On July 4, 1776 representatives of the 13 colonies gathered in Philadelphia to sign a document written by Virginian Thomas Jefferson. A document known as the Declaration of Independence. A document that gave declared, in no uncertain terms, that we had the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Five years and three months later on a battlefield in Yorktown, Virginia General Cornwallis of the British Army surrendered to George Washington, a Virginian, of the Continental Army securing the rights laid out five years and three months ago by Thomas Jefferson.
When another Virginian, James Madison, was working to save the Constitution in 1789 by creating a Bill of Rights his greatest fear was that he would leave something out. He would forget to list a right of the people and it would be construed that the rights listed in the Bill of Rights were all the rights retained by the people. For that reason we have the 9th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Virginia has been at the center of a lot of American history and American turmoil. Forget Jefferson, Washington, and Madison, forget the healing of our wounded nation that begun when Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. Today our focus is on much more recent troubles. In August of 2017 Virginia found herself once again the center for political turmoil when thousands of armed and unruly white nationalists rallied in Charlottesville in an attempt to intimidate and subvert the will of the people in the removal of Confederate Statues and the renaming of public parks. This armed rally ultimately resulted in the death of Heather Heyer.
Today, January 20, 2020 it is happening again. Thousands of armed militia members, white nationalists, and gun zealots march on the Capitol of Virginia. That hope that through armed intimidation they can subvert the will of the people. They claim they are fighting for their 2nd amendment rights, but many of them are from out of state and the incorporation of the 2nd amendment by the 2010 Supreme Court decision in McDonald vs. City of Chicago only protected a person’s right to self defense. The majority decision in that case laid out that the 2nd amendment does allow the states to restrict who can purchase fire arms and can ban them in public spaces. What the 2nd amendment does not protect is those seeking to use weapons for the purpose of armed intimidation.
Our president recently tweeted that our 2nd amendment rights are under attack in the state of Virginia and this is what you get when you vote for Democrats. I say to that that this is what the majority of Virginians voted for and that we will not have our will or election results subverted by armed bullies hellbent on intimidating us into submission.
The rights given to us in the US Constitution are our most sacred of rights, and that includes those not expressly listed in the Bill of Rights. The preamble of the Constitution itself tells us what those rights are and the government’s role in protecting those rights, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Let me ask you, is a mob of armed individuals hellbent on subverting our right to have our voices heard and our votes count in a free election insuring domestic tranquility, insuring justice, or promoting the general welfare? In November of 2019 Virginians headed to the polls and we made our voices heard. That we were sick of the gun violence plaguing this country, and we were going to do something about it. We overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Democratic party and gun control. Since that time bullies and radicals have attempted to undue that election and subvert the will of the people and today they march on our capital city.
I say to them that we hope to once again prove that the pen is mightier than the sword. That we will not be intimidated by their show of force. That Virginia has seen trouble and turmoil before and come out stronger. Virginians like Washington, Jefferson, and Madison built this nation and gave her her ideals. Chief among them the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which shall not be infringed by you or your gun.