While promoting nullification blog posts and community action against unconstitutional federal acts, I always come across a small, but vocal number of people who believe that the first and only solution to our problems is violence.
I’m talking full-blown war, blood in the streets, brother against brother, vigilante revolution. I hear it so much, it is starting to feel normal rather than inappropriate. And just as foolish as this pro-violence thought process is, these people always end their comment with this spineless conviction.
“I don’t do it since everyone else is a [insert derogatory term here]!”
In other words, I don’t do it since my neighbor hasn’t sent their son and daughter to their deaths.
I always imagine these people being isolationists who have only written a hate-filled email to their representative once in their life, and since that didn’t solve their woes, death it is.
If that’s the case, what are you doing here on a nullification blog? Why do you say you believe in the Constitution, but not the answers provided through the constitutional system? Yes, the Revolutionary War was violent and fought to regain liberty. But it was fought after years of trying other measures. Did our forefathers fight and die so we can use violence as our only means of problem solving against usurpation?
Maybe it’s because we glorify war.
You may think you will look bad-ass in some BDU’s holding an M4, rolling around the streets with impunity, fighting for the “cause.” But let’s look at the real people who signed their life away and raised their right hand because of the Constitution. Real people who know the horror of war first hand.
I did a laboratory rotation for grad school at Walter Reed Hospital. Every day, I would go to the cafeteria and I would get in line with fellow veterans missing arms and legs. I even met those who had everything from their torso down missing. No matter how long I worked there, the sight of missing appendages never got normal. I always had a weird feeling that made me queasy. And I continually struggled to find the words to make it right.
I’ve also listened to fellow veterans who have been booted from service due to PTSD. They were told they were doing the right thing while they were serving, only to find out once home that what they were doing overseas is unacceptable.
What do you say to someone who feels thrown away? What do you tell someone with two suicide attempt? What do you say to someone whose loved one is coming home in a box?
We have more veterans dying of suicide here at home, than in killed our wars – about 22 suicides a day. Is this just a statistic to you? Is this the glory you were searching for? Do you think you’ll save the world, get the girl, and then life will return to normal?
There is no glory in war. It is hell.
The Failed Revolution
Death as the only answer makes me think of the French Revolution. Even though the revolution proved the power lies within the people, the war was an absolute failure! Why? Because after you kill all these people, then what? Violent solutions are only about power. It’s about having your guy in the office. It creates a different ruling class and pretty much the same ruled class.
The French Revolution set in motion the formation of a public safety committee that determined a person’s guilt of harboring counter-revolutionary ideas. The sentence was death. And the bar to determine who should die continually got lower and lower. Why? The problems were never solved.
Even after a new constitution was written, the new ruling class decreed martial law, mandating standing armies to squash rebellion and even to quiet dissent. The French Revolution spawned terms such as “total war.” – a war with no differentiation between civilians and combatants. All the while, real problems, such as economic failures (which sparked the Revolution to begin with) were completely ignored. Power and death were the only things achieved.
The Big Picture of War
Yet we still glorify war in the face of such failures as French Revolution. Our very own Civil War’s solution is a myth. My public education, like most of yours, told me that the Civil War ended slavery.
The Civil War didn’t end slavery. Instead it ended after multiple steps and a change in attitude towards slavery. Nullification played a pivotal role in this. Northern states opposed the Fugitive Slave Act by refusing feds to use state and local jails, impeaching state officials who supported the act, and guaranteed jury trials for fugitive slaves. And, in Joshua Glover’s case, even a jail break.
Nullification was the first steps towards stopping slavery. The issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation at the end of the Civil War did not end all slavery. Five states, not apart of the “rebellion,” were allowed to continue the practice the abhorrent practice. And, ex-slaves were not even considered citizens. Instead slavery was abolished through the 13th Amendment.
Wars do not solve problems.
The Success of Peace
Don’t just say you believe in the Constitution. Instead, believe in the solutions found in the constitution system. Don’t ignore those solutions for some quick, thoughtless and ill-managed violence. After the American Revolution, usurpation happened shortly afterward in the form of the Alien and Sedition Acts. The rightful remedy was nullification, not violence.
The root of nullification lies in the 10th Amendment. It cannot be said enough: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Need a hit of something stronger? How about a dose of Federalist 46? “But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole.”
When California decided it was their right to determine the constitutionality of medical marijuana, they did so by simply legalizing it within the state borders way back in 1996. That action sparked the flames of the modern nullification movement. Since then, 19 states have followed suit, legalizing medical marijuana. States have decriminalized recreational pot. Two states even legalized weed completely. No tanks rolling through the streets.
When Kansas saw no authority of the federal government to infringe on the right to bear arms, Governor Brownback shot back at Eric Holder and the Obama Administration by saying, “The people of Kansas have repeatedly and overwhelmingly reaffirmed their commitment to protecting this fundamental right. The people of Kansas are likewise committed to defending the sovereignty of the State of Kansas as guaranteed in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.” As many communities saw Kansas leading the way, cities and counties across the nation adopted resolutions and ordinances to preserve the second amendment. Even other states were protecting firearms manufacturers with Firearms Freedom Acts. No troops marching through the streets.
When Missouri refused to implement REAL-ID, representatives and residents stayed vigilant. When it was found that a backdoor deal was made through the state Department of Revenue, subpoenas were issued and investigations ensued. This lead to the Director of the Department of Revenue stepping down, further anti-corruption legislation being introduced, and even sniffing out the governor. Other states didn’t even bother passing legislation to stop REAL-ID. The just refused to implement it. No bomb blasts.
When DHS started bribing the states with money and drones, five states stepped up to the plate and nullified warrantless surveillance by drones. Many local cities and counties followed suit.
When FDA and SWAT shakedown raw milk farms, farmers do not take up arms against them. Instead, communities get behind their local farmer, and support him or her with jury nullification.
When El Dorado sheriffs saw the abuse of power from federal law enforcement, they stripped any and all authority from the feds enforcing state laws.
So instead of half-hearted calls to arms that nobody will join anyway, and instead of pointing fingers at your neighbor for being a [insert derogatory term here] because they won’t take up arms in a violent revolution, why not give peace a chance?
Let’s have the spine to hold a town hall meeting; post fliers up; write a thoughtful message to your representative; talk with your sheriff; organize a rally; attend a committee hearing; educate on the usurpation and their solutions. Introduce resolutions, ordinances, and bills to your city, county and state level representatives. In other words, step up and take action!
Instead of violence, can we just give nullification a chance?