SUPPRESSING OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

English: The state seal of Virginia. Српски / ...
English: The state seal of Virginia. Српски / Srpski: Застава америчке савезне државе Вирџиније. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I am just over sixty, I do not really know how these times compare with previous periods of history. I just know that I see less and less reason to trust the people who lead us. Sadly, we are just getting what we voted for.

What is the latest escapade of the people we elected? Here is an article that sort of explains the issue.

Bills could ban conventions for party nominations

by Julian Walker at PilotOnline.com

Focus on a Virginia Republican autopsy over the causes of party defeats in November has given way to a new controversy roiling the GOP: rancorous divisions over bills that could ban political conventions for both parties.

The bills stipulate that no political party can choose candidates for statewide office or the General Assembly by a method that excludes active-duty military, reservists and other defense personnel unable to attend because of service-related injuries.

The bills’ seeming practical effect would be to prohibit conventions where a select group of party activists choose nominees.

Supporters of the proposals from two Virginia Beach Republicans – Sen. Frank Wagner and Del. Scott Taylor, both Navy veterans – bill them as pro-military pieces of legislation enabling service members to better participate in candidate selection.

But conservative critics suspect something more duplicitous.

They see the bills as a flag-draped way to prevent conventions like the one held in May when grassroots activists nominated Ken Cuccinelli for governor and E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor.

This anti-convention push comes after conservatives took over the GOP governing body from an old guard that is “less confident that their hand-picked candidates will prevail in a convention,” said Stafford County’s Susan Stimpson, a lieutenant governor candidate last year. (continued here)

Apparently, folks in the General Assembly considered two unusual bills today. Senator Frank Wagner (R-VA Beach) introduce SB 507, and Delegate Scott Taylor (R-VA beach) introduced a companion House Bill, HB 194. Why bring this sort of thing up with so little advance notice? I am afraid the answer is that the bills will not stand up to close scrutiny.

We have had this problem with military participation in conventions since the founding of the country. Even where attending a convention is practical, the military establishment discourages soldiers from participating in political activities. When someone joins the military, that one of the rights they give up. Thus, military participation is just a diversion.

So what is the point of this bill? What would it do? Essentially, the bill would strengthen the grip incumbent politicians have on power. As a practical matter, the two major political parties have already eliminated their competitors. With the passage of one of these bills, incumbents would no longer face prospect of being answerable to party regulars, the people who show up at conventions.

Are these bills what The Establishment want? Why would The Establishment object to conventions? If you are a party insider with access to special interest money, then conventions are an abysmal nuisance. Conventions allow “radicals,” that’s highly motivated folks other than yourself, to gain influence. All the “radicals” have to do is show up in sufficient numbers, and they choose the party’s nominee.

Instead of getting rid of conventions, perhaps we ought to consider the significance of party insiders not wanting to compete in conventions. If The Establishment cannot get enough motivated individuals to show up at a convention, what makes these party insiders think they have any business running a local, a state, or national government?

Other Views

Conclusion

Whether we classify the Republican supporters of SB 507 and HB 194 as RINOs, Establishment Republicans, or Conservatives, the bills represent a direct assault on our First Amendment rights to freely assemble and petition the government. Is it the job of the General Assembly to tell any political party how to nominate its candidates? Isn’t the conflict of interest blatantly obvious?

24 thoughts on “SUPPRESSING OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

  1. Short-term government interventions can have effects, Tom (some, even many, unintended). Long-term, however, arbitrary government constraints on trade tend to be undermined by the price mechanism, which has ways of asserting itself as ineluctably as the tendency of water to move downhill.

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    1. I don’t understand. Could you explain further?

      What do you mean by the price mechanism? How does the price mechanism undermine arbitrary government constraints? If in the long term, the price mechanism undermines arbitrary government constraints on trade, does that mean that in the long term arbitrary government constraints on trade don’t do any good or harm?

      Like

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