The Community Rights movement is gaining more national attention these days than ever before. This is an exciting and democratic response to powerful industries that claim a corporation’s right to make millions of dollars trumps our right to a healthy environment and democracy.
Community Rights is working in places like the quaint college town Oneonta City, N.Y., metropolitan Pittsburgh, PA, and rural Mora County, N.M.
During a recent County Board meeting, Supervisor Thompson was quoted as saying “claiming a right doesn’t make it a right.” But if we don’t, who will? Our most basic rights as Americans have been enumerated by people standing up and claiming them. The U.S. Constitution of 1787 did not contain the Bill of Rights. These first 10 amendments were added four years later in 1791 due to intense unrest and pressure by the citizenry. We certainly don’t want to give up now the right to freedom of speech, press, religion, association, arms-bearing militias and others claimed in service to future generations.
Abolitionists found it was their duty to claim that blacks had the right to exist free from bondage of white masters. Woman suffragists claimed their right to vote was inherent. If these brave souls had not claimed rights that then did not exist, we would still live in a nation where only property-owning white men could vote; where blacks could be born into and die in slavery; where women were seen by law as the property of their husbands, and blacks as the property of their masters.
The 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution states “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.” Our Board of Supervisors are elected by and represent the people of Winneshiek County. They have constitutional authority to claim basic rights when they are not yet recognized.
Therefore, it is our neighborly obligation and patriotic responsibility to once again step forward and claim basic rights for We the People, here in this beautiful and prosperous place where we live. If you have not yet read the Winneshiek County Bill of Rights laid out in the ordinance to ban frac-sand extraction, please do at communityrightsalliance.org.
Our Supervisors need to know that citizens support this effort to expand fundamental rights for living, breathing citizens.
Rural Winneshiek County