Sunday, January 20, 2013

Constitutional Arbiter

The other day I came across a Facebook post that reminded me how crazy, supposedly responsible people can be. It was a post of a letter sent to Vice President Biden by an Oregon Sheriff named Tim Mueller. In this letter, Sheriff Mueller details his love of the Constitution and the oaths he has given for his current position, as well as a short stint in the Army and concludes by declaring that he won't enforce any laws he or his citizens consider unconstitutional. Here's the part of the letter that I find just incredible to read, coming as it does from a law enforcement officer, emphasis mine:

"Any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Linn County Oregon."

Here we see a prime example of why we can't have a reasonable conversation about guns, not to mention many other subjects. It's because so many people, who seem intelligent, some of whom hold positions of responsibility are, at least on certain subjects, idiots. Sincerely determined ones at that. Let me put it this way, if I may paraphrase what Mueller is saying in this letter:

"Vice President Biden, I, Sheriff Tim Mueller, love the Constitution. I have sworn oaths to protect and defend it as a law enforcement officer and as an MP in the Army. As such, I am an expert on what is and is not Constitutional and not the Courts, as the Constitution would have you believe. Therefore, I am telling you, the Constitutionally elected Vice President of the United States of America, that I refuse to enforce any federal law I don't agree with and will even attempt to thwart enforcement by federal authorities. 

It's irrelevant that any such law was proposed and passed into law under a Congressional framework that is explicitly laid out under the US Constitution. That very same document about which I expressed my undying love at the beginning of this letter. In fact, my adoration for the Constitution is so deep and unyielding that I am willing to violate my own oaths, to that very same document! God bless America and the Constitution!."

I wish this guy was unique, but you might be surprised how many people subscribe to this tortured line of reasoning, either personally or in support of those shrubs who do. It always breaks down to the idea that individual citizens can make a determination about what is and is not Constitutional. Despite the fact that these laws were passed under Constitutional authority. Sure, some laws have been passed and then later ruled un-Constitutional, but that was done through the Court system, as the Constitution explicitly specifies. In fact, laws are treated much like a person's innocence; we assume they are Constitutional, because they were passed Constitutionally, until such time as they are challenged and subsequently ruled to violate the Constitution. You see, that's how this whole 'America' thingy is supposed to work. 

The bottom line is that, as a citizen, you have the right to disagree with a law, call for its repeal, speak out publicly, challenge it in court and demand your representatives work to repeal it. But just because you don't like it, doesn't make it un-Constitutional! It may be unwise, stupid or even corrupt, but you do not have the right to choose what laws apply to you, based on your own, skewed interpretation of the Constitution. And if you're in a position of power and authority, such as Mueller, you sure as hell don't have the right to declare your own personal insurrection against the Constitutional authority of the United States simply because you disagree with something! And to do it under the guise of patriotism is enough to have me reaching for an Excedrin and/or a bottle of Captain Morgan. I've had enough of blowhards who think they can pick and choose what laws apply to them. If we start down that road we stop being the United States and instead become the Confederate Counties of America, where every locality has its own random, illogical laws based not on a governmental framework, but rather the simple minded prejudices of the local authorities. We all know how that works; segregation, discrimination and restrictions on the very liberties that schmucks like Mueller are so hot and bothered about. You see once you start letting individuals choose what laws should be followed, you're setting up every 'Mueller' as their own petty dictator. Put simply, Mueller is actually undermining the very Constitution he is supposedly so devoted to. Is that ironic or just pathetic? No, wait, I think it's both.