On October 29, in the spirit of Halloween, YAL’s University of New Orleans chapter held a Graveyard of Civil Liberties event for our YALoween activism. This event met with great success last year so the chapter decided it would be a good way to boost student involvement and interest this year. We had a large turn-out of chapter members who wanted to make this year’s Halloween a memorable one by tending to the graveyard.
During the event, 15 gravestones where set up to symbolize the loss of civil liberties here in America. In addition to the gravestones the group passed out flyers explaining how all these rights are being violated. Among the liberties that we laid to rest were:
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.
It should be noted that not all of these liberties are being violated on a national level. We decided to include rights that are also being infringed upon by local and state governments as well.
Of course, no graveyard would be complete without the presence of the Grim Reaper. He stood proud, having collected the souls of liberty that The People once held sacred. Among the people at the event, Obama made an appearance. Having served the reaper with NSA spying, the NDAA, and the “Affordable Care Act,” his presence was quite appropriate standing among the graveyard.
Our chapter also offered free candy and additional literature on liberty for those who were brave enough to approach the graveyard of civil liberties. A free speech wall was also there to commemorate the, now fallen, spirit of free speech on campus.
The graveyard attracted the attention of many concerned students. Several members of the student body had already been in mourning over the loss of their liberties even before visiting our graveyard. This presented an excellent recruitment opportunity and resulted in several sign-ups for our group email.
The event also proved to be very informative for many students on campus who had been less informed. Several students expressed grave concern when informed of how an expanding government has continually chipped away at their individual rights.
The day was a success! Our tabling not only proved to be very informative for may students, but also produced several promising opportunities to expand chapter membership.