America is rising for a palpable reason. The reason matters guides us forward. What decisions are you most proud of? Easy ones? No, tough ones. And what is a tough decision? One that involves risk. Short of war and skydiving, where is the risk? These days, just speaking up for principles, like free speech. We must take risks and more.
Heartland America is rising, stretching, coming to its feet, taking the risks needed to preserve the Republic. One by one, family by family, town by town, school district by district, state by state – Americans are saying “no” to radical ideas. They are starting to be heard, volume rising.
On a dozen fronts, Americans of countless kinds are speaking up – to protect our future, affirm the Bill of Rights, refresh public dialogue on values like democracy, capitalism, electoral integrity, free speech, free exercise of religion, self-defense, states’ rights, human rights, women’s sports, respect for police, sanctity of the border, difference between individual equality and group equity, liberty versus largess.
Every day Americans are reminding school boards, mayors, governors, members of Congress, and the Administration that “We, The People” call the shots, are in charge, are sovereign, and public servants work for The People, not the other way around. Now and again, the lesson must be retaught.
So, evidence suggests – after a long snooze, or perhaps accumulated distress, disappointment, disillusionment, and borderline despair – Americans are finally speaking up again. On education, law and order, border security, religious liberty, election integrity, gun rights, citizens are reclaiming rights.
Education. In response to efforts to mute students and parents, teach Marxism in schools, alter, reshape, and erase US history, diminish constitutional principles, delegitimize the country’s founding, recast the country as “built on” racism, teach so-called Critical Race Theory, hide lesson plans from parents, indoctrinate students, and replace students’ best interests with union interests, many parents are standing up, speaking up, and running for school boards. See, e.g., The Great American Parent Pushback Against Critical Race Theory: School Board Recall Efforts Surge Across U.S.; Parents say they’re running for local school boards to fight ‘poisonous’ critical race theory; Partisan war over teaching history and racism stokes tensions in U.S. schools.
Law and Order. Similarly, as “defund police” proponents – all Democrats – see unprecedented spikes in crime, especially homicides, across the country, citizens are pushing back, forcing local and state governments to wise up, change course, and protect them, not abandonment to criminals. The countermovement is growing and so fast that Democrats are now running from their former position, comically calling it Republican. See, e.g., GOP politicians, law enforcement officials push back on calls to defund the police; Roll the tape: Republicans release video of all the times Democrats wanted to ‘defund the police’; Cities Reverse Defunding the Police Amid Rising Crime.
Border security. In the absence of the Biden Administration’s support for border security and a general retreat from the prior Administration’s policies for reducing illegal immigration, citizens are pushing state authorities to do more – and that is happening. Border states are challenging past norms and legal boundaries to protect their citizens. Non-border states are supporting the effort with state police reinforcement for border states. This is new. See, e.g., Texas Once Again Tests the Boundaries of State Authority in Immigration Enforcement; Governor Ron DeSantis Directs Florida Law Enforcement to Aid in Border Crisis; Several states have deployed police to the southern border. What is their role?; Plan To Bring Police To Arizona’s Border Is Welcome But Nebulous.
Religious liberty. As free exercise of religion has been clipped and chipped away at by state governors and federal actors, citizens have risen up, filing lawsuits, challenging the restrictions, and winning. Efforts to bar, limit, and redefine religious liberty have been turned back at the Supreme Court, and even the New York Times has called it a “winning streak” for religious freedom. See, e.g., An Extraordinary Winning Streak for Religion at the Supreme Court; Religious Liberty — The Bedrock of Freedom; Religious Freedom: What’s at Stake If We Lose It.
Election integrity. Citizens refused to be rolled by Democrats pushing a major – highly offensive, objectively unconstitutional – election “reform” law (HR 1, or S1). That law would have federalized state elections, ended voter IDs, allowed “ballot harvesting,” out-of-precinct voting, online, early, felon, and 16-year-old registration, blocked roll reviews, encouraged mail-ins, created a one-party Federal Election Commission, made DC a state, and pushed up the chance of fraud and one-party dominance. While the battle is not over, the first round goes to citizens. See, e.g., House considering another voting rights bill as some states toughen laws; Senate Democrats’ election reform bill blocked on party-line vote.
Not only did citizens prevent this federal (Democrat-focused) takeover of elections, but they pressed states to pass laws preserving voter identification and election integrity. And then, in a capper for citizens, the US Supreme Court has begun upholding these state laws aimed at assuring election integrity for 2022 and 2024. See, e.g., Supreme Court upholds voting restrictions in Arizona 6-3; Supreme Court just stomped on Team Biden’s bid to bully states on voting laws; Judge won’t block parts of Georgia election law for now .
Second Amendment. Preserving the constitutional right to “keep and bear arms” is an enduring battle – particularly with Congressional Democrats pushing bills to ban, redefine, narrow, require psychiatric evaluation for ownership, and permit federal confiscation. That said, citizen engagement is proving powerful. First, state judges – as in California – seem to be tipping toward gun rights. Second, rising crime has produced a spike in legal gun ownership across demographics, boosting the reservoir of future defenders. Third, the Supreme Court seems poised to potentially expand gun rights. See, e.g., A Gun Rights Win in California With Sights Set on the Supreme Court; The Supreme Court will hear a major Second Amendment case that could gut US gun laws; Supreme Court to take up right to carry gun for self-defense; US gun sales spiked during pandemic and continue to rise; The demographics of gun ownership.
Bottom Line: America is rising, taking risks – and more. We are reclaiming traditional rights, speaking up, facing down unreasonable impositions and restrictions. But there is a “more” part of the equation. Here is the “more.” We are speaking up – but we must widen the circle of understanding, remember we must also educate the uninformed, underinformed, misinformed, and next generation. That is the next “risk” that must be embraced – for the future.
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