(Here we are getting ready for the ceremony. Michael Lunnon had put our state table marker from CC2009 on the lectern, but the Capitol Security made us take it down. Evidently, there's been some incidents of anti-Richardson signs at the Capitol lately. Wonder why?)
The New Mexico Roundhouse is the only round capitol building in the US, and it looks like a Zia--the symbol on our seal, from the air. New Mexico has the oldest Capitol Building in the US--the Palace of the Governors--built to house the Spanish colonial governor--pre-dates Williamsburg and New England. New Mexico also has the newest, our current capital, the Roundhouse, finished in 1966.
(Picture: The Great Seal of the State of New Mexico was on the front of the lectern. It is an interesting seal because it shows the American Bald Eagle protecting the Mexican Brown Eagle, which has a snake in its beak and an cactus in it's talons; the same Brown Eagle is on the Mexican Flag. The date 1912--the year of our statehood is in Arabic rather than Roman numerals, as the the people thought the Roman numerals were too prententious for us. The Motto--Cresit Eundo--means "it grows as it goes". Although some think it is nonsensical, I believe it fits New Mexico very well.)
Although press releases were sent out, there was only one person there who may have been from the press--but he didn't identify himself. No matter, the ceremony was intended to be a public speaking out to our government which is in violation of the Constitution. Although we hope for a response to the Articles of Freedom, we do not expect it. The purpose of this public speaking out is to have a record that we have petitioned for redress of our grievances, and getting no response, now we have provided our servant government with instructions on the violations from the reak Sovereigns--the people themselves. In the future whether we regain our liberty as free men and women, or if we lose our liberty entirely, there will be record that some of us resisted the encroaching power of the state.
Despite the fact that we were treated as if we, the people who own the building, were somehow a danger to it, we were happy that we were able to use the Rotunda. We did so with prior notice, and we did sign a copy of the rules--but we did not ask for a permit to speak. Rights need no permission. And in that sense, perhaps the State of New Mexico is more honorable than many other places. They did not ask us to violate our rights.
(Picture: The inside of the Rotunda is faced with native New Mexican travertine, carefully matched. The Rotunda is full of light from the simple but beautiful ocula above).
Rather than beginning with the Pledge to the Flag, we began with a more meaningful (to us) Pledge of Honor to the Constitution for the United States:
"I pledge my Life, my Fortune, and my Sacred Honor, to protect and defend the Constitution, and the Republic which it forms, One nation of Sovereign States, with Liberty and Justice for ALL." (I wrote this after looking at various other pledges to the Constitution).
The second part of the ceremony, after all the pledges and the Prayer of the Continental Congress 2009, read the statement of purpose:
"Our message is not about the resusitation of a dead Constitution.The Constitution still towers above the wrecks of our national life.
. . . We are NOT fanatics. We are NOT extremists. We do NOT seek revolution or anarchy.
As a people we need to ask . . . what kind of a country do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?
Shall we let our Constitution and its essential principles be murdered by the powers of this world? Will we tolerate TYRANNY merely to be comfortable?
. . . Now we offer these instructions to our government to obey the Constitution, which after all, is a strongly worded set of principles to govern the government, NOT the people.
By the provisions in the Constitution, the PEOPLE have formed the government, and enabled the government to act in certain ways. HOWEVER, the PEOPLE have also purposely and markedly restricted and prohibited the government from acting in certain other ways.
. . .We are not moved by any hasty suggestion of anger or revenge. Through every possible change of fortune we adhere peacably to this determination.
. . . It is our obligation as responsible citizens of this country to set a proper value upon, and to defend to the utmost, our just rights and the blessings of life and liberty. . .
. . . [We are placing our government and its officials] on notice that, We, the Free People of America, believe them to be in violation of their Oaths of Office and the Constitution for the United States of America."
Dave Batcheller then read the Declaration and Resolves of the Continental Congress 2009:
" . . . In defense of a Free People, the time has come to reassert our god-given natural rights and cast off tyranny.
Let the facts reveal: The federal government of the United States of America was instituted to secure the individual rights of our citizens, and instead now threatens our life, liberty and property through usurpations of the Constitution. Emboldened by our own lack of responsibility in these matters, government has exceded its mandate and abandoned those founding principles that have made our nation exceptional.
. . . Whereupon we, as citizen-delegates have gathered in defense of divine justice, liberty and the principles of limited government, now stand in recognition of the Supreme Law of the Land--the Constitution for the United States of America.
Therefore, we demand that government immediately re-establish Constitutional Rule of Law, lest the people be forced to do so themselves; and we hereby serve notice that in the defense of Freedom and Liberty there shall be NO COMPROMISE to which we will ever yield."
After I then read a list of the fourteen Constitutional violations for which the formal petitions for Redress of Grievance had been ignored, as identified by the Continental Congress, the people present were invited to join in taking the Pledge of the Articles of Freedom:
"In full view of the Creator as my Witness,
I hereby pledge to join with millions of Americans, to hold our elected and appointed officials accountable to their oaths of office: To preserve, protect and defend the Constitution for the United States of America.
In seeking to hold them accountable, I shall hold myself accountable to do the same.
I renounce and condemn, any and all INITIATION of violent force, and will pursue all Lawful and Constitutional means to fulfill my duty.
I speak these works as an Eternal Record of the will of a people to be Free."
These are the highlights.
After the ceremony, Dave, Michael and I were escorted by security to deliver the Articles of Freedom to the Governor's office, and the offices of the Speaker of the State House, and the President Pro-Tempore of the State Senate. These offices are in the Roundhouse. We then went (sans entourage) to the offices of both US Senators, as well as the US Representative in whose district Santa Fe is located to deliver the Articles to them.
At each place, we gave the staffer a short shpiel and then handed over the articles. As I said above, it would be nice if they look at them but that is a lot to expect from these politicians. Their bread is not buttered by the people that they supposedly represent.
Now we work to get that 3 - 5 % of the population on board with the concept of peaceful but determined civic action, in order to put the pressure on our out-of-control government.
That is the next step. Whatever happens in the end, at least I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I did not fiddle while the Constitution burned.