Two topics I regularly avoid in conversations are religion and politics. It’s not that I don’t like to discuss them, it just that it requires all parties involved in the discourse to have a certain level of maturity in order for the discussion to remain civil and have any chance of being productive. One can confidently bet buttons will be pushed in these types of exchanges.
However in 2019, it’s near impossible to be a gun guy with a gun related blog and avoid gun related politics.
That said, I’m not going to get into politics. Rather, I’m going to share my perspective on what I, as an immigrant and naturalized American citizen, believe are a citizen’s duties to preserve liberty in the US of A. These duties take time and money to perform, but the cost of not performing them will likely be the loss of individual freedom and liberty.
1. Be informed
Every citizen has an obligation to be informed about current events and politics (at the very least politics concerning individual liberties and constitutionally protected rights). This takes time, but at least we live in an age where the cost and time to acquire information is low – thanks to the internet.
Personally, I make every effort to be more informed about local events and politics than global ones. As the closer to home those events and politics are, the more likely they are to have an immediate and direct impact and effect on your every day life.
It should go without saying, but I am going to say it anyway, that all information received should be critically analyzed before drawing individual conclusions and forming opinions. It’s okay for those conclusions and opinions to change overtime as long as it’s not a result of emotional knee jerk reactions to new information.
2. Be heard
Citizens had a duty to inform policy makers and authorities about their well formulated conclusions and opinions. This is another duty that doesn’t require a lot of time and is essentially free from cost as it doesn’t take much to place a send an email, make a phone call, or write a letter.
A quick search on Google for “who represents me” will yield several resources that will allow a person to find out who their representatives are. For example, using a zip code or street address on Ballotpedia will yield information about city, county, state, and federal representatives along with links to their contact information.
Remember government officials work for you so urge them to develop or act on policy that is important to you.
3. Be involved
A citizen who is informed and is making their voice heard is already involved, but that can be taken to the next level.
Start by searching for organizations already involved in the things that matter to you and get on their mailing lists. Here are a few that I keep up with:
- Texas State Rifle Association
- Gun Owners of America
- 2nd Amendment Foundation
- Firearms Policy Coalition
- American Suppressor Association
If one can afford it, become a member of one or more of those organization or make a donation. If one can afford a little more, make regular monthly donations to them.
If one can afford the time, then take the time to attend and peacefully participate in rallies for or protest against policies of importance.
Can’t find an organization? Form one.
Every citizen has a duty consciously exercise their right to vote.
I may rub some folks the wrong way on this one, but I’m going put this out there anyway. I’m going to suggest that consciously exercising a vote also includes consciously abstaining from casting a vote. Now before your feathers get too ruffled, hear me out.
There have been a number of taxes, policies, and propositions on ballots that have been passed or enacted because people cast a vote without understanding what they were voting for. So I suggest, consciously abstaining from casting a vote is better than a misinformed vote.
Similarly, some representatives have been voted into office simply because one voted for the lesser of two (or more evils) or against a potential representative. I believe those sorts of votes can have potentially negative side effects as they are not necessarily well informed conscious votes.
I’ve personally stopped voting a straight party ticket and stopped voting on propositions I’m not well informed on. Frankly, I’m not sure I can (or will), in good faith, vote for another politician if I am not certain they will fight for the preservation (or restoration) of individual liberties.
But what about guns and liberty?
From where I stand, gun rights and the 2nd amendment are at the center of today’s political climate and it seems many representatives (regardless of political party) are actively pushing or passively considering additional infringements on the 2nd amendment via gun control legislation. Frankly, I think there has already been too much compromise in favor of restricting the right to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms. I firmly believe this constitutionally protected right is what protects all other rights and liberties and I worry that further infringements will further erode individual liberty.
As an example, I think the adoption of red flag laws across states (and potentially at the the federal level) erode the presumption of innocence or circumvent due process – rights protected under the fifth, sixth, and fourteenth amendments. Not to mention the “temporary” confiscation of firearms under those red flag laws, in my opinion, violate the fourth amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
But I’m not a lawyer and all of this is my opinion (which is subject to change). However, if you share similar concerns about gun rights or other liberties, then I suggest you take action in the form of what I have suggested above. And if you happen to get into a political discussion, take the high road and be civil – even if your patience and temper are tested.