More than 25 registered voters in Lyme petitioned for the following article which  appears as Article 28 on the 2017 Lyme Town Warrant.

Affirm Civil Rights in the Town of Lyme New Hampshire

To see if the Town will vote to adopt the following resolution:

The citizens of Lyme are concerned that some of the actions and stated intentions of President Donald J. Trump are a threat to basic civil rights and liberties we enjoy under the Constitution. We believe that respect for Constitutional rights is essential for the preservation of democratic society.

Our concerns are by example but not limited to the following:

  • President Trump’s promise to establish a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
  • His plan to constitute a so-called deportation force to deport all undocumented noncitizens.
  • His advocating of profiling U.S. Muslims and Muslim communities as a counterterrorism tool and his promotion of the surveillance of mosques.
  • His advocating the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture and suggesting that he would use torture for both punishment and interrogation.
  • His assertion that doctors who perform abortions should be punished.
  • His encouraging the violent removal of peaceful demonstrators from his political rallies.

With this Article we do not intend to inhibit or prevent the apprehension, trial, or conviction of anyone who has broken the law. We believe, however, that a threat to any one person’s Constitutional rights is a threat to the rights of us all.

WHEREAS the United States Constitution provides protection of the rights of religious worship; the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures; the right of the people not to be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against themselves; the right not to be subject to excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishment; and the right of any person within the jurisdiction of the U.S. the equal protection of its laws;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town of Lyme affirms the rights of all people–including United States citizens and citizens of other nations–within the Town in accordance with the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Lyme Town Meeting calls upon all Town officials and employees to respect the civil rights and liberties of all members of this community, including those who are citizens of other nations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Lyme Town Meeting calls upon all private citizens–including residents, employers, educators, and business owners–to demonstrate similar respect for civil rights and civil liberties, especially but not limited to conditions of employment and cooperation with investigations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, to the extent legally possible, no Town employee or department shall officially assist or voluntarily cooperate with investigations, interrogations, or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, that are judged to be in violation of individuals’ civil rights or civil liberties as provided in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Town Clerk communicate this resolution to all Town departments, the General Court, the Governor and Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Congressional delegation, the United States Attorney General, and the President of the United States; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the provisions of this Resolution shall be severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this Resolution is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be contrary to the Constitution of the United States or of the State of New Hampshire or the applicability thereof to any agency, person, or circumstances is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this Resolution and the applicability thereof to any other agency, person or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

9 Responses

  • First of all, I’d like to thank the people who signed the petition so that this Article could be included on the Warrant and everyone else I’ve discussed this with who shared their thoughts and opinions.

    I want to make it clear that the intention of this Article is in no way meant to be a referendum on the 2016 election, or Republican policy proposals that fall within the bounds of the Constitution. We’ve had an election. We have a new administration. I respect our democracy and I hope it continues to function as it has so far in my lifetime.

    How our democracy functions is in fact the point of this Article. As stated in the Article, many of us are concerned about the President’s actions and stated intentions, during his campaign and since becoming President, specifically as they relate to our civil liberties. In my mind this is not a Democrat or a Republican issue. We all are granted civil liberties by the Constitution and we need to protect and defend them for each other.

    We have plenty of examples in our history–even the recent past–where the government, be it at the local level, the state level, or the federal level, finds it expedient to ignore the civil rights of its citizens as a way of enforcing some particular order or as a way of instituting some particular policy. The courts have often been able to remedy these offenses. But I believe the best remedy is prevention.

    I believe if we as a Town, are conscientious about how we conduct ourselves and our government we have nothing to fear. If we affirm our civil rights and give notice to the state and federal government that we stand together in protecting and defending our civil rights, then we need not be concerned about what one leader, or one administration, says or does.

    The laws and the Constitution are trusts that we hold with each other as Americans regardless of political party, religious affiliation, sexual identity, race or country of origin. Now is a good time to remind ourselves of that trust by affirming our civil rights. We should let our leaders and our civil servants know that we expect them to respect and follow all the laws, both those that help to order our society and those that keep it free for us as individuals.

    I hope you’ll join me in supporting this Article.

  • Excellent! I agree with all points! Thank you so much for putting this together and letting us know. Please keep us in the loop.

  • Thank you James for your work. I have been of a mind to be in “resistance” to the efforts of our president and his following. However, I am fully aware that resisting anyone, anything only results in my being engaged (read:”stuck”) with them. This I do not want. I do, however, much prefer what you are exemplifying for me and that is: Insistence! Persistence!…and all out of love.

    Tom

  • Thank you, James, for making explicit what many of us are feeling — and for doing it in such a respectful way. I support your article.

  • BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Lyme Town Meeting calls upon all Town officials and employees to respect the civil rights and liberties of all members of this community, including those who are citizens of other nations; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Lyme Town Meeting calls upon all private citizens–including residents, employers, educators, and business owners–to demonstrate similar respect for civil rights and civil liberties, especially but not limited to conditions of employment and cooperation with investigations; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, to the extent legally possible, no Town employee or department shall officially assist or voluntarily cooperate with investigations, interrogations, or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, that are judged to be in violation of individuals’ civil rights or civil liberties as provided in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution;

    ****So I guess I want to say that if anyone has witnessed that a town employee or official has been disrespectful or violated anyone’s civil rights (in their role as such), I’d like to know about it. These are things that can be managed without messages to the President…whoever he or she happens to be.

    • Thank you Patty! For my part I’ve never experienced any Lyme Town official being disrespectful or violating anyone’s civil rights. In many respects this article seems hardly necessary, however, what I witnessed during the presidential campaign and since is a use of power that I, and many others, find disconcerting. In my mind the current administration has sent a message that certain people should not be afforded the same rights as others and that people who disagree with them are somehow disgraceful. Some citizens have taken this message to heart and are behaving in similar ways. I think it helps to establish that in Lyme we don’t believe that and won’t tolerate that kind of discrimination. So the article is not meant as a suggestion that anything of the sort has happened. It is reminding ourselves of what we value.

  • I agree that this is not a republican or democrat issue, not left or right, not conservative or liberal. It’s an issue for all. As an American I fully support this.

    (Although it duplicates existing laws it makes a statement against recent threats to our rights)

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