Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Great Rights Illusion Part One

   One of the most fundamental things in this country is rights. Millions of protestors use them as a rallying cry, thousands of lawsuits are won by way of invoking them, we even have a Bill of Rights in our Constitution. Rights are everyone's favorite thing to talk about these days: women's rights, gay rights, Hispanic rights, millennial rights, and all the other hot topics of today. Rights are one of the most important things in today's world, and one of the most misunderstood.
   The word rights is thrown around almost willy-nilly. If you attend any protest in the United States of America, you are almost certain to hear at least one person screaming about their rights. Two of the biggest topics today are women's rights and LGBT rights. But most people that talk about rights don't actually understand what they are or where they come from.

   What are rights?

    Our most familiar association with the word "rights" is from the most-quoted part of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...." This phrase holds the key to the answers of both questions, what rights are, and where they come from.
   Rights can also be referred to as the state of nature or freedom. This is the natural condition of man and his relationship with his Creator. According to John Locke, "The state of nature gives every man authority to execute punishment for violation of God's natural law." He also said, "Men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man."
   Rights are natural liberties men are born with. They are also equal among all men.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal....
 Furthermore God said, Let us make man in our image according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that creepeth and moveth on the earth.
Thus God created the man in his image: in the image of God created he him: he created them male and female. --Genesis 1:26-27
 All men are created equal and all power and jurisdiction is granted to each man equally by God. --John Locke
   Rights are "endowed" to us. Not given, not provided, endowed. This word is closely related to the word "dowry." A dowry is a gift given from a father to his daughter at her marriage. Dowries were a permanent gift, transferred directly to the recipient, intended only for the recipient, and unable to be denied. Rights are indeed endowed upon us. They are our dowry.
   Rights are also unalienable (or inalienable), a word most little kids stumble over and few understand. However, the Founding Fathers chose this word very carefully. It was related to the word "alienate," which was a legal term meant to describe transfer or sale of ownership of property. If an object was alienable, that meant it was able to be transferred. An object that is unalienable is unable to be sold or transferred. 
   This means that our rights are permanent gifts given to everyone equally at their creation, unable to be transferred, denied, sold, or taken. Come back next week to find out where our rights come from and why it's so important!

   Many thanks to Congressman Barry Loudermilk for providing the resources used in this blog post and for instructing me about rights.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The 2018 Writing Scene

   Some of you may know that I have been working on rewriting the draft of a story I entitle Condemned Patriot Book One: Awakened. I have since learned that I have absolutely no love for one of the two (or maybe three) protagonists of the book. I have further learned that it is impossible to write a satisfactory book when you do not care for one of the protagonists in question. Writing of this book has since been tabled.
   I have abstained from writing Awakened for most of the holidays, and over the course of the past month or so, have been slowly learning to love my poor neglected protagonist. I expect in the next few months, I will be attached to her and be able to build up her story and continue writing. In the meantime, you can be satisfied with my Pinterest boards for the story and a snippet:

   “I’m no fool, Mr. Larak,” the arrogant young officer said. “Give us all the papers in your desk and reveal to us where you illegal terroristic textbooks are, and perhaps I won’t take further action.”
   The last of Peter’s hope died. They knew it all, then. There was no saving this situation. If only the students stayed frozen at their desks and they didn’t discover the gun in Mr. Larak’s desk, they might escape with their lives.
   Mutt growled, his hackles rising. He stared at the policemen near the door.
   “Shut up, Mutt,” Peter hissed. He placed his foot on Mutt’s harness leash. His heart pounded so hard it almost burst in his chest.
   “I can’t do that for you.” Mr. Larak’s voice shook.
   Peter uncurled his fingers of their death grip of his pencil so he could pet Mutt and calm him down. He placed the pencil down and snaked his hand out.
   The arrogant young officer strode down one of the aisles and stopped beside Peter’s desk. He strode in front of it and pulled his pistol out.
   Peter stilled. He stared up at the man, barely breathing. The man’s face was hard, his eyes unreadable.
   The arrogant young officer placed the barrel of the pistol against Peter’s forehead. Peter’s muscles froze. Slowly, he forced his shaking hands into plain sight to lie flat on his desk. He stared at the top of his test paper.
   “Let me repeat my command.” The arrogant young officer’s voice filled with steel. “Give me all the papers in your desk and reveal to us where your illegal terroristic textbooks are, or I shoot the boy with the service dog.”

   I've started working on a different story while Awakened is on hold. It's temporary title is Sacred Truths. It has to do with slavery and politics and mines and manors and is set in an equatorial fantasy country filled with jungles and stuff. Here, enjoy the tiny Pinterest board. The story is partially inspired by the movie Amazing Grace, which is personally one of my favorites. The characters are ones I really love, and I'm really enjoying working intimately with politics. I currently have the British pages on how a bill becomes a law in their country bookmarked as research for this story. I don't exactly have a plan, but I think writing this book is going to be a fun ride. 
   I hope to have the draft of Awakened I've been working on finished by the end of the year. Other than that, I have no writing plans.
   So long, farewell, and have a snippet as you go!

   (from Sacred Truths)
   The open windows did nothing to relieve the heat of the sun oppressing the stuffy senate chamber. Edmund loosened his neckerchief and rested his chin back on his hands. Weariness overtook him and his eyes slid closed.
   “We cannot allow this bill to destroy the livelihoods of our mines.”
   Edmund jumped and focused on Lord Duilo Brook, still railing against some boring mining bill in the well. Wasn’t debate over this bill supposed to have been tabled fifteen minutes ago?
   Edmund glanced around the half-circle of legislative desks. Most of the legislators had their heads pillowed on their desks or tilted back in their chairs, sound asleep. The slaves and legislative aides were also nodding or fast asleep.
   Edmund glanced over at Ronny beside him. He was chewing on a thumbnail and staring wide-eyed at Lord Brook. Edmund elbowed him.
   Ronny started and glanced over at Edmund. “What? What is it?”
   Edmund leaned over. “Should I stand up and say something?”
   “Only if you don’t want me to be sound asleep when you present your bill on the floor,” Ronny said.