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Saturday, June 11, 2005


Duties Of An American

Uphold the principles of the Constitution as it is written.

There are many ways to go about doing one's part to uphold the principles enshrined in the Constitution, and certainly no one has the time to do them all. At the very least all Americans should be expected to do nothing that runs contrary to the principles set forth in the Constitution. At most, Americans should be expected to take as active a part as they are able in upholding our founding principles.

I will briefly mention a few of the basic ways in which each of us might go about fulfilling our most fundamental obligations.

There are at least three categories of action (and inaction) by which one can uphold the Constitution.

The first category is intellectual in nature. Simply put, defend the ideals and freedoms recognized by the Founders in the Constitution in the arena of ideas (RushismTM). How? Vote, argue and maybe even run for office in such a way that our fundamental freedoms are upheld. This second part is perhaps more important even than the first. It seems that many people (including those who submitted their thoughts before me in this forum) would tell others that he or she is fulfilling a major obligation as an American by simply voting in an informed manner. That is simply false. Being "informed" does not mean that you're voting for the right people (the "right people" being defined as those who would uphold our freedoms as protected by the Constitution and so on). For example, voting for someone who advocates restricting the Freedom of Speech does not count as doing your duty correctly. Voting is simply a means by which Americans are able to fulfill their fundamental duty as citizens.

The second category of upholding the Constitution is in the physical realm. While the pen may be mightier than the sword, a latter can render the former useless by severing the hand holding it. The most obvious way to physically uphold the Constitution is to join some branch of the Armed Forces...but this is not the only option. Civilians can also be prepared to do their part by acquiring the means to act as the last line of defense against a physical assault on this country and its founding principles. The willingness (and ability) to use physical force in defense of our freedoms is something of which nearly all citizens are capable but relatively few consider, let alone actually exhibit.

The final category I will mention here could be considered a subset of #1 above, but it's important enough that to warrant its own category: Leave others alone, and expect the same in return. Simply put, I have a reasonable expectation that I will be left alone by my neighbors (and my government) to live life as I see fit. So long as I don't set on anyone's toes, my toes will remain likewise un-stepped-upon.

This is not to suggest that we should all live like hermits, never interacting with anyone. Much to the contrary, we most certainly should reach out to each other...but no one should be forced to do so. Along these lines, I think it is our duty, as US citizens, to demand the defeat, and repeal, of any law that imposes on us without absolute and definable necessity. To do otherwise is to allow our rights to be trampled by those who would subvert our government and country to their own ends (which is invariably the quest for power).

Our country that was founded on the principle of personal freedom and it falls to each individual citizen to do his or her part to ensure that our children will enjoy the same (and more) freedom that exists today.

A republic is only as strong as its people...and the abstraction of the "people" is only as strong as you and me as individuals.

Stay strong. Stay true.

Friday, June 10, 2005



What are the duties of American Citizenship?

  • Vote. Preferably in an informed fashion. But definitely vote, in any political landscape if you don't speak up you don't count.
  • Uphold and defend the Constitution. This doesn't mean everyone needs to join the military. This just means we need vote not only against laws that are unconstitutional, but we need to eradicate the presence of those who propose unconstitutional laws from our government.
  • Self sufficiency. When ever possible you should count on yourself and do as much for yourself as possible. This include settling disputes without involving the police if it can be done, it includes raising your children so that they don't become wards of the state or common criminals, and it also includes working if you can. Not if it's convenient, not if you want to but if you can. Man, woman, black, white, latino, asian, immigrant, native or extra terrestrial.]
  • Non Harm. This is both a simple and complex one. Some people seem to think they are harmed by legal life styles they don't agree with being mentioned, ever. In my opinion they need to grow up. Non harm means don't steal, don't molest children, break peoples windows, or lie about them to cause them difficulties among other things. In short don't physically, financially, or legally cause others damage, there are some levels of emotional harm that can be avoided, but since a joke that J'Myle might laugh hysterically might make Derek go all foamy about the mouth this is a hard one to quantify.
And that's just about it for duties, beyond these anything else is purely up to the individual.


A short list


Watch out for your neighbor without getting into their business.

Always vote

Protect children from themselves and others

Vote more for character than ideology. If you wouldn't leave your kids with them for week, re-examine that vote

Care more for the rights of strangers than your own

Vote in every election and every race

Pay attention to what is going on around you


Stand up to evil and spit in it's eye

Vote with your eyes open

Feed people

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


This weeks question

This weeks question:

What are the duties of an American Citizen?

Sorry for the delay.

New rule:

If I fail to get the question posted, feel free to post responses anytime after Monday morning.


Even More Dafur

More on Dafur, from our voices in the wilderness, Democracy Arsenal and Nicholas Kristof. Kristof has another editorial in the New York Times:
A desert town that used to hold about 25,000 people, Labado was attacked in December by the Sudanese military and the militia known as the janjaweed. For several days, the army burned huts, looted shops, killed men and raped women.

For months, Labado was completely deserted and appeared destined to become a ghost town. But then African Union forces, soldiers from across Africa who have been dispatched to stop the slaughter, set up a small security outpost of 50 troops here. Almost immediately, refugees began returning to Labado, followed by international aid groups.

Today there are perhaps 5,000 people living in the town again, building new thatch roofs over their scorched mud huts. The revival of Labado underscores how little it takes to make a huge difference on the ground. If Western governments help the African Union establish security, if we lean hard on both the government and the rebels to reach a peace agreement, then by the end of this year Darfur might see peace breaking out...

In 1999, Madeleine Albright traveled to Sierra Leone and met child amputees there, wrenching the hearts of American television viewers and making that crisis a priority in a way that eventually helped resolve it. Ms. Rice could do the same for Darfur if she would only bother to go.
Meanwhile, Derek Chollet writes, on Arsenal, of the growing movement to get colleges, universities, and states to divest their interest in companies that do business in Sudan:
Harvard [divested] earlier this year, and other major universities are being pressured to follow suit. Last month, ICG’s John Prendergast and Harvard’s Samantha Power sent a letter to 100 university presidents urging them to examine their portfolios for links to Sudan and divest. Student groups have sprouted up and have done good work (the group STAND — Students Taking Action Now: Darfur — has 80 chapters nationwide), but with school out for the summer, progressives should work to pick up the slack.

And a few weeks ago, the Illinois legislature took this one step further: it passed a law to make Illinois the first state to prohibit doing business with Sudan. Illinois’ five pension systems have about $1 billion invested in 32 companies that work in Sudan, which this bill will put an end to. It will also prohibit the state from investing in foreign government bonds of Sudan and investing in companies doing business in or with Sudan.

Illinois might be the first, but it is not alone: A related measure has passed the New Jersey House but is bottled up in the Senate, California’s legislature has a version bouncing around, and just last week, legislation was offered in Ohio’s state Senate proposing something similar.
There's more work to do if we're going to stop this thing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Following the discussion on Dafur, there were two important pieces this weekend. First, Nicholas Kristof explains why Dafur is the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world right now (a sadly competitive title).
Doctors Without Borders issued an excellent report in March noting that it alone treated almost 500 rapes in a four-and-a-half-month period. Sudan finally reacted to the report a few days ago - by arresting an Englishman and a Dutchman working for Doctors Without Borders.
Then, Suzanne Nossel writes Top 10 Things To Do for Darfur Short of U.S. Military Intervention.