by Jeff Matthews

The United States government has become an empire. No longer is war an intermittent event that comes about once every handful of decades. We are in perpetual war somewhere. This state of affairs, alone, costs us trillions of dollars – trillions that could be used at home to feed, shelter and educate the middle class and poor. How about no more war machine? Wouldn’t it be nice if millions and millions of Americans just said “no” to war and refused to go along with, and fund, an Unconstitutional war machine? Why not endorse nullification against the powers that be?

Then, we have the War on Drugs. Countless hundreds of billions of dollars are spent policing marijuana use. We employ police officers, district attorneys, county attorneys, their assistants, judges, jailers, probation officers, record-keepers and parole officers – all by the hundreds of thousands. Plus, we must build buildings, including prisons, jails, police stations, courts and administrative buildings, to house their activities, and we must provide them with cars, equipment, uniforms, office supplies, computer systems and utilities to enable them to function.

Having accounted for the bureaucratic costs, we still have monumental costs associated with the loss of production when we take a person from employment and prosecute and/or confine him or her. Whether or not the person would otherwise work a lot or a little, this is production taken away from the economy, rendering those who are arrested and/or confined as a pure tax on the economy.

For those confined, not only are they no longer in the work force, but they are being fed, clothed, sheltered and having their health care needs met on the tax payer’s dole. And why is this? “Because marijuana causes crime.”

Seriously, it would seem that most people can readily ascertain that crime is only connected with marijuana use because marijuana, itself, has been decreed as illegal to possess or use. Take away the crime of possession and use, and the incidental crimes, associated with the premium charged to acquire, conceal and traffic it, largely go away.

What would America look like if all the resources put into prosecuting marijuana use were put into infrastructure, schools, colleges, libraries, parks and health care? One can only imagine. A liberal asks these questions and sees what appear to be obvious answers concerning a gross misapplication of our resources. In this vein, a liberal should ask, “What provisions in the Constitution even allow this gross misapplication to occur?” The Constitution speaks for itself – not through judges, pundits and politicians. Wouldn’t it be nice if Americans stood united and put an end to this, once and for all? Why not endorse nullification against the powers that be?

It should be increasingly obvious that nullification is not just for Conservatives. Liberal ideals can be, and have been, accomplished through a concerted refusal to obey rules established in an unjust system. That is all nullification is. When you get down to basics, and begin to see the forest through the trees, nullification is civil disobedience. People do not even need the Constitution or any other “theory of the universe” to engage in effective nullification. If a system, or one of its components, is unjust, disobey it. That is what it means to nullify.

I could go on with many examples in addition to those above, but instead, I will only address one more. This is the massive and increasing wealth gap. Conservatives seem to pride themselves in their tolerance for massive wealth disparity (although many are awakening). To paraphrase a recent quote I saw, poking fun at the illusion under which Conservatives live, “Conservatives almost uniformly see themselves as future millionaires who are temporarily down on their luck.”

The undeniable fact is that this simply cannot be. The top 10% of families in America barely reach millionaire status (many of whom inherit to get there), and it should be obvious that a great many of those who do are liberals. Therefore, in a nation approximating a composition of 50% who identify themselves as Conservatives, the vast majority are not just temporarily unable to reach millionaire status. Instead, the hard data proves that the vast majority will never make it.

The top 1% of families in America own just about as much combined wealth as do the bottom 95% of American families combined. The top 1% owns about 35% of our nation’s approximate $57 trillion in total wealth. The next 4% owns about 27% of our nation’s wealth. This is a serious concentration of wealth. The bottom 95% owns 38% of the net wealth in our nation (compared to the top 1%, which owns 35%). The bottom 80% owns a mere 15%. So, if an 80 is equivalent to a “B,” being a “B” student puts you into the bottom 15% of net wealth. So, by definition, if you are at or below a “B,” you are a miserable failure at just 15%. But, hey! You have cable TV, a nice car and big debt, so life is good!

Is there any chance that laws and regulations have something to do with the regulation of the flow of money in America? Okay, that was a dumb question. Of course, they do. So, if you are a concerned liberal and are disappointed to see what a nation of laws and regulations has created in terms of “haves” and “have-nots” (with a very large, right-leaning spattering of delusional, “future millionaires”), how can you support such a system? Wouldn’t you want to say, “Enough is enough?” Wouldn’t you want to curb the abuses that come from that system? Have you studied the history of party affiliation and its correlation to the nation’s problems? If you have, you’d know for a fact that these problems have persisted, even grown, under both parties. This is not a “right” vs. “left” issue. It is the classic battle between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Each party has perpetuated this system and its bias for a long, long time. It will not change. It is what naturally occurs when politicians of all breeds become beholden to king-makers and their lobbyists.

How do liberals accomplish real change? By supporting a politician who touts a “Hope and Change” slogan? Seriously, this cannot be the answer. The answer to saving the people is to cut the rot out. It is illogical and delusional to support our national regime. Both parties are owned by the top 1-5 percenters. That’s life.

You can use the political process, as it is, to bargain for a nut here and there, and you might actually get one. But the meat and potatoes are not up for grabs, and this is non-negotiable. Why fund it? Why support it? Why not refuse to buy into this corrupted system? How about considering what might be accomplished if “all politics were local?” What might you accomplish on a local level? Nullification is a tool used to steer politics to a local level. By refusing to acknowledge any legitimacy of unjust rules and control mechanisms at the federal level, we seek to bring the process back home – to our neighborhoods, where it rightly belongs.

The test of time, spanning decades of shifts in national control between self-proclaimed “Democrats” and “Republicans,” has proven itself incapable of “change we can believe in.”

There will be no change. The system is rotten to the core. It is simply a turf war between would-be power-grabbers. Lobbying is for lobbies and lobbyists, and everyone else is just a peon to be siphoned. Yet, somehow we are deluded into “cheerleading” for one or the other leeches in a hopelessly corrupt political system. Why not endorse nullification against the powers that be?

The real deal is that nullification is for everyone who has concluded that national politics does not serve the people and is beyond repair by way of the tired and useless “get out the vote” strategy.

Whether you are a Liberal or a Conservative, it is in your best interest to cut the rot out at its core. This does not mean Liberals will agree with Conservatives on all issues political. What it does mean is the possibility to re-vamp politics as we know it and bring government back home to our neighborhoods, where it belongs and where our voices count.

So, why not endorse nullification against the powers that be? Are we really clinging to our big, national government on hopes somebody out of nowhere will come and fix it for a nation of 300 million “have nots?” Seriously…

Jeff Matthews [send him email] is a practicing attorney in Houston. He graduated from the University of Texas, School of Law in 1993 and was licensed that year.

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