Isn't it interesting that it doesn't even mention them let alone legalize slavery?
Many decry the Constitution as flawed because it allowed or authorized slavery. Yet, there is no mention of it. Where are the words “slave” or “slavery” even mentioned in the Constitution of the United States of America?
Some claim that the Constitution considers blacks (or African Americans) to be just three-fifths of a person. However, the words “black” and “African” appear nowhere in the Constitution.
Isn't it interesting that it doesn't even mention them let alone legalize slavery?
I lay awake last night wrestling with regrets. Yesterday, February 23, 2015, I met at a luncheon with a small band of octogenarians, at the Marriott Hotel in Newport Beach, California, to share their memories of Iwo Jima and the battle they fought there seventy years ago. Surrounded by their family and friends and Marines of every generation and every war including Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, as well as the Cold War, they shared their stories. The event was hosted by Operation Home of the Brave and Iwo Jima Monument West which, led by Ms Laura Dietz, is raising funds to bring a monument memorializing their victory on that distant Pacific isle to Camp Pendleton where these brave men learned the art of war. Sadly, as the event ended, my courage failed me and I wondered all night if I could have waded ashore with them and earned a place on their memorial.
The monument was cast in stone by sculptor Felix de Weldon who was serving in the Navy at the time the Marines raised their beloved flag above Mount Suribachi on the Island of Iwo Jima. He was inspired by the iconic photo snapped by Associated Press photographer Joseph Rosenthal. While this photo, reproduced in every newspaper and on countless posters inspired Americans to rally to buy bonds in record numbers, Weldon was inspired to fashion ten statues commemorating the event. A 10,000 pound version of it which had stood for years at Arlington National Cemetery, has become available.
I woke up this morning at my usual time, 6:30 am, sans headache. I showered, shaved, and brushed my teeth. I exercised, dressed, ate breakfast, and fired up the computer and checked. Nothing significant had changed. Today is Thursday, just as Thursday always follows Wednesday. So what if it's New Year's Day, 2015? An excuse to party, to drink, to dance. Is that all there is to the beginning of a New Year?
How sad. The only song I find sadder is John Lennon's Imagine. To be bereft of principle. To think that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are America's most admired people of 2014 according to a Gallup Poll. Police are being assassinated as thugs are being celebrated. The Republicans who were elected to put a stop to the growth of big government are already coddling up to a President who promises to promote even more federal intrusion into our lives. That Americans feel more politically and ideologically divided today than ever before, even during the Civil War. How can I read that and then wish you a happy new year?
Is it true?
Is that all there is?
No. There's more...
There are a few quaint traditions that have faded from the culture but not from my memory. People wore poppies on Veterans Day. Everyone wore a carnation on Mothers Day, red if she was alive and white if not. Americans stood for the playing of the National Anthem, hands held over hearts. Sure, some still observe these traditions. Others do not. Many do not even know that they were common practices once upon a time.
I saw the disparity of memory and knowledge as I sat outside a neighborhood grocery store this weekend passing out Buddy Poppies for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and taking donations from those who cared. A few paused to talk. One offered to fetch me a cup of coffee for it was chilly this November 11th in Southern California. I could not help but wonder how many or how few understood the significance of the little red artificial flowers that I offered.
Many people in the United States are unhappy with its national anthem. Some complain that it's too war-like and mean. Others find it hard to sing. However, I believe that it has a redeeming value in the question that it asks: “Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?” I ask myself the same thing almost every morning now almost two hundred years after Francis Scott Key penned that question.
Key was a captive of the British while their fleet bombarded Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor all day and night, until 3 am on the morning of September 14th. He wondered why the shelling had stopped. Had the fort fallen? That would seem the most likely outcome. The British had besieged the defenders since September 12th during which time not a shot had reached the British ships from the fort's guns. Thus, Key stood (popular myth has him standing atop the bulwarks, clinging to the ship's standing rigging to steady himself) as he strained to see which flag flew above the walls: The American stars and stripes or the British Union Jack. Alas, not a breath of air stirred and the flag hung limply from its standard, its nationality indistinguishable.
Why didn't Key ask one of his captors? Most likely, they couldn't have answered him. They were awaiting word from Robert Ross, the British general who led the troops that had disembarked at Sparrows Point, at the confluence of the Patapsco River and the Chesapeake Bay, and were supposed to capture Baltimore. Ross's force had already captured and burned Washington. Surely they could brush aside the Maryland militia and recreate their victory in Baltimore. When Ross's courier arrived, they were stunned to learn that he was dead and that his forces had been defeated by Sam Smith.
A controversial television commercial put me in mind of an experience I once had at a engine parts shop in Newport Beach, California. A French yachtsman on an around-the-world cruise happened to be there shopping for a part when I arrived. This commercial reminded me of his complaints about Americans and all of the holidays they took off from work. Really? Aren't Americans the ones who work themselves to death pursuing the American Dream?
It's taken me a long time to get comfortable with the idea of term limits. How about you? For me, they seemed to be an admission that we couldn't be trusted with the vote, that we would simply cast our ballot mindlessly for the same person year after year. Or maybe there's some other reason for imposing term limits that has nothing to do with us. Maybe it's time to rethink it...
In his new film, America, Dinesh D'Souza examines our love of country. He quotes Edmund Burke who famously said, “To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.” D'Souza then purports to apply this test to America.
D'Souza has his point of view. Now, let me tell you another story...
I am the grandson of immigrants. Both of my parents were born in America of parents who emigrated here in hopes of building better lives. My mother's came from France and England. My father's came from an obscure village in the Carpathian Mountains, in a region then ruled by the Arch Duke Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today known as Slovakia. They were Slovaks. All became coal miners in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
I know little of my mother's heritage. She was disowned by her family for marrying beneath her station even though they too were coal miners. Thus, I can only report on my father's history.
My father's family was dirt poor. They had no closets, cabinets, or cupboards in the home where he grew up. There was nothing to store in them. Indeed, the house itself was merely rented to them by the mine owner in exchange for their labor. A nail on the wall was sufficient to hang their clothes when they went to bed.
Father was afforded just a few years of elementary education before he was required to go to work in the mines as a breaker boy toiling over a rapidly moving belt where he helped separate the slag from the coal. In time, he became a mule skinner, leading the animals that pulled coal carts from the bowels of the earth. It seems a life with little hope of escape. Although it seems a bleak existence, the miners struggled to survive.
For example, my father told me how wives would pack extra bread in the miners' lunch pails. The miners would break off a small piece and place it nearby. If the bread didn't disappear, it was time to escape the tunnel because it was assumed that the rats, the ones that regularly stole the bread, had abandoned the hole and the miners should follow. Interestingly, to this day, I am compelled to follow every story of trapped miners. I feel a bond though I escaped their fate.
Ultimately, my father escaped the mines by becoming a prize fighter, a barroom bouncer, a cab driver, and then a mechanic. He moved south to Baltimore and found employment as a maintenance machinist at the Lever Brothers plant. In time, he obtained his high school diploma, a college degree, and then graduated from law school. With his education completed, his fortunes rose until he could build a custom home on Chestnut Ridge north of Baltimore, overlooking the Worthington Valley where moguls bred some of the world's finest racing thoroughbreds. The distance between this poor son of coal miners and the wealthy grew very small indeed.
That is the America I grew up in. That is the America I love. How could I not? Unfortunately, the progressives launched a war on poverty and poverty won. As recent surveys prove, upward mobility such as experienced by my father, is becoming an ever distant dream. The great irony is that the disparity between rich and poor that progressives decry, is becoming greater ever since progressivism hamstrung the system that afforded my father and other Americans upward mobility.
The more we read Edmund Burke's thoughts, the better we see our present plight...
We used to get upset with government when pot holes weren't repaired. Guest blogger Bill Husztek sees little things like that as trivialized by government's failures these days.
On March 30, 1981 President Reagan was shot down by John Hinkley, a lust driven nutcase. At that time newspapers noted that the Secret Service and Metropolitan police couldn’t communicate with one another because their radio systems were not compatible. The Congress decided to act on it and sent out federal monies to correct the problem. Since I lived in Hawaii, it made no difference to my safety.
Let’s assume for a moment that I believed that Government, bigger and better has all the answers to my fears and the troubles of our society. Let us further assume that on September 11, 2001, this Nation had an epiphany. We realized that we were in a crisis which only Government could deliver us from.
That date then became our new starting point for a safer society. I could relax. The Government would handle keeping me safe and secure.
From the unique perspective of one of 100 million citizens who, has been through this all before, I would point out to my Liberal, or Progressive friends a simple fact of reality. Make no mistake in this. My personal safety is paramount. Whatever Government wants to do is okay by me as long as I am safe to live my life left alone!
If something is broken and, Government as my Liberal friends assure me is the way to fix all problems, then I say to them. Fix it, leave me alone to live my life in peace. But keep me safe! Then I will abandon my Conservative skepticism and follow you anywhere.
In 2011 on 9-11, the Pentagon was brought to its knees by a jetliner come missile in the hands of three terrorists. Sitting here at this desk that morning I may well have heard the plane as it flew overhead toward the Capital. It is certain, I felt the shock wave of that impact as it rattled the windows of this office.
From that 9-11 attack there came a hew and cry about the Metropolitan Washington land of all the Populist Press asking one question.
After the event. Why didn’t the emergency services respond better?
In 2001, it was discovered that local metropolitan Washington emergency services were ham-strung by the fact that each jurisdiction had communication systems which couldn’t communicate with their neighboring jurisdictions or the Federal Agencies or the Military. The quick and simple solution was for them to come together and establish a common communications system over which they could all work and share for my safety.
My Congress and President flung billions of dollars into bringing My Safety up to a level where I could relax and go about my business without further fear.
As they worked to keep me safe, they found they had to take my shoes off to fly on jetliners. I had to dump my toiletries in airports. They built walls and moats and hired multitudes of people all to keep me safe in my daily life. I could no longer enter any public building except my church without facing a personal search, and a metal detector.
If I set my briefcase or a lunch bag on the public sidewalk in Washington for a minute I could instantly become the center of a blitz of police action. If I were to take pictures of public buildings I became a person of suspicion if the guards didn’t like my look.
With the billions of dollars to spend on improving my safety, local jurisdictions made going to the National Mall for a 4th of July celebration an impossibility for me. No longer could I take my cooler with its assorted foods and drinks, my umbrella and blanket, to any out door venue in the area. My wife’s purse had to become a gallon or less sized transparent baggie. I was now safe from those nefarious evil-doers.
Then last week, while I was fortunately out of town, an un-armed mad woman with her 1-year old child strapped into the back seat drove wildly up and down Washington streets, crashing barriers down at the White House and then the Capital building. Nothing was impervious to her little Japanese built sedan as she wreaked mayhem on the Nation’s Capital. She was finally shot in her back and killed, as she drove away from police by a fusillade of pistol fire! Theoretically those bullets passed close to her co-conspirator 1-year old daughter in the back seat.
How asked the local Populist Press, could this have occurred? After all she was chased down Pennsylvania Avenue from White House to the Capital all the while pursued by a whole herd of Secret Service Government Motors black Suburbans. All with their lights and guns blazing. She evaded them. How? Asked the Press. How I wondered?
Why didn’t n the Secret Service phone ahead to the Metropolitan Police, the Park Police, the Capital Police and all the other Police who thrive in the city of Washington. Why didn’t they get on their state of the art communications, i.e. radios, and warn the others that they were in pursuit of an unarmed mad terroristic mother of a one year old?
The police chief of the D.C. cops coldly informed the Press that her officers were so used to seeing the stately massive SUV Suburban GMC vehicles traveling with their lights flashing at outrageous speeds that they believed they were engaged in business as usual.
When the perky little Populist Press reporter asked, “Why didn’t the Secret Service use their radios to communicate the danger to the Metropolitan police forces? She was answered imperiously.
Our communications systems aren’t compatible. We can’t talk to each other. We will need more money to fix it.
So, to my Liberal friends I pose this question. Do you think that they ever will?
Did Harry Reid have to drive himself to the office? Did Al Qaeda receive their rockets? Were assault rifles sent to the Mexican drug cartels? Would the laws of physics prevail? Would water boil? These are a few of the things that troubled my sleep last night. Well, the government shut down and amazingly the sun still rose in the sky this morning. Looking towards the sky, I saw birds on the wing and all seemed right with the world.
Imagine my surprise when I turned on the television and it worked. Every part of the system from the broadcast studies to my receiver at home via the cable network worked. Even more amazingly, there were no reports of mass hysteria and riots. Then, after firing up my computer, I discovered that the Internet was working and I was able to post this message of joy.
Of course, as soon as I checked my email, there was a message from the White House. “The government was shut down.” I was beginning to doubt it since the world hadn't yet spun off its axis. Furthermore, the White House staff proclaimed, “It's the fault of the Republicans.” Now I knew. All was right in the world.
My wife was concerned about our Social Security checks. Those comprise a significant portion of our monthly income. Joyfully she announced that benefits would be paid despite the government shutdown. Also, the Post Office would still be in operation to deliver them. How? Aren't they operating at a loss? How can they continue without the government borrowing more money to keep their doors open and the mail trucks rolling?
So, what does it mean that the government is shut down? I guess we'll have to wait and see. It better be something really bad or people may discover that they're just as happy without it.