Don’t count your chickens before they come home to roost.
Author: J.D. Grimes
As you sit in the courtroom, waiting for the judge to appear and give his verdict, you consider the penalty you’ll have to pay. You know that you are guilty, and you know that the judge knows it too. The evidence has been presented, and the witnesses have testified. Execution awaits you.
You look up as the judge enters and takes his seat. He arranges his papers, and then looks you right in the eye. His expression betrays little emotion, as he begins to speak.
“This court finds you guilty.”
There it is. You knew you would be condemned, but somehow you can’t help but feel a heightened fear inside.
“The sentence is death,” he continues, as you bury your face in your hands.
He goes on: “I find no pleasure in delivering a death sentence. It’s one of the hardest things I ever have to do.”
“Yeah, a lot of good that does me,” you think to yourself. “This trial is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, too. Can we please just get it over with?”
But he continues. “Over the course of this trial, I’ve watched you closely. And as I’ve watched you, I’ve discerned that you’re fully aware of your guilt. Through your emotions and words, I can tell that you’re sincerely sorry for your crime, and have admitted to yourself that you’re worthy of the penalty. And I’ve found that I’ve developed a feeling for you that goes beyond natural compassion. As I’ve observed your anguish, I’ve come to love you like one of my own children.”
As the judge pauses for a moment, you look up, and see tears in his eyes. Yet as he continues, his face betrays a smile.
“As a judge, who knows only better than you your guilt and worthiness of death, I’ve sought in recent days to reconcile mercy and justice. During that time my son, who as you know is an attorney, has been helping me. We’ve worked tirelessly to find a means to grant you pardon. And finally, we found a way.”
You think to yourself, “Is this really happening?” In shock, you are afraid to believe your ears. But the judge is still smiling upon you, even while tears yet glisten in his eyes.
He holds up a paper, and says, “This, my friend, is your pardon. All you have to do is sign it, and you are a free man. No strings attached.”
Still unsure whether this is really happening, you stammer out, “But, but Judge, how did you? Why, why did you do this for me?”
“I did it because I love you,” the judge replies. “As to how… well, that was my son’s doing.”
You take a quick glance around the courtroom, expecting the judge’s son to come forward and explain. But he is nowhere in sight.
“You see,” the judge continues in a choked voice, “he paid the penalty.”
Confused, you ask the judge, “What do you mean? How? I was supposed to be put to death. The penalty wasn’t a fine that someone else could pay for me. If it was, I could have just worked it off.”
“Yes, that’s right,” answers the judge, “your penalty was death. It wasn’t something that you could work off. It could only be paid with your life.”
“But you see, my son and I didn’t want you to have to die. So last week, we had an execution.”
The judge pauses for a moment to collect himself, and you ask, “So, you mean, you put someone else to death in my place?”
The judge nods his head.
“But who? Another criminal from the prison?”
“No,” the prosecuting attorney replies for the judge, who is too moved to speak. “That would not have been acceptable. Putting someone to death who is already guilty would only pay for their own crime. They had to be innocent for their death to pay for yours instead.”
You glance at the judge, who is nodding his head in agreement. And then it dawns on you.
“You mean,” you say, “you mean you executed your son?”
Again the judge nods, and says, “You see, I love you like a son, and he loved you like a brother. And he was willing to die in your place.”
Overcome, you begin to weep. “How can I ever repay you?” you ask. And the judge answers, “You can’t. But it is my hope that you’ll return my affection, as a son to his father, and be as a second son to me. And that you’ll live a clean life from now on.”
The judge beckons you to come forward, holding out the pardon to you.
“The penalty has been paid. Sign, and you’re a free man.”
The Rest of the Story
How does the story end? What do you do? Do you sign the pardon?
That is a question that only you can answer.
And it is a question that you will answer. Because this isn’t just a story.
You see, the Bible tells us that we’re all in the same place as the guilty criminal: we’re all guilty of death and are just awaiting the judgement.
But how can that be?
The Bible is the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), and in it he tells us about how he created this earth and the first people on it (Genesis 1). At that time, all of the creation was perfect and eternal, including man. And God gave it all to us, with only one stipulation: that we obey him. And he established death as the penalty for disobedience. Then he made just one, simple rule. (Genesis 2)
But the first people quickly rebelled against God. They directly defied him by transgressing the one command he had given them. This ended the perfection of creation: the earth is now under a curse of suffering and corruption. And while men are given a chance to live, we are now mere mortals, and all of our lives end in death. (Genesis 3)
All of us have inherited mortality from our parents. And no one has ever deserved anything more: each person has rebelled against God in one way or another, and all are therefore worthy of the penalty of death. (Romans 5:12)
Like the judge in the story, God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4). He knows that we are guilty, and he has to condemn us. But also like the judge in the story, God loves us and is merciful toward us. He made us to be immortal, and he still wants that for us. He wants to deliver us from permanent, eternal death.
And like the judge in the story, God found a way to reconcile justice with his mercy. And he did it just as the judge did: he made a way for our pardon by asking his Son to take the penalty in our stead.
God’s son’s name is Jesus, and when God asked him to take the penalty in our place, Jesus said yes. Unlike us, Jesus always obeys his Father (John 8:29). And like the judge’s son in the story, Jesus loves us like his own family. And now we are, because to take our place, Jesus had to become a man.
As the son of God, Jesus cannot die. To do that, he had to become a son of man. And he did. He was born to a virgin, and grew up to be a man. And like the son of the judge in the story, he didn’t become guilty in the process. Even as a man, he always followed the will of his Father. Only because of his manhood and innocence can he take our place.
And he did take our place. When he was just 33 years old, he was condemned and put to death by the governing authorities on a cross on Calvary. He died, and paid our penalty. And because of that, we can now be pardoned.
But here is where the truth diverges from our story. Because the Bible tells us that Jesus did more than just die: he also rose again (Acts 13:30). He not only died, he overcame death, and passed from mortality to immortality; from death unto life. Those who are pardoned aren’t just freed from the penalty of death, we have our immortality restored. Instead of eternal death, when we die we can receive eternal life. Death no longer has to be permanent, because the penalty has already been paid.
And that brings us back to our original question: will you accept the pardon?
You don’t have to ask God to save you, because he’s already done that. His Son has already paid the penalty. It is finished (John 19:30). There is nothing that you or he can do to provide a more perfect way: it has all been taken care of already. All you have to do is accept God’s pardon. “The penalty has been paid. Sign, and you’re a free man.”
But God’s judgement throne is in heaven, and you are down here on earth. So how can you sign the pardon? How can you have it applied to you?
And the answer is simple: you don’t have to. You don’t even have to sign!
You see, when Jesus rose again, he ascended back into heaven, and right now he is seated on the right hand of his Father (Romans 8:34). And God has appointed him to be your heavenly attorney. You don’t have to sign yourself, he can sign it for you. All he’s waiting for is for you to give him the directive.
But wait! There’s more. Because Jesus is God, he knows everything. He knows your thoughts and feelings. And he knows whether you want to be pardoned before you even ask him. Because of this, the Bible tells us that all we have to do is believe (John 3:16). Just believe, and he’ll take care of all the rest.
The only question is, will you?
Let’s return to the courtroom for a moment, and see how our poor criminal responded.
You might think that he ran up and embraced the judge, crying, and laughing, and telling him that he’d never be able to repay him. Telling him he’d never break the law again. Telling him, telling him that he would do his best to take the place of the son he had sacrificed to save him. That he’d love and serve him like he was his own father.
But what if that isn’t what happened?
What if instead, the condemned man jumped up in a rage and started shouting, “How dare you? How dare you condemn me? What right do you have to tell me what to do or how to live my life? Did I ask you for help? No! And I don’t need it either Mr. So-high-and-mighty. I’m a pretty good person, and yeah, I made a mistake, but what right does that give you to condemn me to death? Well, you can keep your stupid old pardon. I don’t want it. Don’t think that you can just come along and think that you can use me to make yourself feel like some great person just because you forgave me for something you shouldn’t have condemned me for in the first place.”
Shocked, the judge would respond, “You were guilty under the law. All I have done is give a just sentence. But I’ve put my own son to death to make way for your pardon. If you don’t sign it, he’ll have died in vain.”
“So what? Your the idiot who had such a crazy idea in the first place. I didn’t ask you to kill your son. As far as I’m concerned, it’s your loss, and maybe it serves you right.”
Would not all in the courtroom leap to their feet, and quickly escort this man to his just death?
Yet God, in his abundant mercy, is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. And so he pushes back the date of execution, giving us more time to accept the pardon. Many of us are given 70 years or more to repent and turn to him. Who could but joy at the honor to serve such a just and loving Creator?
Yet many do not accept the pardon. They think that their long lives, filled with good things, must mean that everything is all right, not knowing that the longsuffering of God leads them to repentance (Romans 2:4). And the Bible says that they are without excuse. Because even if they never heard this good news preached, they are still culpable for not seeking the Creator after having observed his glory through his creation. (Romans 1:20)
One day, each of them will die, and will stand before God’s judgement seat. All of us will stand before Jesus to be judged. Each of us will receive one of two things: everlasting life with him, if our name is on the pardon; or eternal death, if it is not.
Which brings us back to the question: Is your name there?
The Other Ending
Let’s return to the courtroom for a moment, and see how our poor criminal responded.
You might think that he ran up and embraced the judge, crying, and laughing, and telling him that he’d never be able to repay him. Telling him he’d never break the law again. Telling him, telling him that he would do his best to take the place of the son he had sacrificed to save him. That he’d love and serve him like he was his own father.
This seems like a most natural ending for the story. It is the response that we would expect. And it is the response that God expects, too. But he does more than just give us the honor of serving him: he gives us power to serve him.
You see, the Bible explains that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection did more than just overcome death. He also had to overcome three other things to be able to serve his Father: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Most of us haven’t just given in to rebellion against God. Most of us have struggled to try and overcome these things. But none have been able to do it without fail. All have sinned (Romans 3:23).
All, except for Jesus.
When God’s Son came to earth, he had to struggle against all of these things: the attractions of the world, the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and the temptations of the devil. The difference is that he overcame. And through him, we can overcome, too.
Because God does more than just call us his children. Once we are cleansed from the stain of sin through the death of his Son, he sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts (Romans 8:15). With his Spirit within us, we have more than just cleansing from sin: we have the power to overcome it, just as he overcame (1 John 5:4). God doesn’t just call us his children and servants, he gives us the power to fulfill those roles (Philippians 2:13). Through the hope of his resurrection, we can overcome the world; through the power of his name, we can overcome the flesh and the devil (James 4:7).
Your sins can be cleansed, the penalty is paid. You can be God’s child, not just in name, but in deed.
The only question is, will you sign the pardon?
“Sign, and you’re a free man”
Cream of the Crop
A yellowish fatty liquid found in the gizzards of some birds. It is considered a delicacy.
Letter to NRSC RE “Pull Together”
One year ago, on September 27, 2014, I sent this letter to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in response to an email I received from them asking for donations. The email called for Republicans to all “pull together” and help out the financially challenged Republican senate candidates as the 2014 mid-terms approached.
As a concerned citizen I’d like to ask you to consider why Republicans are relatively underfunded compared to Democrats. Might it have something to do with the fact that NRSC and others have poured resources into squashing conservative candidates, just to save the seats of spineless establishment incumbents?
Perhaps the most disgraceful example of this is Mississippi, where the money was used to buy illegal Democrat votes just to keep a RINO like Cochran in power.
Early on while the election looked good these RINOs were out there bashing the Tea Party (which means caring, patriotic Americans), but when things get hot they turn around and ask us all to pull together. Unfortunately, folks like Mitch McConnell are almost as good a[t] dividing and destroying the Republican party as Obama is at doing the same to our country.
Somehow I got on your mailing list, but I will be unsubscribing. I refuse to donate money to anyone who is just going to support the people who aren’t doing a darn thing to save our country.
I will never give to you a dime as long as I live and remember Mississippi. My contributions will go through the Senate Conservatives Fund and others who love our country, not just our money and the power it brings them.
Thank you for listening.
Enraged — Too Late
It is a sad day when people are more enraged over the sale of baby body parts than over the murder of the babies. Once the babies are dead, what difference does it make?
We’re Here To Help
Tea Party candidates to the Government: “Hello, we’re from the people, and we’re here to help.”
Pluto Looks Young
Six months ago, I wrote about the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and predicted the NASA scientists would be surprised by the former-planet’s youth once the spacecraft arrived there.
While we can’t say for sure what we’ll find when New Horizons reaches Pluto, one thing seems almost certain: the astronomers are probably in for a surprise.
Well, yesterday New Horizons arrived, and today NASA is saying this:
New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise: a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.
The mountains likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters relative to the 4.56-billion-year age of the solar system — and may still be in the process of building, says Jeff Moore of New Horizons’ Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team (GGI). That suggests the close-up region, which covers less than one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.
Moore and his colleagues base the youthful age estimate on the lack of craters in this scene. Like the rest of Pluto, this region would presumably have been pummeled by space debris for billions of years and would have once been heavily cratered — unless recent activity had given the region a facelift, erasing those pockmarks.
“This is one of the youngest surfaces we’ve ever seen in the solar system,” says Moore.
Unlike the icy moons of giant planets, Pluto cannot be heated by gravitational interactions with a much larger planetary body. Some other process must be generating the mountainous landscape.
“This may cause us to rethink what powers geological activity on many other icy worlds,” says GGI deputy team leader John Spencer of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Perhaps they would do better to rethink Pluto’s age. The Bible declares that God made all of the heavenly bodies on day 4 of creation week, only about 6000 years ago. That’s why literally all of the the objects in the solar system look much younger than Big Bang scientists expect.
Take for example another post on the NASA blog, just prior to the one on Pluto, titled Charon’s Surprising and Youthful Varied Terrain:
Mission scientists are surprised by the apparent lack of craters on Charon. […] relatively few craters are visible, indicating a relatively young surface that has been reshaped by geologic activity.
Another example is the mysterious bright spots on Ceres that were discovered by the Dawn spacecraft:
The closer we get to Ceres, the more intriguing the distant dwarf planet becomes. New images of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft provide more clues about its mysterious bright spots, and also reveal a pyramid-shaped peak towering over a relatively flat landscape.
Dawn has been studying the dwarf planet in detail from its second mapping orbit, which is 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above Ceres. A new view of its intriguing bright spots, located in a crater about 55 miles (90 kilometers) across, shows even more small spots in the crater than were previously visible.
At least eight spots can be seen next to the largest bright area, which scientists think is approximately 6 miles (9 kilometers) wide. A highly reflective material is responsible for these spots — ice and salt are leading possibilities, but scientists are considering other options, too.
While it is possible that these spots are being caused by a reflective material, I think the most likely explanation is that the region at the center of this crater is volcanically active and that these spots are caused by the presence of hot magma in the region. Of course, the scientists would never expect that. A body so small would be cold and dead after billions of years.
As Psalm 19 says,
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
Without a knowledge of the Creator, these scientists and their spacecraft are literally wandering around in the dark.
On this 4th of July, as we celebrate our independence, I think it is an appropriate time to discuss the topic of states’ rights. This topic has been brought to the forefront by recent events, especially surrounding the Supreme Court. Just today I saw a poll that showed that 33% of Americans support states’ rights. This is a sharp increase over prior numbers, and was attributed to the recent rulings on homosexual “marriage” and Obamacare.
There have been other times like this in our nation’s history, where states’ rights have been promoted in the face of tyranny. The most prominent example would be the War for Southern Independence, known more generally as the Civil War.
Such times are steeped in controversy surrounding complex issues. And often, it seems as if the issue of states’ rights is only brought into the fray in desperation. That would seem to be our current case, as those who disagree with the way in which our leaders are directing our country turn to the states to aid them in civil disobedience and opposition.
Thus all to often, the issue of states’ rights is only examined within the context of an already heated debate. So much so, that it is often confounded with the other issues at hand. This is true of many peoples’ view of the Civil War, to the extent that secession is viewed as the equivalent of slavery and villainy. This in turn contributes to a vicious cycle, in which we become ever more timid to bring up the issue of states’ rights in times of relative tranquility, lest we should brew a storm (or be accused of doing so). It is therefore very seldom, if ever, that we are able to have a free and open discussion of states’ rights.
So on this holiday, as we set aside our politics in favor of patriotism, let us seize the opportunity to consider this important issue. In doing so, we must lay aside our current circumstance, and the circumstances of history which are so often associated with this issue. We must lay aside the companion emotions as well, and try to adopt the reasoning mind of the inquiring scholar.
What is States’ Rights?
No, the heading isn’t a typographical error. We do not ask the question, “What are states’ rights?”, but a much more fundamental one: “What is states’ rights?” Examining the particulars of what rights states may or may not have is not our current scope. The question which we will examine, and which is antecedent to that one, is the basis for and validity of the very concept of states’ rights.
This concept draws on an even deeper concept, that of rights itself. We might start by considering the definition of a right:
A moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.
This definition recognizes two different kinds of rights: moral, and legal. Our country is founded upon the self-evident truth that mankind has a Creator who has granted him certain rights. These rights come from God, and therefore we might indeed refer to them as moral rights. Moral rights, as morals themselves, are given by God, and are therefore universal in application. They go beyond any legal or human framework, which is why they are separate from legal rights.
Beyond these rights granted to mankind by God, we may also be granted certain legal rights within a given legal system. America’s founders understood the necessity that any such system always be in perfect harmony with the rights granted by God. Because God is sovereign over all, the rights which he has granted necessarily trump any actions of ourselves or our legal constructs. Nor do those in legal authority have the power to take those rights away, because they are inferior to the one who granted them.
Within a legal system, we may also construct abstract entities that are granted certain rights. This is the nature of the case which we now examine, that of the rights of states within the Union.
The Grantor of Rights
Having considered the nature of rights, we must recognize that the grantor of a right is fundamental to its character. We must therefore consider who has granted states’ rights, if indeed any such things exist. To answer this question, we should look first to the pattern of God-given rights. God, as our Creator, granted rights to us, his children. It is only logical that the creator of a thing must be the one to grant it moral rights. Indeed, he is the only one who has the power or right to do so. It would be very strange indeed for the creature to grant rights to his maker, or the children to their father.
Thus, in searching for the grantor of states’ rights, we would do well to begin by looking for the creator of the states.
This approach is backward to that which is generally taken. People usually assume that rights are granted not by one’s creator, but by the current legal authority that one is under. But this is contrary to the beliefs upon which this nation was founded. The founders understood that there are other rights beside legal ones. They did not deny legal authority, or that legal authority could grant them rights, and revoke those rights which it had granted when it saw fit. Rather, they asserted the superiority of God-given rights, of Creator-given rights, to any legal authority.
States’ rights are usually discussed under the presupposition that all rights states might have would be granted by the Federal Government. The discussion is limited to what rights, if any, are granted by the current legal authority for the states. Thus only half of the picture is analyzed, leaving the most important side of the topic unexplored. Creator-given rights are by nature superior to legal rights. Should we not therefore also consider the possibility that the states might be granted certain rights by their creator(s)?
Who Created the States?
We must ask then, who created the states?
This is not a legal question. We aren’t asking who created the states in terms of the current legal authority. We are asking who created the states in the most practical sense. And the answer is clear, both historically and legally: the states were created by the people.
The usual approach to states’ rights assumes, in effect, that the states were created by the Federal Government. Yet this is manifestly untrue. The states were not created from parts of the Federal Government, but the Federal Government was created by the states—by the people. The people created the states, and then through them created the Federal Government.
This fact is demonstrated in many ways, both historically and by our present legal institutions.
Historically, we all know that the states started out as colonies. Colonies founded by, and comprised of, people. This is how all of the states were created (except for West Virginia). The people created their own legal institutions, and then brought those institutions under the legal authority of the Federal Government as states.
One might argue that many of the original thirteen colonies were actually created by Britain. However, this conflates legal authority with moral sovereignty. The colonies may have originally resided under the legal authority of the British Crown, but they were not under its moral sovereignty. As the founders so eloquently explained in the Declaration, the people are morally sovereign under God. They are the ones with the superior rights, and nothing a government does has any moral authority without their consent and support. Thus, while the colonies were established by the legal authority of the British Crown, it is only the moral authority of the colonists that acted as the sovereign force behind the creation of those colonies.
Legally speaking, the Constitution, the highest law of the land, is unambiguous in demonstrating that the people are the creators of the states. Article 4, Section 3 says:
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
First, note that there is nothing here prescribing how states ought to be created. New states aren’t created by Congress, they are only “admitted by the Congress.” Nor does Congress have the right to create states by splitting or combining existing states, without the consent of the people of those states. The right and power to create and destroy states is firmly in the hands of the people.
A Hierarchy of Sovereignty
The founding of our country was based on the idea of a hierarchy of sovereignty. This concept was derived from the basic teachings of scripture. In this hierarchy God is sovereign. He created man in his own image, and gave him dominion, and vested him with certain unalienable rights. Therefore, man is sovereign under God. The people then acted together to create the states. Therefore the states are sovereign under the people. Then the people acted through the states to create the federal government. The states created the federal government, and it is sovereign only under them—and under the people.
The intent of the founders was not to insert a layer of sovereignty between the people and the states. This is manifest by the fact that all powers not vested in the federal government were reserved for the states and for the people. The federal government doesn’t represent an arbiter sandwiched between the people and their states. Rather, it represents a contract, drawn up by the states, to create a federal institution of government to which certain powers are collectively delegated for the common good of the people of the several states. The preamble to the Constitution says it well:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We the People
The Constitution’s famous first words are “We the People,” yet it was the states that sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention, and the states that had the power of ratifying it or rejecting it. Why is this?
The founders did not put a difference between the people and the states. The states are the representatives of their respective peoples. Nay, the states are the people, and are vested with all of their moral sovereignty.
Therefore the question is really not one of states’ rights, but of the rights of the the people when organized into a state. It is about the rights of man. If the people of a state vest one of their God-given rights in that state, no one but those people can revoke it. Only the people of the state have that right, have that power. And they may grant or revoke those rights from their state at will.
We might have to consult a Constitutional lawyer to answer the question of what legal rights a state has. But we need only consult the people of a state to know what moral rights that state has. The federal government has no more right to infringe upon the God-given rights of the people when they have vested them in a state than when they have not.
This cuts right to the heart of the issue, and reveals those who argue against states’ rights from a legal perspective for what they are: tyrants, whether they realize it or not. One cannot celebrate Independence Day without celebrating states’ rights. One cannot believe in God-given rights without believing in states’ rights. Only if the federal government can dictate how we exercise our rights can it tell us that we cannot vest those rights in the states which created it. As every true-blooded American knows, the duty of the federal government is not to regulate the people’s rights and how they are expressed, but to protect and defend the free expression of them. Our rights come from God, not the federal government, so it has no authority to tell us how we should use them.
Yet this leaves open the question, “How we should use our rights?” What rights should the people exercise through the states? While some of our rights can be exercised collectively, they are granted to each of us by God as individuals, and are usually exercised at the individual level. For this reason the question of states’ rights is usually focused around secession, or otherwise rebelling in some way against the actions of the federal government.
It would be remiss therefore, not to consider the question of whether states have the right of secession. Or, more precisely, whether the people of a state have the right to secede. Remember that we are not asking whether the people have a legal right, a Constitutional right, to secede. We are asking whether they have a moral right, a God-given right, to secede.
When properly framed in this way, the question hardly requires an answer of more than one word. And were it not Independence Day, we might stop there. But on this day, as we celebrate the secession of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain, we must take a moment to consider more deeply the answer which our founders gave to this question, an answer which they sealed with their own blood. An answer to which they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
For the founders not only believed that the people had the right of secession, but they believed that right should be exercised through the states. And this they did when they signed the Declaration of Independence. If one will agree with the founders that they had the right to independence from Britain, then he must also believe that the people of every state have the right at every moment to independence from all others. As the founding fathers declared, the people have the right to alter or abolish their government, and institute a new one as they see fit. They further urged the conviction that there is a time, when it is more than a right, when it is a duty of a people to throw off a government.
There will be those who argue that the right to abolish a government must only be exercised by the agreement of all of the people. But this is to say that it is a right which the people can only exercise collectively, and within the confines of the current legal system. Let such a one read the closing of the Declaration of Independence:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
If one state may not secede without the permission of the other 49, then the thirteen colonies could not have seceded without the consent of the state of Great Britain and its many other colonies and holdings scattered across the globe. This state of things would amount to nothing more than the slavery of each individual to the collective will of the people. This is the very concept upon which Nazi Germany was built. It is the foundation of Marxism, socialism, communism. It is, indeed, the very antithesis of what the founders both practiced, and so eloquently preached in the Declaration of Independence:
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.
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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 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.
Today, we celebrate freedom from tyranny. Today we celebrate Independence. Today, we celebrate states’ rights. Today, we celebrate secession.
One year ago, on June 30, 2014, I sent this letter to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in response to their support of Thad Cochran in the Mississippi Republican primary Senate race. He was being opposed by Chris McDaniel, who would have surely won the race if Cochran’s campaign hadn’t hired Democrats to illegally vote for him.
I am so disgusted at your work in helping to re-elect Thad Cochran in Mississippi. As a conservative, a *true* republican and a true American, I am fed up with the Republican party establishment. We don’t want Thad Cochran. We don’t need Thad Cochran. We want true leaders who believe the same self-evident conservative truths as the likes of George Washington. We want new leadership like Chris McDaniel.
I see your website header says “building a new senate”. Is that supposed to be a joke? Reelecting Thad Cochran is not building a new senate. Thad Cochran has been in Washington for decades, and he has done nothing to stop the liberal agenda. Rather, he has helped to push it forward. Republicans do not want senators like Cochran, and that is why he had to use smear tactics and call on Democrat voters to win his campaign. We are ashamed to admit that Cochran is an American, much less a Republican.
I will never, ever donate to you. Ever. And I will certainly encourage everyone else to follow my lead. My donations will go to the Senate Conservatives Fund, where I know the money will be used to elect honest, freedom loving, hardworking citizens like Chris McDaniel; not RINOs like Cochran.
Thanks alot for helping to elect “leaders” who will just follow the Democrats in destroying America.
Be forewarned: We will never forget Mississippi.
This is the one year anniversary, and no, I haven’t forgotten Mississippi. I hope you haven’t either.
Why Mark Meadows Should Have Said No
A few days ago, congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) was fired as subcommittee chairman on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by the Republican “leadership” in retaliation for his opposition to Obamatrade. Yesterday, after a nationwide outcry, he had a meeting with the committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and was reinstated.
This is being hailed among conservatives as a victory over Boehner. But I disagree. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that congressman Meadows did the wrong thing. He shouldn’t have accepted the position back. He should have said no. And here is why.
Reason 1: It’s Unseemly
Accepting back the position looks bad for two reasons. The first is that it makes it look like Meadows might have been compromised. In Washington, anytime there is a backroom discussion between members of congress, there’s trouble. And when Chaffetz comes out and talks about how he and Meadows understand each other much better now, it makes one question whether Meadows was asked to make any concessions to get his position back.
I should make it clear, I’m not saying that Meadows did make any concessions. In fact, he said that he will still never vote for Obamatrade. And although you can’t trust anyone in Washington, I don’t doubt him. My point is that it looks bad. It looks sleazy. It looks just like something that a politician would say, while doing something else.
That surely isn’t the image the Meadows intended to give. Which is why he should have said no.
Reason 2: It’s Inconsiderate
Continuing in the same theme, it looks inconsiderate for Meadows to accept back his position. He isn’t the only one who has been punished for “voting his conscience.” There were others who were fired for opposing Obamatrade as well. What about them? Don’t they deserve their positions back, too?
And let’s not forget, that this isn’t the first time that Boehner has retaliated. What about the others that he’s taken action against in the past? Why does Meadows get his position back, but they get crushed by the Washington Machine?
Again, this shows why it is unseemly for Meadows to accept back his position. Shouldn’t he show solidarity with his fellow rebels?
Certainly Meadows didn’t mean to be inconsiderate. Which is why he should have said no.
Reason 3: It’s Being a Puppet
By saying yes, Meadows has turned himself into a pawn, which can be fired and reinstated at will. He sacrificed his manhood, his independence, his value as an individual. He’s allowed himself to become a mere token, jostled around to apply or relieve political pressure on the establishment’s whim.
By saying yes, Meadows was saying that it is OK to fire him for voting with the people. “You can always come back and reinstate me if you need to, and we’ll all be friends again.”
Of course, that isn’t the message Meadows intended to send. Which is why he should have said no.
Reason 4: It’s Becoming Beholden
Further, by accepting his position back, Meadows has made himself beholden to Chaffetz and Boehner. They can now point to this as a down-payment on future political favors. And let’s face it, even if it is only subconsciously, one is bound to feel that way. It has the affect of forging a bit of a bond between Meadows and the leadership, at least psychologically.
This feeling is likely to go beyond just Meadows himself, but could easily effect others on his side of the issue.
Thus, by saying yes, Meadows may unintentionally be making it harder to rebel the next time. Which is why he should have said no.
Reason 5: It’s a Truce
This leads us to the biggest problem with saying “yes”: rather than wining ground, it only maintains the status quo.
Boehner and the House Leadership were under intense political pressure for their misdeeds. People are fed up with their “leadership,” which is why so many of them called Washington to demand that Meadows be reinstated. Boehner could feel another rebellion coming. So he made a cheap political move: he reinstated Meadows in hopes that it would release the pressure of the American people breathing down his back, and things could return to normal.
And return to “normal” they will. Boehner has already made that quite clear. There will be more punishments in the very near future. Some may already be on the way.
Of course, Meadows had no intention of surrendering to Boehner. Which is why he should have said no.
What Meadows Should Have Said
When he was approached by Chaffetz to offer his position back, Meadows should have replied something like this:
Representative Chaffetz, I’m sorry, but I can’t in good conscience accept the position back.
You must remember that I’m not the only one to be “punished” for my opposition to Obamatrade, and that this isn’t the first time that Boehner has retaliated against conservatives. I can’t accept my position back as long others will continue to be punished. And as far as I can tell, that will continue to happen as long as Boehner is in power.
Look, you and I both know that Boehner is only asking you to reinstate me because of the pressure from the American people. He hasn’t changed his tactics, nor will he. He’s just trying to maintain the status quo. But isn’t that what these people are really fed up with? The people who have been melting your phone lines don’t want to see you stop punishing conservatives. They don’t want to see the leadership start helping conservatives. Sir, they want to see the leadership start leading the conservative charge. That is what the leadership is supposed to do, after all.
But Boehner has demonstrated repeatedly that he isn’t capable of conservative leadership. So, the only way to fix this problem and relieve the tension for good, is if Boehner steps down as Speaker. By repeatedly attacking the freshmen Representatives who have been sent here on a clear mission, he has demonstrated his unworthiness of that position. And by joining with him in that, you have shown yourself unworthy of chairing this committee. If you ask me, sir, the right thing for you to do isn’t to reinstate me. The right thing for you to do is to step down, and show Boehner the way. That’s the only thing that my constituents deserve, and I will accept nothing less.
In conclusion, I’d like to make something very clear: I’m not attacking Mark Meadows. I’m not saying that he’s traitor, or worse, a RINO. I’m saying this: like many people in Congress, Meadows is willing to fight the leadership, but he doesn’t know how to beat them. And let’s be clear: this was a fight. But it wasn’t a victory. Neither side won, because nothing has changed. The status quo and Boehner’s power are preserved. This isn’t a win, it’s resistance. And I applaud Mark Meadows for resisting. I only wish that he’d gone beyond that, and done more than just resist. I wish he’d called their bluff. I wish he’d have said no. Then maybe we would have had more than resistance. Maybe we’d have won.