When understandings between people in a society prove insufficient to maintain social order, governments impose more formalized systems of social control to compel the population to obey laws, and can either punish or attempt to reform those who refuse to conform. America’s Founding Fathers devised a comprehensive and fair means of producing laws that entail procedures to assure the public that rules promote the general welfare of the entire population. Since the election and presidency of Barack Obama, there has been an increasing number of Americans who openly advocate breaking federal laws, and worse, threatening violence if the government attempts to implement and enforce constitutional law. This past week, a former U.S. congressman became the latest Republican to encourage Americans to defy federal laws and insinuated it may be necessary to shed blood to preserve freedom.
Teabagger champion Joe Walsh spoke to a group of supporters on Wednesday and informed them there is a war between those who value freedom against unfair government control, and said the battle is between the old traditional concepts of America versus the new America. Walsh incited an audience to “defy and break the law” if they are faced with federal healthcare or new gun laws, and it culminated a half-hour rant against the Obama Administration with Walsh insisting the Tea Party makes up a majority of silent Americans emphasizing a platform based on freedom and limiting the influence of government. Walsh, at times raving like Adolf Hitler, railed against civility and claimed conservatives are losing because “our side doesn’t understand we’re at war,” and insinuated that “we may have to shed blood to preserve our freedoms” to rousing agreement from his supporters.
The one-term teabagger decried the loss of religious, political, and financial freedom at the hands of an “out of control” government, and preached that the President has no understanding of America or the idea that this nation was founded on the basis of personal freedom and patriotism. Walsh typifies an ideology that taxes, laws, and regulations are destroying America and that real patriots will defy the “laws borne of tyranny” in the war against traditional concepts of 1790s America. The notion of opposing federal laws is gaining momentum among conservatives, and in at least two states with Republican legislatures, Republicans are seeking to criminalize implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
In South Carolina, after two-and-a-half years, two elections, and a Supreme Court ruling that the ACA is the law of the land, last month a state representative pre-filed legislation that punishes state officials caught enforcing the ACA who, under the law, would be guilty of a misdemeanor and “must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.” Federal officials, however, face felony charges under the proposed legislation that states any federal employee or contractor enforcing the law “is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.” A similar bill was proposed in Wisconsin one week after the general election in November.
Nine state Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin backed a bill criminalizing attempts to implement the ACA in the state, allowing police to arrest federal officials because they believe the health care law is unconstitutional despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that it passes constitutional muster. State Rep. Chris Kapenga said “Just because Obama was re-elected does not mean he’s above the constitution,” and said he supported legislation preventing his governor from setting up health exchanges similar to a ballot initiative that passed in Missouri in the general election. State Rep. Don Pridemore (R) said it is rational to criminalize anyone implementing the ACA because to him it “seems reasonable, it makes a statement to the federal government that we don’t want Obamacare.” It is apparent that Republicans in Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Missouri adhere to the “tenther” vision of America that gives individual states, primarily conservative-leaning states, the right to reject federal laws Republicans disagree with and if it means arresting, prosecuting, fining and jailing state and federal officials for fulfilling their legal duty, then that is the price Republicans are willing to make them pay for doing their jobs. However, the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause that clearly states, “The Laws of the United States which shall be made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land,” and it is the reason states do not have the right to ignore federal laws, or arrest federal or state employees for implementing federal statutes.
The idea that so-called “real Americans” and “patriots” can violate and defy laws they object to is a troubling development enough, but the threats of “shedding blood to preserve their freedom” at the urging of a former congressman is tantamount to sedition. Last year the Virginia Republican Committee published a state-level newsletter calling for armed revolution if President Obama was re-elected in November. In 2009, Michele Bachmann urged her supporters to become “armed and dangerous” if federal laws were enacted, and failed senatorial candidate Sharon Angle encouraged armed insurrection if “this Congress keeps going the way it is,” and that if “Congress keeps it up, people may find themselves resorting to Second Amendment remedies.” Now, former congressman Joe Walsh is inciting his supporters to deliberately defy and break the legally enacted laws of the land with the proviso that “we may have to shed blood to preserve our freedoms,” and his rhetoric borders on sedition, not to mention inciting Americans to break the law.
What is ultimately hypocritical is that these “patriotic” Republicans have embraced the idea that “having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people – we the people – are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.” The reality is that Americans, real Americans, follow the constitutional law of the land regardless who, or what race, the President of the United States is, and they certainly do not threaten to shed blood or incite a revolution that is by definition sedition.
There have always been extremists in the population that form militias, plot to overthrow the government, and incite criminal activity, but it has only been since an African American man was elected and re-elected as President that state and federal elected officials have openly called for breaking the law or violence against the government. Still, that is the predicament this nation finds itself in and it all began with the rise of teabagger-Republicans and their exclusive rights as real Americans. They are not real Americans; they are traitors to the constitution, seditious, criminals, and enemies of the state and the people they were elected to serve, and it is a mystery why the Justice Department, FBI, and law enforcement officials do not summarily round them up and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. One can only imagine it is because they live in a country where any two-bit phony patriot serving in state legislatures and the United States Congress has the right of free speech; even if they openly promote breaking the law, shedding blood, and violence against the United States government.