Category Archives: Constitution

The Good, the Bad, the Ferguson

America’s pretty messed up right now.

We’ve got vitriolic divisions on racial lines, political lines, ideological lines, religious/non-religious lines… We’re divided on so many fronts, I still find myself unable to pledge allegiance to the flag. Why should I? It’s not true. One nation? Sure, even if a lot of people want to secede. Under God? Well, that’s definitely questionable. Indivisible? The only way we as a country could be indivisible right now is if we’ve already divided ourselves so much that we can no longer be divided. And we seem to be nearly there. With liberty and justice for all? That statement seems almost as laughable as “indivisible,” especially in the light of the events of Ferguson, Mo.

If you have no idea what events I’m talking about, go ye forth and seek ye a friggin’ newspaper and a house that isn’t under 6 miles of rock. The problems in Ferguson are so layered and numerous and ridiculous that one would THINK, as a nation, we could finally see eye-to-eye on something with only a few freak outliers in the data. I mean, we’ve got excessive, militarized police blowing responses out of proportion. We’ve got an unarmed, non-violent (at LEAST in that moment) person WHOSE SKIN COLOR OR CRIMINAL RECORD SHOULDN’T MATTER dead without a good explanation. If he was a criminal, he was executed without due process, a Constitutional right. We’ve got the freedom of assembly and the freedom of the press getting hampered by cops, not to mention the violations of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments. And you’d better believe that 2nd amendment wouldn’t get upheld if a Ferguson protestor legally had a gun. We’ve got proof of this sort of activity happening all over the country for YEARS without appropriate punishments. We’ve got scientific data showing a decrease in police brutality and harassment claims anywhere cameras are required to be in cop cars or on their person. We KNOW, without a doubt, that there needs to be change. Race shouldn’t even be an issue.

But, no. Nothing’s ever that simple. See, too much has happened. There have been riots and looting. Those are bad, so Michael Brown deserved it. He may or may not have stolen cigars. Therefore, he deserved it. Oh, and he’s black. Which makes a difference. Because when you’re black, if you’re not an honors student planning to attend Harvard with a spotless record, a 4.0+ GPA and have never smoked, drank, had sex, owned a gun or hung out with another person of color who is less “perfect” than you, then you’re going to be demonized. This guy says all of this much more poignantly than I can, so I suggest you read it.

I was born extremely lucky. I reached into the lotto bowls of race and gender and got white male. As a man, I will tend to get preferential treatment over women when it comes to being hired and paid. I have a far lesser fear of sexual assault and rape. As a white person, I don’t have to worry about being treated as a stereotype. I don’t worry about being frisked. If I were to commit a crime, I’m likely to spend far less time in jail than a non-white person. And if I get randomly killed by police, at least I won’t get my name dragged through the dirt postmortem.

But do you know what the worst part of this all is? Nothing will really change. People will pretend it’s an isolated incident, like Eric Garner choked to death in New York, like Rodney King in California, like Trayvon Martin in Florida, like Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, like Michael Bell in Wisconsin. It was a fluke. It wasn’t a symbol of larger problems. They weren’t perfect people, so they deserved it. They goaded the cops. For goodness sake, we’ve got a crowdfunding campaign in support of Officer Darren Wilson, the man who shot Brown, and you can see how many people are apparently GLAD the boy got shot. Because blacks kill blacks and no one complains? Because he was a thug anyway? Excuse after excuse after excuse.

Nothing will change because we allow it to stay the same. Because we choose to see people as different and lesser than the rest of us.

America is going to be one of the most disastrously failed experiments if we let this keep happening, but there’s too much pride, ego and ignorance blinding people to that fact. Hopefully, I’m wrong. Hopefully, Brown’s death will ignite a spark of change for the better. Because we desperately need it before we burn.

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Modern Libertarianism Confuses Me

Quick disclaimer: I’m not 100 percent certain that there is a classic libertarianism I should be differentiating from… but on the off chance that there is and that the libertarianism I want to talk about, the type as I’ve seen it played out in today’s political landscape, is distinct and notably different on the issues I want to mention, I want to cut people off before someone that missed my point comes in and tries to take my head off for equating non-equatable political ideals. I’ve kinda been burnt on that before.

So, libertarianism has been, I think, seeing a bit of a hey day in recent years, particularly through Ron Paul’s past two presidential campaigns and the creation of the Tea Party movement. While the Tea Party movement has strayed, via its leaders/candidates, from the original message, a message that is almost like a distilled Paul campaign description, the feelings of the grassroots it started with are the same types of feelings people (often young people) had with Paul and with 2012’s Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

Basically, libertarianism as it has come about today can be put in terms of a Venn diagram. On one circle, we have Democrats. Democrats are currently the party of social freedoms. Keep the government out of bedrooms, eliminate censorship, et cetera. It may not be doing so great with that, but it’s the pro-choice, pro-legalization, pro-gay marriage party, particularly compared to the Republicans. Their economics, however, are more restrictive and government involved. Tax and spend fiscal policies, regulations on banks and businesses, et cetera. The other circle hosts the Republicans. They’re the party that, on the social end of things, wants government all over everything. Nowadays, while they talk about small government, they simultaneously talk about constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage, increased surveillance, more military/wars, ban abortions… the legislate morality party. Their economics, however, are (in theory) more hands off than the Democrats. Roll back regulations, lower taxes, cut spending.

So, where the two circles meet is with Libertarians. They are the party of the laissez-faire, both in economics and social policy. Hands off the free market. Let people decide what they want to do, get government out of making choices for people. It’s the Democrats’ social policies and the Republicans’ economic policies.

…again, in theory.

See, the thing is, while Libertarianism is the confluence of similar ideals from the main two political parties in America, neither of those parties is really looking to pull away federal powers. President Barack Obama did, surprisingly, talk about looking into more clearly defining and limiting the powers of the Executive Office, but that’s not really a sentiment you hear too often from either party. The Republicans, more often than not, want to make certain issues states’ rights issues, but those tend to just be issues they don’t think they can win federally.

What confuses me about modern libertarianism is that, the more I hear from them, the more it sounds like they want EVERY issue to be a states’ rights issue. Insofar as, they would rather the federal government to bow in power to the state governments.

When America was being created as a nation, our first attempt at creating a government was an utter failure. A rope of sand, as someone called it. For about eight years, the law of the land was dictated through a document known as the Articles of Confederation. Basically, it didn’t recognize the United States as a singly governed entity, but rather a political alliance between the 13 separate states. If one of them was attacked, they’d help each other out. They were to assist one another, but still be mostly left to their own devices. And it failed pretty spectacularly, as the national Congress was almost completely ineffectual and each state felt no real reason to actually help out the other states, making commerce and land contracts and, well, everything begin to fall apart. When Shay’s Rebellion started in 1786, combined with everything else that was happening, Alexander Hamilton and others essentially staged a coup and reworked the entire government, writing the Constitution. The Constitution created a far stronger federal government while the Bill of Rights were added to help protect individuals and the states’ sovereignties.

Now, I understand the desire to get the federal government out of being involved with many things. As a liberal, I think marijuana should be legalized (huge economic benefit there), same-sex marriage should be legal, pretty much all the social policies should be left unfettered, by and large. I still think a completely free capitalist market runs contrary to democracy and would implode our ability to govern and be governed, but others disagree. What I don’t understand is the apparent desire of many modern Libertarians to seemingly peel back the federal government almost in its entirety and bring us back to the Articles of Confederation.

It’s thoroughly possible I’m completely misunderstanding or misrepresenting this particular political belief. But I have many friends that are Libertarians. And when they talk about their politics, they often talk about letting states have power as opposed to the federal government in nearly every issue. And that, it seems to me, is a bit contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.

The preamble to the United States Constitution talks about creating a more perfect union. Considering that was written up after the quite imperfect coalition under the Articles, it makes me think that maybe the framers wanted the federal government there to help encourage states and citizens to help other people out. Yeah, sometimes it means Texas has to help bail out California, that your tax dollars get spent in some state you couldn’t care less about… but the theory is, we’re all in this together. We are a united nation, a group of united states, and we leave no one behind.

Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s how it seems to me.

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Let’s Talk A Little About Gun Control

Okay. So, just shy of a full week after the shootings in Aurora, Colo., I’ve decided to actually say my piece about gun control, an issue that got some amount of discussion afterwards. And still is. Which I think is a good thing. Discussion is necessary.

What isn’t necessary is vitriol and attacks.

While I tried to avoid the subject of gun control, I ended up talking about it on two friends’ statuses on Facebook. In one of those conversations, I ended up extending the number of comments from around five to around 35.

So much for avoiding the subject.

As a bleeding heart, pinko commie liberal, you may have guessed that I’m a fan of gun control. What this does NOT mean is that I am a fan of banning guns everywhere. As the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Clearly, citizens are allowed to have guns… (It is in this way that I disagree with “Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander in his own rant on gun violence and control) but here’s my reading of the amendment, as informed by historical facts.

Note that the amendment mentions a militia. At the time of this being written, America was less than a decade out of a war for independence from Britain. Britain had tried to take the guns of the American colonists away. Had such a thing occurred, the revolution would have been nigh impossible. The ability of people to quickly form a ragtag resistance, people like the Minutemen, was important during the fights.

Further, guns in those days were often ways of life. There was fear of attack, from the British or the Native Americans. There was the need to hunt for food. There were people that hunted for trade. They knew how to use guns, by and large, and needed them for daily function in many cases.

And, to be more frank, guns back then were not nearly as efficient as guns now. Have you ever shot a black powder rifle? I have. They take some time to load. Quite some time. When they fire, it can be pretty devastating, but getting more than a shot or two off in a minute is asking a lot. So I’m not entirely certain the Founding Fathers predicted the invention of automatic and semi-automatic weaponry.

But all that aside, I am not trying to start a conversation on the banishment of guns. Just the control of them. Somehow, the idea that they were one and the same kept cropping up in conversation. They aren’t.

Would I love it if guns simply didn’t exist in the world? Yes. It’s awful how we’ve streamlined the ability to maim and kill people. It’d be great if it weren’t so easy.

Which brings me to the next point… in these discussions, the argument of, “We can kill with pretty much anything” kept cropping up. This, to me, is quite similar to the argument, “Controlling guns won’t stop these things from happening,” so I’m going to tackle them both here.

Yes. Humans suck. A lot. We’re good at killing and, when we set our minds to it, we can find new and inventive ways to do any project. Cruelty and murder are definitely included in that. But the idea that it will happen anyway so why bother is ridiculous. Allow me to make an analogy.

People, inevitably, die. It will happen. One way or another, your mortality will get to you. So, since it’s going to happen anyway, why should we try to prevent it? Why bother with medicine or healthy living?

Another analogy, dealing with crime: People are going to drive at reckless speeds. Since it’s going to happen whether there are speed limits or not, should we just not have speed limits? I posit that, without speed limits, a WHOLE lot more people would be driving at reckless speeds. And that’s why the limits are there. To discourage some from being dangerous, and to make those who are being dangerous be considered lawbreakers.

Which is another thing that happened a few times… there was this attempt at a tautologous argument that criminals are the ones that commit crimes. It was weird and senseless. To that, all I have to say is, yes. They do. And there is probably a point in their lives when they aren’t criminals. So shouldn’t we be looking at people before they commit their first gun-related crime?

Again. I’m not talking gun elimination. Let’s just toss ideas around to maybe try and help prevent things like Aurora, Colo., or Tuscaloosa, Ala., or Tuscon, Ariz., from happening. Yes, the violence will happen. Yes, people that want to commit crimes will try to find a way. But instead of lying down and letting it happen, why not throw up roadblocks? Why not get suspicious when a guy buys a crapton of explosives and guns? Why not put a limit on the types of weaponry you’re allowed to have? (For example, in Texas, people are apparently legally allowed to purchase rocket launchers. In what way is that a good idea?) Why not put a limit on the number of guns you can have? Or the amount of ammunition at any given time?

Some will say these suggestions violate the Second Amendment. I point them to the First Amendment and remind them that there are laws against slander and libel despite the freedom of speech. There are common sense things, things to prevent harm, that must be addressed in our freedoms.

Some will say their weapons are a defense against tyranny. To them, I say that’s ridiculous. Unless you’re secretly hoping for a second Civil War, those guns are not going to be used to defend against tyranny. In fact, such an argument could cause more violence, as people seek to defend a perceived tyranny that doesn’t necessarily exist.

But none of what I’m saying is an absolute. It’s an argument. It’s another side to the conversation. A conversation that, frankly, needs to happen. Because if there is ANYTHING that we can do to potentially prevent such a horrible event from ever occurring again, then it’s worth it.

So let’s talk a little about gun control.

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A Tax Or Not A Tax? That Isn’t The Question

Okay. So, after about… what, two weeks now? I’m finally weighing in on this health care thing. In case you haven’t heard about it, there was this thing that happened… The Supreme Court declared Constitutional the health care plan that President Barack Obama basically created and supported heavily in his first year or so in office. This has caused, of course, a lot of ire, particularly from conservatives who swore the law was anything but Constitutional. And since conservative darling and George W. Bush Supreme Court appointee Chief Justice John Roberts was the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion for the ruling, he’s been taking a lot of flack, too.

Especially difficult is the problem Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney faces. The health care plan, dubbed “Obamacare” colloquially, has in it an individual mandate, essentially requiring anyone who can afford health care and refuses to take it to pay a fee. It was this mandate that Obama actually scoffed at during his 2008 campaign, but found himself forced to include in the bill just to have it passed. And, on the note of Romney, it was this mandate, the mandate that all the Republicans hated and decried and desperately wanted struck down, that he invented.

So, there’s some trouble for Romney there. Beating up on something he basically came up with. Oh, well. Won’t be a first for him to do.

Anyway, the Supreme Court saved the health care’s Constitutionality by declaring the mandate legal under Congressional power of collecting taxes. Of course, some have interpreted this as meaning the mandate is a tax as opposed to a penalty or fine, like Obama defined it and defended.

So, the question that everyone’s been arguing about and getting upset over is: Is it a tax, or is it not?

Frankly? I don’t think that matters at all.

Personally, you can probably guess my viewpoint, but I don’t think the mandate is a tax. Taxes are levied upon everyone equally, either at a state or federal level, or if certain purchases are made. This fine is only applied to people that fit a specific criteria. The Supreme Court defended its Constitutionality simply by saying Congress has the Constitutional ability to collect taxes. Congress can pass laws collecting money, essentially.

But back to how it doesn’t really matter in my opinion.

Let’s pretend it is a tax. Let’s say that’s true. So what?

Taxes are what pay for our police forces, our roads, our public radio, our public television, our school system, our federal budget for our defenses, and on and on. Taxes pay for a whole mess of stuff that we use. And if you individually don’t use it, you almost certainly have a friend or family member that does use it. Businesses use them. America runs on the things our taxes pay for.

This health care law? This will help people. It will help protect them.

What this law will specifically do has been hidden under the fog of rhetoric and bull crap. Here’s a little write-up that does a pretty good job of explaining what the law will do, exactly, and it includes citations. And here’s another website that lets you take a quiz on how well you know the law. I’ll give you a hint: There are no “end-of-life” panels. Lovingly known as “death panels.” Those aren’t real things.

Anyway, this health care plan has many segments that will help many thousands of Americans. Some you might know. Maybe even you. So, sure. Maybe it is a tax. You can think that if you want, whether it’s true or not. But in the end, taxes can do good. Any money taken for this law will be for good use. Personally, I’m willing to pay extra money in order to have myself and my family able to have protection from illnesses.

The question is, why should we be so upset about this?

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Can Mitt Romney Take A Stand?

A while back, in the early days of the GOP race to the candidacy, I wrote on an odd trend for GOP candidates to toss the word “treason” about to cover pretty much anything they disagreed with.

I’m glad to say that the word has once again reared it’s head… but not quite in the same fashion.

This time, we have a Mitt Romney supporter saying that Barack Obama should be tried for treason.

Well, that isn’t necessarily so special… there’s a lot of stupid people out there that think stupid things. What makes this incident special is Romney’s lack of response to the comment.

Ignoring that treason is not a crime except when war is levied against the United States or aid is given to our enemies, Romney had a chance to correct the lady for suggesting Obama has acted treasonous. He had a chance to say, “Let’s not make the discourse about treason (which, again, isn’t even a possibility), let’s make it about policy.” John McCain did it in 2008 when supporters called Obama “scary” and “an Arab,” things that were not only not true but also were not necessary and shouldn’t have been even considered in discussion.

So why didn’t Romney?

A couple possibilities. First: He didn’t hear the woman. That I find doubtful. She didn’t exactly say it quietly. The more likely, more frightening second possibility is that Romney can’t say that. Romney can’t disagree with his constituency to their face in any matter, because he’ll lose their votes. So when his supporters start saying things like “treason” and “Kenyan” and “terrorist” and whatnot, Romney has to pretend to not hear them. His base doesn’t like him too terribly much. To disagree would be to potentially lose votes in what looks to be a close race.

And there’s the rub in politics. Politics is all about popularity. What’s the right thing to say or do right now to remain popular? The question SHOULD be, what’s the right thing to say or do right now? If you, a respected politician, have a chance to correct misinformation, you should take it. Even if it costs you votes, you should correct people when they’re wrong.

There’s a reason I’d be a terrible politician. It’s not that I can’t lie, it’s that I think it’d be better to eliminate ignorance as much as possible.

But will Romney ever be able to show he has the ability to stand up to someone saying or doing something wrong? Can he prove to America that he actually has some gall? The GOP constantly belittles Obama’s diplomacy talks while conveniently ignoring the actions he’s taken in foreign policy affairs… Will Romney be able to prove he’d be any different? Because, right now, he seems to be kowtowing to anyone that will give him support and unable to take a stand.

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Santorum Is The Most Liberal Candidate In 2012

I desperately attempted to avoid political jibberjabber during the past two days I was at home. I did not even come close to succeeding, but I did manage to (barely) avoid picking fights, simply saying stuff that was, in general, either hilarious or agreeable even to my parents, whose politics don’t exactly mesh with mine in the same way the North Pole isn’t exactly next door neighbors with Antarctica.

But now that I’m on my blog, which can be seen by everyone including my parents, clearly this is a safe environment to start stirring up trouble. So, trouble, here I stir.

As many of you likely know, Rick Santorum is currently the GOP presidential candidate that could ruin everything for Mitt Romney. According to the math I’ve done, if Romney doesn’t win several “winner take all” states and at least 50% of the proportional delegates, he’s in a load of trouble. And with Newt Gingrich and Santorum sapping away the proportional delegates and planning to stick with the race either until August or until someone gets the necessary delegates to be the nominee, Romney might be in trouble on the proportional front. And since Santorum has been winning states, there’s a chance Romney may have to fight all the way through the Republican convention, which will give whoever the nominee actually is about a month to go toe-to-toe with incumbent Barack Obama.

Now, I suppose I can see the appeal of Santorum. He actually has some beliefs, unlike Romney. He’s severely socially conservative, unlike Ron Paul. And he actually manages to live out some of those moral standards, unlike the ever-philandering king of smug false piety Gingrich.

Santorum claims to be the conservative alternative to Romney. The alservative, if you will. But, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a bit of a hypocrisy in the conservative political stances these GOP candidates take, and Santorum is perhaps the worst offender.

You see, the rallying cry of the GOP, especially the Tea Party movement that took conservative fury and congealed it into a rather odd duck of a political movement, has generally been one of small government. Cut down the bureaucracy. Limit federal power. Let the states decide moral issues. End regulation. Et cetera. And there have been Santorum supporters that like his desire to create a small government.

Except that Santorum has no such desires.

Santorum is one of the biggest proponents for a massive government the GOP has seen in a while, if not ever. Definitely the biggest of the four remaining candidates. Besides his desire to target businesses he finds immoral such as the pornography industry and his apparent desire to require states to make English their official primary language, Santorum has been long known for his severe moral stances he wants to turn into federal law, including a Constitutional amendment to permanently ban homosexual marriages in the United States.

Now, let’s ignore how laws and amendments like that have tended to cause the exact opposite effect once they climbed their way up to the Supreme Court (see: Roe v. Wade, Loving v. Virginia) and instead focus on exactly how massively big government this is.

Santorum plans to take away a state’s rights to decide whether they want to allow gay marriage. Which is pretty anti-state’s rights. He wants to end businesses (that frankly make America a crap ton of money) based on moral standards. Which is regulation of a really weird kind.

Sure, Santorum is all about the “moral, religious” stances that the political right likes to espouse… but he’s going about it in such a hugely unabashed, non-conservative fashion. It’s, quite frankly, ridiculous. The things he proposes to do are so massively in disregard for the structure of power in our government, so massively in disregard for the rights of the people that he is in fact the most liberal candidate on the ballot. Including Obama. His suggestions are so liberal and expansive of federal, and specifically presidential, power that they don’t even really exist on the map of American politics. Not since Franklin Roosevelt has anyone suggested such a massive, heavy-handed application of power, and all FDR did with his version was, by and large, create federal infrastructures. The closest thing Obama has come to any power sweeps on the level of Santorum is the recent contraception mandate, which he later revised.

Do you really see Santorum revising his views on social issues?

So, Santorum supporters. I have to ask you this: Can you explain why you agree with this guy? Seriously. He appears to be standing for what you believe in, but at the same time, he’s spitting in its face. If all you care about is social issues, then I guess he’s your guy. But if you want the federal government to limit its power and back off of our personal lives, then how the heck can you vote for him?

Though, really, I guess I can’t blame you too much. None of the candidates are really any good. But if you like Santorum and you like limited government, take Santorum’s advice: Vote for Ron Paul. Or, take mine: Stay at home and realize that you’re not going to get what you want out of any of these guys.

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Rick Santorum’s Religious Freedom Is Better Than Yours

Did you know, out of the 43 men that have been President of the United States, only one has ever been Catholic?

You’d think such a thing wouldn’t be such a terribly big deal. First black president, sure. We had that whole slavery thing in our past. But Catholic? I mean, that’s still Christian, right? That’s not even as far out of the American religious comfort zone as atheist or Muslim. And blacks and women have had to fight for rights. Catholics, being Christians, were always accepted, yeah?

Except not even a little bit at all.

Even before our country was ever founded, Catholicism wigged Americans out. One of the several acts passed by the British Parliament dubbed the Intolerable Acts by America’s Founding Fathers was the Quebec Act. A major reason colonists were upset about the act was that it gave Quebec land that some colonists had already started squatting on in true American style. But the fact that it guaranteed free practice of the Catholic faith made the Colonists all the more upset. Anti-Catholic sentiments were prevalent all throughout our nation’s history, as most misunderstood things have been. As well as things with a rather regrettable past history of violence and corruption. …except for our government and nation, of course. The Irish were largely hated on during the large immigrations of the 1800s in part due to their faith.

So when John F. Kennedy broke past all those stereotypes and misunderstandings to become our first and only Catholic President, it was actually a pretty big deal.

During the election process, he had to face scrutiny and distrust about his religion in the same fashion the 2008 Mitt Romney had to. (Romney hasn’t faced much scrutiny about it this go round because, let’s face it. He said he was Mormon in 2008. By now, he’s probably Episcopalian or something.) Therefore, on Sept. 12, 1960, during the campaign for presidency, JFK made an impassioned speech dedicating himself to his vision for America, not the Pope’s. A speech in which he stated he believed in an America “where the separation of church and state is absolute.” It was a speech that helped break the religious glass ceiling that had been holding Catholics back as serious political contenders, one that has allowed modern day Catholics like Vice President Joe Biden, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (having converted from Southern Baptist two years ago) and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum to achieve the status they hold today.

Of course, Santorum hated it to the point of wanting to throw up.

Now, one might be able to understand why Santorum hated it. It was, after all, a speech made by the severely liberal and unforgivably popular JFK, related to the also severely liberal and unforgivably popular Ted Kennedy. What a hateful house for conservatives. Of course your first instinct would be to hate anything they stood for.

Specifically, Santorum first took offense to the line I quoted earlier. He disagrees with the idea that the separation of church and state should be absolute. In his mind, the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion means that religion should be able to exercise itself politically. Or so his talking (and political views) would suggest. By his reading of JFK’s speech, JFK was attempting to say only people of “non-faith” should have any say in what happens politically.

…which, if that were true, would be stupid, since JFK admitted that he was Catholic and, in the speech, said, “But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith–nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.”

So, if JFK was saying only those of “non-faith” should have a say in politics, wouldn’t he be disavowing his faith to win the election?

Basically, either Santorum is illiterate, didn’t actually read JFK’s speech, or has no idea what he’s talking about.

Considering Santorum later regretted saying the speech made him want to throw up, I’ve a feeling it was the latter.

Santorum’s problem, and the problem of many others, is a complete misunderstanding of what the separation of church and state actually is. He sees it like a Venn diagram, where people that have beliefs and faiths are in one circle and lawmakers and governing are in another circle. And those two circles don’t intersect at all.

But that’s not at all what the separation of church and state is or should be. What it is is the protection given to the church from the government forcing what the people of the faith should believe and do within their religion, and the protection given to the government from the church forcing what the citizens of the nation should believe and do within their daily lives.

Religion should not demand of governance, nor governance demand of faith. That is the separation of church and state. Considering we’ve had many a president advocate such a thing and yet no atheists for president, I should think that would be obvious.

But maybe such an understanding requires the comic overtones of Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show.” Who knows? It makes me laugh whilst being poignant, so I’m okay with it.

It’d be great if Santorum and others would take to heart JFK’s belief in an America “where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

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What Makes The Government So Inherently Evil?

In watching and reading the events of this political season, I’ve noticed a funny little trend going on that seems perhaps strangely related to the disdain to progressivism I’ve mentioned before

See, the past year has been focused almost entirely on the GOP, since they’re the ones trying to break into the incumbency of President Barack Obama. So, of course, we hear a whole lot of rhetoric and statements from them. And one of the common threads I keep noticing is just how terrible the government is.

It’s weird. They talk like the government as a system is designed to ruin lives. Like citizens should fear the government, especially in its current form.

…by, you know, voting to let one of them be in control of that really terrible evil thing.

And I don’t get the rhetoric. Really, it makes no sense. Just like the Tea Party rhetoric makes no sense often times to me. Because it always seems to be this outcry against the government, the federal machine as a whole… except for all the wonderful things they’d like to keep around. Y’know, like roads, cops, Medicare… That stuff.

The GOP candidates, on the other hand, decry the federal government and how terrible it is… but they’re all running to, well, run it. And with exception of Mitt Romney, they’ve all been a part of it. Granted, I don’t recall Ron Paul ever saying the government is evil, but his stance is definitely anti-federalist.

Now, if every one of them were talking about shrinking the size and scope and power of the federal government to eliminate its direct effect on the lives of its citizens, I’d understand. But Paul is about the only one that thinks that. The other three are all about having the government make drastic changes, they just want it to be drastic sweeping changes in their political favor.

Mitt Romney wants to repeal “Obamacare,” which could just be seen as a reversal of a sweeping change, but really it’s the only thing I’ve found he’s said and stuck to mostly. Rick Santorum wants to reinstitute “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and federally, nationally ban gay marriage through a constitutional amendment, which flies in the face of state’s rights, something most conservatives are all about. And Newt Gingrich wants to build a moon base. I suppose that’s not really a great example, but it is a bit silly. Which Gingrich is.

If you listen to each of them, they demonize federal government. And if you listen closer, they want to use it to make drastic changes. The examples were perhaps more plentiful when Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry were around to talk about things like immigration, but perhaps you see my point.

When did the federal government become something despised? Something people refuse to see as something potentially helpful? Granted, Congress certainly doesn’t help the image much, but the federal government is there for a reason. So many people talk about the Constitution and how awesome it is… well, that Constitution gave us the government we have. Now, I may be risking cries of treason being thrown at me, but our government isn’t perfect. Gasp. Shocking, I know. There are several issues with our government, often dealing with money being too easily bandied about and into the pockets of Congresspeople. But we can use the system to help. We can make things better with it.

But only if people stop talking about how evil it is. Until people start talking about how they will use the government to do things and not how they hate the government and we should protest everything they do always, nothing good will happen.

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Why Is Compromise Such A Bad Thing?

Y’know, I’ve been considering something lately. The art of the compromise. It’s a tricky thing, really. You have to be willing to give up some of your wants and some of your principles in order to attempt to see at least SOME of them happen. You have to rank where to draw the line and where to fall away. Consider these two statements a couple of my friends have lent me for this post:

“Compromise is the solution where nobody’s happy.”

“A negotiation will be considered complete if all parties walk away feeling screwed.”

It’s that type of thinking that permeates the idea of a compromise. You never get EVERYTHING you want (unless you’re really good), so you’re not going to be immensely happy, but at least you got something done.

Think about it in politics. In particular, I’ve been thinking about the Founding Fathers. You know, those guys in American politics that everyone tries to emulate. Or, well, claims to.

See, the Founding Fathers had to compromise among each other because they couldn’t agree on what they all wanted. If you remember history, there were Federalists and Anti-Federalists. One group wanted a strong central government, the other group disagreed.

And through the art of compromise, we had the Constitution, which formed a strong government (ALSO created through compromise, which is why we have a House of Representatives and a Senate), and the Bill of Rights, a series of amendments created to protect the individual citizens (and the states as an afterthought) from the power of the central government. Compromise was made. And, through that compromise, we have what most Americans consider to be a pretty great government, when it decides to work correctly.

Which brings me to the modern day.

We have, for the past two years in particular, been plagued with one of the worst Congresses of all time. It has been dubbed the “do-nothingest” Congress by pretty much everyone, and has dropped to a 4% approval rating. It is BEYOND ridiculous.

And why has this happened? No one wants to compromise anymore.

If President Barack Obama ever compromises, he’s seen as weak and unwilling to stick to his principles, like with the current contraception/Catholic church discussion. And the GOP just adamantly refuses to compromise on anything, partly for the same reason of “weakness.” Many in the GOP have even signed pledges to never EVER raise ANY taxes, no matter what.

They’re going into the fight refusing to compromise and expecting the other party, which has different philosophies, ideals and needs, to simply acquiesce.

It’s stupid. It’s pointless. It gets nothing done. In order for things to happen, sometimes compromise MUST occur.

It’s gotten so ridiculous now, the adamant refusal to compromise with “the enemy,” that they’re even going back on their own stances and beliefs any time the other side attempts to give them ground.

We need to tell our politicians that this sort of thing won’t work for us. Mostly because, frankly, it’s just not working.

The Founding Fathers were okay with compromise. Why can’t we be?

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Big Government Or Small? Make Up Your Minds

As an update to yesterday’s post, in case you haven’t heard… 14 National Championships. Roll Tide.

…moving right along…

If politics still somehow magically hold your interest after months of gruelingly pointless repetition and circus acts, then you’ll know that Iowa has had its caucuses and that New Hampshire is holding its primary today. You may also know that the GOP had two debates this weekend, 12 hours apart. The hooplah and repetition are coming now faster than ever before. Or, if you prefer, pious bologna.

The intense pattern I’ve noticed amongst pretty much every candidate, however, is hypocrisy. Granted, that’s how politics tends to roll. But I’m referring to a specific hypocrisy. A hypocrisy pertaining to the size of government and its role in the lives of American citizenry.

See, the rallying cry of the conservative base seems to be a desire to tear down the “big government,” the one that spends so much money, forces so many terrible regulations on the businesses of America and requests the citizenry to pay more taxes.

And yet, they seem to be all for expanding executive power beyond the limitations set Constitutionally (with exception of Ron Paul, of course). Just look at some of the candidates’ views on executive issues. It’s kind of ghastly sometimes.

But even that hypocrisy isn’t what I want to target. Most presidents since forever ago have stepped a tad beyond their Constitutional bounds. For some, those tads look more like the tads Newt Gingrich seems fond of. (…sorry, that was kinda low. Maybe I should be a politician?)

No, the hypocrisy I’ve been noting is the gleeful desire to regulate lives, but to protect businesses against things like gender equality and anti-discrimination clauses.

For example: On the issue of marriage, many feel it is a federal issue. That the federal government should define what is essentially a personal choice made by two persons. Why is that?

I couldn’t find any real reasons given other than “sacrament” and “anti-Christian bigotry.” Religious argument for a secular government. Not good.

Well, let’s look outside the realm of religious response. Let’s see what one of the (surprising) contenders feels about the freedom of speech on the internet via the new media corporation backed bill SOPA.

Huh. Rick Santorum (and likely many others in the GOP race) feels SOPA is a-okay because limits to freedom of speech exist. Ignoring that his comparison of freedom of speech being limited to preserve the well-being of others to freedom of speech being limited to protect business acquisitions is hugely faulty, why doesn’t this line of thought follow through with, say, freedom of religion?

And let’s not even bother to get into Mitt Romney’s pratfall dealing with contraception.

A disturbing, rather consistent pattern amongst the GOP front-runners is one of big government is bad, unless it’s instituting and enforcing morality and tradition. But only on individuals.

Even Ron Paul, that apparently staunch Constitutionalist, finds himself bouncing between states’ rights and federal authority on social issues.

This is the curse of neo-conservatism. The election of George W. Bush saw the end of true conservatism and the creation of some strange thing that can’t seem to sum itself up. Demanding as ever on social, personal issues and the desire to control them, but economically claiming a desire for a “free market” (which is SO not what they’ve been asking for).

Which is it going to be, GOP? Are you big government or small government? If you’re the latter… then let the voters vote for their rights and stay out of our way.

…later, I’ll probably look into the hilarity of the cries against all the “anti-Christian bigotry” that’s around.

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