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The Only Thing We Have To Fear ...

Tuesday, Apr. 13, 2010 3:37 AM

As next week's 'open carry' rally in Washington, D.C. approaches - a gathering of gun owners who want to exercise their Constitutional rights by carrying sidearms as permitted by law - an undercurrent to their understanding of the 2nd Amendment is coming to light.

They believe the 2nd Amendment grants the right to bear arms so that the citizenry can rise up and overthrow a tyrranical government. Because the whole healthcare thing 'ignored the will of the people' and so on.

While I am not an expert on the Constitution, I would submit that the 1st Amendment, with its guarantee of freedom of speech, religion, press, and peaceful assembly, linked to the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances, is the instrument to safeguard the union from within. The 2nd Amendment addresses the security of a free state against an external threat, and nowhere does it establish that this is also for the purpose of rebellion.

Some of Thomas Jefferson's writings, in which he addresses the question of tyranny, are being waved about; if so, then I must ask why these writings are to be accepted as defining the 2nd Amendment, when conservatives are quick to disavow Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists.

What does tyranny look like? Is it simply that one disagrees with the current administration, or must there be more? How can one argue the necessity of armed revolution when our 1st Amendment protections are still intact, and we also have the mechanism of impeachment within the Constitution itself? (At least Rep. Dennis Kucinich filed Articles of Impeachment against President Bush & Vice-President Cheney.)

Is there oppression? Where, and how, when the Westboro Baptist Church has their free speech protected? Where unemployment is rising, but there is a system (albeit strained) for providing benefits in the interim? Are there despotic regimes that respect as much?

And if the system does not work, how much of it is because of people who threw out their Census forms after listening to fear-mongering from right-wing commentators and legislators?



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