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May 30, 2005

Preserve the Republic –
Scrap Real ID


An open letter to Congress

by Elizabeth Cameron

Dear Senators and Congressmen:

My father loved his country. In 1943, he volunteered for the Army Air Corps, and at age 19 became a B-17 aircraft commander. He flew 25 missions into the heart of Germany to help defeat the Third Reich and protect the American way of life.

When I was a teenager, he used to say to me, whenever I complained of things governmental, "Write to your senator." In less optimistic moments, he said, "You can't fight City Hall."

My father, sadly, has gone on to his reward. But his legacy is with me, and I, too, love my country.

If he knew what had transpired on May 10, with the ushering through Congress of the ominous Real ID Act on the heels of the military/terrorism appropriations bill, I am certain that he – along with General Washington, President Jefferson, and a great many others who laid their lives on the line for this Republic – would roll over in agony in his quiet grave.

With all due respect for your various good works, what in God's name were you thinking?

I beg your indulgence while I quote here, for the record, the words of your oath of office:

"I, loyal citizen of the Republic, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

According to this, you are not sworn to defend the United States. You are sworn specifically and only to defend its Constitution. Where is your fealty to that oath? If you insist it is intact, then where in the Constitution do you find the authorization for creating a federal database of personal information on U.S. citizens? Do you really want a future wherein the order of the day includes "You there! Your papers, please!"?

If I understand it correctly, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, you have voted unanimously to authorize an unelected federal official, the secretary of Homeland Security, to stand above any law or any court. You have turned the departments of motor vehicles into de facto federal agencies that will provide everything necessary for a citizens' tracking system, including the option for biometric markers. You know full well what the result of this will be, and it won't be "making us safe from terrorists."

Matters of law notwithstanding, the fundamental definition of treason, as I understand it, is "betrayal after trust." I call upon you to face squarely the meaning of your oath and look again at the provisions of the Real ID Act, and then decide whether you can in clean conscience stand and affirm that you have upheld that oath in approving this legislation. If you cannot, or God forbid, if it no longer seems to matter, then I ask you to rise above whatever complacency has taken root in your heart, and rekindle your love of liberty; for it is the fierce willingness to defend liberty in the very halls of power that has been the defining characteristic of our history's most adored statesmen.

And you, ladies and gentlemen of the House! At least the vote was not unanimous (and thank God for the opposition), but 60 percent approval of this nonsense? For shame! I can hear already the soothing words of those who supported the measure seeking to allay the concerns of others who, knowing their history, distrust a federal juggernaut. They are the same words one might utter to the innocent frog as the water works gently toward a boil. "This is necessary, right, and reasonable, see? Nice frog. It's okay, really..." The smarter frogs, I suspect, never quite see how it is okay.

But perhaps you, too, are a frog in the water, being heated by political pressure or the problems of our times. If you ever were an ardent adherent of your oath, have your resolve and integrity been boiled on Capitol Hill? What force impels you to participate in the slow suppression of the flame of freedom? Can you not withstand the onslaught of demands for "necessary" legislation? Perhaps it seems impossible to say "No!," or perhaps, worse yet, you have become the demander! I cannot guess your thinking. But this I know: You must prevent the planting of tyranny's seeds, and dig up those already planted, if we are to have a future as free men and women.

There are some among you, I know, who pursue this task every day with courage that would stagger any hero, and to you I extend my deepest gratitude. For the rest, I say this: You took the oath, and you must find it in your heart to be equal to the discharge of your sworn duty. Who but you should set the standard for adherence to our founding documents? And if you will not, what shall we tell our children about the future of this Republic? That individual liberty is an antiquated idea no longer practical in this global age, with terrorists on the loose? That we must content ourselves with fireworks and anthems and the words of freedom if we cannot have the real thing? I don't think so. That's not what my father bled for.

Don't get me wrong. I am most appreciative of the freedoms we still retain. But these are ours not by the deference of the federal government; they are our God-given rights that the government has not yet usurped. In farmer's terms, when a wolf is stealing the sheep, just being glad for the ones he has left will not save his flock from destruction.

People wrote the Constitution to stop the wolf, and people must make it happen – hence the oath!

Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Benjamin Franklin said, "He who gives up liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security." Both were right.

The cause of freedom demands our constant vigilance, and nowhere is this more crucial than in the halls of Congress. I beg, I plead, on behalf of all those who love liberty, and all those who have fought and struggled and died across the lands of Earth in defense of the American Republic, that you renew your vow to uphold and defend the Constitution against any soul who would undermine it, foreign or domestic, prince or pauper, wielder of guns or of a silver tongue. Attend! The devil is in the details.

You could start anywhere. Join Congressman Ron Paul's Liberty Caucus. Do whatever you can. And one way or another, support anything that rescinds from law every scrap of the Real ID Act that contradicts the U.S. Constitution and the presumption of liberty on which it stands. It can be done. It is your job.

Respectfully,

Elizabeth Cameron

 

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Elizabeth Cameron lives and writes at a small farm in Illinois. Much of her nonfiction writing focuses on issues that affect American liberty and human rights.

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