Amendments, checks and balances, citizenship, Constititution, democracy, federalism, freedom, government, liberty, theocracy, tyranny
It has been my considered opinion for many years, that democracy requires a certain political maturity to pull off. I came to that conclusion as we wasted so many thousands of lives in Vietnam, all in pursuit of exporting democracy.
The neo-cons cannot “get” this. So we have continued to go about the business of “nation building” over the years, with little success.
Texas is busily trying to rewrite history to suit its collective religious notions. So out goes Jefferson as part of the Enlightenment, and out goes the Enlightenment in favor of “other ideas.” Caesar Chavez is dropped. What is in, is that the Founding Fathers were all Christians and their purpose was to establish the “City of God.”
Bunk, but what can you do against such mindsets? In fact, our Founding Fathers, (FF) knew quite a bit about government and had a pretty clear idea of what they did not want. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is one of the truest phrases ever spoken.
Democracy comes after all the other forms have been tried. I’m not sure if we ever gave Aristotle’s “philosopher king” much of a chance, but then such persons are mighty hard to come by. So we ended up with a strange seemingly unworkable structure that was based on the premise of “trust no one.” We established three branches, and were careful to give no one branch too much power, and plenty of veto power over the others. (Yes, before you start, I know the difference between democracy and federalism–we can treat them the same for this analysis.)
Yet, even then, we knew it was risky. Complicity still paced along the horizon. I mean the in’s in Washington could agree that at least they WERE the powerful rulers and could AGREE to at least protect themselves against the great hordes of ordinary citizenry. And of course that is pretty much what has happened today. Almost nobody in Washington gives a hoot about the American “people.” Remaining in their little fiefdom is the point today.
I contend that the FF actually saw this as a possibility and that the Amendments to the Constitution were really the last ditch defense against the return of tyranny. Seen in this way, we can I submit make a better choice as to how to break apart this log jam of inaction on crucial social issues we find today.
Freedoms of speech, assemble, and press insure that citizens can gather, discuss, organize and plan the ouster of those who are not doing the public good. No jail for dissidents. Freedom of religion is a direct response to the legitimacy that a “national” church can lend to a corrupt regime, and the tit for tat forced legitimacy of a particular faith interpretation. (Look to Latin America as a perfect example of a tyrannical government working hand in hand with a church to keep the status quo alive and well.)
Seen in this light the right to bear arms has zero to do with people having the right to amass personal arsenals. Rather it has to do with the fact that the people, thwarted by a government who enlists its personal army to defeat dissidents, don’t have to show up with pitchforks and shovels to war against tanks and machine guns. It is our final and most dangerous alternative to a government run amok.
Such an alternative is usually not necessary when trial rights, peers, and so forth are protected constitutionally. We can’t be jailed for opposing our government. We used to think we couldn’t be tortured into telling on ourselves (now open to wonder). We realized the importance here of liberty from tyranny, devoting half of our amendments to protecting the opposition.
None of this sounds very like the idea of creating a City of God. It seems more a sober reflection of how dangerous power is, and that we must remain ever vigilant to its excesses. Those who try to pervert the amendments into something else, either singularly or in groups are dangerous and must be watched carefully. Those who would suspend them even temporarily, even for “security’s” sake, must be opposed.
Texas is so appallingly wrong. It already has about the worst record in terms of graduating kids in the country. It has avoided what 48 other states have agreed is proper–minimum national standards of learning–and it’s increasingly at the beck and call of religious bigots who are determined to establish what the FF abhorred–a theocracy. Sadly, no doubt it will prevail at least within its borders and continue to turn out ill-educated backward and bigoted new adults ready to enter the voting booth.
Patrick Kennedy went ballistic the other day calling up the national media to stop its insane laziness and start to focus on real news. He was utterly right. If the press cannot or will not do it’s job, then it is up to us. It’s up to you. And me. Or we can kiss this find experiment goodbye.
wrong is only the tip of the iceberg – texas’ decision is the beginning of the end …… i am not kidding. it truly shows how low we have sunk – or at least how low they have sunk
how did the crazies and lunatics get to be in charge of our future. how did we let this happen
a lot of washington is window dressing for the real problems – and one of the biggest problems we have is education – and now texas wants to basically lie
anyone who sends their kids to a school that teaches this crap gets what they deserve
oh lord DC I do agree. Our educational system is just atrocious by and large. I got furious when I saw that so many states allow homeschooling by people with zero credentials. this may have worked fine when we were “going west” and living in the outback, but mercy, the world is too complicated for stupid any longer.
I have no clue how the crazies have gained control, but the rest of us are in big trouble. I can only hope that the rest of sane America screams bloody murder at any attempt by publishers to make Texas texts the norm in America.
Very well done, Sherry.
Texas is so appallingly wrong. It already has about the worst record in terms of graduating kids in the country.
Perhaps the reason for this is that it was the testing ground for Bush’s NCLB failure. To produce the needed results, Texas school districts pushed kids who were behind into dropping out instead of helping them.
Probably true TomCat. It’s hard to understand how Texas could fall behind such well known backwards folks like Mississippi, and Alabama. But it appears they have.
I hear that Latinos in Texas now realize they had nothing to do with Texas getting its independence or building the state. It was all the white dudes.
That’s correct, Sherry. The new curricula writes out the tejanos.
Yes, I live in TX. And yes, I am upset with the conservative school board choosing textbooks, even more now that I know these choices influence the publishers for the rest of the nation. That does not seem right to me-for special interests to carry weight. And I suppose it is politically incorrect to ask if history was written in a fair and unbiased way before. In our postmodern world, we don’t believe that there is ONE viewpoint. I just wish news and the media could be more balanced.
Jan you make a good point. There is no question that texts have been written from the Northeastern city point of view. There has always been a prejudice against “middle America” for instance. History is never objective, and we can only attempt to do our best to report fairly. But I’m constrained to think that the media in AMerica is much more tilted toward the right than left. They own the machinery of media after all.
An interesting, related comment a friend of mine made the other day:
“In the United States, they don’t have a democracy. They just have a choice between two warring monarchies.”
wow, that’s an interesting idea westwood, and actually probably not too far off the mark. I’ve been wondering if a coalition government like is found in most of Europe is actually better. We never thought it was, but I’m beginning to think otherwise.
Here’s my partner, Walt’s, strategy for dealing with Texas. Revoke its statehood–it always wanted to be its own country anyway. Then invade it. Chop it up in smaller chunks, take a good look at the citizens and culture in each one, and readmit them on a case-by-case basis. Austin’s in; Midland’s out, e.g. The regions that have no regard for our Constitutional values will no longer need to stress out about trying to uproot them. They can live in their own mess.
Tim on a visceral level I sure do like Walt’s idea! lol…I do have friends in TX, especially Jan and so I agree, not all are to be lumped together. But surely, something has definitely run amok there. I’m deeply troubled by the barely disguised racism involved in all this. Tx seems to think that Latinos don’t exist except as troublesome “illegals.”
As far as the Second Amendment, Sherry, you’ve touched on our household’s theory: that, as the fledgling U.S. could not afford a well-equipped standing army, this was drafted in light of the country’s need for militias.
I agree with your positing in previous posts (say that three times fast!) that the constitution should not be carved in stone, but reviewed and updated as necessary. This is definitely one of those items that can be blue-penciled, I’d say. Keeping (registered) arms ought to be legal, not be a “right” on par with free speech.
To say openly that the Constitution needs looking at is akin to treason to some, but I suspect it would not have appeared as such to the FFs. I suspect they had a very mature healthy outlook about govt. After all, it was designed to address the evils of ITS day. Did they really expect it would remain pretty much untouched for centuries? I don’t think so. If you present a diamond to a thief long enough, they will figure out a way to steal from you. And that time has come. The two parties have figured out how to steal our freedoms and retain power. It’s high time we changed the dang thing and plug the hole in the dike.
Sorry, Sherry, You’re Finally Wrong Twice, Big Time:
(1) It is not ‘religious’ forces in Texas, but the Radical Right, aka Poilitical conservatives who are tcally Using religious Falsehoods, smears to Brainwash SDchool Kids into Their false propaganda!. It’s a blatamnt Politica, not Religious move!
(2) The Catholic Church has not does not back False Dictatorships in South or Central America! Catholic Bishops and Priests have to Carefully speak against the Immoral, Crooked governments that Have Existed.
Forgot that Cardinal Ramirez (Sic) of Nicaragua or guatemala was Shot to Death At Mass some years ago? He Spoke Against the crooked dictatatorship, and wass Killed At Mass by Government ‘security’ forces. Forgot that one?
The Church never Supports Crooked governments.
But has to be Carefull. The Church stays out of politics, Does get involved, Until gravelly Immoral facts, Like Abortion, which Is Killing (Cruelly) a not yet born Person.
Know that Ann Frank the famous Jewish girl hidden in a Catholic Home Attic was picked up, executed as a “Message” to the Dutch Bishop who had Preached Against Hitler, Nazism. That is 100 True Fact!
Radical Right (BIG MONEY) Uses Anything to carry out Their agenda of Getting Welfare for BIGGEST MONEY: Changing Welfare from the Poor to the Richesty, most Profitable Big Money.
Remember McCain was proposing to Increase Tax Reductions, and Government Subsidy to BIG OIL, Filthily Profitable?
Etc., Etc. The Part D Medicare Medical is flagrant PUBLIC Guarantee, And Taxpayer Funding of part of prescriptions. The Pharmaceutical Industry is the Most Profitable, and only the USA has NO Regulation of their Outlandish Prices Focused on the Elderly.
That is why we try to go to Canada, Mexico, ANY OTHER COUNTRY to buy Resonaby (Half of USA Prices, or Less) proced Prescriptions. Mosdt advanced countries have “Free” Prescriptions in thir National Health Systems even Mexico is begining
I beg to differ Tony…the jerk that has been pushing this educational reform in Texas is a fundamentalist and very the fact that he is pushing his theocratic agenda. He was recently defeated for re-election to the school board but is trying to ram as much through as he can before his term is up.
As to the Latin America thing, read any Liberation Theology. Archbishop Romero died because he stopped backing the regime there and started siding with the peasants. The govt killed him for it. The RCC was well known for preaching the “suffering servant” of Mark to the masses to keep them in line for the govt. Much of the issue regarding Lib. theology has centered around the turn of the Latin church toward this as a means to organize the peasants.
“calling up the national media to stop its insane laziness and start to focus on real news. ”
Ya…. like that is going to happen~!
well a girl can dream can’t she? but you are right, when it can be phoned in, why bother?