It’s Getting Hard to Tell Where Sovereign Citizens End and Republicans Begin

Larry Pratt2
It is probably safe to say at this point that no enemy, foreign or domestic, hates the United States Constitution as passionately as the Republican Party. If they are not pretending it is somehow biblically based – despite zero mentions of God, the Bible, or the Ten Commandments – they are violating the First Amendment or the No Religious Test Clause (Article 6, paragraph 3), or half-a-dozen or more amendments.

Just as the Bible has apparently become one long anti-gay diatribe, the Constitution, to their eyes, has become the sum of the Second and the Tenth Amendments, and nothing much beyond that. And it scarce needs be mentioned that they have turned government of the people, by the people, and for the people, into government of, by, and for the corporations.

So it should come as no surprise that they regularly argue (and even try to back it up with legislation) that federal laws are meaningless (remember that Montana bill a couple of years ago that would have allowed FBI agents to be arrested for making arrests? Or Missouri Republicans who wanted to nullify federal gun laws and arrest federal agents?).

This is a strange species of patriotism being advanced by the GOP, you have to admit.

As the federal government has become demonized, Neo-Confederate secessionists have found the Republican Party amenable to their own goals, and now Larry Pratt of the Gun Owners of America has essentially crawled into bed with the sovereign citizen movement the other day – the people who reject ALL U.S. laws under the fiction that they themselves are not citizens.

Pratt appeared on VCY America’s Crosstalk Tuesday and fielded a call from a Wisconsin sovereign citizen who said, “I just wondered if somebody of your stature would stand up and scream from the rooftops that these 60 million codes and regulations don’t apply to us, only to U.S. citizens.”

Oh, those old laws don’t matter anyway, Pratt said:

Well, I think you can make the same point with another argument, that the body of, the corpus of law and regulations you’re pointing to, almost none of it comes under the Constitution. It gives powers to the federal government that were not given to the federal government in the Constitution. They should be stricken.

An interesting assertion coming from a representative of the party most often violating the Constitution with its legislation. But the striking thing is that while this man self-identified as a sovereign citizen, he could easily be mistaken for a Republican.

Pratt even said the federal movement and the court should not be involving themselves in the marriage equality question (funny how Republicans think differently when the government and courts agree with them), saying, it’s “not something for the federal government or the federal judiciary to be sticking their nose into.”

The United States Constitution says differently.

I realize Republicans hate history – our own history in particular – but there is defending the status quo, and then there is thinking you can go back in time to a status quo that hasn’t been a status quo for a couple hundred years. The terms “clown-car” and “crazy bus,” like the Constitution itself, exist for a reason.

It is funny that while closing his eyes to the underpinnings of our shared reality, Larry Pratt should claim that liberals do not live in a fact-based world. After all, Larry Pratt is the guy who said people should use their guns to keep Obama from being a tyrant, and that Obama should be impeached because of “Pagan” gun safety laws.

Pratt, who accuses other people of not living in a fact-based world, is perfectly described by the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Larry Pratt stands at the intersection of guns and Jesus, lobbying for absolutely unrestricted distribution of firearms while advocating a theocratic society based upon Old Testament civil and religious laws. A pivotal figure in the rise of right-wing militia, or “Patriot,” groups, he spoke at the notorious 1992 “Gathering of Christian Men” in Estes Park, Colo., where 160 neo-Nazis, Klan members, anti-Semitic Christian Identity adherents and others arguably laid the groundwork for the militia movement that would explode in 1994. He believes that white Christians must arm themselves for self-protection in the inevitable social implosions and riots that are soon to come.

David Corn wrote at Mother Jones the other day that guns are “an issue of primal importance to the Republican voting base.” It’s a shame they don’t feel the same way about facts.

And here’s the thing: laws are laws. If you don’t like them, you don’t get to ignore them. You work to change them. That’s what the courts are for (unless you are the Kochs, and then you just buy Congress), and the Supreme Court spends its time, as the Constitution says it should, puzzling these arcane matters out – and obviously, not always getting it right (Citizens United, anyone?).

What all this brouhaha amounts to for people like Pratt is that any law he doesn’t approve of is unlawful. He can claim the Supreme Court should not be “sticking its nose into” marriage equality, but as this is a First Amendment issue, the Fourteenth Amendment says otherwise.

If the Civil War had not taken place, we might not have the Fourteenth Amendment. But it did, and we do. Laws that once might have applied only to the federal government now apply to the states as well.

By the same token, if the Articles of Confederation had worked, we would not have the Constitution. But they didn’t, and we do. We cannot go back and undo the Civil War, and we can’t go back to the Articles of Confederation. Time only flows one direction.

The good news is, they say time heals all wounds. Even open sores like Larry Pratt. Take heart from that.

Meanwhile, of course, both Republicans and these so-called sovereign citizens are citizens and therefore subject to federal authority. If they are not, maybe we should rethink deportation laws. Obviously, we have plenty of people willing to abide by the laws in order to become citizens of this great country.

They’re literally lining up at the door – and unlike sovereign citizens, paying taxes – for a chance to be the citizen Pratt and his sovereign citizen friend, refuses to be.

21 Replies to “It’s Getting Hard to Tell Where Sovereign Citizens End and Republicans Begin”

  1. If you consider yourself no longer a citizen of our country then get the hell out! I don’t care where you go but you can’t stay here.

  2. Sovereign citizens should get their own special ballot for the presidential elections. They can vote for offices like town clerk and state representatives, but there should be a big old blank space where they would vote for president.

  3. The have always acted as if they have no responsibility. I live next to a Garden Implement retailer and they have a new employee who is the embodiment of what is wrong with this nation. This kid Jeremy is 27 and a product of the gun and god culture and when I asked him why he felt the need to carry a sidearm. All I got was a error filled screed and the insistence that I a 57 year old who has contributed more in my first 27 years than that punk will EVER! should “leave HIS country” because I’m not coward like him and MUST carry a gun. His employer my friend set him straight and told him no more firearms at work.

  4. If they dont like it here, where the majority elected our President, they can take their guns, ammo, bugout bags, paranoia and unread tv propagandized Bibles someplace else – Texas? Its wasteland anyway.

  5. The Republicans and other haters don’t need no stinkin’ Civil War to secede from the Union.

    In Republican controlled states, that’s exactly what they’re doing every time they opt out of laws that should be enacted nationwide at Federal levels.

  6. Whenever I read articles like this, I get the very strong feeling that the sovereignists and other law-abusing and law-ignoring folk are just daring the federal government to come in and impose martial law to keep these pinheads in check. And then, of course, a civil war will follow, there will be much blood shed, and the sovereignists will declare themselves the winners.

    Of course, there won’t be much left of the country, and it will be ripe for the picking — by the Chinese, perhaps?

  7. Here in Ohio some sovereign sad sacks got busted for squatting in a house in the country. I think they were just lazy bastards who think they shouldn’t have to work. These people are NOT Americans, they are insurgents and criminals.

  8. Read? That’ll be difficult because most of these morons probably don’t have an IQ higher than the temperature of a corpse.

  9. LookingFoward, there is a solution! First, Repeal the 2nd Amendment, ban the NRA and any Firearm clubs or orgs. Second, ENFORCE the Separation of Church and State!!!

  10. Of course they’re daring the government; this is what Cults with do and how they are defined. Period.

    David Koresh is a perfect example of a true-believer gun nut with a following who claimed “end times”, and, professed lawlessness through his own biblical interpretations.

    These so-called “sovereign” live in “closed” communities/ares, have compounds, recruit, claim biblical superiority, stock pile weapons (especially illegal ones) as well as stockpiles of supplies for their Armageddon-style gov’mint stand off.

    Sovereigns are no different than the Davidian cult; true-believe with religious certainty that they are so superior, no one can touch them.

    There won’t be a civil war; just stand off’s with officials that will end in nothing more than shooting themselves in the foot, or, follower slipping away in the middle of the night because they don’t want to go to jail.

  11. Agree Joseph….so what’s the steps to take to get this done? I’m with you, but it’s going to take courage of many many people to get anything done….laying out baby steps to reach the goal!

  12. Repeal the 2nd Amendment

    ““““““““““““““
    The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not establish or grant the right to keep and bear arms….nor is this right in any manner dependent upon the Constitution for its existence.
    None of the provisions of the Constitution establish any “natural” rights. They recognize such rights, but the repeal of such provisions would not end such rights.

    In other words, repealed or not, the 2A has nothing to do with endowing the people with the right to arms, it merely guarantees it in writing.
    Read U.S. v. Cruikshank (1875).

    And quite frankly, you would probably have better luck repealing the law of gravity.

  13. The first thing Hitler did when he got into power was confiscate all the guns. Although I am liberal on most matters, I don’t think disarming US citizens is a very good idea. Actually, I think that if a teabagger did get into the White House, one of the first acts would be to restrict and then confiscate guns. It’s nice to think that if you take guns away that everything will be just ducky. However, nuts and criminals have never had any difficulty getting a hold of guns. And, do you really want to be disarmed with these right wing nut jobs around?

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