In Rosa Parks, “NO” became a powerful weapon.
“NO” is a “Powerful Weapon”. Rosa Parks, said “NO”! She’s a household name in the United States. The events of that day could have gone in a different direction. This is a well-known story, and neither one detracts from the editorial’s presentation of its argument.
On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks was going home from work on the Cleveland Avenue bus in Montgomery, Alabama, when the only white seats at the front of the bus began to fill up. James Blake, the bus driver, insisted that Parks and the three other black passengers leave their seats in the front of the bus so that the white passengers might board, and then relocate the “colored” section sign behind them.
As soon as the “white driver walked back toward us, when he raised his hand and told us to rise up and out of our seats, I felt a determination envelop my body as though it were blanketed in snow.”
In turn, the other three individuals in the argument did the same.
It wasn’t for Rosa Parks.
Upon seeing that I was still sitting, he inquired as to whether or not I intended to rise. “Well,” he replied, “if you don’t stand up, I’ll have to contact the police and have you arrested.”‘” I said, “You can do it,” Parks stated in a 1987 PBS documentary on the civil rights struggle.
What Parks did not do is worth noticing.
She didn’t even try to hit the bus driver. When the police arrived to arrest her, she did not pull a gun and began firing at them. Her actions lacked “teeth,” as the saying goes.
That was all she had to say.
She was the one who got bitten, after all. Parks was taken into custody by police and detained for a day. She was convicted of disorderly conduct just four days later. The judge imposed a punishment of $10 and court costs of $4 on her. A sewing position at a local department shop was also eliminated for her.
On that day, however, Parks’ efforts led to a Montgomery bus boycott and launched the beginning of the civil rights revolution. During the boycott, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rose to prominence, and when everything was said and done, America changed.
Because of its success in challenging racial segregation and serving as a model for subsequent movements in the South, the bus boycott was lauded by the King Institute at Stanford University.
Because one woman dared to declare, “No,” Jim Crow was killed.
The lack of “teeth” does not mean that Parks’ acts were lacking in courage or effectiveness.
Not at all!
The Tenth Amendment Center is frequently confronted with this argument when advocating for legislation that does not impose criminal consequences on federal officers who violate the law.
Things without fangs can nonetheless bite, as anyone who has been in an arctic wind can attest.
The strength of a single “No” cannot be overstated. We don’t need to lock up federal agents or swat them with our fists, as Rosa Parks demonstrated. Even if you don’t comply, refusing to do so can be a game-changer.
All we have to do to see that the federal prohibition on marijuana has to be repealed at the state level is look.
When the state of California’s medical marijuana program was authorized by voters in 1996, the federal government claimed it was illegal. They did it regardless. Federal officials were met with a resounding “No. We’re not going to abide by your rules.”
In the 2005 Gonzales v. Raich decision, the Supreme Court unexpectedly affirmed government power to regulate a plant grown in someone’s backyard for pain relief.
Who Gave Them Authority Over You? Did You???
A federal law that was found to be unlawful by the Supreme Court led to a ban on medical marijuana in California. Nope. “No, we don’t care about your views,” they said to the black-robed federal employees.
Over the years, an amusing occurrence occurred. Other states followed suit, saying “no” to federal marijuana legislation and launching their medical marijuana programs in response. There are currently 18 states that allow same-sex marriage.
The people of Washington and Colorado demonstrated a new level of political maturity. Marijuana legalization was passed by a landslide. “No, federal overlords,” the crowds roared. “We will not abide by your bogus law.”
The federal government hasn’t changed its tactics of bluster and resistance. They raided dispensaries and threatened large-scale marijuana cultivators as they entered the scene. However, the federal government’s attention has been diverted elsewhere. People just cannot be made to do anything they don’t want to do.
We are witnessing the demise of federal marijuana ‘laws’ in their entirety.
There are no consequences attached to these state-level marijuana laws. Not for the government. State officials are not allowed to use this service. They don’t have any kind of enforcement mechanism. They had no visible teeth.
Noncompliance with state marijuana laws is just a mechanism put up by legislation.
Rosa Parks demonstrated it. A simple “no” can have a profound impact on the course of history.