An Observation from Pelham – 2015
I said it once before: Question Everything…
Even if it is what you want to hear!! You may be the unwitting victim of Agents of Mis- and Disinformation
Politically, I would describe myself as a Conservative—note: that does not mean I automatically vote Republican. I reserve the privilege—the right—to vote for the individual whom I think is best for our government under current conditions. I am a Conservative because I believe, among other things, it is NOT the Federal government’s role to take care of each of us all of the time.
Here is what I believe:
1. The Constitution is pretty well written and the intent was clear from the beginning, i.e., any authority not specifically granted to the Federal Government in the Constitution is left to the individual states, local governments, and individual citizens to resolve. The Constitution recognizes that the United States is a community of states that have collective interests and responsibilities, but beyond these collective interests, each state also retains the authority and responsibility for its own governance as guided by citizens of that state. It also contains well defined provisions for changes and amendments that may occasionally become necessary.
Incidentally, I do not accept the argument that the Constitution is outdated. If it is, it is because we have not diligently updated it through the established amendment process. I think it in inappropriate for judges to effectively change constitutional law via legal opinion. If the Constitution cannot be amended in the proscribed manner, it is probably because a large majority of states and citizens to not see a need for it to be changed. As it is, a well argued minority opinion can potentially modify Constitutional law.
Additionally believe the provisions of the Constitution, as amended, applies equally to every citizen of the United States.
2. Members of all branches of government, at all levels—national, state, community—are (or should be) elected, appointed or hired to carry out the governmental business of the people whom they represent and serve. (Also I accept that we select members of government ideally because we trust them to make the best decisions for the electorate based on their full understanding of issues that affect that electorate.) Although I would prefer defining our elected government representatives as “citizen representatives” rather than as “professional politicians,” I realize it takes a collection of certain personality and character traits to be an effective “representative” making the election of “politicians” practical, if distasteful, so long as they first represent the their electorate in good faith.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, our legislators do not always diligently “carry out the business of the people.” Again, in my opinion, I think it was unconscionable for members of Congress to jeopardize Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding by tying its passage to President Obama’s Immigration legislation. There were two things wrong here (1) it jeopardized the DHS and threatened to lay off DHS staff or have them working unpaid and, (2) if a bill cannot stand and be passed on its own, then it probably does not deserved to pass. To attach the Immigration law to DHS funding was nothing less than extortion—or more explicitly, as we say in the vernacular, a “pissin’ contest” with clear disregard for the doing the jobs for which our representatives, on both sides of the aisle, were elected to do.
2A. Each elected representative at any level (and all citizens, too) should recognize that his or her community (county, state, etc.) is part of the greater whole, the United States of America. So any action that is taken at the local or state level should not only meet the needs of the community or state, but should also not be contrary to the good of the nation (i.e., contrary to the original Constitutional authority-including Amendments-of the Federal government!).
3. There are at least two sides to every issue. We vote for candidates to be our representatives, and they, in turn vote to pass laws and make governmental decisions. The principle of United States Government is that a majority of the voting population guides the decisions and actions of the government. I also accept the fact that a conscientious representative should be better informed on a specific issue than I might be, and I expect that individual to make an honest judgment on an issue and therefore accept that it might differ from my limited, possibly biased, opinion. If, however, that representative makes too many decisions contrary to my understanding of the issues, he or she will likely not get my vote in the next election.
But… (See Part 2 Tomorrow)
This article reprises an opinion that I wrote about in the first month of this blog. It has been expanded a bit and broken into Part 1 and Part 2.