Is It Possible You Are Not Really An American?

OK, quick! Give me a definition of “United States citizen.” I really mean it, give me the shortest possible definition of citizenship. Hard?  It shouldn’t be.

In my mind, a U.S. citizen is one who owes his allegiance to the United States of America, one who is accepted and identified as a citizen by both federal and state government,  and one who is protected from the overreach of government through the limits of the U.S. Constitution.

Whoa! There’s a problem, here. Seventy million people over the past thirty years have signed private real estate contracts in which they disavowed their access to state and federal protections and have signed all their Constitutional rights over to private non-profit corporations known as Homeowners Associations.

Certainly, all citizens have the Constitutional right “to contract.” And you really can sign away individual Constutitonal rights. For example, if you make an out-of-court settlement in a lawsuit, it may contain a confidentiality clause. That’s an enforceable contract in which you voluntarily gave up your right to Free Speech. In other words, you no longer have the freedom to speak about the terms of your confidential settlement.

It’s an awesome thought. Over the past thirty years, seventy million Americans gave up all their Constitutional rights by joining Homeowners Associations. The verbiage in most HOA contracts makes it clear that buyers must agree that they cannot defy any rules imposed by the board of directors. It doesn’t matter if those rules interfere with free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom to bear arms, freedom from unwarranted search and seizure, due process, and a myriad of other freedoms.

But if half the definition of “U.S. citizen” includes someone who is protected by the Constitution, does that mean seventy million people erroneously think they’re American citizens, when they’ve actually stepped into an entirely new form of government?

Even citizens of other countries who are arrested in the United States for various crimes have rights under the U.S. Constitution. In many cases, illegal immigrants have far greater rights than homeowners in private gated neighborhoods.

So, again I ask: Are you really an American? Are you really a United States citizen? Or do you now belong to some kind of sub-class, for which we haven’t yet invented a word?

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

2 thoughts on “Is It Possible You Are Not Really An American?

  1. Dianne Mc Greevy

    i totally agree. I liken it to the Gestapo. they tell me what border I can put around my garden, when I can put garbage out, what decorations I can put in my garden. Their pettiness and total control are harassing. They ignore both state and federal laws in the process.They try to say deed restrictions have been violated. In reality it is only their personal taste that has been violated. I feel like I live under communist rule. I am not allowed to enjoy living in my house as I have no freedom to do so.

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      You’ve got it right. All we can do, now, is just spread the word so far and wide that Banks and Mortgage companies will be scared to invest. And please, please get my book out there to as many people as you can. I don’t care if you borrow it, steal it or photocopy it, just get my book to everybody.


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