On Thursday October 25, 2012 the University of New Orleans was in for a frightening experience. Our YAL chapter set up a Graveyard of 15 Civil Liberties which were laid in their final resting place. Each of the 15 liberties are currently being violated by one of the three levels of government. We did not solely concentrate on federal wrongdoings. By including violations that were occurring at the state level, local level and even at the university, we stressed that no government or government entity can abuse their power by trampling over your rights. The 15 civil liberties we chose are as listed below along with how they are being infringed:
Health Freedom: The individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act forces you to purchase health insurance with threat of taxation or jail time.
Private Property: The Supreme Court has ruled that the government can take your private property under the takings clause of the Constitution and redistribute it to a corporation. Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469
Right to Bear Arms: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina armed Federal Agents illegally entered private homes and seized all guns from law abiding gun owners regardless of caliber or style. When people needed their guns the most, to protect their family and homes, they were not there.
Marriage Equality: Louisiana has a ban on gay and lesbian marriage. This is unconstitutional and does not with comply with the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Free Market: Federal intervention into the economy takes out the natural regulations of the free market. When the government picks winners and losers, we all end up losing. Nothing should be to big to fail or to small to succeed.
Sound Money: At this very moment the Federal Reserve is printing billions of dollars a month. The printing of money causes inflation and the devaluation of the dollar. The more money that is printed, the less you dollar is worth. The American people deserve sound money. END THE FED!
Free Speech: UNO doesn’t allow freedom of speech or expression throughout the entire campus. If one wants to protest, they must first ask for permission and then only express themselves in the approved Free Speech Zones. These are located in the Amphitheater and the Library Quad. The ENTIRE campus should be a free speech zone!
Habeas Corpus: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) enables the Federal Government to arrest you WITHOUT being charged with a crime and to be held INDEFINITELY without access to a lawyer or a speedy trial.
Privacy: The Patriot Act allows Federal Agents to spy on your phone calls, e-mails, web searches, text messages and library books. All WITHOUT a search warrant.
Right to Vote: Numerous states including Louisiana take away the right to vote from prisoners and convicts even after they have carried out their sentence to a full term.
Free Press: Government censorship in the name of state secrets keeps the truth hidden from the public and makes transparency a difficult thing to achieve.
Peace: Undeclared wars overseas, drone strikes and international sanctions all are a threat to our national security and run counterproductive to our need to peace and prosperity.
Self Ownership: End the drug war! It should be up to the individual to decide whether they choose to partake of it or not. It is not the government’s job to police our own life.
Economic Freedom: Taxation is THEFT! No really, it is. Through income taxes the government decides how much of your paycheck that you get to keep. Its time you get to keep you entire check. Economic freedom = good thing.
Religious Freedom: Taxpayer-funded abortion. Using tax dollars to provide funding for abortions requires people who have a religious objection to abortion to fund a practice that is against their beliefs.
Our graveyard attracted many interested people who were scared for their liberties by the time they left. The grim reaper met them with scythe in hand to show off his most valued possessions. Students looked on as he guarded their liberties which he acquired by the hands of their very own government. His message was clear: They’re mine now and you’re not getting them back easily.
The reaper was not alone he was joined by his two best pals, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. UNO was in for a treat as the two major presidential candidates stopped on campus to meet the students. However, they were not met with the usual campaign jargon. They were met with the truth about the two presidential candidates which Obama and Romney told in their own words. Both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney were unapologetic in their efforts to steal your liberties and take them to the reaper. Needless to say, everyone was overwhelmed with their honesty!! Both candidates also demonstrated how ok they were with laying your liberties to rest.
Along with our efforts of educating the student body on their loss of liberties, we also gave them a dose of freedom. To combat our campus’ free speech zones, we set up a free speech wall in order to inform the student population of this travesty! We were met with great support and even got the President of the University to stop by and sign the free speech wall.
We had a great experience conducting our Graveyard of Civil Liberties. We managed to educate our campus population about the precious loss of their rights. We also scared the heck out of a few people, as was intended!