They call themselves Coal Free Bellingham, but such a benign name doesn’t accurately describe the motivations behind what they call their Bellingham Community Bill of Rights. Coal though, is the big topic of discussion in the Bellingham/Whatcom are and those promoting this Bellingham Community Bill of Rights are capitalizing on local anti-coal sentiment by using it as a vehicle to change the way our local, state and national governments work together. In fact, as you will see they are not just advocating a new working relationship, they are actually trying to opt out of our system of governance and attempting to establish their own new system of governance.
The opening statement on the Coal Free Bellingham website is the tip off to their true intentions. It fails to mention burning coal, transporting coal by train, the proposed coal port, or even any mention of coal at all.
More people are becoming aware that the promise of an American democratic republic is not being met. Instead of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, we have government “of corporations, by corporations and for corporations”.
So it doesn’t mention coal at all, but what this statement does mention is that they feel that our democratic republic is not working because the balance of power has shifted away from the people and towards corporations. Interestingly, I am in complete agreement with what they say about corporate power and I’d even take it one step further by throwing in unions, especially public employee unions. I honestly and wholeheartedly agree that the balance of power has shifted away from the people and it is a big problem in our nation today. However, I believe that we need to stick together and work together to fix the problem, but by reading their proposed Bill of Rights Ordinance, I see that they think the solution is to opt out and start their own government.
BALLOT TITLE FOR CITY OF BELLINGHAM INITIATIVE No. 2012-2
City of Bellingham Initiative No. 2012-2 concerns the people’s right of self-government. This measure would establish the sovereignty of Bellingham residents,
I’m in the middle of reading Killing Lincoln, so that other period in our nation’s history where a group of people felt they had to break off and establish their sovereignty is pretty fresh in my mind. At that time slavery abolitionists were gaining power in our nation. The people of the Southern states, rather than continuing to work for a solution, decided to secede, or opt out, from the United States and establish a their own new system of government. And like coal is the vehicle for the Bellingham secessionist movement, slavery was the vehicle for the Southern States secessionist movement. This is plainly evident when you look at some of the language used in the states’ Ordinances of Secession with with references to “slavery” removed.
…is hereby dissolved, and that the State of North Carolina is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.
…Federal Government has failed to accomplish the purposes of the compact of union between these States
State of Louisiana hereby resumes all rights and powers heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America…she is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty
We, the people of the State of Tennessee, waiving any expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right, as a free and independent people, to alter, reform, or abolish our form of government in such manner as we think proper…
…declare that the people are thereby absolved from all allegiance to said government, and that they have a right to establish any government which to them may seem best adapted to the preservation of their rights and liberties.
And they do further declare, That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.
…and to longer submit to such rule, or remain in the old Union of the United States…
And if you remove any mention of “coal” from the proposed Bellingham Community Bill of Rights Ordinance it is plainly obvious that this is also ultimately about secession.
… concerns the people’s right of self-government. This measure would establish the sovereignty of Bellingham residents,
…adoption of this ordinance by the people of Bellingham is a necessary first step
…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…
…the people of Bellingham desire to restore a balanced and democratic system of government
…the State of Washington and the United States have failed to act in accordance with the public trust, and the people of Bellingham find it necessary to act on their own behalf
…the people of Bellingham… by creating a new structure of law…
…that new structure of law is embodied in this ordinance, which recognizes a Bill of Rights for the residents…
I think you’d agree that the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights Ordinance could have been titled the Bellingham Secession Ordinance without changing much, if any, of the content. I found it ironic that the Coal Free Bellingham people used the words, “of the people, by the people, and for the people” in their introduction, because if you read the full quote which is from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address you’d see he meant it to say that we need to fight tooth, nail and Civil War to keep our nation as one, so that it “shall not perish from the earth”.
— that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that 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.
President Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863
Our laws bind us and strengthen us together as a nation, as States, as Counties, as Cities and as a People. This movement isn’t about coal, the Bellingham Bill of Rights is about tearing at the very fabric that holds our nation together. I urge everyone, Bellingham resident or not, to oppose any advancement or support for this ill conceived and very dangerous document.
Links to further information
Activists start gathering signatures in hopes of banning coal trains in Bellingham – Yes, this is an article in the Bellingham Herald about gathering initiative signitures for the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights, yet there is no mention in the article of a new structure of law, just stopping coal. Note that comments on the Herald sight appear to be disappearing so if you have something to say try their FaceBook Page or get a message straight to the Mayor of Bellingham or to members of their City Council.
KGMI’s Wealth Wake Up with Dick Donahue – Podcast of interview with Bruce Ayers regarding the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights. Interview starts in around the 7:00 minute mark.