24 July 2008

To Secure These Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…. Declaration of Independence
Governments are instituted in order to secure those rights which we have as gifts from our Creator. Governments, furthermore, derive their conditional right to rule “from the consent” of those over whom these governments rule.

Properly, the governed are understood to be citizens of the geographic area being governed (inhabited by those seeking to secure these rights to themselves), not simply any Tom, Dick, Harry, or Maclovio who just happens to be in the area. In fact, if Tom, Dick, Harry and Maclovio happen to be foreign nationals, citizens, the governed, those who give their consent (which foreign nationals have not done) to the government, have a right to expect the government to which they have given their conditional consent, will protect them from foreign nationals. They might expect that the government to which they’ve given their consent will deport foreign nationals, especially violent offenders, who break the laws. They wouldn’t expect their government, to which they’ve given their consent in order to secure the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, would actually make it impossible to enforce laws enacted precisely for the purpose of securing the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But that is exactly what sanctuary cities do. That is what San Francisco, a city with a long-standing practice of shielding illegal immigrant juveniles who commit felonies from possible deportation, has done. Such is the case with Edwin Ramos, who is accused of three counts of murder in the June 22 deaths of Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16.

They were shot near their home in the Excelsior district when Tony Bologna, driving home from a family picnic, briefly blocked the gunman's car from completing a left turn down a narrow street, police say.

Ramos, a native of El Salvador whom prosecutors say is a member of a violent street gang, was found guilty of two felonies as a juvenile - a gang-related assault on a [city bus] passenger and the attempted robbery of a pregnant woman - according to authorities familiar with his background. (Here)
You’re driving home, or to anywhere, and for just a few moments you block a street onto which the driver of another car wishes to turn. Normally, the driver will honk his horn at you, possibly even flip you off. Edwin Ramos is different. If he wants to turn onto a street and you get in his way, he can shoot and kill you.

It gets worse. This is not Ramos’s first “tangle” with the law in San Francisco. In fact, his previous entanglements made his immigration status deportable. But San Francisco’s government (instituted to secure the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness) which derives its just powers from the consent of the governed, does not allow its law enforcement officers to ascertain anyone’s immigration status.

What should people do when their government, instituted to secure the aforementioned rights, goes out of its way to protect violent law-breaking foreign nationals? Cosmopolitanism is a nice idea, but at the end of the day, people institute governments for their own protection, to secure to themselves the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Most of us have no difficulty to extend protection to foreign nationals within our borders, but those foreign nationals should receive conditional protection. And that protection should be conditioned upon their demonstrated willingness to follow the rules. When they break the rules it is both foolish and dangerous not to ask whether they are here legally or illegal, and then to act accordingly. When governments won’t do that, it can no longer be justly said that they exist to secure to the people who formed those governments the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

…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.

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About Me

James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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