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Election Day: When "We The People" Rule

Friday, November 12, 2010

At Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln distilled the essence of American freedom as "government of the people, by the people and for the people." In honoring those who gave their all for that unique principle, he pledged it would "not perish from the earth."

But Lincoln could not have envisioned U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ?Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, or Reps. Alcee Hastings and Pete Stark as keepers of that torch.

Today, with the ruling class`s singular arrogance of power exercised from the White House to the halls of Congress, Americans could well see the end of ?President Lincoln`s vision.

I have never seen anything like the nightmare of "change" the Obama administration and its allies in Congress have brought, or the distortion and dishonesty and outright lies that mark their governing strategy.

Consent of the governed is built around rules and an honorable process beginning with the Constitution. It is built around openness, where ordinary Americans can examine and question both executive and legislative measures. In both houses of Congress that process has historically meant stability, where time is on the side of citizens to study and react to open consideration of legislative action. It is essential to successful grassroots activism.

In writing the original rules of the U.S. Senate, Thomas Jefferson penned a short first section, "The Importance Of Adhering To Rules," in which he warned, "There should be a rule to go by … It is very material that order, decency and regularity, be preserved in a dignified public body."

Juxtapose that with the actions of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

I could never have imagined a time when a Speaker would stand before the American people and explain away a bill hatched in total secrecy by saying, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

She added, "away from the fog of the controversy." Let me translate that: "Fog of controversy" means light of day; public discourse. It means deliberation in open hearings. It means telling the truth. Above all, it means "government of the people, by the people and for the people."

But under Pelosi`s ever-changing rules, passing a bill demands literally locking the doors of committee rooms so that opponents—duly elected representatives—cannot participate in the legislative process. It means no public hearings. It means secret legislation seen and understood only by her chosen few. It means locking the people—the governed—out of the process. And this could happen to us on any Second Amendment issue, or criminal justice bill or hunting and conservation measure.

As someone who has spent his life working on Capitol Hill on behalf of gun owners, I can tell you this destruction of rules and order by the political class is deeply significant and dangerous. The rules of the House and Senate are critical to assure fair and just hearings on national issues under deliberation. They have always been key to NRA victories during the past 30 years, no matter which party is in control. We have won with supporters and allies who are Democrats and Republicans, for ours is a bipartisan issue.

But since the advent of the Obama-Pelosi "change," the rules of behavior, of honor and of legislative conduct have been replaced by lies and deceit.

Florida congressman Alcee Hastings, a key member of the all-powerful House Rules Committee, explained it this way:

"There ain`t no rules here, we`re trying to accomplish something … All this talk about rules … When the deal goes down … We make `em up as we go along."

At the time, Hastings and Pelosi were pushing for a "rule" that would allow legislation "deemed" to be passed, without any floor debate or a vote.

Hastings, a former federal judge impeached and thrown off the bench and disbarred for corruption and judicial misconduct, is a key member of the NRA "F-Troop." Like Pelosi, he is an activist supporter of confiscatory gun bans, thus earning an "F" rating from the NRA Political Victory Fund.

Imagine a day when a gun ban could be "deemed" into law. Or an anti-Second Amendment Supreme Court nominee could be "deemed" confirmed, thereby tipping the balance on the high court and reversing our hard-fought victories in the Heller and McDonald cases.

None of this can happen if we break the f-Troop`s lock on power in the ?U.S. House and Senate.

So far, NRA has not been directly savaged under these Alice-in-Wonderland "rules," but I have no doubt that our time will come. And neither should you.

Never forget Feinstein`s fondest hope to pass an outright ban: "Mr. and Mrs. America, turn `em all in." Asked last year when she planned to fulfill that hope, she said, "I will pick the time and place." I believe her and, come Nov. 2, we must make sure she won`t get that chance.

On Nov. 2, not only the future of the Second Amendment is at stake, but the very future of our country as we know and love it. As Freedom`s Army, it is up to each of us to get friends, co-workers and family to the polls. Without a massive grassroots effort by "we the people," our liberty will slip away or downright perish.

Vote to keep "consent of the governed" the American ideal and the American way of life. Vote Freedom First.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.