Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of gathering in a large room filled with people who share an important love – the Tenth Amendment.
The annual 10th Amendment dinner is held during the opening week of Kansas’ legislative session. This fifth year saw more people and sponsors than ever before. There were twenty-nine sponsored tables of ten who gathered to visit and hear some inspiring messages from some very dedicated individuals. Founder’s Keep sponsored five of the tables, and I sat at one. It was good to see a few people I’d met previously, as well as meeting several new people. The speakers for the evening were, of course, the main reason I attended, and I was not disappointed.
The “MC” for the evening was Jason Stapleton. Jason went into the Marines after high school and spent time in Marine Force Recon. Living in the Kansas City area, he now has one of the largest political podcasts in the world. Jason spoke to us during the VIP casual session before supper.
Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach began the main event. Kris has been very involved, not only in Kansas, but with other states. His focus has been largely on immigration and voting rights, but states rights and sovereignty are tied to all he does.
He started the evening discussing the upcoming Trump administration. Because he is personally acquainted with some of the President-elect’s inner circle and has worked with them in the past, Kobach feels very comfortable with the council President Trump will receive. He discussed the problems constitutional conservatives have had with the huge number of court appointments by the Obama administration, but offered a glimmer of hope, reporting that there are over 100 judge positions open at this time. Including the normal attrition, a President Trump may set a record in court appointments within a four-year term.
After eight years of progressive appointments, it will be a welcome change. Of course, the opening on SCOTUS is of vital importance.
Kobach also discussed the issue of immigration and how it affects the states by adding incredible amounts of expense to cash-strapped budgets. We learned that in 1996, under the Clinton Administration, Congress passed legislation titled “Acceptance of State Services to Carry Out Immigration Enforcement.” This enabled local police and sheriff departments to assist in enforcing immigration law. The Obama administration effectively tore the agreement up, adding to an already difficult situation. Also discussed was the ongoing efforts by this administration to block any effort to assure voters are, in fact, citizens and have valid IDs.
Next on the slate was Sheriff Richard Mack. Back in the 1990s, Sheriff Mack found himself in the Supreme Court fighting the Clinton administration and Janet Reno – and won.
Sheriff Mack is the founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. A winner of many national awards for his work in law enforcement, he travels extensively lecturing that the local sheriff is the most powerful peace officer, answering only to the constitution and the voters. The sheriff often said when the federal government oversteps its bounds, the sheriff can, and should step in to protect the rights of his citizens.
As mentioned above, the sheriff “bucked the system” when he and six other sheriffs around the nation refused to comply with federal demands placed on them by the “Brady Bill.” The case ultimately ended up in the Supreme Court, where they won. Justice Scalia wrote the opinion for the majority, which ruled in favor of the Sheriffs based on the 10th Amendment and state sovereignty.
The Keynote speaker was KrisAnne Hall. Ms. Hall travels the country speaking to groups and legislators on the history of liberty and state sovereignty. Last night, the focus was on those who historically stepped up and “stood in the gap.” I’ve heard her speak a number of times. She does a good job of inspiring people to question whether we are really doing all we can, or are just fooling ourselves.
From the death of LaVoy Finicum last year, to federal land grabs, to a justice department suing states, to courts legislating from the bench, to the Kansas case of Cox and Kettler over the Kansas’ Second Amendment Protection Act, there was a lot of food for thought served – in addition the the excellent meal!
KrisAnne Hall had the attention of all as she asked everyone if they “had a cause.” She then began sharing stories of typically the unknown heroes of our young nation. Crispus Attucks, a freed slave, is widely believed to be the first casualty of the Revolution. It was said the turnout for his funeral was the largest to ever occur in Boston. Margaret Corbin’s husband was killed while working a cannon defending Fort Washington. She stepped in loading and firing the cannon until she was injured.
Ms. Hall reflected on many people who fought for freedom, however, most have people have never heard of them. Our schools are failing our children, and it is no accident. The stories of how people fought oppression and tyranny are not exactly something people want to be taught, especially, if they are trying to rule.
As a slave, men like Crispus Attucks understood slavery more than others. However, so did people like Margaret Corbin. They had a “cause,” and that cause was freedom. Ask most people today if they are free or slaves, they will readily tell you they are free. Most people don’t realize they are slaves. Maybe it is easier to understand slavery when someone is physically owned; maybe it is easier to understand when soldiers live in people’s homes and watch our every move, acting as judge, jury, and executioner.
There are many ways to enslave: make people ask permission to exercise their rights; charge or tax them to exercise their rights; take their rights to make choices away, and force them to choose only approved things. Also, teach them from a young age to accept what the government tells them and avoid teaching them their true history.
George Mason stated, “When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised…to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually…”
Attorney General Eric Holder utilized this idea when he stated, “What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes. “We have to be repetitive about this. “We need to do this every day of the week, and just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”
If we love freedom, then we have a cause.
In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” Most of us have children or grandchildren, and to think we will hand them a nation with even fewer liberties than we have, is not an option.
Don’t be lulled into believing everything will be all right. We must educate and instill this passion for freedom in our children and all those around us. Ronald Reagan once said that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” This has never been more relevant than today!