The Friends of the People by Isaac Cruikshank (1756–1811)
The Friends of the People by Isaac Cruikshank (1756–1811)

An Example Of Civics In Action

When we apply what we each believe to be the best principles of civics, we become political activists. That is, for example, what people who are participating in the Tea Party movement are doing.

Political activism is among the most peculiar and risky of human endeavors.  Even when what political activists propose is popular, some appreciate that political activism, but many still abhor it. That’s because we have this idiot notion that politics is a dirty business.

What is it that people detest about politics? Because we each want different things from the government, politics divides us into argumentative factions.  Factionalism is a topic we considered in THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY (through the writings of James Madison in The Federalist Papers). If you wish to understand something about the problem, please refer to that post.

What is political activism? Wikipedia offers this explanation, Activism, and much of what they write about political activism involves changes opposed by the governing class. In such cases, activists may have to overcome a great deal of hostility.  They risk failing and becoming one of many we have forgotten. Such is the case of the Armenian genocide which Clifford D. May writes about in Recalling the lessons of Armenia.

Displayed outside the Turkish embassy in Washington last week was a large banner reading, “Armenian genocide is an imperialist lie.” That claim might be amusing were the subject not so dreadful. The slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915 was carried out by the Ottoman Empire. It was, therefore, by definition, an imperialist crime, one regarded by most experts as the first genocide of the 20th century. The notion that some other empire (which one?) has fabricated a slander against Turkey is ludicrous. Those who came up with that slogan must assume they are addressing a clueless audience. (continued here)

In our nation, we still have the freedom to speak our minds, to get our thoughts into print, and to publicize our views in recorded speeches and videos. What is more important, however, is that we can associate with people whose views with share. We can organize to select the leaders of our communities and of our nation.

Recently, we held Firehouse Primaries (see Prince William firehouse primary primer) in Prince William County. Instead of using a convention or a government-run primary to select its candidates for the general election in November 2015, the Prince William Republican Party set up its own balloting stations held its own primary. That involved quite a bit of work by dedicated volunteers.

I had a small role helping to set up one of the balloting stations. The day after the primary was over I sent the people I worked with a note expressing my appreciation. That follows.

Dear Republican Volunteers

Why Do I volunteer? Well, before we get to that I want to thank you all for volunteering to help yesterday. We had a challenging day. If you have not already done so, please check out the results Firehouse Primary at pwcgop.org. We had good turnout, and that’s why we were so busy. Only two balloting stations had more voters show up.

Fortunately, everyone involved worked hard and took the initiative to do what needed to be done.

John and Jose carefully laid out our floorplan. Thanks to them we were able to efficiently route the voters through the facility. Then, just before our real work began, Jose thoughtfully reminded us to ask for our Lord’s blessing, and he led us in prayer.

Mary, Ashley, and Jose got the voters in the door in an orderly fashion. When they got to the John and latter Steve at the Control Point, each voter was ready to have their registration verified. That task included tactfully dealing with a few people who wanted to gripe. There are always some.

With remarkable aplomb, Michelle, Meg, and Amy withstood the initial wave of voters, processing about half of the voters.  Why did everyone want to come at 10:00 AM?

😦   On a Saturday morning?

Rita arrived, and she already knew what to do with Rocket Base (Author’s note:  Rocket Base is the database we used to check voter registration and political affiliation.). She got her laptop running, and she went right to work. Then Dottie, Jan, Milt, Mark, and Jay added their efforts. The line now ended at the door.  We were processing voters as fast they arrived. Whew!

Meanwhile, Jamie, Bill, and Chuck, each in turn, quietly and courteously monitored the ballot box, provided voters a pen and showed them where to deposit heir completed ballots.

During the second half of the day, Steve led our effort. That included the complex task of counting the vote for three different elections on almost a thousand ballots. In two-person teams, we first counted the statement of intent forms, and then we counted the votes on the ballots. That took more than just the couple of hours we had expected. Thanks for hanging in there to the end.

Finally, Milt agreed to drive to the PWCGOP HQ, and we delivered the results of the vote (name of balloting station deleted).

So why do I volunteer? I just hope the good character and the good will of people like you will rub off on me.

Thank you for the example you set.


What true political activism involves is caring enough about other people to volunteer our labor and our wealth. Instead of looking for someone else to do the hard work necessary to make our government work properly, we step forward, and we do what we can.

We can argue until Hell freezes over just exactly how our government is suppose to work. We will never entirely agree. Nevertheless, if we each choose to wait for someone else to make our government work, we risk surrendering the welfare of our family, friends, and neighbors to the tender mercies of strangers. How can we claim to love someone if we are willing to risk their tyranny and enslavement?

The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. The law of liberty tends to abolish the reign of race over race, of faith over faith, of class over class. — John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton

When we have no one fit to rule over us, with our Lord’s help we must each do our best to rule ourselves.


traditionsWhen illegal immigrant children started coming into our country, I hoped most of the opponents of illegal immigration would have enough sense not to direct their protests at the children. The children are not the problem. Our problem is the politicians aiding and abetting their illegal entry into the United States. If the politicians were doing their job, the children would not be trying to cross our borders. Unfortunately, there are a few people who have not given the matter enough thought.

Here is how Youth for Tomorrow Hires Off-Duty Police to Guard Entrance (bristowbeat.com) starts.

Following the controversy over Youth For Tomorrow’s Unaccompanied Minor Program, the Bristow facility that houses at-risk youth has posted off-duty police officers at its Linton Hall Road entrance as a precaution.

According to Prince William Police, they are not doing so at the county’s expense.

“YFT is paying for the officers to be there,” said police spokesperson Officer Jonathan Perok. “This is an off-duty detail not paid for by the county or department.”

While Youth for Tomorrow did not immediately return calls for comment on the issue, many speculate YFT is concerned about the strong emotions the controversy is garnering with the public and local politicians.

Tuesday, a resident contacted Bristow Beat soliciting support for promoting demonstrations in front of the facility. [Editor’s Note: The editorial staff refused the request.] (continued here)

Consider why Democrats think they can get away with bringing illegal immigrant children into our country. They are children. We are suppose to love children, not hate them. Therefore, if anyone opposes letting hordes of unaccompanied children cross our borders, the Democrats figure they can accuse them of hating children. Never mind the fact the Democrats have purely selfish reasons for bringing all these children into our country.

So what should we do if we want to protest illegal immigration? Try the following:

  • Visit and protest at the office of our congressman and two senators. We should be respectful, of course.
  • Send letters to our congressman and to our two senators. No curse words. We just need to tell them that if they don’t promptly fix this mess we are going to vote for someone else.
  • Send letters to the editor of our local paper. Here we can focus on the fact our leaders need to protect our country, not import more welfare dependents.
  • Support candidates who advocate limited government. If we are going to keep voting for increased funding of Social Security, Medicare, public education, food stamps, unemployment benefits, tax loopholes, and so forth, why should our leaders care what we think about illegal immigration?
  • Participate in the Tea Party protest movement and fight for our constitutional republic.
  • Join the Republican Party and fight for our constitutional republic.
  • Study the history and the traditions of the United States and pass that history and those traditions onto our children. Because we do not appreciate what the founders accomplished — because we don’t know how to make what they built work — our constitutional republic is dying.

We in America still have a distinct culture, one that even now has the potential to continue flourishing as the cradle of liberty. However, if we do not protect our borders, devious political leaders will succeed in completely dividing us by language and culture. You say that is not possible? Don’t our leaders already seek to divide us by race, sex, religion, age, wealth, …….? And you don’t think they won’t try to divide us by language and culture?

Consider what this phrase means:  God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Is it not just about living and letting others live in peace? Unfortunately, we have put a bunch of busybodies in charge, and busybodies are not content just to do the minimum government needs to do and then leave the people they seek to “serve” in peace. Instead, they want to make all our decisions for us, and that’s why our government now runs our healthcare, our schools, our retirement, our banking industry,… That’s why our government is putting the coal industry out of business, is forcing us to subsidize windmills, insists upon regulating Christian religious practices out of the public square,…. That’s why this country is going broke.

So leave the illegal immigrant children in peace. Pity them. If they had any sense, they would have stayed home. If we must protest, then we ought to give our elected officials some grief.

Other Views and Other News


war between AmericansAmericans have fought one another in two civil wars. That first civil war we now call the American Revolution. Why did so many of the colonists revolt against the mother country? To determine the causes, we need only read the Declaration of Independence. The American colonists were trying to throw off an odious tyranny.

Our second civil war goes by the name “civil war,” The American Civil War. We still argue over the causes of this war, but plainly the enslavement of blacks of African descent had something to do with it. Northern abolitionists wanted an end to the practice of slavery. Southerners wanted to spread the practice of slavery. Therefore, when Abraham Lincoln, the leader of a new political party opposed to slavery, became president, southern slave-owning states violently seceded from the Union.

Could it happen again? Could we have another civil war? The answer is “yes.” So long as the United States exists, there is a chance we will experience an irresolvable conflict that leads to war. Although we may look back at the issue of slavery and wonder why Southerners would not free their slaves, the plain fact is that the South fought with dogged determination to keep blacks in bondage. Even though they might have increased the number of their soldiers by offering enslaved blacks their freedom in return for service in the Confederate Army, the South would not do so. Some blacks served in the Confederate Army, but few had a role in direct combat. Official policy never supported the use of black soldiers in the Confederate Army.

However, blacks did serve in the Union Army (see Military history of African Americans in the American Civil War). Some were even awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

So what would the next American civil war be about? Since we cannot know for certain when or whether this war will be fought, we can only guess. How can we guess? What if we went to war with each other in the near future? What issues divide us today?

  • Abortion: Some people consider what they do with “their body” their right. Many of these even insist that they have the “right” to use government funds to pay for their abortions. Others see the rights of the unborn as far more important, and they are horrified by the prospect of being forced to pay for the “right” of other people to have an abortion. Thus, “Pro-Choice” advocates would impose their beliefs upon those who believe in Life.
  • Unconstitutional Taxation and Spending: Look at the Constitution. Then look at the Federal Budget. Don’t we have numerous large Federal programs unmentioned by the Constitution. Yet what was one of the major arguments for seceding from the United Kingdom? Was it not taxation without representation? Today our government officials routinely take money from taxpayers and give that money away to buy votes. In fact, the cost of government seems increasingly out of control. Thus, taxpayers are represented, but not in a meaningful way.
  • Secular Public Schools: Although they are suppose to be run by local and state governments, our nation’s schools have acquired many of the characteristics of a nationalized system. That includes our universities as well as K-12 education. And as the Federal role has increased, government has inexorably secularized what is taught in our nation’s schools. What the schools teach children too often conflicts with what their parents believe. Instead of being taught Christian values, government teachers preach multiculturalism, environmentalism, liberalism, humanism, socialism, and so forth. Thus, government interferes with the right of parents to educate their children in their own beliefs.
  • Immigration: According to Elements of international law: with a sketch of the history of the science by Henry Wheaton:

    A sovereign state is generally defined to be any nation or people, whatever may be the form of its internal constitution, which governs itself independently of foreign powers.

    Yet even children can swarm across our borders, and our dubious leaders will ensure these illegal aliens receive the “free” benefits of our welfare state. Thus, because we will not protect ourselves from even the weakest attempts at invasion, we risk national sovereignty.

  • Abuse Of The Powers Of Government Agencies: The power of Federal Government has grown beyond what was originally conceived in the Constitution. Here are a couple of examples.
    • At this point there is little doubt that during the last presidential campaign, leaders of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used their organization’s powers to stifle Conservative organizations.
    • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using Global Warming as an excuse, is being used to destroy the coal industry. Yet, no new legislation has been passed to justify this, and the legislation Congress has passed never envisioned carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

    Thus, because government leaders have so blatantly abused their authority, we risk both our freedom and our prosperity.

  • Dishonorable Judges: Our nation’s courts no longer adhere to what is plainly stated in the law.  Our judges have weirdly decided: (1) taxpayers must pay for the education of illegal immigrant children, (2) states must “marry” same-sex couples, (3) government can force citizens to buy health insurance, and so forth. Thus, because the meaning of the Law can no longer be discerned from what is actually stated in writing, we risk chaos and tyranny.
  • Dishonorable Elected Officials: When elected to executive positions, our officials no longer believe themselves obligated to either enforce the Law or adhere to the letter of the Law. This All-Star Panel: Has President Obama abused his authority? explains the problem. President Obama is essentially rewriting laws, threatening to combine legislative with executive authority. Thus, because the combination of executive power with legislative power is so easily abused, we risk tyranny.

What is the peaceful solution for these issues, one that might avoid a civil war? Because the United States is suppose to be a federation, we still have three identifiable levels of government: federal, state, and local. In the past, we exercised most of the power of government at the state and local level. Therefore, if the people of a city, county, or state were sufficiently unhappy with their government, they could leave and go where they could find a government more to their liking. Unfortunately, Federal Power has grown so immense we can no longer vote with our feet. In fact, we now have cause to wonder whether We The People have a government or the Federal Government has a people, and that should cause all of us to consider what we need to do to fix this problem.


What follows are excerpts from several emails written by members of the Virginia House of Delegates to their constituents. These were published last week after the General Assembly passed a budget.

From RICHARD L. ANDERSON, Delegate, 51st House District.  Sent: Fri 6/13/2014 3:05 PM



I arrived home at 3am this morning after the General Assembly passed a responsible and cautious budget at midnight last night. The bill passed the House 69-31 and the Senate 21-18, an almost 2-to-1 margin across both houses.

Key:  Our spending plan for the next two years increases funding for selected programs that are critical for our people, funds most other programs at the same amount as the prior two-year budget (i.e., few cuts), addresses our state’s $1.5 billion revenue shortfall forecasted over the next two years, and defers Medicaid decisions until after the legislature has completed its work on Medicaid.

To ensure that the General Assembly retains its rightful role regarding Medicaid decisions, both houses approved an added clarifying section that unequivocally prohibits the expansion of Medicaid without the direct approval of the legislature.

This budget closes the $1.5 billion revenue shortfall by also using some of the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Unfortunately, we had to eliminate teacher pay raises and new funding for higher education. I strongly supported teacher compensation increases and am disappointed by this turn of events, but depressed revenues meant that the money is simply not there.

On the other hand, we protected over $300 million in new classroom funding for K-12 education, $50 million in new funding for mental health reforms, and investments in our state employee retirement system.

For a very detailed look at what the budget does and does not include, visit the House Appropriations Committee website by clicking here.

The budget is now enroute to the Governor for his consideration and action. I am hopeful that he will sign the budget with minimal changes so that our Commonwealth is not moved closer to a shutdown and/or interruption of services to our people.

From Jackson H. Miller, Majority Whip, 50th House District. Sent: Fri 6/13/2014 7:58 AM


Budget Passes

I am pleased to announce that last night, after a three-month impasse, both the House of Delegates and Senate passed a responsible budget on a bi-partisan vote. Passing this budget guarantees paychecks for our teachers, police officers, firefighters and includes funding for 14,000 more in-state slots at Virginia’s public colleges and universities.  What this budget does not include is further expansion of Obamacare in Virginia.  While the Virginia General Assembly has had to deal with a significant shortfall, the budget we passed will allow us to preserve our investments in the core functions of government – education, transportation, and public safety.

From Scott Lingamfelter, Delegate, 31st House District. Sent: Fri 6/13/2014 12:04 PM


Stand Firm with Scott

We stood firm!  We listened to you! We are accountable to the people we serve! That is why we have a budget in Virginia at last; a budget that is fiscally sound and does not expand Obamacare.

This week, Virginians saw firsthand what happens to politicians when voters feel their elected leaders are out of touch with their issues, their thinking, and their expectation for good governance.  The lesson is clear: in order to lead, you have to listen.  Once you listen, you have to take action to help create the right policies that protect our constitutional rights, the vitality of families, and the prosperity of small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.

As a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, I take my role very seriously. I have an obligation to the people I serve.  That means I take the tough positions-which aren’t always popular with some people-but that’s the price of leadership.  There are people who want to expand Obamacare in Virginia; I get it, but I also get this: We have a $17.5 trillion national debt and we borrow $430 million per HOUR at the federal level. Obamacare expansion in Virginia would put a huge hole in Virginia’s budget going forward. This hole would inevitably result in cuts in education, law enforcement, higher education, and other core functions of state government.  Many people, including myself, very badly want real healthcare reform.  What has been delivered to us by the Obama administration-a huge federal program forced down our throats-is not the right approach. It is time for Congress to take a clean sheet of paper toward healthcare reform, and the first step is to repeal Obamacare and put in place legitimate reform… not big government.

From Rob Bell, Delegate, 58th House District. Sent: Fri 6/13/2014 1:32 AM

rob bell

Budget Passes — WITHOUT Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

It took until late on June 13, but tonight the House and Senate both endorsed a state budget — and one without the proposed Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

The bill passed the Senate 21-18 and the House 69-31.  Click for the votes of your Delegate and Senator.  Both bodies also endorsed an amendment to add safeguards against the Governor expanding Medicaid without legislative approval.

I opposed the proposed Medicaid expansion because spending on the program is already unsustainable.  Even without the proposed expansion, Virginia will pay $600 million more in Medicaid benefits in this biennial budget.  The proposed expansion would have accelerated this spending, and by adding thousands of recipients, it would have made it that much harder to reform the program.

The budget has now been sent to Governor McAuliffe, and we anticipate his actions next week.

These guys run every two years, and they will be running again in 2015. So please do as Bell suggests. Find out how your Delegate (and your Senator to) voted, and let him or her know what you think.