Monday, March 21, 2011

Does Rep. Don Young Need To Repeat His Oath To The Constitution?

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

We know Rep. Don Young of Alaska was not one of the two Republicans who forgot to take the oath of office on Jan. 6. But the question bears asking anyway: Does Young need to reaffirm his oath to the Constitution?

We've been wondering because Young actually signed a revolutionary oath concocted by militia organizer Schaeffer Cox -- the Alaska militiaman arrested last week for plotting to kill cops and a couple of judges -- declaring that the signers would refuse to recognize any new federal taxes or gun laws: "[T]he duty of us good and faithful people will not be to obey them but to alter or abolish them and institute new government laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to us shall seem most likely to effect our safety and happiness."

David Holthouse at Media Matters' Political Correction has the rundown:
A video posted online in June 2009 shows Alaska Congressman Don Young signing a revolutionary "Letter of Declaration" written by Alaska militia leader Schaeffer Cox, who was arrested yesterday along with four compatriots for allegedly plotting to kidnap and murder Alaska State Troopers and a Fairbanks judge.

"Let it be known that should our government seek to further tax, restrict or register firearms ... thus impairing our ability to exercise the God-given right to self-defense that precedes all human legislation and is superior to it, that the duty of us good and faithful people will not be to obey them but to alter or abolish them," reads the declaration that Rep. Young signed.
So the folks at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is putting together a petition demanding that Young clarify his position vis a vis his oath to uphold the Constitution and the federal office he holds.

As CSGV's Josh Horowitz puts it:
"It is simply unacceptable for a sitting member of Congress to sign a document calling for violence against the government of the United States. We call on Rep. Don Young to do the right thing and repudiate this repugnant document. "
You can sign here.

As Holthouse explained:
Cox describes how he wrote his "Letter of Declaration" the night before the initial meeting of the Second Amendment Task Force at a Denny's restaurant in Fairbanks. In the video, Cox claims that 150 people attended the meeting, saying, "It was standing room only."

"Everybody there signed this letter," he adds.

As Cox begins to recite his declaration, the video cuts to footage of Rep. Young signing the very same letter (it is unclear whether this occurs at the same meeting).

The video shows Cox standing next to Rep. Young, addressing a crowd. "We have no obligation to submit to a government that refuses to submit to their governing document," Cox says.

A man in the crowd asks Rep. Young, "If any government should decide that we have to register certain of our arms or turn them in, what would your recommendation be?"

Rep. Young responds, "Don't do it...I sincerely mean that. Don't turn them in."
Young's office eventually did provide an explanation of sorts as to what we see on the, which essentially came down to: Yeah, he was there, he signed the letter, he palled around with Cox. So what?
Rep. Young's communications director, Meredith Kenny, said the video shows Rep. Young signing the letter at an "open-carry day" in Fairbanks in the spring of 2009. At the open carry day, gun rights activists appeared in public openly wearing handgun in holsters.

"Rep. Young attended not because of anything having to do with Cox -- nor is he in any way affiliated with Cox -- but because he has always been a vocal and staunch defender of the Second Amendment," Kenny said. "Congressman Young stands strong with gun owners of America, and will always defend the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans."
Of course, we got a taste of Schaeffer Cox's violent extremism through his videos, including his callous willingness to kill federal agents:

COX: If there came a time where they were endangering my family, you bet I would kill those federal agents. And what kind of a father and husband would I be if I wouldn't? Would I sacrifice my family on the altar of submission to the wicked state? No, that would be despicable, we would highly criticize anybody who did that, stood by and watched in history. And we've got to reckon with the fact that that's our time right now.
Now, we have those agents -- with 3500 guys we have tremendous resources at our disposal. And we had those guys under 24-hour surveillance -- the six trouble-causers that came up from the federal government. And we could have had them killed within 20 minutes of giving the order. But we didn't because they had not yet done it.

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