Let us resolve to return sovereignty to the people of South Carolina. It will not be easy. A revolt has taken place within government, a revolt against our Constitution. Government of, for, by the people has been overthrown. To reclaim our rights we will contend with a foe as powerful as the British monarchy our founders confronted. We will need their courage and perseverance in adversity. But we too can be victorious.
I would like to make three points.
First, the concept of sovereignty does not come from extremists, although the government and media would like us to believe that is the case. Sovereignty of the people was central to our founders' vision.
Second, the people cannot be sovereign if government is not accountable.
Third, only the people have a reason to defend their sovereignty. Government does not. Unrestrained, it is the destroyer of liberty.
The importance of the people's sovereignty is clear in our founding documents. In them, it is the people who grant government its existence and its authority. Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that governments are created to secure the rights of the people. He went on to say when government fails in this task, it is the right, the duty of the people to throw off that government. The preamble to the Constitution begins, "We the people establish this constitution..." Neither the federal government, nor state governments created or have ownership of the Constitution. It belongs to the people. The people must defend it. The Bill of Rights sets a boundary between limited federal power on one side, and a broad expanse of personal rights on the other. These documents have been ignored for a long time, as government continues to increase its power while reducing personal liberty. To restore the proper balance between the people and government, to recover the people's sovereignty, legislation must be passed in South Carolina which prevents the unconstitutional infringement of our rights by government. (States have passed State Sovereignty Resolutions - South Carolina is not one of them; Firearms Freedom Act legislation has been passed, but not in South Carolina; National Health Care Nullification has been introduced, but not here.)
The people cannot be sovereign if the government is not accountable. Does anyone still believe the government in Washington considers itself to be accountable to the people? And here, in South Carolina, can the government be accountable if the votes of state legislators are hidden from view? Can the people be sovereign if they don't have the ability to recall state legislators? Can they be sovereign if the they cannot bypass the legislature and create law through referendum? Or if government can take their land for private use? To restore our sovereignty we must pass legislation in South Carolina that makes state government accountable.
The people must accept the responsibility of defending their sovereignty. They cannot rely on government to honor it or to protect it for them. It is the nature of government to accumulate power at the expense of the people. As Jefferson said, "When all government is drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." That describes our government today - as venal and oppressive as the British government Jefferson struggled against. Will his sacrifice and the sacrifices of previous generations be in vain? Will we accept the very type of government they struggled to free us from? We cannot just talk, we cannot rely on someone else to do it and government will never restrain itself voluntarily. We, the people, must act. But do we recognize, that, truly, united we stand, divided we fall. This gathering is an example of the unity we can and must have. Numerous small organizations, each with limited assets, acting in an uncoordinated fashion, will not succeed. Groups, which share the same fundamental values, must coalesce into larger organizations. Then they will have the resources, both human and financial, the focus and coordination of effort needed to change the direction of South Carolina. To put it on a path where the people are sovereign and government is accountable.
Jeff Haladay is Coordinator of the 912 Project in South Carolina at the SC Freedom Rally at the State Capital.