Constitution Day

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September 17, 2021- It is fairly pleasant in Philadelphia, in the middle of September, as summer winds down and the gradual presence of autumn begins to be felt. Temperatures inside the hall, where the beginnings of a Federal state took root, also began to cool and on this date, in 1787, the United States Constitution was signed by 39 men, representing 13 states and collectively called “The Founding Fathers”. Later that year, the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania became the nucleus of what would become 50 states, and were followed by the eleven other entities, whose representatives had signed the document, and which ratified the Constitution between 1788-1790.

This constitution has been a model for both state constitutions and for those of nations which have come into being since 1790. It is a testament to the people of this country that, both attempts to subvert the Constitution, in 1861 and in January of this year, have, thus far, come to naught. That these actions were on behalf of those whose philosophies of governance and of social concourse were restrictive and reactionary perhaps made the matter more straightforward. That the second attempt mirrored the first shows, however, that elitism is a clever and persistent mind set, with the ability to appeal to people-of all ethnicities, creeds, generations and of both genders, and the capacity to oversimplify complex matters, in the course of making that appeal.

We are gradually moving away from elitism, of both the right and of the left, and as slow and painful a process as that is, our Constitution, with its amendment clause, is helping it along. Happy Constitution Day to all who honour the document and the ideas which it safeguards!

Staying Independent

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July 4, 2019, Saugus-

I will continue (go back to) my photo blogs, in the next few posts.  Jumping ahead to the Fourth of July just seems best, though.

I had a conversation with someone very close to me, during the family gathering at a niece’s home, this afternoon.  One thing rings very loud and clear, from this discourse and from other conversations I’ve had, these past few months:  Many people are feeling put upon by aggressive individuals and groups, who take a point of view opposite that which they happen to hold.  Many individuals and groups ARE resorting to the use of force, when confronted with those taking such opposite viewpoints.

I was raised to hear other people out.  My parents, social conservatives, made a great effort to understand even the most seemingly ludicrous viewpoints.  I have maintained an open mind, as a result, throughout fifty-six years of adolescence and adulthood.  Civil Rights have long been a matter of supreme importance in my life, and that cuts both ways.  The Right cannot bully people of colour, of Faiths other than that of the majority in a community, or those living a lifestyle different from that which is conventional. The Left, likewise, cannot deprive people of more traditional bearing, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Violent behaviour, on either side, is the stuff of fascism (even when the bully calls self “Antifa”)

I am, as it happens, an obstinate soul, when people without authority try to force me to do their bidding.  Additionally, I question those who DO exercise authority, as to the ethical basis for their actions.  That is what I get from both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.    That is what I get from my Faith.

So, to my family-my elders, siblings and cousins:  You all matter, greatly.  Your point of view has at least some validity and is worth hearing, and pondering.  Our family is large, so there are all points covered, on the political spectrum. I will not plug my ears to any of it, so long as you do not ascribe to a coda of violence or or a policy of defamation against your opposite numbers.

To my children, nieces/nephews, and “grands”- You are, one and all, a great hope; you are people of immense promise and, especially if you are feeling vulnerable,  are worthy of all the support and love that we, your elders, can muster.  We cannot spare you from life’s ups and downs, but we can point towards the light. This is the very least we can do, in building and safeguarding your own sense of well-being and independence.

Most of the problems we face, when it comes to intolerance and reactive violence, seem to stem from the violent ones acting out of insecurity.  In truth, though, i have to ask, “How does a person expressing an alternative point of view, in and of itself, constitute a threat to my well-being?”  It may be annoying, but it is not a threat-unless accompanied by force-which then makes it an entirely different matter.

Staying independent means, to me, that one takes the time to carefully examine issues and evaluating a variety of points of view.  It also means extending that right to independence to every one else.  These are my thoughts as the Sun goes down on another July 4.

Second Class

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August 10, 2016, Prescott- I find the ongoing raising of the issue of gun ownership to be one of the simultaneously most ludicrous, and most dangerous, activities of the political season.  The majority of firearms owners, which included my immediate family until 2011, and still includes my son, and several friends, are sober, careful people, who have had proper training in the care, use, maintenance and safeguarding of arms and ammunition.

I had my first class in firearms safety, in 1962, as an 11-year-old Boy Scout.  That class was offered by a Certified Trainer, at a National Rifle Association facility.  I  subsequently had training in a variety of weapons, as part of my overall training, whilst a soldier in the U. S. Army.  My son, in turn, had full certified training in the use of several firearms, prior to buying and properly owning a weapon of his own.

Although I  no longer own a firearm, I believe people are within their rights to do so, for the purposes of hunting, self-defense and target shooting, if that is their fancy. Where I draw the line is at the notion that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution suggests it is permissible to rise in insurrection against a freely-elected President.

It does not.  The framers of our Constitution warned against tyranny- either of the elect, or by the electorate.  There are many non-legislated rules and regulations, emanating from governments at all levels, with which I disagree.  These have been promulgated by liberal and conservative elected officials alike.  There are some rules of which I approve, while others loathe them.  None of us, though, is so privileged as to kill or maim an elected official, or any law enforcement officer going about the day-to-day keeping of order.  Likewise, no government official or law enforcement officer can be so obstreperous as to randomly, or systematically, engage in acts of oppression against ordinary citizens.  There can be no second class citizenry.

There is a process, some parts of which are cumbersome, often tedious, for effecting change.  Protest is a legitimate part of that change agency.  Rebellion is not.  No person, therefore, can legitimately swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, if his/her intention is to cherry-pick its provisions.  Our next  President must be…..presidential.  The people he/she defeats, must remain loyal to our government- and to our country.