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Article published March 1, 2013
Don’t surrender rights
John McManus Valencia
While there are those who applauded our president’s State of the Union speech, I found his message and his methods shameful. His emotional gun-control rhetoric of “they have a vote” and his use of those poor victims as his props in the audience was a display of politics at its worst. Let us look at what it truly means to have a vote. While democracy and the election of representatives is defined by the vote of the people (the democratic process), our forefathers understood that democracy could be manipulated. They understood that our nation needed to be protected from any individual, legislature or group of people who, by whatever means, would usurp unjust power and authority, so that government could not infringe on the rights of individuals. Our constitution guarantees us the right to protect ourselves, to assemble, to speak, to worship, all without fear that any individual or legislative body, or even a simple majority of voters, could infringe upon those rights. The idea of true service and sacrifice to one’s country is certainly lost on people like U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Vice President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama, who are nothing more than career politicians. History is replete with tyrants and dictators who have used fear and emotion to further their own agenda and sway people to surrender their liberties. Even parents of some of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims have stated that they resent their tragedy being used for the personal agendas of others. In rulings in 2008 and 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court gave affirmation that individuals do have the right to own guns and to own guns “in common use at the time.” Life is not without risks, and the Founding Fathers did not promise us utopia. There are things we can do in a reasonable manner to try to reduce the risks of violence, but surrendering any of our constitutional rights is not the answer.