The talk and action coming out of Washington D.C. where the so-called War on Terror is concerned has steadily gone from bad to worse where constitutional law and civil liberties are concerned. George W. Bush has clearly demonstrated that he considers himself above the law and thus free to act however he pleases. He has all but dared Congress and the American people to rein him in, and neither has elected to do so. Polling data consistently shows that Americans are terribly displeased with Bush and his Republican colleagues, but, to date, there have been no mass protests, no clarion calls for reform. A few congressional Republicans have expressed concern with Bush's policies, but when the time comes for action, they have mostly cowed to his wishes and towed the line in the name of party unity. The Supreme Court has offered some resistance, but it is difficult to tell whether that will continue and how far the justices will go.
Unless the American people decide to vent their wrath at the polls in November (and hand Congress over to the Democrats — oh, joy), it seems that the Usurper in Chief will continue to treat the world like his own backyard, using the United States military to do his landscaping and threatening us with the specter of a renewed draft and even the offensive use of nuclear weapons. National security agencies will continue their metamorphosis into an American Gestapo, and we may see some form of martial law imposed should another major terrorist attack occur on American soil, or should we experience another Hurricane Katrina scale natural disaster. Unless things turn around quickly and soon, I also expect to see a sedition act of some type imposed, likely accompanying the draft, or else imposed as part of an executive order instituting martial law, whether over a specific section of the country or from sea to shining sea. Some may argue that such concerns are nothing but paranoid, tin-foil hat conspiracy talk, but I would encourage doubters to read up on the history of Abraham Lincoln's actions during the War of Secession, and then to reflect on the degree to which modern Republicans and others have deified Lincoln. Not only can 'it' happen here, it already has, and it can happen again.
Our best hope for bringing the wheels of this authoritarian machine to a halt, short of some remarkable change in the attitude of the American people (or a meteorite mercifully plowing into D.C.), is to nudge the states into invoking federalism, now, before another 'crisis' falls upon us and the Republic formally becomes an Empire. Some state governors, such as Montana's interesting and unusual Democrat Brian Schweitzer, have shown promise in this regard, and some state legislatures also seem willing to take up the torch. What they need is greater public support to strengthen their resolve, and some formal acts of legislation to shore up the walls. The states can and should take action now to secure their rightful powers and the liberties of their people, and I believe this can be done in a number of simple but effective ways.
The following is my attempt to step into the legislative gap and encourage the present levels of state dissent to bloom into outright, and constitutionally sound, resistance. I refer to it as The Preservation of Civil Government Act. In short, it is designed to concisely outline the threat we face and assert the rightful sovereignty of the states in opposition to a president who is one step away from donning robes and a crown. Some states will make this naturally easier than others, as they have various constitutional safeguards that expressly defend their sovereignty. Montana is one such state. Article II, Section II of the Montana Constitution states that Montanans "have the exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent state," and "may alter or abolish the constitution and form of government whenever they deem it necessary." The Montana constitution also forbids any armed party from entering the state without permission. This is very good, express language, and would lend itself nicely to an Act such as I am proposing. Check your own state's constitution and see if there are any similar statements in it that could lend themselves to the cause. If anyone would like to take what I have outlined here, adapt it to your own state and submit it to the consideration of a freedom-friendly legislator, you are more than welcome to do so.
The Preservation of Civil Government Act
to preserve the institution of civil government, the sovereignty of the State, and the civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and Constitution of the State of ______ during extraordinary times.
WHEREAS the maintenance of civil government, held in check by the protective confines of law and in subjection to the sovereign authority of the people, is the cornerstone of our uniquely American heritage and the only means by which peace and freedom may be maintained together in perpetuity; and
WHEREAS it behooves the friends of peace and freedom to be prepared at all times to meet such circumstances as may threaten the integrity of either condition, and to do so by taking appropriate steps to ensure the continuance and overriding authority of civil government even in extraordinary times; and
WHEREAS the propagation of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of nations, groups and individuals hostile to the United States, in conjunction with the great dependency of our society upon infrastructure and institutions which are vulnerable to attacks by such weapons, or to some form of natural calamity, has substantially increased the likelihood of an event in which civil government may fail or may be otherwise subverted at the federal level; and
WHEREAS to date, the federal government of the United States has taken no action to ensure the continuation and overriding authority of civil government in the event of an overwhelming crisis, and has actually intimated that civil institutions and authority may be made subordinate to military authority by presidential fiat; and
WHEREAS Article IV, Section IV of the Constitution of the United States guarantees to each state in this Union a republican form of government, while Amendments Nine and Ten reserve all powers not specifically granted to the United States to the several states and their people respectively; and
WHEREAS There is no power granted to the federal government of the United States to suspend or otherwise override the Constitution of the United States, or to overthrow the institutions and authority of civil government at any level, nor are the states prohibited by the Constitution from enacting such measures as are appropriate to their own internal institutions, peace and harmony; and
WHEREAS the doctrine espoused by the first American patriots and declared by them to be a self-evident truth, and upon which our country and its institutions were ultimately founded, is that government is a servant of the people, who possess an unalienable right to alter or abolish their government and 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".
Now, therefore Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of ______:
That should a situation arise in which the federal government of the United States is unable or unwilling to fulfill its constitutionally mandated duty to guarantee the continuance of republican government, the State of ________, acting in its free, sovereign, and independent character, shall, by authority of the legislature, or upon declaration of the governor in the event that the legislature is not in session or is unable to convene:
(a) Declare the existence of a Constitutional State of Emergency.
(b) Immediately convene the legislature, should it not already be in session, to consider the scope of the situation and to take appropriate actions to secure civil authority within the state and the freedom and peace of its citizens.
(c) Exclusively exercise all police and emergency management powers under its authority within state boundaries.
(d) Offer all necessary and appropriate cooperation to its sister states and to the federal government and armed forces of the United States, taking care to ensure that the continuance and overriding authority of civil government is guaranteed to the State; but no armed forces shall be introduced into the State for any purpose without the permission of the legislature, or, should the legislature not be in session or is unable to convene, the governor.
(e) Call upon the federal government to resume its constitutional role, or call upon its sister states and the armed forces to enact suitable measures to speedily restore the federal government to operation, or to convene a constitutional convention -- as the situation dictates.
(f) Guarantee to the people of this State the fundamental and inalienable rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of ______, including the freedoms of religion, speech, privacy, assembly, redress of grievances, the right to bear arms, freedom from cruel and unusual forms of punishment or excessive bails, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to a speedy and public trial before an impartial jury.
Be it also enacted by the Legislature of the State of ______:
That a copy of this Act be furnished to the legislatures of our sister states of this Union, to the Congress of the United States, to the Attorney General of the United States and the President of the United States, with a request that these respective bodies and persons earnestly consider the realities of our time, and that they take appropriate steps to ensure the continuance of Republican government, and with it the peace and harmony of the American people, as handed down to us by our forbearers and enshrined in our most sacred documents and institutions.