Monday, April 14, 2014

Voices of Franklin: Rich Aucoin - Franklin Town Council Stands Down

From Rich Aucoin

Town Council's Broken Oath to Constitutions Betrays our Military Veterans, Endangers Public Safety

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963
I, _________, promise to uphold and defend Constitutional governance.-- Oath made by every Franklin Town Councilor, November 13, 2013 (officially broken March 18, 2014)

Why Are Local Officials Required to Swear an Oath to Uphold and Defend Constitutional Governance?

A vital part of the Oath sworn by local officials here in the U.S. is their pledge to uphold and defend our Constitutions. The Founders mandated that the Constitutional Oath be administered even to local office holders because they knew that federal and state legislators were only human and would sometimes make laws that violate our most basic, inalienable rights. In such cases, local officials would be duty-bound to step up and restore the nullified rights within their jurisdictional authority. This bottom-up system of Constitution enforcement is what made America different and special in the world; it ensured that we the people would always retain the power.

A Cradle of Liberty

Massachusetts has a proud history of enforcing basic rights. Five years after the U.S. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act requiring states to kidnap and ship escaped slaves back to their "rightful owners," Beacon Hill passed the Personal Liberty Act, making it a crime to kidnap slaves in Massachusetts. Even a subsequent Supreme Court ruling upholding the federal law was ignored by our state legislature and kidnapping remained illegal here.

Modern-day kidnapping in the name of 'fighting terrorism'

Today's equivalent of the Fugitive Slave Act is the dangerously vague 2012 NDAA, which authorizes kidnappings of anyone merely suspected of terrorism, including U.S. citizens. No right to counsel. No right to face her accuser. No trial by jury. Just prison.

Fortunately, a national movement of concerned citizens is banning NDAA kidnappings at the state, county and local levels. Successes are piling up, including in the nearby towns of Webster and Oxford, while the City of Albany has become the nation's first Capital City to ban NDAA indefinite detentions.

Franklin Town Council: Cradle of Cowardice

But sadly, despite their public promise last November to stand up for our Constitutions, the Franklin Town Council is choosing to stand downOn March 18th a proposed resolution to ban NDAA kidnappings in the Town of Franklin was blocked by Chairman Bob Vallee. According to Council rules, a majority of members can override the chair to uphold the rights of the people, but to date no council member has been willing.

Returning Veterans Most at Risk

In 2011 the Department of Homeland Security listed returning veterans a domestic terror threat. And w
ith a second Fort Hood tragedy now haunting the nation, the Franklin Town Council and other NDAA followers will more easily be able to justify their targeting of our returning veterans.

To those who will say NDAA kidnappings could never happen here, tell that to the people of Watertown, MA, who, one year ago would never have imagined full-on martial law descending on their city, complete with a paramilitary lockdown and Iraq-style house-to-house warrantless searches featuring entire families rousted out of their homes at gunpoint. The sobering reality is that the expanding post-9/11 militarized police state has put us all one incident away from legal chaos, where our Constitutions and Bill of Rights will no longer protect us, unless our local officials keep their promise to serve as our last line of legal defense.
   Irony of Ironies
Benjamin Franklin's famous counsel against trading essential liberty for false security has played a key role in passing every successful anti-NDAA resolution in the U.S. Yet, here in the town that so proudly bears his name, Franklin's wisdom is shamefully discarded, hidden away like some cheap pair of shoes beneath a council chair and eight broken promises.

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