Tag Archives: kenn amdahl

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.

 

 

Can I name my new van Tonto?

Naming vehicles is silly. On the other hand, I’ve named blank sheets of paper for a long time, and occasionally make money at it. I named one ream of blank paper “Jumper.” Others pages became Belinda, Marcus, Malcom, Billy Billy Billy, The Magician who was learning electronics, Miss Pounder the exercise instructor who inadvertently taught math, Bruce the Duck who saved the day, the evil Nightsmoke, Pon, Braindead the Algebra Student, and many more. Naming things is kind of what I do. Continue reading →

Cicada Songs, Ebola Dreams

I’ve read several popular books about diseases recently: Rabid, The Hot ZoneSmallpoxDisease, Spillover, and  Deadly Outbreaks. More books on a single topic than usual, but not with any project in mind. It just happened, the way it happens to folks who start to read books by Michael Connelly or Rex Stout. Several focussed on diseases that leap from animals to humans (“zoonotic” diseases). No curious person could resist daydreaming about some of the unsolved mysteries one encounters when reading about diseases like Ebola and Marburg. You play detective in your brain and then you almost certainly come up with your own crackpot theory, just like I did. Continue reading →

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 →

Casting Jumper and the Bones

I’ve about given up on Angelina Jolie playing any role in Jumper and the Bones: the Movie, mostly because there isn’t a role for someone of her age and glamour. But also because no one is threatening to make a movie of it yet. That’s disappointing to many of you, of course, but I haven’t given up on AJ’s family.  For example, Brad could play Jim, the one-legged buddy who works at the thrift store and has a pretty heroic and unexpected role that I won’t give away in case you haven’t read the book. Or in the unlikely case that Brad hasn’t. Angelina’s father, Jon Voight, could play Officer Mike if he’d stop saying mean things about Obama. We would not want that vibe on the set. Continue reading →