Opinion

Thinking About “Resist” Bumper Stickers

resist

Driving in Washington DC, one sees bumper stickers that say “Resist!” and “Resistance!”  As a student of history, I wonder if these “resisting” drivers understand the difference between opposing a political leader and resisting the perpetual creep of government into lives of liberty-loving Americans.  Resisting a candidate is a passing fancy; resisting loss of constitutional rights is a sacred obligation. 

Writing Abagail Adams in 1787, Thomas Jefferson observed: “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive,” adding “I like a little rebellion now and then … it is like a storm in the atmosphere.”  That resistance – to consolidation of power – is what we must never lose.  Is that what all these drivers support?  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Opposing a candidate or elected leader is natural and easy.  In democratic times, opposition motivates discussion among Americans.  We like to say why we favor or disfavor the office seeker.  At best, we exchange views, educate each other, and provoke some thought.  Or we used to think that way.

That is how healthy republics sort out differences, preferences, and prejudices.  We talk among one another, unafraid to speak and listen, testing our logic.  We respect different views, even the wildly divergent.  Most of us know we are lucky.  Until we run for office, all candidates will be imperfect.

Historically, Americans did not take politics too seriously, not lose sleep over it, never a friend or sense of humor.   We have a history of mulling options, letting ideas baste, simmer and savor, like a good stew.  In time, we decide.  Until then, we love free speech and press our love of it on others.

In the end, we do some resisting.  Mostly, we resist being told or cajoled, cornered or captured, made to think what we do not wish to think, bunched by age or geography, biology, demography, faith, fate, or fortune, relatives, race or religion.  We are individuals. 

All this amounts to a certain kind of resistance.  It does not have to do with saving America, so much as preserving individualism.  This sort of resistance – to the mob’s call, crowd’s cowardice, party’s pitch, or being pigeon-holed is … all-American.  It does not reach to throwing people out of office between elections, either.  That bit is un-American.

But there is another sort of resistance – and it is more important.  It has to do with preserving the Republic itself.  It has to do with understanding our Constitution is everything, the foundation on which the Republic rests.  

It relates to standing up for free speech and exercise of religion – as well as offensive speech and differing faiths.  It requires resisting those who whittle away at constitutional rights, compromising our freedoms, turning speeches and debates into masked, anonymous violence.  

This sort of resistance – the important kind – relates to preserving a free press, encouraging those who claim membership to think for themselves.  It has to do with protecting family, community, and nation –the right to “keep and bear arms.”  Resisting infringement of our Second Amendment is seminal.

Likewise, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” is sacred.  The Fourth Amendment assures, “no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause …”

One is put in mind of resisting unjust surveillance, illegal “unmasking” of citizen phone calls, illegal monitoring of opposition political parties and campaigns by the government.  Resisting extra-constitutional action is vital.  I wonder if that is what those “resist” stickers are about?

No less important is resisting congressional violations of due process, including the conduct of closed inquisitions, condemning innocents without confrontation, depriving citizens of basic fairness.  No citizen – from peasant to president – can lawfully, “be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”  Resisting those who try – seems also a civic duty.   

This due process guarantee applies to criminal prosecution, but no less to an impeachment investigation.  If due process applies to legal proceedings, it applies doubly to congressional action on impeachments.  An impeachment is a rarely used political tool that strips the officeholder of rights – and strips voters of their franchise.  Resisting violation of due process is vital.  Maybe that “resistance” is what these drivers are promoting?

Resisting judicial activism, otherwise known as “making things up as you go,” seems timely.  No Founding Father favored extra-judicial creativity on the part of federal judges.  Abiding our Constitution either matters, or it does not.  If it does, then Congress must make the laws, Executive execute them, and federal judges do neither.  Judges simply interpret the law in the context of facts of a particular “case or controversy.”  Resisting judicial usurpation – is thus important.  Maybe these “resisting” drivers worry about judicial activism?  

Also important is our Ninth Amendment, which assures “enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  Resisting federal attempts to deny or disparage “retained rights” is certainly worth a “resist” bumper sticker. 

The Tenth Amendment reminds us to preserve States’ rights against federal overreach.  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Resisting insidious federal aggregation of State powers is timely.

So, there we have it – rights worth defending, incursions worth resisting.  I wonder whether I am driving among constitutional conservatives, after all.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Perhaps the “resist” stickers reveal deep constitutional thinking, drivers concerned about federal overreach.  I would like to think so but am also a realist.  This is Washington DC.  Whatever these drivers resist, I know my mind.  Since I believe in limited government, I resist what opposes it.

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Read more articles by Robert B. Charles

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Fixer48

Resist socialism!!!

HAL HOFFMAN

I HAVE A MUCH BETTER ONE! “LET’S SCHIFF-T THE HOUSE RED!”

Liberty Belle

The real irony is that WE were the resistance. Against all odds, we elected a president who would fight to preserve what the Founding Fathers fought for.

Maria

As an elder, seeing what they are doing to America is a horrible shame. There purposely trying to turn thus county into a socialism. Like they’ve done before… Look at Hong Kong, Venezuela… Just look at history. They turn people on one another, take the people rights away, especially the guns so THE PEOPLE can’t protect their selves from terrorism within their own c Government. It’s happening right before our eyes. My heart is sadden for our children and grandchildren. Evil has always been here, but has risen to a new level. One reason they want Trump out is his doing very well for this country (not that I trust he completely either), but when he signed that Sex Trafficing Bill, he cut into there money making business, sex trafficing, ritaul killings, organ selling…just wait till this comes out… The liberal wake jobs are scared and should be of the… Read more »

JAS

Very well written.

Pat R

It seems we are back to the reasons for America’s revolution with the British. We wanted freedom from the strangling rule then and more today are rising up for the same purpose except it is freedom from the strangling rule/taxation of multiple levels of government within our own borders, be it federal, state or local (especially cities). The law against double taxation doesn’t apply anymore obviously since we are taxed annually on real estate and personal property, the rates climbing. And if a new tax proposal gets too much flack, they find a way to call it a fee instead. Seniors with fixed incomes who managed to pay for their homes before retirement, could still lose it for unpaid taxes because of inflation on all fronts BUT income falling behind quickly. That is “wrong” on so many levels.

Cindy

Perhaps we should counter with a bumper sticker that says “Preserve”!

John

It’s time WE the people DEMAND that the house speaker and several other positions in our government must take Mental screening and testing regularly to keep their high paid positions. Our tax dollars were never intended to pay these people to play games with our lives and never intended to destroy our REPUBLIC from within. I for one can see several people are making laws and policies that are not from a sound stable mind.

Mark Yates

Amen, the ones that have those bumper stickers are ignorant of there true meaning

RLT

Thank you.

Lee E Glidewell

Good points, all, but the author may have overlooked the most important one (in my opinion). The Second Amendment, or the ‘resistance’ to tyranny. ‘Nuff said!

Joanna Johnson-Smith

I display the word, “RESIST” on my personal truck, and it means everything you and I want it to mean. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW and FREEDOM!

I am M.O.T.he.R.

I keep thinking about the word ‘Precedence’ since most legal matters are addressed on the outcome of prior legal issues of the same matter. Even our Congress uses precedence of past actions to justify current actions (remember the Senate’s nuclear option?). I wonder if the ignorant Democrats realize that their infantile ‘resist’ movement, against a duly elected President, sets a precedent for the next Democrat Presidential candidate to win the office (which should never be allowed!)? On a positive note, precedence set by every socialist dictator in history, when elected by gullible and ignorant voters, would indicate that their Dear Beloved Leader first exterminates those who elected him! Besides, all that ‘free’ stuff that Dear Beloved Leader promised and the voters fell for has a huge price tag, and bullets are a lot less expensive than ‘free’ stuff!

Gordon

Amen, brother! We live in wonderful & amazing days. But they are also dangerous times. Beware those in high places who speak & act falsely. Shun them! Remove them from office! The Republic of the United States of America is a rare & precious thing in this world. Accordingly we have enemies, both foreign and domestic. Resist _them_! Resist them now & always! We MUST assure that this ”government by and for the people” does NOT PERISH… not perish through apathy, neglect, insurgencies, internal or external revolt, ”politically correct” redefinitions nor any other means. The LORD GOD and our founding fathers gave us this republic. We & every generation must contend for it!! GOD bless you all, & GOD please continue to bless the USA!!!

Richard Olmsted

The vast majority of those displaying Resist bumper stickers are ignorant dunderheads who believe they’re resisting some kind of dictatorship or fascism of the Trump administration. Like the French resistance of the Nazis. They’re nothing but propagandized and indoctrinated fools.

OffGrid9

Nicely done — well thought out, and well written. I appreciated the satiric repeated suggestions re possible motivation of those with “RESIST” bumper stickers. Almost sardonic, but a bit more gentle than that.

I’m considering starting a conservative blog. Would you have any objection to my reprising this article (with, of course, proper accreditation)?

Helen

Very well written.

Linda Cratty

Excellent article, Thankyou!