When are Local and State Governments Illegitimate?

J Robert Smith

  • Aug. 28, 2020
  • 5 min read

This article originally appeared at American Thinker.

Watching Tucker Carlson Tonight on Monday night, my stomach turned and heart sank. Carlson ran video footage of a couple in Portland being dragged from their pickup truck and beaten. Their sin: their whiteness. The culprits, BLM thugs.

There were no police to intervene. Portland police, like Seattle and Minneapolis police, are practically neutered. Police are hamstrung, defunded, and demoralized in these cities. Many have handed in their notices. National Guard deployments are verboten. Curfews are nonexistence. The human excrement that pummels innocents to within inches of their lives are ghouls prowling the night. They’d come for us, if they could.

This descent into hell is enabled by so-called progressive Democrats in the aforesaid cities and Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, and wherever next. The progressives have names, Ted Wheeler, Jenny Durkan, and Jacob Frey – all mayors – along with numerous council members. And governors, Kate Brown, Jay Inslee, and Tim Walz. Add Lori Lightfoot, J.B. Pritzker, Bill de Blasio, and Andrew Cuomo to the roster. All – all – have taken oaths of office to uphold the law and attend to the public safety. They are glaringly derelict in their duties.

These elected leaders aren’t simply craven, they’re complicit in the violence and destruction that bedevils their cities. They see the mobs in the streets. They witness the destruction. They are apprised of the violence. They know innocents are being harmed. They know citizens cower behind locked doors. They know – know – that the least among their constituents are the most vulnerable to the predation.

Yet they permit the mayhem. They let the mobs roam. They fiddle as their cities burn.

These elected leaders are, in fact, aiding and abetting insurrections. Their inactions are actions. They hate America, the America of the founding, the America of liberty and the rule of law. They learned to detest the nation growing up in “progressive” households and on college campuses. What other conclusions can we draw? Today we finally know: scratch a progressive and you uncover a revolutionary.

We tag the rabble who own the streets “anarchists.” Even the president brands them as such. The term suggests people without purpose other than violence and destruction. But this mischaracterizes and underestimates. They have a purpose – or the leftist instigators in the streets have purpose. They wish to destabilize in order to create voids – voids they intend to fill. Voids that, by default, blue city leaders grant. Lest we shrug it off as just trouble with blue cities, so who gives a damn, remember that from small fires hell comes.

The questions arise: When is it right and proper for citizens to cast off governments that no longer see to their safety and promote their welfare, much less effect their happiness? What role does the national government play in securing the rights and safety of blue cities’ beleaguered citizens?

It’s too easy, and disconnected from the realities, to say, “If you want to change your government, i.e., your elected leaders, wait to the next election.” In less than 80 days, blue cities have tumbled, one rung after another, into a cauldron of lawlessness. Situations can worsen rapidly. Among citizens besieged, is there recourse to ballot boxes? In any event, how could anyone be certain of free and fair elections – in other words, uncoerced contests – with leftist agitators and pliant Democrat politicians in de facto alliance?

Should we shrug off crises in blue cities as the fault of voters? The “They’ve made their bed, so lie in it” trope misses a key point. Did voters in any of these cities really bargain for what they’re getting now? Yes, most claim to be progressives, but did they expect their votes to result in the sacking of their communities? The menacing of their neighbors and themselves? Did they really desire or expect a leftist dystopia?

Let’s turn to the Declaration of Independence for guidance.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. [italics added]

Then this:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. [italics added]

Despotism. It can take many forms. Here’s one variation: “dominance through threat of punishment or violence.” Is this form of despotism not now occurring in the streets of Portland, Seattle, and, increasingly, New York and Chicago? And earlier, Minneapolis? With the general acquiescence of the governments in those cities? Do citizens not, therefore, have a right, in fact, duties, to throw off the tyranny of mobs and leftist agents? And the governments that choose to stand aside?

How long must the train of abuses and usurpations be before citizens can coalesce to exercise their right, their duty, to throw off such governments?

But before citizens take matters in their own hands, there is recourse: the national government. My guess is that President Trump desires to intervene to protect the aggrieved citizens in blue cities. Election politics now constrain him. November will decide his course.

Aren’t the constitutional rights of citizens in these cities being violated daily? Doesn’t the national government have an obligation to protect them? Doesn’t the preamble in the Constitution summarize why we are America?

WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In our federal system, it falls first upon the states and localities to uphold the mandate in the Constitution’s preamble. But when states and localities fail – by cowardice or design – to fulfill their basic duties, then isn’t it incumbent upon the national government to act?

Day in and day out, we’re told by the MSM not to believe our lying eyes. The leftist-provoked mobs running wild in blue cities are merely protesters, registering grievances and questing for justice in an endemically racist America – an America unjust beyond race, anyway, and from its inception. The cancers growing in blue cities are meant to metastasize across the nation. Have no doubt.

To excise these cancers, to reestablish justice and restore domestic tranquility, the national government must act. Leaders in afflicted blue cities, bolstered by their states’ governors, are in rebellion and are trampling the constitutionally guaranteed rights of their citizens, while gestating wider rebellion. If the national government doesn’t act, then it rests upon the citizens to exercise “their right, [snip] their duty, to throw off such [state and local] Government[s], and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

In blue cities, insurrections are underway. Since the 1960s, the left has been building to this moment. We underestimate the threat at our peril.


J. Robert Smith can be found on Twitter @JRobertSmith1 and Parler @JRobertSmith. He also blogs at Flyover.

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