Monday, July 30
Wednesday, July 25
Friday, July 20
Wednesday, July 18
Which brings me to the point of this dissertation. Elections at all levels of government have become much like Florida hurricanes; we just get our heads above water when another one blows through. The off-year elections of 2006 had barely been tabulated when potential candidates for President began coming out of the woodwork like termites in search of their next two by four. It is now "standing room only" only on both sides of the aisle, with potentially more undeclared candidates waiting in the wings to join the fray. Except for the radical fringe elements of both parties and the over-analytical radio talk hosts, very few Americans are at this juncture giving even minimal credence to the barrage of accusational rhetoric and hollow promises that are spilling like so much bilge out of the would-be candidates. In this interim between candidate declarations of intent and the first presidential primaries, Americans more productively engage themselves in the more pressing business of meeting the demands of our day-to-day lives. The war in Iraq goes on, gas prices continue to climb, home owner's insurance becomes increasingly unaffordable, as does the cost of health insurance, and the Democrat controlled Congress seeks additional avenues to increase their tax revenues believing they know better how to spend our hard earned money they do we the people who earn it. Is it any wonder that the American people as a whole have little interest in politics when politics provides nothing of value for the American people?
Wednesday, July 4
My thoughts this day turn to how "We the people" govern ourselves closer to home. I read recently a capsulized report published by the folks at the Pew Research Center (http://www.pewresearch.org/) wherein were listed the various new state laws that went into effect on July 1st. Some of these newly adopted ordinances certainly illustrated a genuine concern to address a particular shortcoming when enacted would benefit the greater good. Others were a bit more dubious. I suppose, like an inside joke, one had to be there to fully appreciate its intended nuance.
Take for example the Iowa law that now makes it a crime to dismember a body to conceal a crime. On face one would think that the mere act of murder would suffice to put the perpetrator behind bars. But apparently there were sufficiently large loopholes in the existing statues that warranted this added provision. I'm waiting for the TV show "Law & Order" to make sense of this one. "Ripped from the headlines," as it were.
And in the Volunteer State of Tennessee, no matter how old you may be, if you wish to purchase beer you had best be prepared to show some identification. The law, however, does not apply to wine or liquor. What? Don't you just hate it when an octogenarian tries to purchase a six pack of beer using a fake ID?
In Indiana the state legislator found it necessary to pass a law that makes it illegal for a widow or widower suspected in the demise of their spouse to be the person who has the final say in making the funeral arrangements for "their dear departed one." I would suppose this is a good law if one stops to consider how overly ripe the deceased would become if the convicted spouse was sentenced to serve a life term in prison and out of pure spite declared, "The ole gal is your problem now!" New Mexico became the 12th state to outlaw cockfighting. That leaves 38 states yet to see the wisdom of such a prohibition. I am expecting the chicken lobby any day now to renew its crusade to rectify this egregious lack of concern for our feathered friends.
In Virgina it is now a misdemeanor crime to smoke within 20 feet of gasoline pump, and if the sucker catches fire, the violators could face a year in prison. I'd think that would be the least of their worries. Mississippi felons will have stiffer penalties meted out if in the commission of their crimes they employ the use of "guns or weapons such as butcher knives or metallic knuckles." Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't one think that merely robbing someone would be sufficient to warrant them spending a considerable amount of their otherwise free time behind bars? I guess if one robs someone in Mississippi and only employs a rolled up newspaper or a sausage roll to persuade one's victim to give up their worldly possessions, the courts will take a more gentile approach in allocating punishment. And South Carolina is taking a dim view towards gang members who can't seem to bring themselves to break the habit of vandalism, telling them. "Okay guys, if you keep this up we're going to fine you $3,000. And if that doesn't get your attention, we may just send you to jail for up to three years. Now stop it!" Yeah, that's going to get these gang members to tow the straight and narrow. They're such bulwarks of the community anyway.
Part of the national Junior Chamber of Commerce creed is the sentence, "That government should be of laws rather than of men." Our country was founded and continues to operate under that premise. We broke away from a dictatorial government 231 years ago today, declaring that we would be ruled not by a monarch or any form of despotism, but would govern ourselves, allowing free men and women to define the limits and the expanse of their own freedom. And by the continuing grace and protection of God, we continue to do so today. In this effort, "We the people" may go overboard with some of our laws, but in the final analogy, we are all in the same boat together.
Have a wonderful 4th of July. And if I don't get back to you before next week...Merry Christmas!