Monday, September 22, 2014

The Washington-Lincoln Tolerant Society

   Here's a group I dream of belonging to. Not readily thinking of a better name, and I being late for bed, I'll call it the Washington-Lincoln Tolerant Society. This society would seek the truth in politics. Yes, members surely would have definite opinions on many issues, but they would be seeking the truth on all issues. They would seek to learn as much as to persuade.
   The society would be open to those willing to discuss politics without hating, ridiculing, or demeaning those with different opinions. It would seek out those with varying opinions for membership, rather than those all of the same opinion.
   It would have a discussion-debate site on Facebook, and would hold public forums and debates on issues each week.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Omnibus Spending Bill is Not a Good Government Practice

   Would we take all the bills proposed over a year's span, lump them all into one, and pass them as a single bill? Why, then do we place all our funding in single bill? Seems dysfunctional, to me. I watched a video of Sen. Mike Lee of Utah trying to persuade his fellow Congress members to change the practice, and I agree with him that it is not at all the way to run a government.
   As I listened to him, my mind flipped back to a news story I saw Thursday.  "House votes to arm Syrian rebels," it was titled, but when a got a few paragraphs in, I read how the legislation to arm Syrian rebels was part of the same bill allowing the federal government to operate normally after the budget year ends Sept. 30. Yes, it was tied to the spending approval. I later learned funding for war efforts in the Ukraine was also tossed into the bill. How's that for an all-or-none approach: You can approve the spending and the wars, or you can deny the spending and the wars. One doesn't come without the other. Now, if you are against the war efforts, you might be stuck voting for them, anyway, for how do you vote against funding the government?
   Slapping any rider into a bill is a bad practice. Each issue should be considered on its own merits. But, placing all funding in a single bill, and slipping in war measures, to boot, is taking this practice a bit too far.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Must Children Give Up Their Most Formative Relationships?

  The child needs both a dad and a mom, rather than two dads or two moms. So, Mary Summerhays, organizer of the "Stand for Marriage" rally held Thursday, was right when she told the crowd,  "It strains the credibility of the courts to suggest that children must give up their most formative relationships when they get in the way of adult relationships."
   Almost this is a winning argument Utah's lawyers could hammer home if the same-sex marriage case is accepted to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. How can you sacrifice the child's right to needed relationships in favor of the adults' right to have a relationship? As is said, one person's rights end where another person's nose begins. The child might have a small nose, but it's still a nose that should be counted.
   Unfortunately, there is a hitch in this argument, isn't there? Utah's lawyers are going to have to show the child does indeed benefit from having both a mom and a dad. Saying it's so doesn't make it so.
   But, suppose Utah's lawyers were succesful in persuading the Supreme Court judges that the child's rights should take precedence over the adults' rights. Would the court then say, Okay, those of same-sex affections can get married, but they cannot adopt children? That would be kind of a split decision on the matter.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Does the Spirit of the Sixth Amendment Suggest More Openness?

   It does seem to me the spirit of the Sixth Amendment suggests more openness in our criminal investigations and judicial system. Indeed, to me, the Sixth Amendment suggest we should be given more details in the Darrien Hunt case, which is a case in which officers shot and killed a young man carrying a toy samurai sword. And, police should be more forthcoming in the Dillon Taylor case, which was also a case where officers shot and killed someone.
   Says the Sixth Amendment, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial . . ." The spirit of that suggests openness in our legal affairs. It suggests public disclosure. Yes, it does say only that the trials shall be public, but it follows that the investigation should, likewise, be a public matter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Likening the Immigrant to the Man on the Road to Jericho

   Bless those who feel differently than I do on whether this scripture makes an argument for helping those immigrants who are needy. Many feel upholding the law means no person should be allowed into our country unless they receive permission, and I can understand that position.
   But, I like this scripture the same, for what to me are likenesses to our immigration situation.
   Luke 10:25-37.
   There was one who was injured, laying aside the road, and people walked by him, not helping. Then came a person of another nation (or nationality, anyway) who bound him up and cared for him and sheltered him. Even so, many immigrants are needy, and many diseased. Many of those coming along the road from Mexico fall among thieves, and are injured crossing the border, and arrive half dead. Too often, we look the other way, not helping them. Let us care for our own, first, we say.
   Love thy neighbor as thyself (verse 27)? No country is more of a neighbor to us than Mexico. Those arriving on the road from Mexico are not unlike those on the road from Jerusalem in the story of the good Samaritan.
   Perhaps one reply to this post would be to say the man found half dead on the road to Jericho was not coming illegally. Another wreply would be to say there is a world of difference between those who come from Mexico, as some of them are bringing drugs.
   Bless us both, for our opinions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More Details of Darrien Hunt Case Should be Revealed

   The case of the Darrien Hunt. He carried a toy samurai sword and was shot and killed by police. How much do we expect police to tell us, at this point?
   Yes, it is still under investigation, but, I believe, police should disclose more of what happened. Why would they not be able to give us the basic details of what witnesses or involved officers are saying? Are the witness statements going to change? Are the officers' statements going to change? If not, why cannot more be revealed?
   To me, it should. More should be released.

Monday, September 15, 2014

If the Gun is More Apt to do Harm, We're Better Off Without it

   Do we say we like guns or that we oppose them? Perhaps it is, the society that sees both reason to like them and oppose them is the nation that might benefit the most from them. Look at all the good that comes from the gun. Among other things, it offers protection, and law enforcement. To refuse to see the benefit of the gun is not wise. If we are not willing to acknowledge how the gun benefits us, we unmask ourselves, revealing that we are less than objective.
   But, the same is to be said of those who will not acknowledge guns have a negative side. They uncover the truth that they are less than objective.
   Now, what if a society both valued the gun for the good it could do, and feared it for what harm and damage it could cause? If that nation knew the values, it would seek to use them. And, if it knew the dangers, it would seek to limit them.
   Now, are we willing to acknowledge the dangers? I repeat what I wrote the other day: The same gun that can be used for you, can be used against you. When the gun falls into the hand that misuses it, it enters into the realm where it is harmful. If, by owning or possessing a gun, our gun is more apt to end up doing harm than good, we are wiser not to have one.