January 20, 2021

It’s my right

Posted on 28. May, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

After talking with thousands of foreigners from all around the globe, I’ve concluded that there is at least one aspect of American life that non-Americans just don’t understand…our need to stand on and up for our rights.

Many countries have weathered difficult times, especially when it comes to their own sovereignty. After experiencing an immediate period of stress (maybe a generation or so) after a coup, an election or a war, they find their equilibrium and settle in to live according to their new-found reality.

Not so with Americans. It seems that we Americans are in constant right-assertion mode. Elections don’t settle us down. If anything, we’re locked and loaded for bear because the last election (no matter who won) ushered in a new age of ‘right infringement,’ be they voting rights, privacy rights, free speech rights, rights of assembly, eminent domain, etc.

My all-time favorite (and one I get particularly cranky about) is the right to be left alone. This seems to be a perennial favorite of both political parties but for a different reason…they can’t seem to observe it.

Lawmaking is the way they get in our ‘face’ and our wallet. It’s done through taxes and regulations in a magnitude large enough to choke a herd of Clydesdales.

I won’t call it a conspiracy because that implies that our legislators and regulators actually know what they’re doing and are organized. I think their actions fall into the ‘we’ve always done it that way’ category or the ‘aren’t we here to make laws?’ category.

There are many congressmen who’ve never met a law they didn’t like. Making laws justifies their existence. Just once I’d like to hear the Speaker of the House say, “We’ve decided we don’t need any more laws this year so we’re going back to our constituents to start listening to them.”

Maybe our bloody revolution is to blame, but many countries have had them, like France. You don’t see the French forming Tea Parties though I can’t help but wonder what they would look like if they did.

Introducing the French Tea Party (aka Café et Croissant Parti).

The first order of business would be to hold a mass meeting to which would be invited all the old anarchists from the 60s, the left wing radical students, the disaffected foreign population (Algerians, Moroccans, etc.), labor union leaders and the intelligencia (no self-respecting anti-government group would be complete without them).

There would be an election of leaders interrupted by a long coffee and cigarette break followed by the adoption of a party platform. Next would be a lengthy and heated discussion of the color and content of the posters to be carried at the protest rallies (important because French television would be covering the event and nobody would want to be accused of being unstylish)!

Following these decisions would be a long lunch with reassembly three hours later to decide on who marches on the front lines. This can be tricky, because having too many ‘unknowns’ out front would give the impression of a party not in step with the beautiful people – which of course every counter-culture movement needs. And on it would go.

Here in the U.S. of A. we are truly democratic (small ‘d’). Everyone’s welcome, and by the way, come as you are. We don’t care what color your sign is or what label’s on your jogging suit.

Everybody’s method for defending his rights is different. My motto is, “if it works for you and if it’s legal, do it.” These times do require us to stay vigilant, however, as rights in a democratic society are generally legislated away very slowly. And while we may have the right to ignore the lawmaking process, we won’t have the right to ignore the laws that it generates.

- Editor





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