful protests, and his march on Washington DC (on August 28, 1963) at which he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech helped sway the LBJ administration to pass the great package of civil rights legislation – the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was certainly about time. I only wish it wasn’t necessary to have to pass laws to protect citizens from discrimination, especially when our founding document, the Declaration of Independence proudly and audaciously proclaims that in America “all men are created equal.”

I can’t speak to the discrimination of other races or ethnic groups, and I wouldn’t dare to do so. It’s not my place. I can only speak to the discrimination of my own race, the Italian race.

African-Americans have something in common – their skin is black. Mexicans and South Americans have something in common – their skin is brown.  Indians (from India) have a distinctive skin color as well, as do the Chinese and Japanese.

We Americans whose skin just happens to be something other than black, brown, or “yellow” are lumped into the large group known as “whites.” That doesn’t really seem to be fair; it doesn’t really do us justice.

Yes, our skin is considered “white,” but I know full well that each “white person” has a distinct nationality (mother country), a distinct heritage (a history of their “people”), and distinct beliefs, customs, and values. For example, the history of my people is tied up with the Roman Empire, with the tales of the Caesars, with the pride all its ruins stir in us, with its government system and values and its family values, and its sense of loyalty to country. It also has its customs regarding religion, food, genuineness, and good-heartedness. Other nationality groups have their own history, unique customs, and values.

When Italians first came over to America, their skin was a bit darker – an olive color as it has been described.  My family came over from Naples and northern Italy during the years 1900 – 1920 and settled in Jersey City, NJ.  Italian immigrants tried to remain a closely-knit community (because culture was important to them) but by the 1950’s-1960’s, it was getting hard to do so.  Other minorities moved in and changed their peaceful, family-orientated, clean existence. My family had to move away from both my mother’s sister and her large family and her brother and his larger family, and being apart from cousins and aunts and uncles has certainly been a regrettable part of my life.

I often get offended when Italians are lumped together with the British, Germans, Irish, French, Russians, Greeks, Polish, Swedish, etc. under the term “whites.” Again, we are not all the same and we certainly don’t share the same heritage, customs, or values. We celebrate Black History Month, but I never understood why, in our schools, we didn’t afford other ethnic groups the same benefit. How wonderful it would be for all school children to learn about the history and culture, in detail, of all the different races and ethnic groups. I would never consider myself an “Italian-American.” I’m simply an American. The United States is my home, not Italy. I’m sure other ethnic groups feel the same way. But we sure would feel respected if our mother country and culture could be shared with others. Diversity today focuses so heavily on such a concept, but only for certain races and ethnic groups, such as African-Americans and Mexicans.

I think it’s important to understand the histories and cultures of the various groups that make up this amalgam known as “whites.” I think it’s also important to look at how these different groups value their own unique heritage and how they have dealt with past discrimination. And I think it’s also important to look at how each of these groups have assimilated into this country. 

I read some commentary and letters written by members of various ethnic groups about past discrimination and they are telling. For example, Ms. Laura Compagni-Sabella, an Italian, wrote:

To the Editor (The New York Times):

I think that Brent Staples exaggerates the extent to which Americans viewed Italians through the lens of “racism.” There was plenty of skepticism and fear as millions of impoverished people — Italian and otherwise — poured into American cities. With them came crowding, crime, filth, disease, nondemocratic political ideas and social chaos. Urban places had not developed the physical and institutional infrastructure to accommodate this influx of needy people.

Yes, there were unfortunate events like the lynching in New Orleans (of 11 Italians) and plenty of condescension toward swarthy “dagos.” However, overall, American communities absorbed Italians, educated their children, provided jobs and supported their entrepreneurial efforts as small-business owners. The vast majority of Italian-Americans viewed these opportunities with gratitude, worked extremely hard and took meticulous care of their homes and families.

The results of their resilience are obvious today. As a descendant of these extraordinary people, I don’t buy your victim narrative. Italian-Americans were beneficiaries of America’s democratic capitalist system and pluralistic culture, not victims of it.

Laura Compagni-Sabella, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y..

In a letter to the same newspaper, Mr. Gene Boccialetti, also Italian (obviously) wrote:

To the Editor:

What a short memory Americans have of their own immigrant experience. With very few exceptions, every family came here from somewhere else and went through, to one degree or another, some challenges, bumps and bruises on their way to becoming American. But it’s a bit like Snapchat, where their collective memories dissolve.

Without a trace of self-awareness, they just point at newcomers and shout: “We must raise the drawbridge! Keep them out! They are too different!” More than likely, someone (or many someones) was saying the same thing about them or their forebears when they came here.

America is — and always has been — a powerful, even irresistible idea that draws people to it. Understanding the meaning of America fully — and adjusting to it — takes some time. Freedoms are easier to grasp than responsibilities. Opportunities are more exciting and grab attention faster than do barriers and challenges. But, with some time and work, almost everyone “becomes” American and feels rewarded for the investment.

Gene Boccialetti, New York

Mr. Paul Leo appears to have some lingering trauma: 

To the Editor:

Even as a third-generation half-Italian-American, I still feel a surge of nausea whenever faced with choosing an “ethnicity” on official forms or job applications. The only choice allowed for my mixed European heritage is “white,” but checking it feels like a betrayal of my ancestors and a forced whitewashing of this country’s true micro-diversity.

I resent, every time, that my identity will be assumed into a featureless, monolithic bloc of whiteness and ascribed to an established majority I neither identify with nor aspire to. And leaving the box unchecked in protest feels even worse, like choosing voluntary self-erasure over involuntary state erasure.

Paul Leo, New York

Mr. John Twomey, an Irishman from our very state of North Carolina, expressed his views:  

To the Editor:

Both of my paternal grandparents were born in Ireland and emigrated to the United States around 1900. I remember their describing “Irish Need Not Apply” signs and being discriminated against in many ways. Their story is quite similar to what you have described for Italians.

As a country we have a very checkered history of our treatment of anyone not of British ancestry. Asians, Africans, South Americans, Southern Europeans, Eastern Europeans, Irish, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindi — all were treated as inferiors at one time (most still are).

Only when the accents disappeared and it became impossible to tell that someone was Italian or Irish were we “accepted” as white. Unfortunately, many still fall under the label of “them” — inferior and to be feared.

President Trump has done a very effective job of bringing out into the open how deep and alive racism still is in America. For a “Christian” nation we fall quite short of the values that Christianity stands for; we have a lot of repair and repentance to do, a lot of forgiveness to be earned.

John Twomey, Raleigh, NC

And finally, Mr. Greenway helped bolster the original article on “The Bigotry Towards Italian Immigrants” by providing additional facts:

To the Editor:

Your article cites Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, but he was not alone in the prejudice against Italians from the south of Italy in the late 19th and early 20th century. His hated rival, Woodrow Wilson, wrote in his 1902 “History of the American People”: “Throughout the [19th] century men of the sturdy stock of the north of Europe had made up the main strain of foreign blood … but now there came the multitudes of men of the lowest classes from the south of Italy and men of the meaner sort out of Hungary and Poland, men out of the ranks where there was neither skill nor energy nor any initiative of quick intelligence … as if the countries of the south of Europe were disburdening themselves of the more sordid and hapless elements of their population.”

H.D.S. Greenway, Needham, Mass.

Again, in summation, there is no copyright on discrimination and oppression. What is important is how each group has overcome it. What is important is how each group has worked to assimilate and “fit in.” What is ultimately important is that each person, regardless of gender, skin color, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation is protected by the Constitution and by the laws of our country.  What is important is that everyone understands that “All Men are Created Equal.”

I call on everyone, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, gender to put issues of discrimination and racism aside and hold onto what is most important, the gems of American liberty and American equality. There are the great values that unify us. Unity must be the goal. Together we are stronger; together we are better.

References: 

Mark Bulik, “1854: No Irish Need Apply,” The New York Times, September 8, 2015.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/08/insider/1854-no-irish-need-apply.html

“The Bigotrry Towards Italian Immigrants,” The New York Times (Opinion Letters), October 19, 2019.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/19/opinion/letters/bigotry-italian-immigrants.html   [Readers discuss an article about how darker-skinned southern Italians faced racism a century ago and had to struggle for acceptance.]

Chris Woolf, “A Brief History of America’s Hostility to a Previous Generation of Mediterranean Migrants — Italians,” The World, November 26, 2015.  Referenced at:  https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-11-26/brief-history-america-s-hostility-previous-generation-mediterranean-migrants

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S.  393 (1856).  Referenced at:  https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/60/393

Scott W. Bixler, “The Right to Discriminate,” Foundation for Economic Education, June 1, 1980.  Referenced at:  https://fee.org/articles/the-right-to-discriminate/

ADDENDUM: 

I.  The Immigration Act of 1921

The Immigration Act of 1921 was the first federal law in U.S. history to limit the immigration of Europeans, the Immigration Act of 1921 reflected the growing American fear that people from southern and eastern European countries not only did not adapt well into American society but also threatened its very existence. The law specified that no more than 3 percent of the total number of immigrants from any specific country already living in the United States in 1910 could migrate to America during any year.

II.  The Immigration Act of 1924

The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia.

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A Simple Case for Pitt County’s Confederate Soldiers Monument

Photo is credited to WITN

by Diane Rufino, August 16, 2021

Friends, fellow parents, concerned Pitt County (NC) residents, please check out my friend Jerry McRoy’s excellent article on his newly-created blogsite “J Man’s Thoughts.”  The article is titled “County Commissioners, Their Constituents, and Their Monuments.”

The article provides a wonderful overview of the Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument, a facially-neutral memorial which was dedicated to the community in 1914, in memory of those Confederate soldiers from Pitt County who gave their last full measure. A little over a year ago, on June 15, 2020. 7 of our 9 Pitt County Commissioners voted to remove it from its permanent location, which was in front of the Pitt County Courthouse, and have it eventually relocated. A Relocation Committee was formed to include members of the Pitt County Board and at least 3 civilian members, one of them being Jerry McRoy. During the middle of the night, on June 22-23, the monument was lifted off its foundation (by a crane secured by Sheriff Paula Dance), with pictures and video footage taken of the nefarious nocturnal action. The foundation was then demolished with a jackhammer (again at the instruction of Sheriff Dance). The monument was apparently put into storage, and yet, the County Commissioners have refused to let the public know where it is being stored.

Over one year later, the Commissioners still have not found a new (statutorily-required) replacement location for the monument and so it is still being held in storage. The removal, storage, and eventual relocation has been estimated to upwards of $100,000, to be borne by the taxpayers, of course.  

To be clear, the 7 County Commissioners who voted hastily to remove the monument acted in violation of the law. The most flagrant violation involves General Statute G.S. § 100-2.1, “Protection of Monuments, Memorials, and Works of Art.”  There are many requirements and conditions that apply to the potential removal of a “monument of remembrance,” which clearly the Confederate Soldiers Monument is, each of which has been ignored and /or violated by the 7 Commissioners. 

Why do I say the monument is “facially-neutral”? I say this because the Confederate Soldiers Monument has the simple inscription: (on one side) “Dedicated to Our Confederate Dead” and “Erected by the People of Pitt County in Grateful Remembrance of the Courage and Fortitude of Her Confederate Soldiers,” And on the other side , the inscription reads: “Theirs was not to make reply, Theirs was not to reason why. Theirs was but to do and die.” It is clearly a monument reflecting an important period in our American and North Carolina history, as well as being a monument of remembrance. It makes no mention of slavery and makes no mention of the reason or reasons for the War of Northern Aggression. It is simply a statue memorializing those Confederate soldiers from Pitt County who died with honor and valor.  

I’m sure most people here in Pitt County (and most likely the state in general) don’t know the circumstances of North Carolina’s secession and its joining the Confederacy. North Carolina resisted the secession movement. She did not want to secede. In her convention to take up the issue, most of its representatives flat-out refused to secede. 9 southern states had already seceded, with South Carolina being the first. Then Fort Sumter happened. It was a slimy scheme by President Lincoln to force South Carolina to fire upon northern ships (by the way, no one was killed) in order to give him the “crisis” he needed to wage war on the Confederate states. Lincoln then had a wire sent to the governor of the remaining southern states, including NC, demanding that they supply troops to join with the Army of the North to fight their neighbors. This was something that North Carolina could not do. In her view, the federal government was a common government (for the “benefit” of all states); it would never coerce one state to take up arms against another. That would be unconscionable. And so, NC’s governor John Ellis wrote back: “You will get no troops from North Carolina.” And that is when (and the only reason that) North Carolina seceded from the Union and joined with the Confederate States of America.  [You can see and read Gov. Ellis’ actual letter here:  https://digital.ncdcr.gov/digital/collection/p15012coll8/id/2441/ ]

A certain segment of Greenville would have you believe that this monument, which is honestly no different from any headstone in any cemetery, terrorizes them, intimidates them, dishonors them, is racist, reminds them of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, is a testament to white supremacy, and all the other “catch phrases” we hear to keep the racism narrative alive and well. (I can’t speak to racism because I’ve only seen one case of it in my entire life, but I know it is a product of the human heart – a dark and un-Christian heart, which is a product of human nature. No one can change that. But we need to remember that no one race has a copyright on discrimination. This country has treated almost all races at one point or another in a discriminant manner. The question was must ask is this: Are there laws to protect those who were previously discriminated against? The answer is YES. There most certainly are. In fact, the laws go above and beyond. Some have been passed, and policies instituted, for the purpose to remedy past discrimination.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said:  “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”

And Nelson Mandela said:  “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

We may not have been a perfect country when the Constitution was adopted. Try as they did and as they wished, abolishing slavery with the new union was not possible (thanks to Georgia and South Carolina). Forming a union of states for strength and security was more important than abolishing a sinful institution. But the most wonderful thing about the united States is that we became a “more perfect union” over the years because we had the most enlightening of values and the most inspiring of founding documents to begin with. Our collective story is a story of working towards our “more perfect union.”

But again, a certain segment of society chooses not to see things that way. They choose to point fingers and lay blame.  A national sin does not continue to remain a national sin if it has been remedied. The remedy becomes the new story.

Racism is not found in a facially-neutral statue, a monument, or memorial. It stems from a darkened heart and a diseased mind. I resent those members of our community who impute a racist meaning to the monument and I resent them for characterizing it as a testament to white supremacy. Most of all, I resent those 7 County Commissioners (aka, “County Criminals,” aka “County Cowards,” aka “The Criminal Syndicate Known as the Pitt County Board of Commissioner”) for taking the low road, giving in to threats of potential violence (because that’s how certain groups express themselves), dishonoring those Confederate soldiers who died defending their homes and the state they loved, and dishonoring the grand legacy that North Carolina rightfully earned.

They missed a perfect opportunity to learn the truth about the War of Northern Aggression (aka, the War to Prevent Southern Independence, aka, The War Between the States, aka, the “Civil War,” which is the most unfitting term) and to impart that truth upon the uninformed citizens of Pitt County. There is honor in that truth.  An issue that was meant to divide us along skin color could have turned into an opportunity to bring us together by reminding everyone of the righteous reasons for North Carolina’s secession and for her fighting against the North’s purely political agenda.

Anyway, please read Jerry’s article. He goes into a whole lot more on this issue. It’s posted here at this link: https://jmcroyearthlinknet.wordpress.com/…/county…/

If this issue means anything to you, please get involved in holding the Pitt County Commissioners accountable and forcing them to put the monument back in its rightful place. History would implore you to act.

References:

Refer to an article (“Confederate Statue Removal Soon After Monday Night Vote”) published by WITN on the night of the infamous vote, June 15, 2020.  Referenced at:  https://www.witn.com/content/news/Pitt-County-Board-of-Commissioners-vote-to-remove-Confederate-statue-571280041.html

Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument, NCPedia.  Referenced at:  https://www.ncpedia.org/monument/pitt-county-confederate

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Too Many Parents are Raising Criminals

by Diane Rufino, August 14, 2021 (originally submitted and printed as a Letter to the Editor in 2008)

Since the terrorist attacks of September 2001, people have complained about how Homeland Security measures are burdening their fundamental rights. Yet every day I lock all my doors and windows in my house and cars and watch where I go. You see, crime has done more to burden my fundamental rights to life and liberty than anything the government has one. Take Greenville, for example: crime is up, juvenile crime is up, and the high school graduation rate is only 54 percent.

So who is responsible for the greater loss of fundamental freedom – terrorists or criminals? And who’s fault is this – the government’s or bad parents? It’s bad parents. Too many parents are not taking their responsibilities seriously and are passing the problems they create onto everyone else.

In my day, people recognized a basic principle: You don’t have a child if you can’t property raise one. And that means being married before having one, being financially secure, making sure the child finishes school, and instilling good family values. Where I come from, and where my relatives came from, we believe it is no one else’s job to raise children except the parents. And those were good days, with safe neighborhoods.

Already the dynamics in this country have changed. Too many people today are taking from society and not contributing. And too many think this acceptable. It’s not acceptable to me. I’m a taxpayer and the government is subsidizing bad behavior with my hard-earned money. What is going to happen in another 30 years if this mentality is allowed to continue? Will this country go bankrupt? Will people be held hostage by the fear of too many criminals living among them? Will all the professional jobs continue to be filled by foreigners devoted to education and a strong work ethic because American parents continue to de-emphasize these values to their children? Or are we going to continue to let parents have a free pass at raising criminals and ignorant young adults?

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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

by Diane Rufino, August 9, 2021

When I’m out in the pool, I usually bring Alexa outside with me to listen to my extensive Bruce Springsteen songlist. I especially look forward to his duet with Tom Morello on “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” It’s a real rocking version. I had never heard of Tom Morello before and so I looked him up. I learned that his is the lead guitarist for the group Rage Against the Machine.

I thought to myself: “What a great name for a band!”  My instinct told that the name was a reference, a bold reference, to their protest against an aggressive, intrusive government. Indeed, their songs express political views which are, to a great extent, extreme and revolutionary.

A definition of “machine” comes from the highly entertaining movie (one of my all-time favorites!), 3 IDIOTS, where the ultra-competitive student explains that “a machine is anything that reduces human effort. … Anything that simplifies work, or saves time, is a machine.”

I think of the government as a machine. On the one hand, for the great many Americans who rely on government hand-outs to sustain them, the government certainly can be seen as machine as it “reduces human effort” in getting education, learning a skill, getting a job (and all that it entails), and providing for oneself. On the other hand, it can be seen as a machine in that it is capable of doing a great many tasks, in a centralized manner.  The bottom line is that a large and aggressive government is seen (by those in DC, by career DC politicians, by “the swamp”) as an expedient.  “It gets the job done.” Who believes that?  Most times, as we have seen over the many years, government has become inexpedient. Ronald Reagan once said: “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.”   

As I have made clear in my article posted on January 23, titled “A Re-Declaration of Independence,” [https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/ ], government has exceedingly abused its powers under the Constitution and over the many years, has usurped many powers reserved historically to the States. (refer to the Tenth Amendment and James Madison’s commentary in The Federalist Papers No. 45).  It continues to do so, becoming more abusive with each Democratic administration. I listed 47 examples of how the US federal government has become tyrannical and has not only been abusing its powers under the Constitution but creating assuming new powers as well, usurping them from the States and from you and I (the People), but I could have easily listed so many more.

The federal government has created an entitlement culture, it has expanded the welfare program (Reagan wisely commented: “Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.”), it has taken over public education and healthcare (both of which are unconstitutional actions), it weaponizes its many agencies (mostly unconstitutional) to target political opponents (ex: Obama’s IRS and now Biden’s IRS), it uses taxpayer-funded bailouts to rescue failing banks and businesses (the ones IT deems are worthy, thereby destroying the free-market system and picking “winners and losers”), it refuses to enforce one of its primary responsibilities – that of controlling immigration at our borders, it puts the interests of illegal aliens ahead of honest, law-abiding, and decent American citizens, it (Obama, that is, using his “pen and phone”) passed DACA, an unconstitutional program (thereby usurping rightful powers that belonged to the legislative branch), it abuses its taxing and spending powers to wantonly and arbitrarily raise taxes in order to compensate illegal aliens, enlarge the entitlement system, send grants to the States (unconstitutional; with such grants, the government is able to do an “end run” around the Constitution), and bail out certain select banks and businesses, it has been using Homeland Security and the FISA courts to spy on ordinary American citizens, reporters, and even a presidential candidate (Trump), it has restructuring Social Security deductions so that they are no longer a “personal property right” but rather a government slush-fund (thanks to the Supreme Court), it uses its full power to attack gun rights and gun-rights groups for the purpose of enacting gun control and burdening our Second Amendment rights, it has used Homeland Security Department to issue a directive to all law-enforcement agencies identifying conservative individuals and groups (those who “cling to their guns and religion…”) as potential home-grown terrorists (see “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” April 7, 2009 – just 2 ½ months after Obama was inaugurated), it colludes with the lame-stream media to propagandize (“the mouthpiece of the Democrats”), it colludes with the lame-stream media and left-wing radical groups to shut down the free speech and free assembly rights of conservatives, it colludes with the lame-stream media to incite hatred and bullying of conservatives, patriots, veterans, and conservative groups, inciting and encouraging violence from radical groups (BLM, Antifa, etc) to further a political agenda, it continues to lie to the American people and spreads falsehoods (at the very minimum, it sends out only one-sided information and data, discrediting the other side as if it is omniscient – think JFK assassination, RFK assassination, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, Benghazi, Carter Page, the FISA warrants, “Trump and Russian Collusion,” global warming, etc), it has been working the American people up regarding the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, misleading them with incorrect and one-sided information concerning the rise in the number of cases and concerning the vaccines, shutting education, businesses, and travel down, causing many small (and large as well) businesses to go out of business and the loss of 20.6 million jobs (as of June 2020, with 7.7 million jobs providing healthcare benefits) resulting in an unemployment rate not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s, it has resurrected racism in this country where it hasn’t existed in many many years (implementing Critical Race Theory for example), and much more. And most recently, it has ignored (if not been complicit in) the massive voter fraud and election tampering in the 2020 presidential election that continues to be proven with each passing month, each audit, and each lawsuit filed.

Ask yourself:  Are you happy with the government’s take-over of healthcare, even though it was unconstitutional in its undertaking and then unconstitutional in the manner Chief Justice John Roberts attempted to save it?  If you were paying for your own health insurance, are you happy that your premiums have gone up substantially?  Are you happy with the government’s handling of the COVID outbreak?  Do you enjoy having to “mask up” everywhere you go?

Who looks at our current deranged and formerly racist president, deranged and vengeful House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the cabal of corrupted and corruptible politicians in DC and thinks: ‘Yes, I trust them to do more to control my life and raise my children?’  Well, we know which group of people is happy to watch as the leviathan in DC grows ever larger and ever stronger, and never ask such questions.

I, on the other hand, despise the syndicate in DC (“The criminal syndicate known as the government of the United States”).  In the summer of 2009, I started a Tea Party group in my home county of Pitt in North Carolina and have been involved in running it and furthering its mission ever since. The Tea Party movement started, initially, as a fiscally conservative political movement within the Republican Party after CNBC report Rick Santelli called for a “tea party” from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on February 19, 2009 after some heated words about the federal bail-out program. Of course, the name refers to the famous Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, the first in a series of events that ultimately led to the colonies’ fight for independence (American Revolution)  

Members of the movement called for lower taxes, for a reduction in the size and scope of government, for fiscal responsibility (ie, for reduced federal spending at home and abroad, for personal responsibility, for a strict separation of powers, for states’ rights (the power of the Tenth Amendment), and for free markets (unconstrained by government). In short, the movement stands for a smaller government of limited functions, as defined by the US Constitution and understood by the States when they ratified the unifying document.

I believe the motto of the Tea Party movement can be summed up by a famous quote by Henry David Thoeau: “Government is best when it governs least.”

The Tea Party movement is a grassroots movement to reign in the size and scope of the government.  After all, the Declaration of Independence proclaims that it the inherent right of the people to do so.  I see it as a duty.

Sadly, we’ve had far too many ambitious presidents and ambitious Congressmen, all too willing and eager to ignore the Constitution and anxious to grow the machine. They have done far too much damage. The greatest damage, in my opinion, was done by Abraham Lincoln in his deceitful plan to wage war against the Confederacy. He twisted and transformed the Constitution, and in doing so has left the lasting legacy that the inalienable and inherent rights articulated in the Declaration of Independence are no longer recognized. [The southern states, which gave our country the most intelligent and prolific of founding fathers, and which historically have been the most patriotic and loyal to the United States, just wanted to be left alone].  Democrats have historically and traditionally the party of big government and of animus to the Declaration and the Constitution (both which constrain their agenda). Conservatives have been the ones to at least make attempts to respect what our Founders gave us.

The last presidents to recognize constitutional limits and have acted to curb or curtail the growth of the federal government, or to even have downsized it were:

(1)  George Washington – He was committed to over-seeing a limited federal government (except for signing a bill creating a National Bank)

(2)  Thomas Jefferson – He was the author of the world-famous Declaration of Independence, arguably our most important and influential founding document. He eliminated taxes and otherwise was extremely fiscally conservative. He also fought the growing power of the judiciary.

(3)  James Madison – He drafted the US Constitution (“father of the Constitution”) and the Bill of Rights. He used his veto power to reign in the legislative branch that desperately wanted to expand the power of the federal government.

(4)  Martin Van Buren – He was dedicated to a limited federal government and used his veto power to reign in Congress.

(5)  John Tyler – He believed that tariffs imposed by the federal government were unconstitutional and he strongly supported States’ Rights.

(6)  Franklin Pierce –  He respected States’ Rights and would not allow the federal government to encroach upon them.

(7)  Grover Cleveland – He was known as the “last small government Democratic president.” He was anti-tax, anti- government tariff, and against an aggressive Congress (in fact, he used his veto power 414 times). He also refused to enlarge the influence of the US around the world (including Canada, Central America, and South America).

(8)  William Howard Taft – He was perhaps the last president in American history to believe in the limited powers of the Chief Executive.

(9)  Calvin Coolidge – He was a firm believer in the free market and believed the federal government should stay out of its way. He cut federal taxes by 50%, eliminated farm subsidies, and cut government spending by almost half.

(10)  Ronald Reagan – One can truly say that he lived up to his famous quote that “government is the problem, not the solution.”  He cut taxes, shaved budgets for non-military programs, historically forced the bankruptcy and then the downfall of Russia, reduced assistance to state and local governments, and implemented a massive down-sizing of government regulation and oversight.

(11)  Donald Trump – He was called “the most pure conservative President ever” by New York Magazine. He pursued pro-business policies, significantly reduced unemployment, reduced taxes and government regulation, confronted NATO regarding its unfair financial burden on the US, re-negotiated and signed new and equitable trade deals with foreign countries, and in doing so, led to one of the greatest economic booms in American history.  FACT.  He also influenced the judiciary for generations to come by not only appointing 3 conservative justices to the Supreme Court but also appointing more than 200 judges to the federal benches.

In short, the federal government, over the years, has assumed greater and greater power to intrude upon our lives, to run our lives, to coerce our businesses, to unduly burden our inalienable and God-given rights, to burden our property, and to interfere with our “pursuit of happiness,” believing it is helping its citizens (by helping take care of us and thus “reducing human effort”), by relieving us of the God-given right of free will and of the freedom to “pursue happiness.” Why exercise one’s God-given rights, why work, why get an education when government will take care of you and provide all the essentials for you. But you then have to ask yourself: If government doesn’t trust you to exercise your freedom and liberty, then why do we need freedom and liberty at all?  Why do we continue to use the phrase “The Land of the Free” when truthfully, we really aren’t free after all. We certainly can’t exercise all our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” freely, as well as the rights and privileges guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Increasingly, government creates and endorses policies to make the poorer and non-working (but capable of work) members of society “more comfortable in their poverty” rather than to pursue policies that are aimed at eradicating poverty. (This is one of the many areas I have devote my attention and have come up with solutions).  Why?  Because the government has no real interest in eradicating poverty. Poverty makes for good politics. It is a political expedient for the Democatic Party; it’s the foundation of their political agenda. Ignoring its motivation, the government has been using its powers as a massive re-distribution of wealth scheme, siphoning money from the upper but mostly middle class to those it believes need subsidizing.

President Ronald Reagan once explained (July 1, 1975): “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. If we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is. Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to ensure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves….”

Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.

When he was stumping for Barry Goldwater during the 1964 presidential election, Reagan gave a famous speech (perhaps one of his most famous) titled “A Time for Choosing” in which he said: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down – the upside is man’s old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, but the downside is the path to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.”

We all feel this foreboding sense that America is on a decline, although we enjoyed a short period of optimism with Donald Trump in the White House.

I rage against the Machine every day. I write, I help educate, I use my First Amendment rights to discuss and debate political issues, I come up with solutions and remedies, and I criticize all branches of government when they abuse their power and impose unconstitutional laws and policies.  I started a Tea Party movement in my county back in 2009 (which I am still active in to this day), I take up activist causes, I have established relationships with my representatives (federal, state, and local), and I provide free legal advice (especially when it comes to those who are victims of unconstitutional, abusive, or arbitrary government action).  I do it for my children and for my grandchildren someday. I do it for my friends and neighbors, whom I have great affection for, I do for those who are poor and uneducated and unable to comprehend the importance of our rights and the need to protect them, I do it for those unable to articulate or speak out, I do it for God.  And I do it for you too.

Many have raged against the machine over the years.  Reagan reminded us of this back in 1964, when he summoned the spirit of Patrick Henry: “You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. Is nothing in life is worth dying for?  Should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain…… You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, ‘There is a price we will not pay.’ ‘There is a point beyond which they must not advance.’

I hope wherever you are, you too are raging against the machine. A wise President Reagan concluded his “A Time for Choosing” Speech (1964) with these words: “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

You may forget lessons, birthdays, jokes, and memorable quotes, but always remember these words: “Thank You Lord,” “ I Love You,” “….. Til Death Do We Part,” and “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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –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 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.”   These are the important words to live by and which give our lives meaning.

References:

Diane Rufino, “A RE-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,” January 23, 2021 –  https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2021/01/23/a-re-declaration-of-independence/

Text, Ronald Reagan speech, “A Time for Choosing” (September 27, 1964)  –  https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/reagans/ronald-reagan/time-choosing-speech-october-27-1964

Stephanie Soucheray, “US Job Losses Due to COVID-19 Highest Since Great Depression, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, May 8, 2020.  Referenced at:  https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/05/us-job-losses-due-covid-19-highest-great-depression

James Madison, Federalist No 45 –  https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed45.asp

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States. If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them. The change relating to taxation may be regarded as the most important; ….. “

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To the Pitt County Commissioners, Put our Confederate Soldiers Monument Back !! Confederate Lives Mattered

by Diane Rufino, August 4, 2021

The Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument, sitting on the corner out in front of the Pitt County Courthouse, where it has proudly and majestically stood from November 11, 1914 until the Pitt County Commissioners (7-2), the diabolical cowards that they are, had it removed on June 22, 2020.

The following is a history of the Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument and its removal from the Pitt County Courthouse premises: 

The Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument is a simple yet eloquent memorial to the Confederate soldiers who died in the War Between the States. It presents a common soldier statue situated atop a tall tapered column. The soldier stands with his arms crossed as they rest atop the muzzle of his rifle with the butt resting on the ground in front of him. He wears a Confederate uniform with a wide brimmed hat. The column bears a bas-relief image of a Confederate flag unfurled around its pole. The plinth contains a medallion above the inscription, and the initials of the Confederate States of America are engraved on the cap above.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument, dedicated to “Our Confederate Dead” and “Erected by the People of Pitt County in Grateful Remembrance of the Courage and Fortitude of Her Confederate Soldiers,” was dedicated on November 11, 1914 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It is clearly a monument reflecting an important period in our American and North Carolina history, as well as being a monument of remembrance.  Its inscription reads: “Theirs was not to make reply, Theirs was not to reason why. Theirs was but to do and die.”

There is quite a distinguished and honorable history associated with the monument (also considered as a memorial). During the days of July 19 to 23, 1863, Greenville was raided as part of the Union effort under General Edward Potter to disable the rail routes in the eastern part of the state along with the cotton mills at Rocky Mount. Potter’s advance through New Bern, Kinston, Greenville, Rocky Mount, and Tarboro has become known as Potter’s Raid. Potter and his troops entered Greenville on Sunday the 19th without being met by Confederate troops. Locals reported widespread looting by the Union soldiers following the departure of the troops late in the afternoon.

The Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument has been the subject of calls for removal since 2006. A group of citizens petitioned The County Commissioners requesting removal of the towering and distinguished statue from its position on the front corner of the Pitt County Courthouse. On Monday, June 15, 2020, the Pitt County Board of Commissioners voted 7-2 (the two members being Tom Coulson and Lauren White) to immediately remove and relocate the monument. This decision apparently came in the wake of civil protest around the country and in our state following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 by police.

The monument was removed on June 22 and June 23, 2020, under cover of night, and relocated to storage. Apparently, it was Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance who arranged for the crane and the demolition crew.  Its location would not be revealed to the public. However, after more than a year since the monument was taken down from the courthouse premises, the question of where it will be relocated has still not been addressed. Would those same board members approve a motion to go through the many Pitt County cemeteries and have particular grave headstones removed?  Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin McLawhorn indicated that the board would make a decision where to relocate the monument in accordance with state law. And officials suggested that removal, storage, and relocation might cost upwards of $100,000, of course to be borne by the taxpayers. One suggestion for its new location was offered by Mr. Ephraigm Smith, a former County Commission, and that would be on his property, the Pig Palace which is located on Hwy 43 in the Chicod section of Pitt County (private property).  It was suggested that the Sons of Confederate Veterans (https://scv.org) take ownership of the monument in order that it remain in the hands of a non-profit public organization rather than private hands. On July 30 of this year the Commissioners adopted this proposal, thus “gifting” the Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument to the Sons of Confederate Veterans with certain restrictions (including requiring the monument to be relocated to a suitable site within Pitt County). Further discussion included having Ephraigm Smith lease his property, The Pig Palace, to the SCV, for purposes of the relocation. [As of August 2, 2021, Mr. Smith has not signed any such lease].  As he has stated in an interview with Amber Lake of WITN: “It’s a part of history. It’s probably not a part of history that we all will appreciate, but it is a part of the history of the South and North nonetheless.”

In the same story by Ms. Lake, a Chicod resident has this to say: “The monument doesn’t represent us. And what does it represent? It represents division in the United States and right now, we don’t really need anymore especially where it’s sitting on Hwy 43, a major highway, right next to an elementary school and right down the road from a high school. This sends a bad message.”

A monument, like a work of art, offers different interpretations to different people. There is no copyright on an interpretation. The monument may not represent that particular Chicod resident, but the monument was not dedicated or erected for him. It was dedicated to all the residents of Pitt County. It is part of the legacy of Pitt County and North Carolina in general.

Myron Rouse, a Pitt County resident, commented for another WITN article on the subject: “The monument is not a problem with me because hatred is in the heart. Not in a statue. But at the same time, I understand that a lot of people don’t want to visualize it on public property. This is where we come in a courthouse and we try to get blind justice and so often we don’t receive it so to start off before you even walk in, to see the symbol of racism, the courthouse is just not the proper place for it.”

Pastor Kenneth Jones, also a Pitt County resident, offered this comment at one Commissioner meeting: “I would like to see it out back. That doesn’t mean it necessarily will be. You can’t destroy America because of certain things individuals don’t like.”

By demolishing the foundation to the Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument, the County Commissioners have evidenced their intent to be “rid of the monument” and of their intent to never have it removed to the Pitt County Courthouse premises. By having Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance there to supervise adds an element of complicity,  a layer of government over-reach, and frankly, a threat of local tyranny.

The monument was “gifted to the People of Pitt County to honor the legacy of their county by the United Daughters of the Confederacy; it was not gifted to the Pitt County Board of Commissioners.

Most of this information comes from the site:  https://www.ncpedia.org/monument/pitt-county-confederate

As history shows, the great majority of Confederate soldiers were from small farms, just barely getting by, and not having any slaves. For all we know, the individual soldiers had individual opinions and views concerning the War to Prevent Southern Independence (aka, the War Between the States). Some certainly supported the secession movement and supported defending their new country, and some certainly supported slavery (or were ambiguous on the position). Others may have opposed the secession of the southern states, opposed the war, and opposed the institution of slavery.  It is also known that North Carolina suffered the highest number of losses of any state in the Confederacy at the battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863, in Gettysburg, PA), with a staggering 6,124 casualties. Statistically, that amounts to 25% (1 out of every 4) of all Confederate dead in that historic and significant battle. Yes, North Carolina more than paid the price for defending the Confederate States of America. In fact, some historians (noted on a monument at Gettysburg) estimate that 1 out of every 7 soldiers who died on the many battlefields of the War was from North Carolina.

Clyde Wilson, a noted historian of the Confederacy and member of the Abbeville Institute, published a short manual titled “Lies My Teacher Told Me” in 2016.  In this manual, he wrote:

“When we had the controversy over the Confederate flag in South Carolina in 2000, some 90 or more historians issued a statement declaring that the war was about slavery and nothing but slavery and that all contrary explanations are invalid. Fifty years ago, however, the foremost American historians believed that the war was primarily about economic interests and that slavery was a lesser issue (it became an issue only when it became politically expedient to raise it). The Kindergarten lesson of history is that human experience can be seen from more than one perspective. Never let yourself be put down by a so-called expert who claims to know more about ancestors than you do. The qualities needed for understanding history are not some special expertise but are the same qualities you look for in a good juror – the ability to examine the evidence and weigh it impartially and fairly. And history is not some disembodied truth. All history is the story of somebody’s experience. When we talk about the War it is our history we are talking about; it is part of our identity. To tell libelous lies about our ancestors is a direct attack on who we are. It is right and natural for all people to honor their forefathers. We have every right to honor our Confederate forebearers because they are ours. But there is more to it than that. We Southerners are especially fortunate in our forefathers. (The greatest minds of our founding generation came from the South. The supreme intellect that was able to craft our admirable founding documents – Thomas Jefferson with the Declaration of Independence and James Madison with the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights – were citizens of Virginia. Also, the first 7 of our 12 US presidents hail from the South). Our Southern forebearers not only won a place in our hearts, as their descendants, but they also won the lasting admiration of everyone in the civilized world who values an indominable spirit in defense of Freedom and Liberty…   Foreigners have a great advantage in judging the right and wrong of the War Between the States. They do not automatically assume that everything Yankees did and do is righteous, true, and unselfish. They view Yankees without the rose-colored glasses with which Yankees view themselves.  (Remember, the victors get the benefit of ‘telling the story’).

The most basic simple fact about the War is that it was a war of invasion and conquest. (It was a war to destroy the founding principle, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, of secession as an inherent and an inalienable right of each sovereign state. In fact, the Declaration itself was a secessionist document.). Once you get clear on this basic fact, everything else falls into place. This is no secret. It is plain in the record. The rulers of the North openly declared that it was a war of conquest, to crush and punish disobedience to government, to establish a powerful central government (as Alexander Hamilton originally called for), and to keep the South captive, as a source of wealth to benefit Northern businesses, infrastructure, and politicians. Abraham Lincoln’s pretty words about ‘saving the union’ and ‘saving government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ were merely window dressing and the exact opposite of the truth. His War was not at all for the purpose of preserving the Union. It was for the purpose of turning the Union into something that it was not meant to be.

The US government, comprised of representation from the Northern states and border states and under the control of a minority party (the Republican Party) launched a massive invasion of the South (note that almost all the battles were fought in the South, including the horrendous “March to the Sea” which involved a scorched-earth policy to inflict the maximum amount of damage and destruction). The Union destroyed the democratic, legitimate elected governments of fourteen Southern states (The Confederate States of America), killed as many of our forefathers as they possibly could, and then deprived them of their citizenship, deprived the former Confederate States of their rightful representation in Congress, subjected them to military occupation (under the punitive Reconstruction Acts), and did many other things that no American, North or South, could previously have imagined were possible. The War was so unpopular in the North that thousands of people (who, by the way, may not have owned slaves, but were fervently anti-black) were imprisoned by Lincoln and the Union Army without due process and elections (mainly in the border states) were conducted at bayonet point, and they had to import 300,000 foreign mercenaries to fill up its army.

What was the main reason the Southern states seceded?  Historians refuse to accept what those states plainly said: that they were tired of being ripped off by federal legislation that picked their pockets to siphon money for the benefit some people and select businesses in the North, that they could prove that this was the real economic effect of the Tariff (of Abominations, of 1828, then in 1832, and finally, Lincoln promised to raise the tariff back to its highest level. It was called the ‘Tariff of Abominations’ because of the effects it had on the Southern economy. It set a 38% tax on some imported goods and a 45% tax on certain imported raw materials.), and that they thought the Union should be of mutual benefit to all the states father than a burden to some in order to benefit others. (In fact, the Constitution was adopted by the states on the condition that it would create a ‘common government’ to manage the states equally).”

There are additional books on the subject, written by intellectually credible authors, including: “Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States: The Irrefutable Argument,” by Gene Kizer Jr, “The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths,” by Leonard M. Scruggs (a native of North Carolina), and “Is Davis a Traitor: Or Was Secession a Constitutional Right Previous to the War,” by Albert Taylor Bledsoe (originally published right after the War, in 1866), and “Southern Independence: Why War?” by Charles T. Pace (forward by Clyde Wilson).

Southerners are the most regionally loyal citizens of the United States. But paradoxically – or not – they have traditionally been the most loyal to the country at large, ready to repel insult or injury even though historically they have been the most vilified, maligned, and ridiculed people of the United States. Their loyalty has been severely tested, especially considering that all they ever asked was to be left alone.

Getting back to the Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument, One citizen opposed to the monument called it “racist and oppressive.”  Another said the monument was “erected to intimidate Negros when the Klan were riding through and burning homes and lynching people.” Jerry McRoy, enjoying a family legacy dating back to the American Revolution era, offers his esteemed view: “I see this monument as part of our local legacy… NOT as a legacy of hate, oppression, or subjugation, but rather, as a legacy of the bravery of the soldiers who laid down their lives to protect this county and this state. The Confederate soldiers memorialized by this monument were serving their country and their state with true loyalty. They were being true to themselves, to the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, and to their forefathers. They had something the seven duplicitous City County Commissions seem to lack…  loyalty and fortitude. The grit and determination in their convictions drove their service and sacrifice…. And sustained and justified their last full measure.” 

Officials elected by the people are obligated to abide by the laws of the state of North Carolina. They are not above the law and are not expected to break laws of the state and the federal government. They are not expected to betray the public trust; they are not expected to pander to one racial or ideological group over another or others. The seven Criminals, I mean, Commissioners, imputed a racist message to the monument when, in all honesty and clarity, none existed. The monument was simply a memorial to the young men who fought and died for their country, their state, and their new nation, just as a cemetery headstone memorializes the person interned below it. The Confederate Dead monument does not have a single inscription referencing slavery or the supremacy of the white race. In fact, there is no mention of slavery at all. It does not glorify the war nor promote any ill-motivated reason for fighting against the Union Army. It is facially neutral. Any racial overtone or racist connotation is merely a figment of one’s imagination. As Jerry McRoy noted in his letters to the local paper and to individual Commissioners: “Hatred is not found in a statue or monument. It starts in the mind of the individual and flows from animus in the heart.”

All said and done, the 7 members of the Pitt County Board of Commissioners (“The County Criminals” aka, “The County Cowards” aka, “The Criminal Enterprise Known as the Pitt County Board of Commissioners”) missed a golden opportunity to use the Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument issue as a chance to educate members of society, of Pitt County, on the War Between the States, the events leading up to it and the reasons the Southern States decided to leave the Union and form a new independent country, as was their sovereign right to do so. Objects, monuments, statues…  they are connected to history. And again, the fundamental lesson of history is that human experience can be seen from more than one perspective.

We can’t erase history or shove it down into the black recesses of history books that are never read merely because some people find the “story” offensive.  History is not a series of events that entertain the senses and delight the soul; sometimes it’s painful and a reminder of a time in our past when we didn’t live up to our founding principles. But still, it’s part of history. It provides an opportunity for individuals to discuss, debate, and learn; it provides an opportunity to share their views.

The lasting consequence of this dubious action, clearly in violation of North Carolina General Statute G.S. §100-2.1 (“Protection of Monuments, Memorials, and Works of Art”) and also in violation of federal Executive Order 13933 (signed June 26, 2020), may be to resurrect racism where it hasn’t existed for many many years.

Clearly, there are many potential legal challenges to the actions of the 7 Pitt County Commissioners and I wouldn’t put it past the good and decent citizens of Pitt County to pursue them. Some remedies which I know have been discussed include: ((a) The mandatory (if not voluntary) resignation of the 7 County Criminals, including County Manager Elliott; (b) The mandatory (if not voluntary) resignation of Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance; and (c) Relocating the Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument back to its original place at the courthouse.  There are certainly others, but it’s not my place to give those plans away.

If anyone would like more information about the monument’s removal, about the criminal conduct of the seven members of the Pitt County Board of Commissioners, the illegal action taken by Sheriff Paula Dance, or if anyone would like to get involved to see justice done regarding the actions taken by the Commissioners and in doing so, to once again bring honor to those Pitt County Confederate soldiers who gave their last full measure, please contact Mr. Jerry McRoy at (908) 246-8881. Concerned citizens can make a difference !!

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