The readers of Bearing Arms are no stranger to the fact that our Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as many of the three lettered agencies that fall under the supervision thereof, has become a machine to crush political opposition and push a radical progressive agenda. Just by trending what the DOJ prosecutes versus what they don’t, or what areas they focus on in their speeches and summits, people can figure out the DOJ under the Biden-Harris administration plays favorites on who/what gets prosecuted. Merrick Garland, who failed to meet the proper standards to sit on the High Court, congratulated the United States’s newest citizens the other day, and in doing so, he exposed some of his own personal history as well as neglected one of the most important civil liberties we have.
In the preamble of the Constitution, those Americans enumerated those hopes: to form a more perfect union; establish justice; ensure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; promote the general welfare …
And importantly – in their words – “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
Like them, each of you has now made a commitment not only to this nation and your fellow Americans, but to the generations of Americans who will come after you.
I come from a family of immigrants who fled religious persecution early in the 20th Century and sought refuge here in the United States. Some of my family entered right here, at Ellis Island. My grandmother was one of five children born in what is now Belarus. Three made it to the United States, including my grandmother who came through the Port of Baltimore. Two did not make it. Those two were killed in the Holocaust. If not for America, there is little doubt that the same would have happened to my grandmother. But this country took her in. And under the protection of our laws, she was able to live without fear of persecution.
I am also married to the daughter of an immigrant who came through the Port of New York in 1938. Shortly after Hitler’s army entered Austria that year, my wife’s mother escaped to the United States. Under the protection of our laws, she too, was able to live without fear of persecution.
That protection is what distinguishes America from so many other countries. The protection of law – the Rule of Law – is the foundation of our system of government. The Rule of Law means that the same laws apply to all of us, regardless of whether we are this country’s newest citizens or whether our [families] have been here for generations. The Rule of Law means that the law treats each of us alike: there is not one rule for friends, another for foes; one rule for the powerful, another for the powerless; a rule for the rich, another for the poor; or different rules, depending upon one’s race or ethnicity or country of origin. The Rule of Law means that we are all protected in the exercise of our civil rights; in our freedom to worship and think as we please; and in the peaceful expression of our opinions, our beliefs, and our ideas.
Garland’s full remarks are worth a read. If our eyes were shut and we heard some of (not all) these words come from the mouth of a Regan or Trump, the rhetoric could be believable. However, these “encouraging” words are hissed out from the current Attorney General who’s complicit to allow the Second Amendment rights of the people be infringed.
Given Garland’s sharing of his personal and family’s history, and that of his wife’s, one would think that he’d be all too knowing that the atrocity of the Holocaust was able to occur in part because of a disarmed citizenry. Do we know for a fact that had the people been armed at that time that the Holocaust would have been averted? No, we don’t. But I’m willing to wage many would have rather tested the odds by fighting it out as an armed populace, instead of being led to slaughter. Regardless, we won’t ever know.
Instead of taking that family history and embracing all the liberties he was given from his ancestor’s ability to flee a government that persecuted them because of their beliefs and who they were, Garland is sitting idly by as there’s executive overreach happening right under his nose. There’s no lack of governmental officials on the state levels (nevermind federal) that are in need of DOJ interjection. Only the other day was the matter of us not having a president or DOJ that’s willing to “send in the national guard” or prosecute those that infringe on our civil right to keep and bear arms reported here.
Of course, we still have work to do to make a more perfect union. Although the Rule of Law has always been our guiding light, we have not always been faithful to it. The Rule of Law is not assured. It is fragile. It demands constant effort and vigilance.
The responsibility to ensure the Rule of Law is and has been the duty of every generation in our country’s history. It is now your duty as well. And it is one that is especially urgent today at a time of intense polarization in America.
The United States is no stranger to what our Founders called the risk of faction. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison wrote about it in the Federalist Papers. George Washington warned against it in his Farewell Address.
When Garland decided to ignore mentioning the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms to these new citizens, he did manage to bring up our polarized country, one that we can say is divided because of the very machine Garland comes from. The Second Amendment is probably very relevant to individuals that have come to this country for a better life. Chances have it they came from a country that’s disarmed and the government lords over the people. In invoking the Federalist Papers on the topic of faction, Garland probably should have dug up Federalist Paper #46. Madison pointed out something in his writing that’s as true at the time of the founding as it is today.
Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.
Madison understood the importance of an armed populace in order to keep the government in check. Hence, we have the Second Amendment to assert that individuals have this God-given right to keep and bear arms in protection of self and others.
Garland also opted to ignore a warning in Washington’s address, where he discussed the prominence of power in individuals who crave such power, then ultimately crush liberty.
The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty
Government officials rising to prominence and then squishing liberties? That can’t possibly happen today.
It’s unfortunate that we’re in a time in our history where zealots to an ideology will impose and project said ideology while waving the banner of the government of the United States. For every “right” the DOJ swears they’re protecting, or criminal behavior they’re seeking to stop and abolish, there are many more that go completely unacknowledged, and in many ways encouraged. It’s no shocker that Garland played favorites with the rights he wanted to discuss with our newest countrymen, but what is a shock is his inability to learn from his own family’s history. What if his ancestors were armed during World War II? And why does he support policies that disarm the people he’s sworn to protect?