Friday, 18 April 2014

Why Constitutionalists Should Celebrate April 18

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Two hundred and thirty-nine years ago today, Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn the colonists of the approaching assault of the British.

In years past, children were taught in school about this ride and the noble deeds of our rebellious ancestors. With the federal government in charge of curriculum and the spread of the Common Core version of history, however, the memory of the events of that night are growing dimmer by the year. 

This article serves to remind readers of Revere and just why our forefathers were willing to risk dangling at the end of the rope in the defense of liberty.

Throughout 1774 and the Spring of 1775, Paul Revere was hired by the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety to serve as an “express rider,” an 18th-century mailman of sorts. Revere’s job was to carry information — news, letters, dispatches, copies of proposed resolutions — to dispersed patriots throughout New England and as far away as New York and Philadelphia.

This day, April 18, Dr. Joseph Warren notified Revere that he was to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, and alert local patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British regulars were marching to arrest them.

Having crossed the Charles River by a boat rowed by two associates, Revere arranged to secure a horse on loan from his friend, John Larkin. Once mounted and prepared, Revere rode over to meet with members of the Charlestown Sons of Liberty to double-check their understanding of the signals they had agreed upon the weekend prior for communicating British troop movement: One lantern would be hung in the bell tower of Christ Church in Boston if the troops were marching "by land" across Boston Neck; two lanterns would be hung if the Redcoats were advancing across the Charles River.

Off he sped to Lexington, stopping at the homes of patriots to warn them of the coming of the British army. For hours, Revere rode from house to house, alerting the families of their need to prepare for the impending arrival of the phalanx of His Majesty’s finest.

As the night wore on, Revere finally reached Lexington about midnight. Approaching the house where Samuel Adams and John Hancock were staying, a guard placed there to protect the patriot leaders asked Revere to quit making so much noise. 

“Noise!” Revere retorted in response. “You’ll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!”

This comment reminds one of the rapid assembly of hundreds of fed-up patriots who rode to the defense of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Constitution. The events of this recent battle between state sovereignty and federal usurpation don’t need to be rehearsed here, but these articles are invaluable.

Back to the midnight ride.

After having thus alerted Adams and Hancock, a second mounted messenger arrived — William Dawes. Dawes was charged with the same mission as Revere, but given an alternate route, in case Revere was discovered, captured, or otherwise prevented from reaching Lexington.

Dawes and Revere met privately and decided that their mission was not over: They would take another rider — Dr. Samuel Prescott — and they would set off for Concord, Massachusetts, and alert patriots there of the need to protect the guns and ammunition stored at the hidden depot outside that town.

Almost immediately after the brave patriot trio set out for Concord, they were spotted and detained by a British army patrol. All three were arrested. 

Amazingly, Dr. Prescott escaped from his captors. Dawes accomplished the same feat just a little while later, leaving Paul Revere alone in British custody.

Eventually, the soldiers were ordered to release Revere, and he was accordingly set free. Unfortunately, his horse was not afforded the same treatment, so Revere set out on foot toward Lexington where he became a witness of the late stages of the battle at Lexington Green.

Although separated by over two centuries from the “midnight ride of Paul Revere,” 21st-century Americans have much in common with our patriot fathers. 

First, we live at a time when our own government is designing to deny us the enjoyment of our most sacred rights. The “long train of abuses” is hurtling toward a level of absolutism only dreamed about by despots such as King George III.

Every day, for example, agents of the federal government seem to take aim on the First Amendment in a variety of ways.

The most destructive of those attacks is found within the thousands of pages of ObamaCare. In a press release, Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) summarized the threat to religious freedom posed by the president’s hallmark legislation:

This ObamaCare rule still tramples on Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion. It’s a fig leaf, not a compromise. Whether they are affiliated with a church or not, employers will still be forced to pay an insurance company for coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs.

This is not just a problem for church-affiliated hospitals and charities. Under these rules, a small business owner with religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs and contraception must either violate his religious beliefs or violate the law.

The liberal Obama administration thinks its political goals trump the religious faith of American citizens. That isn’t right, fair, or constitutional.

As for the Fourth Amendment, the federal government’s constant monitoring of the real-world and virtual lives of Americans (and others) is making the protections of that portion of the Bill of Rights all but historical.

Beginning last summer, documents released by a former low-level networking subcontractor at the National Security Agency (NSA) have revealed the immense scope and sophistication of the tools being used by the federal government to construct a 21st century Panopticon.

One unwarranted wiretap, one unwarranted seizure of a phone record, one search of records of an individual’s digital communications is too many. If we are a Republic of laws, then the supreme constitutional law of the land must be adhered to. The standard is not whether or not the spies or their bosses think the deprivations are “okay.” The standard is the Constitution — for every issue, on every occasion, with no exceptions. Anything less than that is a step toward tyranny.

Next, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) takes aim at the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, as well as threatening the First Amendment by exposing journalists to the indefinite detention provisions of the act if they are assumed to be helping suspected terrorists by way of stories they publish.

Anyone suspected by the president of aligning himself with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces,” may be arrested by the military and confined in a federal prison until the end of the “War on Terror.” These suspects will be denied due process all in the name of national security.

From ObamaCare and the NDAA, from “reasonable” gun control bills to the BLM’s attempt to assert ownership over land within a sovereign state, the Ninth and 10th Amendments are routinely ignored by Washington, and it seems that every day Congress passes another measure aimed at reducing states to mere administrative units of the federal government.

Finally, on this anniversary we would do well to remember the marching orders given to the British troops heading to Lexington on that fateful day: seize the ammunition! 

In recent weeks, President Obama has signed onto a document calling for the implementation this year of a United Nations arms treaty that would prohibit civilians from buying, selling, trading, or transferring all firearms and ammunition. 

Add to that treasonous act the fact that the army at the president’s command is mightier than anything George III could have mustered, and an image of the true scope of the present threat of totalitarianism begins to appear.

Our only hope lies in remembering Paul Revere’s ride and the reason for it as we face our own fight with the forces of tyranny. May we emulate their example of unwavering, unflinching, unapologetic commitment to the protection of our God-given rights, even in the face of persecution.

 

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues.  Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at

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