Everybody’s got a right to their habitat — from the snail darter to the spotted owl to the fairy shrimp.
Everyone’s habitat is protected — except the habitat of U.S. citizens.
Their property, their homes, their dwellings, their "eco-systems" are up for grabs by any and every government agency and bureaucrat for any and every reason.
Fundamentally, that is the reality in the USA in this post-Kelo world in which we live.
Ever since the historic Supreme Court decision in the summer of 2005, Americans are awakening to the nightmare that they really don’t own their property. They are, at best, leasing it from government.
Government can and does seize homes. It’s not unusual. And the Supreme Court affirmed this extra-constitutional power even for the sole purpose of reselling the property to create a higher tax base.
There are many issues of great importance in America today.
Government spending at all levels — local, state and federal — is out of control.
The border remains wide open, even while we as a nation claim to be concerned about our national security and the threat of terrorism.
There is little effort to deport tens of millions of illegal aliens despite the deteriorating quality of life they mean for U.S. citizens.
But the abuse of eminent domain by government surely is one of the very gravest crises. Americans of both parties agree. Liberals and conservatives agree. In fact, I’ve never met anyone other than greedy government bureaucrats, politicians and Supreme Court justices who don’t get it.
The fact that our property is not secure from state seizure means we Americans are worse off than the colonists who fought for independence from the crown of England.
One of the most basic concerns of our forefathers was the British practice of seizing property. If someone who had the favor of the king wanted your property, it could be taken. Might made right. Apparently, it does again today.
Working Americans who struggle their whole lives to make mortgage payments — often paying three or four times the actual value of their homes — can have them seized, often receiving only a fraction of their actual value.
Are we back in the feudal age? Are ordinary American citizens just serfs? If the wealthy and powerful can get anything they want with the help of the government, it would appear so.
I wrote a book about why such abuses will never be resolved by simply electing those who appear to be the right candidates to office. It can help forestall a more rapid decline into tyranny, I explained, but it will not help us take our country back.
I continue to be honored every day as I hear from ordinary Americans who are putting the principles of that book into play in their own lives, their own families, their own communities.
I hear from citizens who are getting involved in politics, using the book as their mission statement.
Even in this national election year, people are recognizing that they cannot fundamentally shift the direction of our country merely by favoring Republicans over Democrats or vice versa.
America is the only country in the world founded on the principle of self-government. We are not a nation of subjects and rulers. We are supposed to be a nation of self-governing individuals living under a Constitution that restrains the power of government and protects the rights of citizens.
"Taking America Back" is as relevant today as the day it was released in hard cover in 2003 and re-released in updated paperback form last year.
It’s still the blueprint. We cannot defeat the mentality of eminent domain without a change in our political discourse, without a new agenda, without a new way of thinking about our problems and the opportunities we have to solve them.
It’s time for us to start thinking like our forefathers did. It’s time for sacrifice. It’s time for risks. It’s time for courage.
It’s time to take America back.