Have you thanked an elected official yet this year? Many state legislatures are wrapping up their sessions about now and some lawmakers are no doubt wondering how much good they really did. While the local media is usually there handing out their bricks or bouquets to legislators, our constitutionally minded representatives rarely get bouquets thrown their way. An occasional letter or phone call from citizens can make a world of difference in how they persist for good government.
It's a Lonely Place
I have had a number of elected officials tell me they feel very lonely when they only hear from the "let-the-government-do-everything" people and oh, how they appreciate a pat on the back from a constitutionally-oriented citizen.So pick up the phone or paper and pen and give someone a hearty "Thank you, keep up the good work."
But Who Are My Local Representatives?
One question I have asked people in different parts of the country is "Tell me about your own state legislators. What are they like and how are they doing?" Sadly, many do not know who is representing them on a local or state level. I suggest a simple phone call to government offices will provide the answer and will open the door to perhaps a growing relationship between citizen and representative that will be very fruitful in the future.
Local Leaders A Powerful Line of Defense
As the federal government becomes more aloof from the people and at the same time more controlling, we are beginning to see the value of strong local leaders. After all, when people feel oppressed, they naturally ban together for protection. Working with local and state officials may be the only way we can eventually protect our dwindling freedoms. Jefferson saw the wisdom of close-knit communities with his observation about local units in New England. Said he: "These wards, called townships in New England, are the vital principle of their governments, and have proven themselves the wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self-government." (See principle 21, page 236, The Five Thousand Year Leap)
Dr. Skousen Envisions Training of Young People
In his monthly letter dated January 28, 1975, to supporters of NCCS (then The Freemen Institute), Dr. W. Cleon Skousen gave a challenge that "the day must come when thousands of our youth are seriously involved in the study of Constitutional principles so they can turn the tide. This is one of the primary objectives of the Freemen (now NCCS) program to help the youth become informed and learn what they can do to save the Constitution." For nearly twenty years since Dr. Skousen gave us that challenge, we have been working in my home state of Arizona, and many other states, to train young people.I thought you would like to know the results of this training by some examples of young people who were trained in these principles and now have risen to prominence in government in Arizona. They have studied the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers as taught by NCCS.June letter—page 2
Sheriff Richard Mack Wins Battle Against Unconstitutional Brady Law
With a firm understanding of constitutional principles, Sheriff Richard Mack of Graham County, Arizona, filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the law. His reasons were these: 1) it violates many constitutional protections, namely, the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms); the Tenth Amendment (states rights); the Fourteenth Amendment (due process); and it violates the Arizona Constitution which prohibits the impairment of a person's right to keep and bear arms. 2) The federal government has no jurisdictional authority to order or command any sheriff (a county employee) to enforce federal law, and 3) the law imposes a great burden on resources of local sheriff offices.
On June 28, 1994, U.S. District Judge John Roll ruled on Sheriff Mack's lawsuit, saying,
"The Court finds that in enacting section 18 U.S.C. 922(s)(2), Congress exceeded its authority under Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, thereby impermissibly encroaching upon the powers retained by the states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment. The Court further finds that the provision, in conjunction with the criminal sanctions its violation would engender, is unconstitutionally vague under the Fifth Amendment of the Unites States Constitution.
"Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff Sheriff Richard Mack's complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief is GRANTED IN PART. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter a judgment declaring 18 U.S.C. 922(s)(2) to be unconstitutional. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant United States of America and its agents are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from further enforcing 18 U.S.C. 922(s)(2)."
Sheriff Mack continues to excite lawmen and citizens around the nation to study the U.S. Constitution and actively work to uphold its protections.
Sheriff Mack's Deputies Ready to Arrest Federal Officials in River Dispute
Last January, flooding washed out access ramps to a bridge linking about 40 families north of the Gila River to the rest of the community of Solomon in Sheriff Mack's Graham County. Federal officials blocked repairs because the area is considered prime habitat for the rare razorback sucker fish and is protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (although both sides agree there is no evidence the fish even exists in the area!).
After months of negotiations that proved fruitless, and out of safety for the families cut off, Graham County officials ordered three bulldozers into the river early one morning to divert the Gila River back to its original course so the crossing can be fixed. As one newspaper reported, "County deputy sheriffs had been on alert and ready to arrest any federal officials who interfered with the work."
State Representative Jeff Groscost Leads States' Rights Push
Another young student of the Constitution is State Representative Jeff Groscost who has studied the founders' formula for years. He is now Chairman of the Arizona House States' Rights and Mandates Committee. He says the committee's main focus this year was to direct "attention on things that we felt the federal government is improperly involving itself in…" To have a leader in state government espouse constitutional philosophy in an official forum is exciting indeed.
Concerning the balance between state and federal governments, Rep. Groscost says, "Look, the federal government has certain roles and very specific duties, and beyond that they don't have any. That's something that is really hard for some people to understand, especially those that deride the committee. They would look at the federal government as a benevolent big brother that's there to answer all questions. That's not what the federal government's for. We have a government unlike any other in the world, where we say all of those powers that the government exercises were given to individual citizens by the Creator and we loan those powers to the government, period. There was no other government…that even had contemplated that idea seriously. So what we're saying is those powers reside in the people, we give them to the federal government to exercise, there's a limit to what we give and frankly, for at least the last 60 years, the federal government hasn't paid a lot of attention to those limitations."
Representative Groscost Explains Damage of the 17th Amendment
To Rep. Groscost, the most important balance is the balance between state and federal governments. Says he, "The check that went with that balance was enforced by the state legislatures' abilities to elect the two senators that sat for years, as opposed to the congressmen who were elected every two years by the populist vote. Why that's important is, you think of all the things we do in the Senate. We don't confirm Supreme Court justices in the Congress (meaning the House of Representatives), we do in the Senate. We don't ratify treaties in Congress, they're ratified in the Senate. We don't confirm nominees of the president for cabinet-level posts and secretaries, that's done in the Senate. The reason that's so important is the states literally had veto power over not only what Congress did—in other words, if the Senate didn't pass the bill that came out of Congress, it didn't go anywhere—they also had veto power over the international affairs, vis a vis treaties, they had veto powers over the judicial branch, in terms of they could literally block the nominations to the Supreme Court and any of the lower courts that were appointed by the president. It was ultimately a very strong balance, and an extremely strong check. With the 17th Amendment, that was thrown out. You did the populist thing and let everybody vote, which is awfully hard to argue against on the face of it. You have greater participation, get people involved, let them direct what they want—that's hard to argue against. But what it did is it trashed the state-federal balance. And that's why I say for the last 60 years or so, literally , the feds have run roughshod over the states and the states have not had any way to combat that."
The Wisdom of Early Training For Youth
Sheriff Mack and Representative Groscost exemplify the wisdom of training youth in correct principles. They are the kind of leaders the Founders said we would need to perpetuate the system they gave us. Sam Adams said that neither the best constitutions not the wisest laws will help maintain freedom without having wise and virtuous leaders. (See principle 3, pages 59, in The Five Thousand Year Leap) An interesting activity is to try to identify those you could call "wise and virtuous". Do they understand constitutional positions on major issues of the day (such as the ones in this letter)?
It is most rewarding to build personal friendships with those in public office. They need your support and you need the confidence of knowing someone is there who thinks like you do.
Let Us Hear About Constitutional Stars Among Your Public Officials
Arizona is fortunate to have these and several others in leadership positions who have been students at NCCS Constitutional Seminars over the past years. NCCS would like to hear of similar stories from your state. These officials need to be recognized and appreciated.
Soviet Documents Verify Communist Party USA
Just in case you missed it, a recent book published by Yale University, The Secret World of American Communism, contains a selection of documents from the archives of the former Soviet Union verifying "a thriving Communist underground was in place in the 1930's" and afterward in the United States. The authors further said, "The documents in the book demonstrate with unmistakable clarity that the common perception that ‘American communism was a Soviet weapon in the cold War' was indeed well founded."
Columnist George Will explains that "one of the long-running lies of modern American history" being told and retold on college campuses still today is that Alger Hiss, accused of being a communist agent and convicted of perjury, was a mere victim of political paranoia, that he was framed, and that further evidence would some day prove Hiss innocent. Now comes the evidence. It does just the opposite. Their own documents out of their own archives prove the truthfulness of what leaders like J. Edgar Hoover, Ezra Taft Benson, Robert Welch, W. Cleon Skousen, Joseph McCarthy, Fred Schwartz and others warned Americans about for many years. Every student should know of this latest irrefutable evidence that there really were and are secret combinations bent on overthrowing our Constitutional Republic.
Let's Do Something We Can All Agree On
Organizing officials of the October Conference of the States recently announced they have delayed the conference for at least two years because of the increasing resistance among some groups who were fearful of the outcome. Here is a great opportunity for these groups to now show the nation they have a better way to restore the Constitution. Their plan, however, in order to be effective and timely, must include the following elements:
First, it must avoid the federal courts. The federal courts are part of the problem. Many attempts have been made to correct federal usurpation by an appeal to the courts but judges generally do not make decisions anymore based on original intent of the Founders.
Second, it must have a realistic enforcement mechanism. Some states have passed resolutions asserting their rights but there is no political power behind such action when federal officials ignore states' resolutions. Also, suggesting that all federal monies be returned to Washington is as unrealistic as expecting all social security recipients to return their next months' checks.
Now that we have talked ourselves out of using the second method of amending the Constitution outlined in Article V, it leaves only one other alternative—the ballot box. We can all agree this is the most powerful tool to correct abuses but it requires an educated electorate, otherwise we are merely pooling our mutual ignorance and continuing the trend downward.
NCCS has the Educational Answer
The enclosed flyer outlines a two-step approach to educating citizens about the Constitution which is proving effective in many parts of the nation. First, have a basic "Making of America" seminar to get people excited that there really are answers, and second, establish a tradition in neighborhoods of holding "An Evening A Month for America", where in-depth learning can take place and solutions to current issues can be discussed based on solid, proven principles. This educational task will not be easy, but it is the approach we can all agree on — so let's get started!
Your Monthly Donation, Large or Small, Helps Teach Someone
Do you know there are no salaries paid at NCCS? Each $5, $10, $20, or $? you send in helps to send materials to public officials, place books in libraries, answer inquiries from public officials, publish new editions of books and tapes, send seminar instructors to requested locations, etc., etc. Be part of the team! Let us here from you!
Earl Taylor, Jr.