The latest stop in the journey of a political activist!

2009 March 26
by ruleoflawrestoration

It was only about seven years ago that I started paying attention to politics.  I had previously been too busy with work and church to pay enough attention to get interested in it.  Further, like many Americans likely feel, I thought at that time that there was something “unspiritual” about being involved in politics.

I began to listen to political talk radio and was easily drawn in by it.  It was easy to recognize that there are some serious things wrong with the nation because that’s pretty much all that the radio shows talk about! It wasn’t long before I considered myself a Republican.  Then before much longer, I was one of the Republicans who are suspicious of RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).  Then after a while longer, I was a “Reagan Republican”, bemoaning the fact that the rest of the Party seemed so passive.  I was mad about the borders and about the outsourcing of America.

But something was missing.  I stood back and noticed that the ongoing “churn” did seem to be producing what it ought to be producing.  With so many millions listening to so many talented and entertaining personalities talking, things out to have reaching a fevered pitch!

But they didn’t.

Analytical person that I am, I wanted to know why.  One thing led to another and I found myself saying that I was “more conservative than either party cared to be”.

Then after a while longer, I heard someone mention that the label “conservative” doesn’t really say much, since there are “social conservatives” and are not “fiscal conservatives” and vice versa.  So I began to question even the labels that we use daily, realizing that most of them likely cause more harm than good—dividing us in ways that we don’t even understand.

Even if I wasn’t sure what to call myself, somewhere around that time I took my first stab at activism, having been convinced that it was necessary to “get involved”.  With the help of some dear friends, I launched the beginnings of the Twenty Minute Patriot Project.  The idea was to get adults to devote just 20 minutes each week to political activities—writing a Congressman, reading the Constitution, etc.  Everybody said it was a “great idea”.

Nobody signed up.

I knew then, that a lack of activity on the part of the voters was not the problem.  It must be something yet more fundamental, for they were not doing even the things that they realized were “great ideas”.  I began to realize that what was missing was the character.  The nation was sorely lacking with regard to the character of its leaders and citizens alike.

I began making notes for a novel.  I figured that I could at least show the nation some character in a book.  It was to be called Mister President: The glory of uncompromised leadership.  It was about a tough-guy president who was actually honest and sincere (imagine that!).  He would find bin Laden on his first day in office, cut off the illegal border crossings, and expose all manner of corruption in Washington.

The more I wrote, however, the more I realized that I couldn’t possibly know what my president would find once he was in office, for such things are kept from the public.  Although I still have some interest in that project, I’ve lost my taste for writing about unknowns.

Meanwhile, though, I hit on a non-fiction project that is proving much more practical and easy to grasp.  It’s a book about the founders of the nation and how much they said about the ideals of high character.  The book is nearly completed now, after several years of work and contemplation.  As I researched the sayings of the Founders, I realized that we are simply not the same kind of people as were the people of that generation.

Generally speaking, we are not honorable.  We are not curious.  Nor proactive.  We do not love liberty as did they.

The writing of this book has had a profound effect on my thinking, for what these men were selling was indeed bought by an entire nation who valued such things as honor and self-reliance.

As I was finishing a major portion of the book, the 2008 Elections happened.  I sat in horror and disbelief as I witnessed the nation choose from two socialists.  (They chose the faster socialist—who is proving to be every bit as fascistic as his predecessor was accused of being!)

In all this experience, I have put together a few fundamental things about life.  I figured out that there are four basic levels of things to be considered (philosophically speaking).

The first is quite fundamental; it’s what goes on inside a person.

This is obviously the most fundamental consideration of mankind, for each one has a self that can be of either high or low character—as each may choose.

Then comes the simple relationship between people, which is naturally affected by the combination of character levels represented by those in the relationship.

relationshipYes, this is really basic stuff.  And the relationship itself is rather unremarkable, as practically everyone has relationships.  But when we expand this a bit, bringing in other people, that’s where it begins to get quite interesting.

Once you get enough people in a society, it becomes pretty clear that something more than personal relationships is going to have to govern how things go.  That’s where we get the rule of law—if we’re lucky!

rule-of-law1

Let me pause right here to say that the other two areas of interest to which I referred earlier are man’s relationship with the spiritual and eternal (religion) and his relationship with the physical plant of the universe–particularly in trying to understand how it all works. (Science.)  Both of these fields are outside the scope of this website, however.  So now back to the Rule of Law.

Granted, the Rule of Law is not the only rule that can govern a society.  In fact, the more common rule is the Rule of Force, which would go something like this:

rule-of-forceAs citizens of the United States of America, we have inherited a system that was designed to operate under the Rule of Law.  And how fortunate we are!  What if we had been born under Genghis Kahn?  What if we had been born under Adolf Hitler?  Or Josef Stalin?  What if we had been born into an anarchy someplace, where there are no rules at all, except that the strongest one wins?

Our fortune, however, was to be born a couple hundred years after some really remarkable people did some very remarkable thinking and engineering.  They designed for us “a Republic….if (we) can keep it.”  I’m borrowing, of course, from Ben Franklin’s words to a woman who caught up with him as he was exiting the decisive meeting of the Constitutional Convention.  We had dare not miss the importance of his implication.

That he said “if you can keep it” is a signal to us that he and the others fully expected that the success of such a constitutional republic would ride upon the vigilance of the people.

Indeed, Franklin would say later of the Constitution something that I now find very scary indeed.

“In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, — if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.”  (Speech to the Constitutional Convention, 28 June 1787)

Is this where we are?  Certainly our government has not been “well administered”; it has overstepped its authorized powers more times than can be counted.

But are the American people now of such low character as to be “incapable” of being governed by our Constitution?

This is a very scary thought, indeed.  And if we are not that far gone now, then how much longer until we are?

As these seven years have passed, I’ve realized several things along the way.  I watched carefully as the “fiscally conservative party” (That’s what the Republicans were known as) came into power in 2004 and passed the largest entitlement programs in the history of the nation, as well as tripling the size of our Federal Government.  And then I watched as the Democrats took control in 2006 amid a deafening mantra of “Get out of Iraq” and “Impeach Bush”.  They won and neither happened.

This made no sense…until my paradigm shift.

I stood back a bit and realized that both sides are not true to their promises or their platforms.

Now why would this be?  It must either be incompetence or something sinister…..such as the possibility that the major parties may be under the control of some “man behind the curtain”, to some extent.

I began to realize that, no matter who got elected, we were going to end up further down that slippery slope than before.

And nobody much seemed to talk about that in the mainstream media.  Was it that the American people hadn’t figured it out yet?  Was it that they didn’t care?

Or was it that politics is one big, undefined mess, and hardly anybody seems to have a great handle on it?

One day I chanced upon a handle.  I read Ron Paul’s book, Revolution, and took note of how many violations to the US Constitution he mentioned.  I had listened to a good bit of Dr. Paul’s debate appearances, and did not find him compelling as a candidate.  Yet after having been confronted by a good friend on my need to rethink some things, I read the book and came away with an entirely different impression.

But why such a difference between the Ron Paul in the book and the one on the TV screen?

I began to notice that there was an undeveloped opportunity at work.  The debates, as the nation, was awash in a sea of opinion, when the real issue was that our Supreme Law was being broken left and right.  Not even Dr. Paul, however, was always on message with regard to this fact.  He, too, would get caught up talking opinion when asked a question, and would only mention the Constitution as a follow-up point.

I realized that we had it on backwards.  Practically all of us.

I was finally getting somewhere.  I knew I was on to something with the character book (which should be published this year), but what was lacking was the persistent question, “What can we do?”.  Obviously, “call your Congressman” was fading as an attractive answer, and “have high character” didn’t quite seem to cut it, either!  No, even people of high character will need to do something to save the nation.

I poked around a bit with plans for a website aimed at helping people re-frame their political arguments so as to help their friends and co-workers to better understand the really fundamental issues.  Then my attention was turned to local politics in the small Tennessee town where I was living.  I then realized the power of the pen and began to publish my own newspaper and blog about the town.  There I stood alone, however, and watched the local mafia keep control of the town government as the scared citizens kept quiet.

That local experience seemed to be a distraction to my big picture goals, but it turned out to be quite beneficial.  I realized that my little town was a microcosm of the greater American problem.  They refused to follow their city charter.  Further, the charter had been superseded by state law many times, but was never updated.  Meanwhile, officials were stealing and lying but the state authorities would have nothing to do with it.  They were even beyond embarrassment, caring very little that I was exposing their racket.

There was no justice to be had, and that left me with the local question as with the national question,  “What can we do?”

There simply had to be an answer to what the citizens of the US could do to fix their government.  That’s when I came upon the current idea:  The Rule of Law Revolution.  The idea was so simple at first that I passed it off fairly quickly as just another good idea on a long list of good ideas that wouldn’t work without something or other happening first.  It was just too easy.

The thought of refusing to vote for somebody who wouldn’t pledge allegiance to the Constitution (0r to the City Charter) up front just didn’t seem like it could be enough doing to make a difference.   But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it might be just the ticket.  It doesn’t require much effort from people.  Not even 20 minutes worth!

Where it really started to make sense is when I realized that all manner of folks could embrace the ROLR if they’d be willing to make some small paradigm shifts.  Ordinarily, perhaps people are too “set in their ways” for this to have much hope.  But in today’s environment of “crisis”, people seem to be willing to consider things they wouldn’t have considered last year.

And so here I am with the Rule of Law Revolution.

I don’t have the money to launch it, but if it’s really a viable initiative in the public’s eyes, I’m sure the money can be taken care of.  Rather than to spin my wheels trying to get the money up front, it made sense to float the concept and see how many people bite on it.  If the reception is strong, then it will make the likelihood of a loan much better.  Or perhaps donations would make the loan unnecessary.  Regardless, the remainder of the website can be built in only two weeks, which is a marvelously quick turnaround for something that could prove to be such a vital part in the reformation of the nation.

Or perhaps I’ll find out that the people simply aren’t interested in the ROLR.  And that would be a shame, for I cannot yet imagine any other way off of this slippery slope than to get back up to the top—where the Constitution is.

No political party will get us there.  They have proved that over and over.  Indeed, they each have their favorite ways of disobeying the Constitution, and they only ever talk about it when it suits their immediate purposes to do so.

And so it is down to this stand—a stand that is deliberately designed to be circumpartisan, and even circumreligious.

If I have judged well, it simply shouldn’t matter what party or religion a person belongs to. I would hope that we could all agree again on the Rule of Law.

I am convinced that we are not far from the rule of force in this country.  When they went house to house to take away guns after Katrina, I realized that it was like a rehearsal for the big game.  And when it was obvious that the people of the nation weren’t in a fit about it, I realized that we are quite far gone already, not understanding the importance of what had happened.

I was in 5th grade in our Bicentennial year, 1976.  We sang of the patriots and we were told how grateful we should be that they gave their lives for our freedoms.

I never dreamed that there would come a time in my own life when those freedoms would be in doubt.

But here we are.

Yes, I know that most Americans don’t yet think the situation is dire.  But most Americans are clearly not analyzing it on purpose, so their current opinion doesn’t indicate much of importance.

If anything will succeed, it must go “viral”.  The message must be so compelling and easy-to-understand that people who haven’t been paying much attention in the past can pick it up quickly and convert their friends into messengers, too.

I hope I have hit upon that message.

We shall see.

Jack Pelham

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