Category Archives: Politics

The Third Camp

In the past, people tended to fall  into one of two political camps regarding the Constitution.

Camp One thinks the Constitution mostly protects our right to own guns without restriction, protects Christianity (and other religions to a lesser degree) and (if read correctly) prohibits abortion and other sins. The rest is boring boilerplate but basically says that, aside from the common defense, the government shouldn’t interfere with our lives, especially by taxing us or regulating our businesses.

Camp Two thinks the Constitution mostly protects rights like free speech and assembly (including guns, but maybe they could be “well regulated”) and says the government should not play favorites with any religion, including Christianity. It instructs the government to act as a counterweight to the rich and powerful when they’re tempted to discriminate against the poor and weak. The government should try to solve the problems of citizens. Beyond that, except for defense, the government shouldn’t interfere with our lives, especially by restricting personal choices regarding our own bodies. Sinning is a personal choice.

A third camp seems to be emerging. This group thinks words (including those in the Constitution) and facts are fluid; their meaning changes, and they don’t really matter. This camp and the way it’s evolving scares some of us. Think about it: rights are just words on parchment; convictions and beliefs shouted with righteous fervor are trivial ephemera; science is a story woven to comfort children. With this mindset, there’s nothing wrong with repeating crap spawned by the Internet that old fashioned guys like me call “provably wrong.” There’s nothing wrong with calling people “liberal pukes” (as some of my Facebook “friends” call me) because those are only words. Insults are colorful blossoms in the garden of free speech. “Lies” just represent differences of opinion. What’s the big deal?

I think words matter. America is a country based on ideals, but those ideals are powerless until crystallized into words. We write down our laws. History is experience condensed and preserved as language. Christianity grew from the words Jesus spoke, the words His disciples wrote down. Without the Bible, there is no Christianity. Without the Constitution, there is no America. Without history, the next generation becomes cavemen. When we trivialize words and their link to truth, we risk everything our country and its people stand for. Conservatives revered Justice Scalia for his (perhaps extreme) agreement with this idea.

People supported Trump for various reasons, many of them noble and sincere. But did they make their decision based on his words? Words like “drain the swamp” and “make America great again?” If so, they should prepare to be disappointed.

Trump does not treasure language the way our founding fathers did, or Scalia did, or Jesus did. Words don’t really matter to him; he says what comes into his head even if it’s not consistent with the words he said five minutes earlier. Some of Trump’s fans might have second thoughts once they realize that, to him, the “right to bear arms” is just four or five words strung together randomly. Not important. Certainly not one of his core beliefs. “Right to life” is only a phrase and subject to interpretation. “Well regulated” could mean “regulated strictly by me.”

If a man doesn’t care whether or not his words match the truth, even a little bit, we’ll never know what he actually believes. There is no way to predict what he might do. That doesn’t seem to bother people in that third camp.

And that’s scary.

 

 

The Candidates and Their Issues

hanging-chad-guy-570x430I thought it would be fun to compare the presidential candidates’ opinions on the important issues of the day. It would be easy, I foolishly thought, because each one has an “issues” page on their website. (direct links at the end of this post). I’d compare their positions on things like “education” and “national defense” etc. Then I’d whip up a quick, concise comparison that would clarify my own thoughts and make me sound smart when I argue with relatives. Continue reading →

Political Plagiarism

Rand Paul is upset that people caught him using lines from Wikipedia and elsewhere as if they were his own. He feels like a victim and wishes he could just duel someone to settle it all. Or spend a couple days in detention after school, but certainly not his whole career. His words, I hasten to admit. Personally, I think most of what he did was harmless and we should cut him some slack. Continue reading →

Conservative Bus Driver

The conservative movement has a tough challenge. It says “Buses are the problem. Buses are evil. All buses should be driven off a cliff.” Then it turns around and says, “OK, folks, please elect me to be your bus driver.”

Same Sex Marriage Debate

I had an interesting conversation on Facebook about single sex marriage. Because not everyone is my “friend,” I’ve edited it down and will paste it below. There were other comments, including some good ones, but I feel weird stealing other people’s writing (unless you need it to understand my response)  so this is mostly my own: Continue reading →

The Right to Bear Snakes

From T. Jefferson to Madison, Hamilton et al

December 26, 1787

Hey guys,

I’m still having trouble with the amendment the way you have it written. Granted, the “right to own rattlesnakes” seems harmless enough, and yes, throwing rattlesnakes at the British troops was key to overthrowing the King. History will never forget that. And yes, I can imagine a future government becoming so oppressive that we’d need to do it again. I’m the last guy who’d want to face a tyrannical government without his box of rattlesnakes. Plus there’s our tradition. We colonists have a long history of hunting with rattlesnakes as the British use falcons. Many of us love to collect snakes and find great satisfaction in cleaning them and launching them at targets. No one wants to limit our right to enjoy these simple country pleasures. Continue reading →

Writing Characters and Candidates

To the casual observer, I was staring out the window. But, for writers, there’s a fine line between “loafing” and “research.” I was actually working very hard pondering how to improve some characters I created decades ago. That led me to think about how characters in a book or play are different from humans we meet in life, or from ourselves for that matter. Which led me briefly into politics, of course. Obviously, writing a blog about such a daydream is much easier than rewriting a novel, so here you go. Continue reading →