One of the most poignant and most recognized sentences in the English language, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….” is followed by an equally charged, yet often unrecognized sentence, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ….”

I often wonder about those men who set out to “create a new and more perfect union.” Did they know that they would set the course for America to be the longest surviving democracy? Did they have any idea that their words would strike a chord in the hearts of millions of Americans? Could they fathom the number of men and women willing to sacrifice their lives to protect those ideals that they held so dear? Could they imagine the America of today, where these freedoms give us the opportunity to have our voices heard, to shout our injustices, disparagements, and qualms with those elected to represent us?

I believe in the concept of our nation. I believe that we are free when we are self-ruled. I believe that the Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. I believe that without the Constitution, we would no longer governed by the people but be on the shaky ground of tyrannical rule. Those who created the framework of our government remembered all too well the burden of colonial rule and set forth to create a government where no person or party could wield total rule. That is why bills are vetted, examined, and passed through three separate branches of our government. One cannot simply decide that a law is constructed and enforced — and what a better country we are for that. We must, at all cost, preserve and protect the rights that have served us well for 244 years.

In years past, I have had the opportunity to visit our nation’s capital, and I took an afternoon to visit the National Holocaust Museum. It was the most sobering afternoons I have ever had. I left with the words of former President George W. Bush weighing heavily on my mind:

“Here we will learn that each of us bears responsibility for our actions and for our failure to act. Here we will learn that we must intervene when we see evil arise. Here we will learn more about the moral by which we navigate our lives and by which countries navigate the future.” (George W. Bush — February 15, 1991)

I draw upon the words of Sydney J. Harris, who said: “History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.” Recently, we have seen where, albeit in the form of goodwill, those who govern us, have attempted to bypass our Constitution. Whereas the efficiency of such bypasses is not open to interpretation by myself or anyone else in my capacity, I will say empathetically, that it is not a matter up for debate, but simply an overreach of power. In my duty, as your elected sheriff, I cannot and will not waver on this issue. I must stand firm on the oath taken before you, and before my God, and do as I have sworn, “that I will support the Constitution of the Unites States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or maybe established for the government thereof; and endeavor to support, maintain and defend the constitution of said state, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability, so help me God.”

Each of us, myself included, must not waver upon the foundation that our nation was so solidly built. My commitment to defend the Constitution cannot and will not waver. We must not allow our government to sidestep our freedoms, our rights, nor our Constitution. We must never allow emotional charge to dull our sight of vetting, maintaining, and demanding that our government perform its due diligence in governing her people. We can never simply “let this one slide.” Once this precedent is set, there is no back tracking. Our Constitution is not and never will be a political statement, and we must not make it one. We must hold our Constitution as an age-old playbook, defining the rules of the game, and if we are to win, and democracy to prevail, we must abide by the rules, now and always.

I ask that, in these unprecedented and uncertain times, that you hold our leaders and our nation close in prayer, and may we forever remain “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

Darren Campbell is the Iredell County sheriff.

12 thoughts on “Viewpoint: All Americans have a duty to protect our constitutional rights

  1. Devin Biehler says:

    It’s a little unclear exactly what you are calling an “overreach of power.” Can you be more specific on what recent events/actions fall into this category, as well as which do not?

  2. Jan Huffman says:

    Are you referring to the President not understanding the balance of power between the three branches government? Are you referring to his interference in the judicial system for his friends?

  3. Joni Stone says:

    Public safety should be a county employee’s first and foremost priority. When the Federal Task Force, Physicians, Researchers, the CDC, the FDA, County Health Departments, all day the same thing, wearing a face covering helps save lives. There should be solidarity within county leadership and staff.

    If asking people to wear a mask is unconstitutional, let’s take it to the Supreme Court and let them decide.

    Decisions are made by government during times of crisis and natural disasters, a pandemic killing tens of thousands is such a natural disaster.

    I have no problem with this opinion. I uphold the Constitution that my male family fought for, one in a concentration camp for our country.

    It is patriotic to say, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what YOU can do for our country” and for those who live here.

    When did Americans get so selfish you can’t put a piece of paper across your mouth to potentially save your neighbor? Remember food rationing in WWII? Blackouts? We, as a country, have always come together to be the best, and we are stronger United. We are stronger when together we help each other.

    The most patriotic thing you can do right now is to help protect as many of our citizens that you can. It may not seem as glorious as an AR15, but right now our enemy is miniscule. Even if that cloth only caught one germ … that one germ could save a grandmother or a baby.

    In a crisis, we as a country need to send the same message: Wherever this bug came from, we will not let it destroy the lives of US citizens.

    • Y’all are missing the main point proven over and over again. The mask is essentially futile against the virus. The mask is a symbol and a test. Or better yet, the foundation for our government’s next building block of total control. In other words, it’s the first of an unknown number of unconstitutional actions, all dependent on how we the people react. And I’d say most, if not all, do not care if you or anyone chooses to wear one. We stand for your right to make that decision. But the lies and deceit circling around this virus, which anyone can easily verify with a calculator and internet, has placed a wedge between those that trust the government’s story and plan and those that don’t. I think all the sheriff is stating in this article is that, as an oath keeper, it his is duty to do the due diligence to uphold the constitution in all aspects. He is also stating a level of responsibility for every citizen of this nation to do the due diligence needed to keep our government in check so that they do not overextend their reach of power. The population as a whole has become too reliant on and naive of the character of the individuals who make up our elected government. Thank you, Sheriff Campbell.

  4. We agree with Sherriff Campbell’s article 100% and wish we had more leaders in office like him. As someone said: “The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” We wish the ones that don’t agree with our Constitution would find them another country where they could be happy and not try to change us. Thank you for your stand, Sheriff Campbell.

  5. Scott Deal says:

    Thank you, Sheriff Campbell, for standing your ground. You have my total support.

  6. Thank you, Sheriff Campbell! We 100% agree with! Many prayers going for country and leaders on both sides that the correct and Godly decisions are made!

  7. Robert Brock says:

    Should the Democrats take a supermajority if the federal and state legislatures, will you still feel the same way towards the Constitution? It’s gonna be so much fun to watch if I survive it.

    Every time I see a neighbor who can’t be bothered by something as simple as wearing a piece of cloth over their face, I really want to exercise my freedom of speech. Eventually, when enough people’s loved ones succumb to the virus, it may come time for those of conscience to decide.

    Do you protect your constituents’ right to spread disease needlessly or do you protect your constituents’ right to life?

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