Saturday, June 15, 2013

One-for-Four Equals Legitimacy

In my opinion, most sane, mature Americans would not abolish the Constitution. Most certainly they would not fool around with the Bill of Rights—those first 10 precious guarantees of individual freedom.
There are of course attempts to attack one or the other sections of the Bill—most notably the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right of citizens to arm themselves, and the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly…
Minutes after some madman uses a firearm illegally in this country, there is normally a well-organized chorus assembled to sing out the evils of the tool he misused, while excusing his temperament, demeanor, or lack of basic humanity.
And should we ban (or even condemn) a religious movement because of its dogmatically-held beliefs—beliefs that may run counter to pop culture or the trending political bias?
My answer would be to judge the person for his action, regardless of the tool being used or the doctrine espoused. Indeed, Article Three of the Constitution establishes our judiciary and levies the authority to apply the law and to issue punishment.
Seems simple: The courts decide what (if any) crime has been committed and what price must be paid by whom. The government attorney states their case and the accused’s attorney states theirs. Beneath it all is a battle for rights—rights of the accused, rights of the public to be safe in their homes, rights of the individual to hold onto and profess solemnly-held spiritual beliefs.
Thank God (and our Founding Fathers) for that Bill of Rights. And here’s more good news…the expense of hiring a judge, jury, attorneys—that can be paid for from our taxes. Even the accused can be represented by government-funded counsel.
And if all else fails, there’s always the ACLU. How they work can be illustrated by two recent examples.
The ACLU defended religious freedom when they joined with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in 2011 to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.
So the Administration (our Administration) excludes mosques from being monitored for terrorist support and encouragement. But they keep a close eye on those fanatical Christians, even though, according to Investor’s Business Daily, independent surveys of American mosques reveal about 80 percent preach violent jihad or pass out violent literature to worshippers. Perhaps the ACLU believes that literature is not quite as violent as the Sermon on the Mount.
The ACLU also is considering defending the right to assemble (I guess) by instituting litigation against the City of Wildwood, New Jersey, which recently passed an ordinance that would ban what they see as indecent dress on their boardwalk—clothing that is worn so loose that undergarments or even bare bottoms are displayed.
It’s comforting to know that the ACLU uses its donations to defend our rights, especially the right to preach violence against innocent law-abiding citizens, and the right to walk about in public with your gochies (or more) exposed.
Does it make anyone else wonder what the hell this outfit thinks is important? I’ve always found the ACLU downright silly (undies exposure) or dangerous (terrorist cultivation) in what they choose to defend. To my way of thinking, they assault the Constitution more so than shield it.
Consequently, I’ve always considered their acronym rather oxymoronic: American Civil Liberties Union—I find them neither American, nor civil, nor guardians of our liberties.
They are, however, a union, so I assume by their way of thinking, a one-out-of-four ratio for truthfulness is enough to keep them legit, and to keep those donations flowing in.

Monday, June 3, 2013

When Did We Become British?

I have great admiration for our British cousins, so I was sincerely flattered when asked to speak at Oxford University. I of course accepted, and look forward with great anticipation to this fall, when I’ll visit England for the first time.

The seminar will concentrate on higher education and how it is evolving, but I’ll also be interested in doing a little snooping while I’m over there.

I’m going to see if I can find some clues as to why we here in America seem to be reverting to being a part of Britain once again.

Perhaps I’m overreacting, but notice, if you will, that at Wal-Mart stores (at least the ones around south Jersey) you are directed to enter and exit to your left, sort of like driving on the left side of the road as they do in England. But we keep to the right in this country and pass on the left. Don’t we?

I’m starting to notice this tendency in many other places, particularly at Wawa and my local post office, where people increasingly enter and exit using the left side of the double-door. It’s even happening in my church, where the right hand door is often left closed—that is, until I reach the exit. That’s when I go through the right side, which, in this country, is the right side.

I’ve even had (many) people hold the left hand door open for me as I enter a Wawa. Imagine how disappointed they are when I ignore their misguided courtesy and pull the right-hand door open for myself. (Well, somebody’s got to take a stand for American Independence!)

This disturbing, bogus/foreign trend has now reached the entertainment and news media—the two wannabe national style-setters. Movie and television scripts are now peppered with the British police phrases, “He went missing,” or “The child has gone missing.”

As a long-time devotee of British TV, I’m familiar with this syntax. As a long-time American police officer, I can tell you indisputably that that phraseology was never used in Philadelphia.

When I mentioned this to someone whom I heard use the phrase, “The child has gone missing,” she asked me incredulously, “Well, what did you say?”

I told her we said, “The child is missing.” And of course, the more sensible way of asking, “When did the child go missing?” would simply be, “When was the child last seen?”

The respect I have for our British forebears is second to none; I credit our American work ethic and civility to our English roots. In many ways, it’s sad to see both evaporating as our culture becomes more forcibly diversified.

We fought a successful war about 230 years ago to throw off the English yoke of foreign government, while keeping the basics of English common law and English manners. And of course, American English is not vastly different from the Queen’s English. I believe these things have been significant to our prominence in this world.

But our sense of propriety and decorum seems to be eroding. It’s going…going…and may soon be gone. And I’ll hate to see it go. When it does, it will not have gone missing, it will simply be missing from our social structure.

Now, I’d like to wrap this up, because I’m going to visit the loo.