FREDERICKTOWN — A chance to learn about a proposed state sovereignty amendment drew more than 30 people from across Ohio, and one man from Michigan, to Fredericktown on Saturday.
“We’re not here to bash government,” said Mount Vernon resident Michael Young, one of several people leading the effort to draft the proposed amendment. “We’re not here to discuss seceding or anything like that. What we want is to get people in office who will uphold the basic fundamental principles. We’re here to say make rational, reasonable decisions about our state of affairs that will allow us to get back on track so our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy the rights secured to them under the constitution.”
“The power of government is derived from the people themselves,” said Dr. Frederick Graves, the author of Jurisdictionary, a program that teaches and explains the legal process and the rights of the people. “It’s the courts that have destroyed state sovereignty, but you are going to have to learn how to control the courts.”
To do that, he told the group, “you have to understand due process,” and understand the basic principles of the constitution and the basic rights accorded to the people.
“When you understand these principles, and teach people these principles, you can give them the confidence and the conviction they need to understand why we need state sovereignty,” he said.
Debbie Wilson of Parkman traveled from Geauga County with her husband, Alan, to learn more about the proposed amendment and what they can do as individuals.
“We 100 percent support what [Young] is trying to do accomplish with the constitutional amendment,” she said. “We feel that the government feels the people are there to serve government, rather than the government being there to serve the people. We just feel this amendment is needed to put that back in balance.
“For so long, there’s been government waste,” she continued. “They’re not taking into account what the people want — they’re self-motivated. We feel we need to be part of the solution.
“This whole thing has been extremely encouraging to us,” she added. “We feel these are good people who understand what’s going on, and we want to be involved and supportive.”
State Sen. Timothy Grendell also spoke about the need for individuals to learn about the constitution and become involved.
“It’s not the number of people in the room, it’s the commitment of those people,” he said. “I am reminded that Jesus changed the world with 12 men.”
Grendell said the country is in the third, and perhaps most fatal, expansion era of the U.S. Constitution. The first expansion was after World War I and the Depression, with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The second, he said, was in the 1960s, with President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.
“Now, thanks to the crisis in the economy ... the swine flu crisis ... the media blows these things up, and the next thing you know only the government can solve these crises,” he said.
“The 10th Amendment [to the U.S. Constitution] was drafted to protect us from the good intentions of the federal government. Too much power at the top, no matter what the good intentions, can be abused.
“All I want,” he continued,” is for the federal government to confine itself to the specific powers enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, whether that means there should be no U.S. EPA and local communities should take care of the environment, whether that means education should be at the lowest levels, eliminating the state department and giving it back to local communities.
“If I can control your water, if I can control your septic, if I can control your health care, I can control you,” he said. “The point is to restate and reaffirm states’ rights.”
Grendell is the author of SCR13, a resolution reaffirming the 10th Amendment and stating that Ohio is sovereign over the federal government, except for specific duties delegated to the federal level. It passed the Senate three weeks ago by a vote of 19-12, and is now in the House.
He is also the author of SJR7, a resolution stating the federal government has no authority to impose health care requirements on Ohioans.
“Just because Massachusetts or California wants to get national health care, doesn’t mean it should be thrust upon us in Ohio,” he said. “There’s no place in the U.S. Constitution that gives them the power to control health care.”
Grendell said he believes Ohio is at a crossroads.
“We can re-establish government of the people, by the people, or we can lose those rights for our grandchildren,” he said. “I believe the silver lining is that people are getting re-engaged in their government. While we’ve been ‘too busy,’ the process has gotten skewed. The resolution is the first step; this constitutional amendment is the second step.”
Warren Edstrom of Danville, coordinator for the Knox County 912 project, spoke about how people can become more involved in government, starting at the precinct level.
“You view the problem in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “It’s not. Where did those people come from? You elected them.
“We in this country have been disengaged from the political system. [The solution] is fairly simple — get engaged. Get involved.
“You can effect change,” he said. “You can effect change fairly easily. But it requires you to get engaged.”