Are TV Stations Abusing the Law?
By Randall A. Terry
Democrat Candidate for President
“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
“I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state…Let me now take a more comprehensive view and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.”
The FCC is now making a determination whether or not I am a legally qualified candidate under the law, and am therefore afforded the right to buy TV advertising on FCC licensed stations, free of editing, censorship, etc., in order to reach the voters where I am on the ballot.
At the end of this debate, the foundational question before us is this: what is the bedrock of this republic? The Law, or the Party?
Or in other words, do the FCC laws and state laws regarding what constitutes a “legally qualified candidate” stand on their own, and reflect the will of “we the people,” or must the FCC and the laws of the several states fulfill the wishes of Party bosses?
Certain attorneys have put forth the argument that the wishes of a Party should be the ultimate force in determining what constitutes a “legally qualified candidate;” some attorneys go so far as to declare that my campaign is “an abuse of candidate access.” These arguments – if taken to its logical conclusion – would result in the end of citizen governance, the end of free elections, and the end of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” In its place an elite would create “government of the Party, by the Party, and for the Party.”
Allow me to make my case.
Georgia On My Mind
I begin with an ancillary situation that exists at this very moment in Georgia. The laws of the state of Georgia – through their elected officials, and enforced by the judges of that state – have brought into question whether or not Barack Obama is legally qualified to be on the ballot in Georgia. As of right now, he is not. This is a question of law. It does not address the issue of whether or not the DNC and the Democrat convention will nominate Obama as their candidate. It addresses the laws of ballot access in Georgia.
If the law is to be subservient to Party wishes – as some attorneys argue – then Barack Obama must be placed on the Georgia ballot – as the Party wishes – the people and the laws of Georgia be damned.
In this case, does the law trump the Party, or the Party trump the law? Which has more authority in a “nation of laws?” If we are to remain a free and self-governed people, it must be the law, not the party.
The Democrat Party Refuses to Seat My Delegates
At the 2012 Democrat Convention
In the letter issued by DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard on January 27, 2012, he states that the DNC has changed their rules for 2012 Delegates to the DNC convention, to the effect that should I win any delegates in the primaries, those delegates will not be seated at the 2012 convention. Therefore, Mr. Gaspard concludes that I am not a “bone fide Democrat candidate,” and that FCC licensed stations should not run my television ads.
Attorneys point out that a federal circuit court wrote an opinion (related to a case involving Lyndon Larouche) that a Party can in fact determine who is eligible to participate in their convention. By extension, they extrapolate that since the Democrat Party has declared that I am not a candidate to their liking, that I am not a legally qualified candidate as defined by the law.
The folly of such an argument is self-evident on its face.
But before I show the pernicious nature of this argument, let me declare the one point on which I agree with this argument: namely, the right of the DNC to preclude me from the convention. The DNC is essentially a “private club.” As a private club, it can dictate the terms of its members. It can include and preclude people from joining the club, based upon its own internal rules.
For example, the “private club” of the Democrat Party used to demand that its members support slavery. Later, they demanded that their members support the segregation of the races. The Democrats used the rules of their “private club” to promote and protect the evils of slavery and segregation, and to silence dissent in its meetings and proceedings for several lifetimes.
However, in the 1940s, the Democrat Party of South Carolina – which called itself a “club” – demanded that members of the “club” swear the following oath:
I further solemnly swear that I (understand) believe in and will support the principles of the Democratic Party of South Carolina, and that I believe in and will support the social (religious) and educational separation of races.
(Mandated Oath for Democrats of South Carolina Democrat Party, at http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?page=4&xmldoc=1948101178FSupp933_1801.xml&docbase=CSLWAR1-1950-1985&SizeDisp=7)
The Democrat Party claimed it had the right to do this, but the court overturned their procedures and rules..
Likewise today, they use the rules of their club to protect the evil of child killing, and to silence dissent at the DNC convention – such as they did with Catholic Pennsylvania Governor Casey – when they forbade him from delivering a pro-life address at the Democrat National Convention in 1992.
In short, this is an open question.
Having affirmed in part the right of the Party to include and preclude, and to silence dissent, I now proceed to the very different issue at hand: Namely, the strength and validity of laws concerning ballot access, and what defines a “legally qualified candidate” under state law, as well as the laws governing FCC licensed stations regarding the mandatory sale of TV advertising time for “legally qualified candidates.”
The law is the law; the Party is the Party. They are not, nor should they be, synonymous. If they become so, by definition it means the end of the rule of law.
George Washington’s Warning
I turn to the Father of Our Country – George Washington – who in his Farewell Address forcefully and eloquently addressed the danger of party politics undermining the rule of law. He warned:
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations under whatever plausible character with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils and modified by mutual interests. However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. (George Washington’s Farewell Address, Emphasis Added.)
The question at hand with my small and insignificant campaign for President in the Democrat primary (why are they so afraid of me?) is not whether or not the DNC shall control its internal rules, but whether the DNC shall subvert and usurp the rule of law.
Perhaps the most fundamental right in a self governing people is the right to vote for someone who they deem best represents their political sentiments on any number of issues at a given point in history.
It is not the Party that determines who is a legally qualified candidate under the law; it is the law that decides it. It is the law – ostensibly created, delineated, and enforced by “we the people” through our various engines of representation – that is the master of the moment, not the Party.
If it were otherwise – as Washington said – then “a small but artful and enterprising minority” could “make the public administration the mirror of…cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men…to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.”
Will The Rule of Law, or the Will of the Party Prevail?
If it were as some suggest it should be, then the states would have to approach the Party to confirm or deny every candidate that sought ballot access in a primary or general election. Imagine the bribes, the threats, and the unending corruption if this were the case. A small band of Party bosses would in effect control the government, by deciding who could be elected to government. Huey Long meets Al Capone.
That is not how a free Republic works.
What state ballots and the FCC do with me is for the law to decide.
What happens to me in the Missouri and Oklahoma primaries is for the voters to decide.
What the DNC does with me at the 2012 convention is for the cunning Party bosses to decide.
But let those lines never be blurred; let us never confuse those jurisdictions.
And if the voters speak with a loud enough voice – after hearing my campaign message on the FCC licensed stations that by law I am afforded the right to purchase advertising time in order to reach those voters – then the DNC might come to its senses, and embrace a platform that promotes and protects innocent human life.
That is part of what my campaign is about; to give Democrat voters in the states where I am legally on the ballot a voice in this election cycle…the voice of voters that can be heard inside the “private club” of the DNC. Catholic Democrats and Evangelical Democrats and conservative Democrats that are pro-life have the right to hear from and cast a vote for a candidate in this election that represents theirs views – inside their Party primary – in this election.
After all, the Democrat Party – that once used Party rules to silence dissent in the Party concerning slavery and segregation – eventually heard the voice of voters, and changed the rules of their “private club.” They now champion the inalienable rights of African Americans to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I have no doubt that in time the Party leaders in their “private club” will again hear the voice of voters, and champion the inalienable right to life of the unborn.
The will of voters, the rule of law, and the “power of the people” in this case trump the will of the Party, and the unprincipled men who seek to subvert the power of the people and the rule of law, in order to usurp for themselves the reins of government.