WHY DO VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS OPPOSE PROPERTY RIGHTS?

If you want to know what is at stake in the next election, Virginia has the answer. It is about our God-given rights, and we have put one of those rights on the ballot, the Virginia Property Rights Amendment. And Democrats, Socialist wolves dressed in the carcasses of sheep, oppose the passage of this amendment.

Virginia Democrats: Who Needs Property Rights?

First the   national Democratic Party leadership abandoned any pretext of standing for   mainstream values when it dropped references to God from the party platform.   Now the Virginia Democratic establishment is doing the same by opposing the protection of our private   property rights. The Democratic Party walked back excluding God from the   platform; don’t be surprised if they try to back away from this crazy   position, too.

Of course,   I don’t think the national Democrats experienced a true change of   heart—remember that embarrassing moment when the delegates clearly refused to   back down but party bosses ignored the vote because it looked bad? Similarly,   even if the Virginia Democrats do shelve their opposition to property rights,   it would probably be safe to chalk it up to pure damage control.

Still,   damage control is what they ought to be doing right now, because the position   the Democratic Party of Virginia has staked out is an astonishing one – a   position many of their own would find shocking. Here’s where things stand.

When   Virginians go to the polls this November, they will have the opportunity to   weigh in on a vitally important issue: whether or not the Constitution of Virginia   should protect the right of private property and stand as a bulwark against   eminent domain abuse.

Some—mostly   on the left—have opposed the Virginia Property Rights Amendment,   calling it unnecessary. They’ve said that eminent domain abuse doesn’t exist   in Virginia, that an Amendment is superfluous. As the Amendment’s Senate   patron, I’ve always pointed to cases of clear abuse, some ongoing, and to   attempts by some Democrats to chip away at the laws we have protecting the   rights of private property owners.

But now I   can just point to a resolution adopted by the Democratic   Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee (their governing body). You want   to know why we need the Virginia Property Rights Amendment? Look no farther   than the astonishing reasons the state Democratic Party cites for opposing it:

They oppose   it because it “will lock into the Virginia Constitution a prohibition on   using eminent domain to advance private enterprise, job creation, tax revenue   generation, or economic development.”

In other   words, they oppose it because it actually defines public use – because it   makes clear what was once taken for granted, that condemning your property to   hand it over to a private developer is not a legitimate public use.   They actually want to preserve government’s ability to continue to   engage in abusive eminent domain practices.

In recent   years, “public use” has been turned into an ill-defined notion of “public   purpose,” where a “public purpose” is whatever a local government wants it to   be. And the Democratic Party of Virginia wants to keep it that way.

And they go   on. They also oppose the Amendment because they say it will “add to the   complexity and expense of governmental entities seeking to utilize eminent   domain for the benefit of taxpayers, even when property is taken for   unquestioned public purposes.”

Let’s   unpack that statement. Firstly, what do you think of that telling “even” – as   if takings for “unquestioned public purposes” (not even “public use”!)   are just one sort of legitimate taking? And what sort of complexity are we   talking about here, the “complexity” of distinguishing between true public   uses (roads, schools, utilities, etc.) and impermissible takings (e.g.,   handing over the property to a private developer)? This isn’t rocket science.

And   “expense” – what expense, exactly? They’re referring to the   requirement that property owners must receive fair compensation. Does this   come with a price tag? Sure. But let’s call it what it is: just   compensation. We all want to save money, but presumably not by   shortchanging property owners.

Our friends   in the Democratic Party aren’t quite done. Here’s the final reason cited for   their opposition: “Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli strongly supports the   amendment.” Listen, I get that the Democratic establishment doesn’t like our   Attorney General, but it’s hard to come up with a more petty reason than that   to oppose a constitutional amendment that protects the rights of all   Virginians.

They will   be happy to know, however, that one of their own candidates for Attorney   General, Senator Mark Herring, is opposed to enshrining property rights in   the Constitution of Virginia. Or at least, he is now, voting against the   Amendment on second passage earlier this year – after supporting it once its   first year passage became a fait accompli in 2011. He supported it   before he opposed it. Sound familiar?

Make no   mistake about it: Virginia Democrats are gearing up to oppose the Property   Rights Amendment. If we let this opportunity to restore property rights slip   through our fingers, we may not get a chance again for a very long time. We   have to win this one.

That’s   where you come in. Please forward this email to friends and family to make   sure they know how important it is to take a stand for property rights this   November. Ask your City Council or Board of Supervisors to adopt a resolution   in support of the Virginia Property Rights Amendment. Get your local party   committee to indicate support for the Amendment on their sample ballots. And   most of all, remember to vote for property rights in November!

Best   regards,

Mark Obenshain

When Virginians debated whether to adopt the United States Constitution as the law of the land, what were they concerned about? Then they wondered how much power they could entrust to their leaders. Madison put it this way.

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. — James Madison from The Federalist No. 51

We do not trust medical doctors and dentists without getting a second opinion. If we trust auto mechanics and used car salesman, it is because we have shopped long and carefully to find someone we believe worthy of our trust. Yet with politicians we have no such personal choice. Instead, we must rely upon the sometimes whimsical will of the majority. That being so, why would we want to entrust our leaders with any more power and wealth than is necessary?

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