Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McPherson wrote, “The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery, especially in the territories that had not yet become states.” Thus, when Abraham Lincoln won the election in 1860 as the first Republican president on a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven of the Deep South slave-states seceded and formed a new nation: the Confederate States of America. The Lincoln administration and many of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of the slave state’s secession. They feared that it would discredit democracy. In 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring “that all persons held as slaves” within the Confederate state “are, and henceforward shall be free.” And, finally, in 1865, the 13th Amendment was passed to abolish slavery throughout the United States.
A modern-day Civil War
The genesis of the Civil War is similar to our modern civil war to free animals from slavery, torture, murder, and exploitation, and when we compare historical proto-abolition and abolition in the United States, we see many parallels. History illustrates that to free animals from torture and exploitation, we need to get serious about passing laws at the national level. Our efforts to promote compassion are working, but we’ve seen how deeply rooted culture, habit, tradition, and selfishness are in the reasoning and logic of our adversaries.
The Humane Party—the only political party with a platform explicitly dedicated to full rights and equal treatment of animals—developed the proposed legislation. Now, we need to use our compassionate intelligence to embed ourselves in every level of government so we have the friends and allies in Congress to champion these solutions. Although a seemingly daunting task, we possess some pretty remarkable numbers in our favor. For example, to pass the Humane Party’s proposed Abolition Amendment, we need allies to occupy two-thirds of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate. That’s less than 400 people who think like you and me.
Unite to fight
All of us need to fight, in whatever political capacity we can, to pass proposed changes to the Constitution. In order to win at passing national legislation, we must win by strategically embedding ethical champions throughout the chambers of Congress. This is non-negotiable if we are to pass an amendment to the Constitution. And, in case you don’t know, the Humane Party’s proposed legislation is what we’ve been waiting for.
We are calling for ending inhumane, scientifically indefensible, and economically unsound exploitation of other species by humans, which includes the elimination of domestic trade and import/export of sentient beings; the elimination of torture, mutilation, and slaughter of such beings; the elimination of domestic and foreign trade in products resulting from or obtained by way of such exploitation; the elimination of services that include or are provided by way of such exploitation, including experiments performed on live animals and entertainment events that include live animals; abolishing the property status of, and emancipating, other animals by either explicitly recognizing all other animals as fully protected individuals under the 13th Amendment prohibition of slavery, or ratifying a new Constitutional amendment emancipating all other animals through proposed Constitutional amendments such as the Abolition Amendment; and granting legal standing and personhood to all other animals, such that an animal’s liberty can be procured by way of a habeas corpus proceeding and his or her rights can be enforced through a duly authorized legal guardian.
What to do
Run for local, state, or federal office. You have nothing to lose but to lose. If you lose, try until you win—you have everything to gain by being the political voice of animals and being immortalized on the right side of history books. Furthermore, learn about the elected officials who represent you. What is the personal and business interests of your representatives? Will this person represent your interest to the extent that animal rights, the environment, and free speech is involved?
The time is now
The responsibility to protect our rights lies within our Constitution, and all laws, regulations, and policies must be consistent with it. The Humane Party believes that animals are citizens and their efforts to build this country into what it is should be recognized by our Constitution. Imagine if animal rights were included in our country’s Constitution. Imagine if our Constitution amended itself to say, “Every sentient being has the right to live a free and happy life full of abundant resources.” We need not imagine this scenario if we seize a majority in all three branches of government, so let’s prepare for upcoming 2018 congressional elections, as well as the 2020 presidential elections. Remember: we can no longer be patient with human beings who refuse to see the ethical path as the most practical path for America and the world.
Clifton Roberts is a vegan of nearly two decades, Humane Party Volunteer, speaker, and a former US presidential candidate who is passionate about protecting the most innocent beings on the planet, the deteriorating health of human beings, and the preservation of our air, land, and water resources.