n ongoing series of actions in the Tennessee legislature leads reasonable citizens to question whether the leadership of the Republican Party in Tennessee truly believes in the unalienable, God-given rights of the people and that the role of government is to protect those rights.

Their actions could lead one to believe they, instead, ascribe to statist Rule by Law, as opposed to Rule of Law based on the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions and the Christian principles upon which our nation was founded.

In Tennessee this past week, a bill designed to uphold Second Amendment protections with the implementation of Constitutional Open Carry was defeated in the Tennessee House. SB-2424, sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers, passed the Senate by a vote of 25-2.

The corresponding HB-2409, sponsored by Rep. Micah Van Huss, was killed this past Monday night in a House subcommittee by a vote of 10-1, thereby ensuring the bill will not be allowed to come to the floor of the House for a full and open vote.

Why would politicians who earlier voiced support use every trick in the book to torpedo a bill overwhelmingly supported by the people of Tennessee and both the Tennessee and U.S. constitutions?

The answer is likely found in the age old axiom of “follow the money.”

It is commonly thought that Gov. Bill Haslam has used access to his family money and crony contacts to control much of what occurs in the halls of power in Tennessee.

Many of us think that Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell by and large serve as proxies for Haslam in the Senate and House, using parliamentary tricks and backroom deals to control the agenda and thwart legislation supported by the majority of Tennesseans, but opposed by Haslam and his ilk.

Haslam has a history of anti-Second Amendment advocacy as a former member of gun-grabber and nanny-statist Michael Bloomberg’s deceptively named Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), a membership he resigned when he decided to run for governor.

MAIG’s and their fellow gun-grabber’s actual actions have always been directed at taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens.

Common sense and history teaches us that criminals do not obey gun laws. In fact, crime statistics affirm that gun laws give criminals an overwhelming advantage over a comparatively defenseless populace. 

Just as statists hate the Tea Party because we shine a light and draw attention to their actions – to which people formerly paid scant attention between election campaigns – they hate the very idea of the people having an un-infringed right to keep and bear arms.

An armed populace is a barrier to the tyranny of unrestrained government power for which statists lust.

We saw an example of this last week in Clark County, Nev., as politicians and government agents literally threatened to kill anyone who did not adhere to their arbitrarily fenced-off “free-speech zone.”

When the thousands of armed citizens eventually outnumbered the armed government bullies, the government agents threatening to shoot peacefully assembled protesters (see the First Amendment) were, instead, forced to retreat.

In context, Haslam’s MAIG membership is not an isolated example of his statist beliefs.

As Knoxville mayor, Haslam also pushed for government usurpation of private property rights under the United Nations Agenda 21 “sustainability” agenda.

A lot of people stand to make a lot of money if they can use the power of government to override private property rights, then control the acquired “government property.”

As a current member of the board of Achieve Inc., Haslam has aggressively worked to force the implementation of the top-down government takeover of education using the Common Core Trojan horse (see “Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Common Core” at www.freedomworks.com).

The money to be made in implementing and administering Common Core, not to mention the power and money that comes from the Common Core mandated data-mining of student and family private information, is of robber-baron proportions.

Of course, statists like Haslam, Bloomberg and President Barack Obama always believe they know better what freedoms the “regular” people should and should not have.

Whether it is taking away Second Amendment protections, private property rights, edible school lunches or Big Gulps, statist have always preferred one set of rules and freedoms for themselves and another for everyone else.

Speaking as one who has voted strictly for Republicans for more than 30 years, events of the past weeks – indeed, ongoing actions over many years - should trouble those of us who love our nation and have supported the GOP based on what candidates in the party are pledged to represent (as specified in the platform).

We need to elect Republicans of firm moral character who support constitutional principles, not those who are every bit the statists that the Democrats are.

Conceding that the Democrats are a lost cause when it comes to upholding moral principles and abiding by the Constitution, the question becomes:

Will those who claim to be Republicans stand up to “Republicans” like Haslam, Harwell, Ramsey, et al, who violate the constitutionally limited government, pro-freedom principles detailed in the GOP platform?

Or will they, instead, succumb to the lure of money and power?

A better question is: Why do we even accept the premise that we need government permission to exercise our God-given rights?

Accepting that premise is what enables the voracious appetite of statists as they consume our liberties.

Only time will tell the answers to the above. History has shown repeatedly that political parties, governments and entire civilizations come and go.

If anything, a government created to protect the God-given rights of the people is an historical anomaly.

If the American anomaly of freedom is to continue, Americans must say “no” to statists, regardless of their party label.


ARTHUR SMITH of Paris is a member of the local Volunteers for Freedom Tea Party. His email address is constitutionalconservative@hotmail.com.

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