Last week , when I wrote here about new TSA groping frisking procedures I had no idea the issue would flame up as it has. Now, it seems, the whole country is up in arms (or has their arms up, ready to be felt up frisked) over the TSA’s intrusiveness. “Don’t touch my junk!” has gone viral. Folks, this is just the most recent, most visible, and most outrageous of the government’s ignoring of basic constitutional limits.
Here are a few things you thought you could do…that you should be able to do constitutionally…that you can’t do. Some laws ignore rights at the federal level, some at the state level, and some at the local level. Some are serious rights violations, some are silly, and some are downright stupid…but all are a bit more of a slide down a slippery slope:
1. Grow wheat in your backyard. Really…according to US law, and backed up by a 1932 Supreme Court decision, it is illegal to grow wheat in your yard for your personal consumption. Why? It might destroy the wheat market, thus interfering in interstate commerce. Details? Google it…don’t take my word for it…anything you read here needs Ronald Reagan’s admonition to “trust but verify”.
2. You cannot sell milk from your cow to your neighbor. In most states, the sale of unpasteurized milk for human consumption is illegal, as it the transportation of such milk across state lines. Let’s think about this for a second. A naturally produced product, raw milk, is not safe or legal for human consumption in the form that God made it, but it CAN be sold it once corporate America is allowed to make it an adulterated product through pasteurization. In other words, the USDA, FDA, and CDC, along with various state level agencies, are smarter than and know more than God.
Can you spell arrogance?
3. You and your Boy Scout troop cannot, in a burst of patriotism, spontaneously break out singing the Star Spangled Banner while visiting the Lincoln Memorial (or other Washington monuments). It is considered a demonstration and you must get a permit first.
4. In Roselle Park, New Jersey you cannot sleep in public, so if you are drowsy while waiting at a bus stop for the bus, don’t doze off. You might find yourself as a visitor at the local Graybar Hotel.
5. You know those cakes and pastries you bake that your church sells at church fundraisers? In more and more states you can’t do that anymore. You can’t sell foods that aren’t prepared in state approved and inspected kitchens…and your granny’s kitchen doesn’t count.
6. You can’t dye your white poodle’s paws pink for Halloween, even when you use an animal-safe dye. A Jacksonville, Florida woman was fined $255 for doing so, with the judge calling it animal abuse. There aren’t any murders, rapes, or robberies in Jacksonville for the cops to deal with?
7. In many towns…towns, not subdivisions with Homeowners’ Associations…you can’t groom your yard according to your standards. The local government has passed laws governing how tall your grass can be. Then they hire an Ordinance Enforcement Officer using YOUR tax money, to run around with a badge, a ticket book, and a tape measure looking for yards that aren’t cut to their standards.
Yet you think the constitution assures you of property owner’s rights, right?
8. In Atlanta, Georgia you can’t legally walk down the street on Sundays with an ice cream cone in your back pocket. Really. I swear.
9. In California you can’t build a deck on your house if the shadow of the deck, not the deck itself, falls on a spot in your yard that holds standing water more than 10 days a year. According to California environmental protection rules, upheld by the state court, such a spot, regardless how small, qualifies as a protected wetland, and it cannot be affected in any way by a manmade influence…including the shade of a deck…so call your architect and have your deck plan redesigned, after getting the environmental impact assessment done first. Loving those constitutionally protected property owner’s rights more and more…
10. In Gainesville, Georgia you cannot eat fried chicken with a fork. Silly? Yes. A PR stunt for the country’s chicken capital? Yes again…but also indicative of government’s attitude about them ruling us.
Some of these seem trivial…not eating fried chicken with a fork comes to mind…and some seem serious, like your group not being allowed a spontaneous display of patriotism at a national monument, but all show a creeping trend of the government taking away rights, “…all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…” that they have no legal power to take away.
We have awakened over the last two years, and now we face a choice, a decision.
We can figure that we did our job, that the recent election sent a message our politicians heard and will heed without further action from us. We can fall back asleep on the couch, watching American Idol or Dancing With the Stars and guzzling a beer, or…
We can realize that it is not just our armed forces who must take to heart the saying “Freedom isn’t free”…we must do our part. Write our congressman, write letters to the editor of our local papers, show up at meetings our elected officials…local, state, and federal…will attend. Praise them when they act in a manner that shows they know that they work for us, we don’t work for them, and call them out, loudly, bluntly, and often, when they don’t.
I know my choice…I actually enjoy pulling politicians’ chains…what’s yours? Stay awake, or go back to sleep?
- Taiwanese Animators Recreate TSA ‘Junk’ Incident (wired.com)
- TSA May Prosecute “Don’t Touch My Junk” Guy (fdlaction.firedoglake.com)