WASHINGTON, November 11, 2015 – Tea party advocates often say they want to “take back the country” from the big-government usurpers in Washington. But their big mistake is in believing it can only happen by swamping Washington with small-government representatives in Congress.
They forget that all politics is local. Take Coos County, Oregon, population 62,475, for instance.
On Nov. 1, a county ballot measure (the Second Amendment Preservation Act) passed by more than 60 percent of the vote. It empowers the Coos County sheriff “to determine as a matter of internal policy and county concern… whether any federal, state or local regulation affecting firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition, that is enforceable within his/her jurisdiction, violates the Second, Ninth, 10th or 14th Amendments to the Constitution of these United States.”
It further states that any laws or regulations that violate the aforementioned “shall be regarded by the People on and in Coos County as unconstitutional; a transgression of the Supreme Law of the Land and its spirit of Liberty, and therefore by necessity void ab initio [from the start].”
“Federal courts have been very hostile to local officials ignoring state and federal laws,” Norman Williams, a professor at Willamette University’s law school, told the Oregonian, Portland’s newspaper.
Williams is the sort of American Henry David Thoreau wrote about in his 1848 book “Civil Disobedience”:
“The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgement or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or lumps of dirt.”
Thoreau then asks, “Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator?” Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward.”
If Second, Ninth, 10th and 14th amendment movements spread in counties across the nation, their sheer numbers would eventually make the enforcement of draconian laws in our increasingly authoritarian society near impossible.
An Oregon county’s Second Amendment ordinance, passed by a free people in a peaceful and orderly manner, is a most civil act of civil disobedience.