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Craig Hickman, the owner of an organic farm in Winthrop, represents District 14 in the Maine Senate. He sponsored previous right to food legislation in the Maine Legislature.
The Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of Maine, which, like all sets of rights in all constitutions, sets forth the foundational principles and values of a free society by enumerating the people’s most fundamental liberties.
Constitutional rights aren’t meant to solve problems, fund or implement any specific public policies. Unlike statutes, they are meant to codify a society’s morality and defend individual liberties from infringement by government and corporate entities.
Article I of our Constitution contains broad and sweeping language that isn’t all that easy to discern without having to look up some of the archaic phrases contained therein.
You can see what I mean by reading the 24 rights already enumerated in our Constitution. Please read them all at least once. And then read this:
“Section 25. Right to food. All individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to food, including the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching or other abuses of private property rights, public lands or natural resources in the harvesting, production or acquisition of food.”
After reading all of that, you may come to see that the language of the Right to Food amendment is clear compared to what’s already there, and yet, it fits right in.
So, please don’t be afraid or confused or misled. See for yourself what natural rights are already enumerated in our Constitution.
Please ask yourself which of these you would vote to ratify and which you would vote against if they were on the ballot on Nov. 2.
Then please ask yourself: Among the rights that you would vote to ratify, what do they mean? Do they mean what they say or do they mean something else? Is there something hidden or sinister that isn’t explicitly stated that will bring harm to humankind?
Please look at Section 1. What does it mean that we have a right to pursue and obtain safety and happiness? What is safety? What is happiness? What does it mean to obtain them? Who or what is supposed to ensure that you obtain safety and happiness? Why doesn’t it say?
Check out Section 4. What does it mean to be fully responsible for the abuse of this liberty? If you are not responsible for the abuse of this liberty, what are the consequences? Who enforces them? Why doesn’t the language make all of this clear?
Move down to Section 16. What does it mean that this right shall never be questioned? Shall never be questioned by whom? And if this right is ever questioned, what are the consequences for questioning it, since it shall never be questioned?
Reread Section 11. What does it mean that no attainder shall work corruption of blood nor forfeiture of estate?
There’s a whole lot more to ask of it, if you read every word of it.
So, if you take the word of those who’ve misrepresented the plain text and meaning of the Right to Food amendment and its context in the Declaration of Rights, then will you at least read every word of Article I of the Maine Constitution that Question 3 seeks to amend, and see for yourself what’s already there?
Why would anybody hold Right to Food up to a different standard than any other enumerated right inscribed on the pages of our Constitution?
The Right to Food is about food self-sufficiency that engenders food security. Right to Food is about self-determination that uplifts human dignity. Right to food is about individual liberty that promotes personal responsibility and makes a resilient community.
Imagine being more afraid of freedom than subservience and dependency.
Right to Food is the way life should be. On Nov. 2, vote yes on Question 3.