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They’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution

by Keith Barber

On a spring evening, the section of North Carolina Highway 65 just east of US 52 rolls out like a black ribbon cutting across lush green meadows in the shadow of massive power line towers. Freedom Baptist Church is one of several churches located along this pastoral stretch of highway on the outskirts of Rural Hall. Once a week, one of the church’s fellowship halls is used as a gathering place for Carolina Liberty, an informal group of area citizens who are very concerned about the role of the federal government in their lives.

Bill Randell, one of the group’s co-founders, started the group’s April 23 meeting with a reminder of the group’s mission. Randell read directly from the North Carolina State Constitution. “All political power is derived from the people,” Randell said. “Government is founded upon their will only. The people of this state have the inherent, sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police thereof.” He paused for a moment, then continued.

“You have to listen — this is a reservation of rights. The people of this state have the inherent, sole, and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police thereof; and of altering or abolishing their constitution or form of government whenever it may become necessary for their safety and happiness.” Randell, along with co-founders Cliff Muncy, Tyler Dodson, and Jim Medeiros started the group about a year ago with meetings held in Randell’s living room. As the group continued to grow in membership, the meetings were shifted to the old cafeteria of Freedom Baptist Church. Randell was quick to point out that the church allows the group to use the facility but they don’t necessarily endorse Carolina Liberty’s positions. Randell said quite often, 35 to 40 members attend the weekly meetings. “We have forgotten where we stand; we have forgotten who we are,” Randell told the 17 members in attendance. “We’re simply trying to get government within the bounds of the Constitution and the state constitutions. Our meeting group is about getting educating about your individual rights and where the government has gone beyond its original charter.” Randell quoted US Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) from the congressman’s remarks delivered during an event at Wake Forest University on April 20. Randell and several Carolina Liberty members attended the event. “The Constitution is there to restrain the government, not the people,” Randell said. Randell then cited several current events that he believes represent a growing citizen movement to defend against the federal government’s encroachment upon civil liberties. Randell pointed out that the Georgia State Senate passed a resolution earlier this month that affirms states rights under the Ninth Amendment of the US Constitution. The bill says in part, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.” The resolution, which passed the state Senate 43-1, also says that if the federal government oversteps its constitutional powers, “all powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States shall revert to the States individually,” which makes a case for states’ secession from the Union. Randell also pointed out a bill in the US House that critics say would put small and organic farmers out of business as yet another sign that the federal government no longer represents the best interests of the people. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D- Conn) introduced House Resolution 875, otherwise known as the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, in February. The bill calls for the creation of a Food Safety Administration to allow the government to regulate food production at all levels. Critics of the bill say it would overburden small and organic farmers in the US with excessive regulations. Critics also claim the committee of food safety experts assembled under the bill’s auspices would come from multinational conglomerates like Monsanto — the world’s leading producer of herbicide and genetically engineered seed. Further research reveals that Rep. DeLauro is married to Stan Greenberg, founder and CEO of Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research — a polling and consulting firm. According to the company’s website, Monsanto is one of its clients.

BillRandell, a cofounder of Carolina Liberty, speaks during the group’sApril 23 meeting at Freedom Baptist Church in Rural Hall. Randell saidthe group was formed by area citizens to help educate the public aboutthe federal government’s increasing role in their daily lives and howto defend the cause of liberty. (photo by Keith T. Barber)

Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch, a national non-profit, has characterized concerns over HR 875 as “alarmist.” Lovera cited a report by Lori Robertson of FactCheck.org that stated the legislation would not regulate seed saving,backyard gardens or farmers markets in an article posted on Food andWater Watch’s website. Lovera said the bill would split the Food andDrug Administration into two agencies to handle food and drugsseparately. The educational component of Carolina Liberty’smeetings is what initially attracted Ross Alexander, a window washerfrom Greensboro, to the group. “I think there’s a lot ofmisconceptions about the role of government in people’s lives,”Alexander said. “I think we’ve lost touch with the true role ofgovernment, and the true role of the citizen within government.” Randellsaid a common misperception about anti-government groups like CarolinaLiberty is they are extremists. However, the group’s stands on issuesare based on the facts, he said. “We go back to the originaldocuments,” Randell said. “Every stand we take is documented. Thegovernment itself told us this is what’s going on. This isn’t somethingwe’ve dreamed up. It’s a groundswell movement.” Alexander saidhe supported the Tax Day Tea Party demonstrations held April 15. “Thegovernment has to shrink,” Alexander said. “I think the protest wasmore than just high taxes; it was against big government. Thebigger the government gets, the more taxes they’re going to want. Weneed to shrink government back to its proper size and role and letnon-profits, churches and individuals work within the community to helpit function and heal; government is not the answer.” Alexandersaid he agrees with Ron Paul’s platform of returning to the country tothe gold standard and abolishing the Federal Reserve. “TheFederal Reserve has been the worst thing that could’ve have happened tothis country,” Alexander said. “Right now, they’re increasing the debtto recreate a new bubble and the one we were in just burst. Times aregood when we’re in a bubble but people get upset when the bubblebursts.” Randell said the impact of the current recession has had a significant impact on the growth of groups like Carolina Liberty. “There’sa different atmosphere about this country. People are getting afraid ofwhat they’re going to lose,” Randell said. “When states are passingstates’ rights resolutions, it’s a sign of the times.” Duringhis speech at Wake Forest on April 20, Ron Paul acknowledged thatcitizens dedicated to his ideas of defending liberty are still in theminority. “Sometimes people get discouraged because they say,‘Well, we don’t have 51 percent.’ We certainly don’t even have fivepercent in Washington,” Paul told the audience. “It’s not a totalnumbers game. It has to do with people being in the right places andspeaking about the right things.” Paul went on to say that ateacher or a writer is much more important than those who just followand go along and being in a leadership position is important toadvancing the cause. During the Carolina Liberty meeting, Randellshared some personal experiences with the group that he said helpedform his opinions and attitudes about government’s role in our society. He talked about a traffic stop several years ago that led tohis arrest. When he fought the charges, Randell said he was chargedwith contempt of court but won the case on appeal. Civil disobedienceis one way to take a stand for liberty, he added. One of thegroup members asked how progress could be made in restoring citizenliberties. Randell responded that group members should choose theirbattles wisely. He said the North Carolina public schoolsdon’t teach constitutional law, which is part of a larger “dumbingdown” of the populace. “The general population is ignorant oftheir rights,” he said. “The problem is that government has programmedus that way. The constitution of North Carolina and the Constitution ofthe United States has nothing to say to me. It doesn’t apply to me; itapplies to them — the government. If it’s not specifically authorized,it’s specifically reserved for us.”

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