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Taking back our rights must begin at home

By   /   November 20, 2012  /   Comments

Yesterday, I wrote about how vital it is that we defend our Second Amendment rights.  I stand by that, and will continue to stand by it for all the rest of my days.  However, that is only part of what we need to do.  You see, in this nation, we have seen our rights eroded by our government – who, you may recall, are supposed to serve us – and at all levels of that government at that.  It is past time that we begin to roll back the encroaching government, and the best place to start is here at home.

Some may not think about how local government has encroached on our rights.  After all, the City of Albany has no laws abridging our right to keep and bear arms, nor has it appeared to interfere with the free exercise of religion.  However, take a look through the city ordinances and you will see a plethora of laws that serve no real purpose except to make Albany more tolerable for some at the expense of others.

For example, let’s take our famous “saggy pants ordinance”.  Proposed by the infamous Tommie Postell, the ordinance seeks to eliminate a fashion statement, admittedly a rather ridiculous one.  The saggy pants interfered with my personal rights in no way.  All applicable body parts were covered.  No, I don’t enjoy seeing a man’s boxer shorts.  However, I also don’t enjoy seeing overweight women in scanty clothing.  I don’t think that should beillegal.

The law needs to go.  There is no tolerable authority that tells its citizens the manner in which clothing should be worn so long as it is worn and all body parts are covered.  However, almost any community is bound to have some kind of ridiculous law on the books.  Albany would be no different.  The problem is, this isn’t the only one we’ve got.

We also have laws that prevent people from placing certain types of furniture on their front porches.  Lawn furniture is perfectly acceptable, but that old couch that you just replaced?  Looks like you have to sell it, donate it, or find somewhere else inside your home for it to go, because the busybodies in Albany will not tolerate it being on your front porch.

The logic goes that it’s unattractive.  My logic goes, “so what?”  Unattractive does not interfere with my rights.  If it did, then the bow tie would have been outlawed decades ago.  However, the powers that be in Albany have decided to tell people what kind of furniture they can have on their own porches.

None of this touches on the ridiculousness of the sign ordinance that has been much debated in recent years.  Honestly, there are to many cases of meddling by government into basic decisions by individuals at the local level here in the so-called “Good Life City” to enumerate them all in a single column.  The fact is that they are still there.

We, the citizens of our communities, need to seek out these laws, then fight to have them removed.  We must start the fight locally so that we can move up with the experience attained in the smaller battlefields of local politics.  Next would be the state, and then finally the federal government.

If we do not fight, then we will see more and more of our liberties taken away, all while still believing ourselves to truly be “free”.  Personally, I’m under no such delusion.  Oh, we’re more free than most, but that’s not exactly a high bar we need to clear for that to be true.

However, I look forward to the day when we are again free.  A day when the laws confine themselves to protecting our rights from criminals and government tyrants alike.  It might be a pipe dream, but I don’t think so.  We just have to start at home.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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