The Western Center for Journalism has reported numerous receptive welcomes for popular speakers at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference. The audience, however, seems to have saved its most enthusiastic response for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
The conservative firebrand addressed a packed house Friday afternoon with a strong embrace of the Constitution and an even stronger rebuke for those who wish to defy it.
“Imagine a time our great country is again governed by the Constitution,” he said — a time “when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of liberty.”
Paul said his main objective is not securing victories for Republicans but “electing lovers of liberty.”
Now is the time, he insisted, to decide in which direction the party will travel.
“Will we be bold and proclaim our message with passion or will we be sunshine patriots retreating under adverse fire?” he asked an increasingly enthusiastic crowd. “Will you, America’s next generation of liberty lovers, will you stand and be heard?”
The fierce protector of individual sovereignty pivoted to the persisting controversy regarding the federal government’s accumulation of personal data from American citizens.
“The sons of liberty risked everything for your right to a trial by jury,” he said, indicating the Obama administration is thwarting that protection by collecting information from anyone with a cell phone. “They would today call out to the president” to tell him “we will not be detained, spied upon, or have our rights abridged. We will not trade our liberty for security — not now, not ever!”
He said Americans deserve liberty and protection from a runaway government, which is why our founders included such language in the Bill of Rights.
“I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business,” he said. “The Fourth Amendment is very clear. Warrants must be issued by a judge” and “be specific to the individual.”
In apparent violation of that protection, however, this administration is allowing one vague warrant to be used to collect limitless data from every American alive.
While Paul said he doesn’t “question Obama’s motives,” he is certain that “history will record his timid defense of liberty.”
He has set in motion the catalyst for future regimes to completely trample the remaining freedoms Americans possess, Paul insisted. “It isn’t so much what President Obama has done — although he’s done a lot, very little of it good — as much as it is the precedent it sets for lawlessness that may follow.”
The left, he said, believes the Constitution “is whatever the majority says it is” and can, with enough votes, be used to strip inalienable rights from citizens.
“We must stop this president from shredding the Constitution,” he said, describing a government “unrestrained by law” as “nothing short of tyranny.”
America’s prosperity, Paul asserted, is intrinsically connected to its unique freedoms.
“America’s exceptional character is not in our DNA but it’s in our … founding documents,” he said, which “restrained the government, not the individual.”
To reclaim those founding pricniples, he said, will take “a national revival of liberty.”
He used the example of his filibuster in protest of Obama’s potential use of drones to kill American citizens to illustrate the fight ahead.
“It is not a time for the faint of heart,” he concluded. “The time is now. Stand with me; let us stand together for liberty.”
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)