Sunday, February 18, 2007

I Say, Off With Their Heads!

Sounds a bit rough, but I am speaking in reference to the upcoming Presidents Day. Which is basically just another day that banks and government don't have to server their public despite their high rates.

I say we do away with President's Day. After all, these guys are full of gaffes. There are whole books devoted to President Bush's gaffes. Never mind his blunders, crimes, etc. And all President's had them. Clinton couldn't keep Slick Willy in the right place. Warren Harding had the same grasp of English that George W Bush has. E.E. Cummings said of Harding after his death, "
The only man, woman or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors is dead." President Ford on October 6, 1976 , during a televised Presidential debate in the 1976 Presidential election with rival Jimmy Carter, President Ford became confused and stated that Poland and eastern Europe were not under the domination of the Soviet Union. When challenged over his comments, he repeated "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration." First president Bush made this comment in reference to Auschwitz: "Boy, they were big on crematoriums, weren't they?" And the venerable Abe Lincoln stated a particular date in his 1863 Gettysburg address, stated that 87 years prior, which was 1775. The declaration of Independence wouldn't come into being until the following July, and that did nothing to establish a new nation as did the Constitution which was ratified by the required ninth state in 1788.

Never mind that a distant family member of mine decided to deliver his inaugural address sans coat, hat or gloves, and died on pneumonia four months later.

I would rather see a day where all Americans celebrate the Constitution as the law of the land. The American Bar Association states that May 1 is Law Day, but that is news to me. My calendar doesn't claim that day.

You see, the Constitution doesn't gaffe. It doesn't have the foibles that our Presidents are prone to. And I think it's time that we as Americans reclaim our understanding of the great effort and thought that went into the Constitution. That we as Americans relearn the words that have given us the greatest freedoms man has known.

Because I think that there is a need to reclaim this understanding. Consider that former Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee made a statement on the Senate floor that it was the Constitutional responsibility of the Senate to provide up-or-down votes on Presidential judicial nominees. It took Senator Byrd to stand up and correct him on that same Senate floor. But how did a man sworn to protect and uphold this document not know it? An educated man at that. How shameful. And recently US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez stated that the Constitution does not grant the right of habeus corpus. A rather interesting statement, when you consider that Section 9, Article 2 states that the writ of habeus corpus shall not be suspended. So how can a document oppose something unless it already exists? And here lies the big and perhaps fundamental difference between the liberal and conservative understanding of the Constitution, and perhaps government. The liberals understand that there are inalienable rights given to all
equally born mankind. Conservatives don't. The "Bible" of conservatism, written by Russel Kirk, is called The Conservative Mind. It follows conservatism back to Edmund Burke, a British Lord who was a loyalist to King George who opposed American independence. In The Conservative Mind it is clearly stated quite early in the book that conservatives do not believe that men are not equal, except morally. That is quite a different position than that of the founders, and explains where Gonzalez comes from. The basic conservative view then is that unless government grants you the right, you don't have it. Which of course defies the declaration of Independence, which states that governments are instituted to secure these inalienable rights. Hence the Constitution says, "...and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." The italicized "for" indicates that the Constitution was established to protect the citizens from the government. it basically restricts the government, in the belief that we the people have inalienable rights as equals that no one can deprive us of.

It is this dismal understanding of the Constitution, even among elected and appointed officials, that makes me think that we as Americans need to focus on what really matters. Instead of President's day, I say we have a Constitution Day. Maybe this could be united with July 4, as they are related. Maybe not. I remember I had to pass a Constitution test to graduate the 8th grade. Which is an idea I endorse, but think the age is too young. To me it's like requiring kids to say the altered Pledge of Allegiance, when they have no clue what a republic is, or what a solemn vow is, or what was and has been sacrificed to make our country what it is. Those kids want to play on the play ground and eat paste.

The Constitution didn't pass by a landslide in the original ratification. It was a close decision. States weren't too interested in giving up their sovereignty. I say it's time to make this great law of our land something that every American knows and embraces. That those immigrating to our land must know before they become citizens. That students be required to know it before they graduate high school and college.

That we celebrate something as a country, and which deserves our debate and energy. Otherwise the loss will be ours.

And the banks and government will take off President's day while we work.


Blogger Bruce Larson*Moore said...

How about Victims*Day, to honor all those who pay the ultimate, unwilling price for our present world situation.

A day in which to remember and lend a helping hand to the victims of conflict, abuse and war.

And Peace*Makers day, to honor those who have stood with peace, given their lives to spread the knowledge that Strength, Unity and Peaceful Change is possible and necessary.

A day to promote and support, The HE(ART) of Peace, rather than the Art of War.

A day which all of America, including her presidents supposedly stand for.

Google: Bruce Larson Moore

1/3/07 14:27  

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