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home : opinion : opinion
December 9, 2018

11/14/2018 2:22:00 PM
Publisher's Column Discussing, not screaming, may lead to understanding

When I arrived at our office Monday morning (Nov. 5), there was a car parked across the street and a gentleman in it who had obviously been waiting for me to arrive. As soon as I exited my van, he hopped out of his car, crossed the street and began yelling at me while waving a crumpled copy of our Election Guide 2018. He was in a rage and, quite honestly, I thought he was going to attack me physically, but he didn't.

"How could you print this?" he screamed, while pounding his finger against the magazine. As he got closer I could see what he was pounding. It was the full page McNeilus Steel ad on the back of the guide that read, "Vote! It's your God-given right! Vote Nov. 6."

"God didn't have anything to do with it," he screamed, red-faced and shaking with rage. "It came from the Constitution!"

His verbal frenzy continued for a few minutes, then abated and he turned and started toward his car, stopped and came back, still in a rage and started in about my camera card experience, "You're gutless," he screamed. "You should have fought back instead of just letting them take it!"

After venting his rage about that, he again turned and started toward his car, and again he stopped, turned back and addressed his next complaint to me, again red and shaking with rage, "You're gutless," he screamed. "You didn't even sue the sheriff! You didn't do anything. You're gutless!"

After that, he seemed to calm down a bit, so I asked, "Do you want to talk about this, maybe listen to me for a minute?"

"I don't have to listen," he said, seemingly beginning to calm down, although it was apparent he was still very upset. He was right, he didn't have to, and he crossed the street and walked away. A short time later I noticed that his car was gone.



Had he been in the mood, I would have enjoyed discussing the history of our U.S. Constitution in its second iteration. (The first was the Articles of Confederation.) Our Constitution grew out of our Declaration of Independence. It opens with the Preamble, which reads, "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." (Underline emphasis is mine)

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that claims the creation of any rights, only the protection of existing rights. In the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers made clear where all of our rights originate. It says, "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."

Both the Declaration and Constitution make it clear that government itself has no power to create rights, only to secure the rights that already exist by virtue of our being human. In fact, governments have no power beyond that derived from the consent of their citizens.

"...deriving their just powers from the Consent of the governed" is where the source of the right to vote is identified.

If our rights came from the Constitution, then our government could take them away without any restriction. But they do not come from a document, they come from our Creator - from being human, and those rights belong to all humans - whether they live in a country where those rights are recognized, as they largely are in our country, or in one where they are not.

Democracy and human rights, as we enjoy them, have a checkered past, but they are the inexorable path of all humanity, if we are to continue to exist.

That's my perspective on the ad issue, I wish my angry friend and I could have rationally discussed this together, and his other issues, too.

Larry Dobson


Claremont Service




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