My own appreciation for the organizations that work together to protect our freedom

We are confronted with many challenges today.  There is a terrorist threat from Islamic extremists.  There are many other challenges dealing with issues such as infrastructure, healthcare, education, our growing national debt, the number of people incarcerated in our prisons, immigration, stagnant wages, unemployment, the number of people living in poverty, and the divisiveness in our society. 

We can individually or as members of groups, focus on the aforementioned challenges or address together what I argue is the most important issue; the relationship between government and the people.  The relationship between government and people is substantially altered when there is little or no transparency and accountability in government.  In what seems like the blink of an eye we have gone from a government that was built on the consent of the governed, to a government where the governed require the consent of government. 

I admit that I do not have the understanding I would like of all the laws, Executive Orders and legislation that impact our rights, and thus freedom as citizens.  Being part of coalitions affords me the opportunity to learn from others who do have the expertise I do not have.  Others organizations have the resources to analyze legislation word by word.  Attorneys and others dissect every part of legislation, Executive Orders, and laws for the purpose of ensuring there is transparency, accountability, and a constitutional foundation for what is being done or proposed.  This is not to say all efforts by the coalitions the Constitutional Alliance is part of are successful.  As the coalitions discuss different topics, I have the opportunity to read the email threads, and participate in conference calls which always prove to be informative.  These email threads and telephone calls allow for me to be better informed so the Constitutional Alliance can make informed decisions, rather than guesses about what is the best position for the Constitutional Alliance to take. 

I know when some people see the Constitutional Alliance's name on a letter being sent to members of Congress, with the names of groups that are considered center-left, we at the Constitutional Alliance will receive some criticism.  To those people I would say that an organization that is considered center-left does not mean that organization is anti-American.  We must seek out common ground where there is some, and stand together if we are to secure our freedom.  It's easy to say all people center-left are unpatriotic, and are not interested in protecting our constitutional rights.  People center-left would say the same thing about people that are center-right.  Where would all this end?  If we are honest with one another, we know that as long as we stay divided we all lose.  If there are things I believe we should all agree on, they would be transparency and accountability in government.

It is easy to be cynical in these times.  Time and time again we learn more about the activities of our intelligence and law enforcement communities.  We also learn that we are only told the truth about the programs, and initiatives that our government is involved in when there is no other alternative, but for our government to admit what it is doing.  Often, I have said to others that what we know is bad enough; what we do not know is especially disturbing because there seems to be no limits on what some in government believe is permissible.  The most disturbing fact is there is little or no transparency.  We continue to learn more, not because our government is forthcoming, but rather because of leaked classified documents and/or whistleblowers.  With each new revelation there are organizations that are working together to demand accountability and forthrightness in government.  Two of the coalitions that the Constitutional Alliance belongs to are the "Privacy Coalition" and the "Surveillance Coalition."  

The Constitutional Alliance works with dozens of other groups and organizations that represent the entire political spectrum.  I am thankful for the efforts of these groups and organizations.  The goal in most cases is to ensure there is transparency and accountability in government.  It is equally true that in most cases, the groups and organizations are working to protect the rights of all citizens.  My own contribution to these efforts is to address the issue of biometrics, and the manner in which biometrics are being used that result in our Constitution being undermined.  Most of the other groups and organizations are represented by attorneys and political scientists.

If the actions of the federal government are going to be limited and required to stand the test of "Constitutional Muster" it is going to take all hands being on deck.  I may not agree on a range of issues with many of the other organizations that the Constitutional Alliance works with as part of these "coalitions."  What I know is each organization is working to ensure there can be vigorous debate about issues such as education, healthcare, domestic spying, and immigration.  Each organization that belongs to the different coalitions is working to protect the rights of citizens to have their voices heard, their grievances addressed and to ensure there is transparency in what government is doing.  After all, it is hard to have a debate about something government is doing if you do not know what it is that government is doing. 

Some may say they would never work alongside with another organization that supports immigration reform, Common Core or any number of other issues.  Others may say they would never work alongside another organization that opposes immigration reform and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  I am not suggesting that people compromise their positions or beliefs on specific issues.  What I am saying is if we do not work together to protect our right and ability to have uninhibited debate about all these issues, we all lose. 

We should never fear honest, vigorous debate.  Such debate may not change the positions of anyone but it may possibly lead to discovering what we can agree on.  Absent debate and the voice of the people being heard, government is left to do whatever it wants especially in times where there is little or no transparency.

Food for thought or junk food, you make up your own mind.  What is clear is if we the people do not stand together to insist our elected and appointed officials uphold their oath of office we will be left with no food for anyone.  Freedom is nourishment to ensure we each have the opportunity to be the best we can be, and pursue our individual endeavors with as little intrusion by government as possible.

 

Mark Lerner

 


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ConstitutionalAlliance_50.pngAbout The Author

Mark Lerner is co-founder of Constitutional Alliance, an alliance of groups and individuals who support the Mission Statement.