Monday, January 21, 2013

The Petition Clause

     The Petition Clause (also known as the Freedom of Petition Clause) is the last part of the First Amendment, and it guarantees that citizens will always possess the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  It does not say that the government has to listen or respond.
     To petition the government, an individuals have to show that they been personally affected by the matter, and that they have a legal right to demand attention, usually because one or more other rights have been breached.  Petitions may be made to local, state or federal governments, or to any branch within those sectors:  legislative, executive or judicial.  The clause allows people to strike, picket, rally, protest, march, write letters, stand on soapboxes, draw up petitions, speak in public forums, publish articles, or blog--whatever it takes to get a message across to the government.
     The Declaration of Independence contains a paragraph explaining why the right to petition was so important to the founding fathers.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms:  Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.  A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. 

Congress listed its grievances against England in the Declaration, including the following:

     1.  The king not obeying his own laws;
     2.  Keeping standing armies on American soil;
     3.  Imposing taxes without the people's consent;
     4.  Denying the right to trial by jury in some cases.

     These breaches remind me of my own case.  The government is not following its own laws, in denying me information as to why my clinic was raided or why my bank accounts were robbed.  The forfeiture of my clinic's working capital and my personal assets represents a kind of tax against me, for something invisible.  The government seems to be making up its own laws as it goes along, and they are laws that behoove the government in its goal to become more powerful, rather than the people and their interests.  FBI agents and federal prosecutors are a police force akin to an army, because they carry semiautomatic weapons which they don't hesitate to use to harass and subjugate the rest of us, when it serves their purposes.  After two and a half years, I have yet to learn the nature of the charges the government is entertaining against me, nor have I been given the right to a trial. 
     Whenever the colonists petitioned the British monarchy for an answer to their complaints, they were met with more taxes, more unfairness, more restrictions on their freedom, and more military presence.  In 1215 the Magna Carta limited the power of the monarchy, in an attempt to keep it from becoming despotic.  But time seems to erode such limits, and those in power tend to grab more power, and more.
     The framers of our Constitution added the Bill of Rights as a way of limiting the powers of the government's representatives.  But time has eroded these limitations, and the federal government has more power than ever.  If the Petition Clause were effective, I should be able to ask my state representatives to appeal on my behalf to the federal government for a review of my case, and for justice.  But the states have rescinded so many of their powers to the feds that they don't protect their people against federal tyranny. 
     Here are my complaints, analogous to those of the colonists:
     1.  The federal government is not obeying its own laws:  it should make its investigation of me transparent, it should announce its charges, and it should justify its terrible actions against me, or else remove itself with a broad apology.
     2.  The federal government has an army of agents ready to pull guns on citizens for apparent offenses, and minor offenses that don't threaten our social order.  These armies are in place for the purpose of intimidating everyone, and are analagous to a military state.  They need to be removed.
     3.  The forfeitures of my bank accounts amounts to a tax.  The government walked into my banks, signed checks for the full amounts in the accounts, and walked out with the cash.  No warning, no consent on my part, no explanation.  If this isn't the worst kind of taxation, I don't know what is.
     4.  Two and a half years after the federal government's investigation of my clinic and my physicianhood, I have not been granted the right to a trial, nor have I been given an enumeration of the charges against me.  I have been denied due process.  Our government has become as obscene and despotic as King Edward's reign at the time of the Revolutionary War.
     We need a new Declaration of Independence.  We need to reinstate the Bill of Rights.  We may need another revolution in this country, if we have any hope of our children calling themselves "free."

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