By Doug Newman
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Posted at Daily Paul.
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“When they said ‘sit down’, I stood up.”
– Bruce Springsteen, Growing Up
Libertarians are often criticized for obsessing about “little things.” If this is true, our most basic freedoms are not that important.
I read recently on Facebook about an Oregon woman who fought an $80 parking ticket in court. She was participating in a parade, and parking in the area was quite disrupted. There were no parking spots within a mile of where she needed to be that day. While she did not beat the rap altogether, she did prevail upon the judge to lower her fine from $80 to $30.
I commended her on this, saying “So many people moan and groan about Washington, but cannot be bothered to get off the couch and fight city hall.”
It is one thing to drone on and on around the water cooler or on Facebook about Obama. It is quite another to go nose to nose with the authorities in your own defense. While $80 may be small in the grand scheme of things, it is the kind of thing we can do something about.
I don’t know if “all politics is local.” However, everything government does has local implications. And if more people knew their rights, and exercised them whenever they were infringed upon, we would start making true progress toward restoring liberty in America.
(I have heard it said that if everyone demanded a jury trial whenever they got a traffic ticket, we would see a very rapid rollback of the police state. Unfortunately, this would require two things that are absolutely abhorrent to the majority of Americans: thinking and work.)
I pay little attention to the national media, and I recommend you do likewise. They love to promote certain narratives, and are downright contemptuous of anyone who would go against the grain. Conservatives are no different than liberals here.
In 2012, shock jock media whore* Ann Coulter said this about libertarians and the drug war: “Look, this is why people think Libertarians are [female reproductive organs]. We’re living in a country that is 70% Socialist. The government takes 60% of your money. They’re taking care of your healthcare, of your pensions, they are telling you who you can hire, what the regulations can be and you wanna suck up to your little liberal friends and say ‘Oh, but we wanna legalize pot.’”
Mainstream conservatives talk a good game about liberty, but can’t seem to wrap their brains around the idea that if you would forbid someone from healing themselves with marijuana, you already believe that Uncle Sam should nanomanage healthcare.
If you think that marijuana is a “little thing”, read the story of Charlotte Figi of Colorado. Charlotte was born with an excruciating form of epilepsy known as Dravet’s Syndrome. For a good part of her young life, she was in an almost constant state of seizure. At one point, she was having 300 grand mal seizures per week. Enter cannabis oil. Now, Charlotte has two or three such seizures per month.
If you think that marijuana is a “little thing”, watch this video of a dying muscular dystrophy patient asking Mitt Romney if he should go to jail for ingesting marijuana, which just may be the only thing keeping him alive. And watch Vladimitt’s weapons-grade despicable response.
Likewise, watch Brian Wilson of New Jersey confront Governor Chris Christie about a state medical marijuana bill that could mean life or death for his two-year-old daughter who – like Charlotte Figi – has Dravet’s syndrome. To make a long story short, Christie has said he would consider signing a modified version of the bill.
While it would be nice if to end the insane and godless drug war immediately, Brian Wilson had the right idea: confront a decision maker at the state level. He did so and won at least a partial victory.
Moreover, marijuana is not a “little thing” if your very survival depends on your ability to consume it. And if you do not stand up for your rights here, and acknowledge the rights of others, don’t complain about “big things” like Obamacare.
I also have a personal story of how local activism in the “little things” works.
In June 1997, I spoke to the city council in Aurora, Colorado in opposition to a proposal that permits no longer be granted to storefront churches. The council backed down, and today, there are storefront churches all over the city. (To be sure, the ultimate credit and glory for this victory belong to God.)
Did I petition the president or file an amicus brief before the Supreme Court? No.
Rather, while so many other people moaned and groaned about Bill Clinton, I got off the couch for a few hours to put some hurt on a local injustice. And while nothing changed nationally, I was able to affect a positive local outcome.
Jesus tells us that “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10) If you are not going to recognize and resist local tyranny – i.e. that you can actually do something about – don’t complain to me about the tyranny that emanates from Washington.
Environmentalists tell us to “Think globally and act locally.” You don’t have to subscribe to their agenda to be guided by this injunction. Washington is a lost cause and has been for many decades. However, you can still foster true change down at city hall and even in the state legislature.
There are far more threats to your life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness in the town where you live than there are in all foreign countries combined. Stop being manipulated by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, Rush Limbaugh and so much of the media that purports to be Christian. Look around the community where you live. Confront tyranny locally and when it affects your personal interests. You at least have some chance of influencing change.
* Please don’t tell me to be nice to Ann Coulter. Whore is a nice word for her. Also, the word whore, and variations on it, appears 65 times in the King James Bible.