|Lincoln and Douglas in 1858|
A House Divided Cannot Stand
The Civil War ostensibly remedied that ‘split,’ but really, did it resolve deeper ideological differences between the contending sides? Nope.
The issue today is not one single thing, as it was in 1858, but whether the views of a minority of Americans should prevail over the views of a majority as to the role of government. That boils down to how well our government's structure enables the preservation of American democracy, the enabling of the people to make decisions in the best interest of the majority of them, one of the reasons the original thirteen colonies broke away from England in the first place.
Should that structure (which includes an unbalanced electoral college, two senators for every state regardless of population, legal gerrymandering, all powers not in Constitution being left to the States, etc.) be revised in a more democratic direction or left as it is? Until this is resolved by legislation or Constitutional amendment, we remain a ‘house divided.’
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Catering to the Right-Wing - Echoing South Pacific
A Federal judge recently ruled that that Florida’s Governor DeSantis violated the Constitution, stepping on the elected Hillsborough County (Tampa) prosecutor’s First Amendment rights, by firing him for saying that he wasn’t going to chase after violators of Florida’s abortion restrictions. But the judge went on to say that he was not in a position to reinstate that fired Democratic prosecutor, enabling DeSantis to claim the decision as a victory for himself. DeSantis manages to get away with many such violations, stepping on long-standing Constitutional rights. What he does is never in the interest of the people, but always to lock in the votes of right-wing conservatives.
So it is with the Republican majorities in the House of Representatives and many State legislatures. Whatever appeals to those on the far right is what gets done. Their votes are crucial to such politicians.
No matter how damning the clear evidence that is revealed in courtrooms and in the media every day may be, it does not change the convictions of right-wing supporters of Republicans in Congress and in State Houses, like DeSantis. Why? They remain motivated by fears and hatreds fed to them by those whose aims do not include serving the best interests of the citizens of this great country.
Even FoxNews' 'mea culpa' and Alex Jones' being destroyed in Court doesn't matter to them. If those fears and hatreds make them comfortable, they will believe anything.
These lyrics, written by Oscar Hammerstein II, from the ground-breaking musical ‘South Pacific,’ say it all. And that is why control over what is ‘taught’ in schools is becoming a political issue in many parts of this country.
“You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!”
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Two More Shootings and a Daytona Tragedy
This time in California. We never learn. The number of weapons in circulation and available in this country makes these tragedies possible. Mental issues, vengeance, gang warfare … whatever … the availability of guns makes such killings possible.
And I just read of the woman who walked into her terminally ill husband’s room in a Daytona Beach hospital and shot him dead. They had earlier agreed to do this when the death of one of them became imminent, the family’s gun being more readily accessible to them than a less bloody fatal poison to carry out an agreed-upon murder and suicide pact. She was also supposed to take her own life as well but couldn’t quite bring herself to squeeze the trigger a second time. This tragedy, and it is a tragedy, goes back to these retirees having a gun in the house to use in carrying out their agreement, like a common piece of household equipment. Washers, dryers, stoves, TVs, aspirin in the medicine chest, etc., guns … all ‘normal’ to all too many Americans. That is wrong! (She was arrested after an hours-long standoff in the hospital, where other patients had been endangered by this lady pointing her pistol at anyone trying to enter her dead husband’s room.)
The solution is very simple. Strong gun control laws will reduce gun
violence! Anyone who opposes such laws
contributes to mass murders, gang shootings and makes possible events like the
sad tragedy in the Daytona hospital.
They are accessories to murders like the two in California in the news
right now. And that includes members of
Congress and State legislators.
No one wants to take away weapons from hunters, target shooters or even for personal protection at homes or businesses, and those rights must be preserved, but as a starter, the Second Amendment must be either repealed, replaced, or at least significantly modified by Supreme Court decision, and not in the evil and misguided direction of the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s 2008 misinterpretation of that Amendment.
Poor Justice Scalia, it turns out, was unaware that he was Satan’s unwitting representative on the Supreme Court of the United States back then. That decision has caused hundreds, if not thousands, of unnecessary deaths in this country. Blood is on the hands of the Justices who voted to make them possible, but especially on those of the late Justice Scalia who wrote the opinion in D.C. vs Heller that, in effect, erased the first thirteen words of the Second Amendment.
(We are the only nation in the world where there are more guns than people!)
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Great Wealth and What to Do About It – Redistribution via Taxation?
The January 23 issue of the New Yorker magazine includes an article about a wealth manager and her relationship with a particular client. Forgetting the details of the particular situation written about, the article points up the truly unbelievable wealth which has been accumulated by some families and individuals in this country, and the steps, some entirely legal, some illegal, and some ‘on the fence,’ their wealth managers take to preserve this wealth for succeeding generations.
I am not a communist, but no person should be able to acquire that much wealth in our country and pass it on to their heirs untouched. That supposedly went out with the ‘Middle Ages.’ We no longer have royalty and aristocracy in our country. Families should not get away with having many billions of dollars of assets, and palatial dwellings all over the world. Taxes are supposed to have some leveling effect on the distribution of wealth in this country. The jaw-dropping extent of such wealth may be the reason that in this, the richest nation in the world, poverty still exists and there are homeless people sleeping on the streets.
From the unbelievably great wealth described in article, I get the feeling that such homelessness and poverty might easily be eliminated if a family’s accumulation of wealth were limited to something ‘reasonable’ like a measly five hundred million dollars or so, and the excess paid in taxes. (Many corporate CEOs make close to that each year in their annual compensation, including bonuses and stock options, while many of their employees earn a minimum wage, or not much more than it.)
Wealth redistribution, via taxes paying for government benefits for those who need them, is the logical solution. Estate taxes were supposed to solve this problem but wealth managers easily find ways to avoid them so that money never finds its way into the pockets of the rest of the population. It is just rolled into the family’s next generation, minimally taxed if taxed at all. I feel this ‘leveling’ is something the government should be doing by its tax policy … and possibly why the Republicans in the House are united against properly funding the Internal Revenue Service.
The wealthy donors who finance the candidacy of many in Congress (and that includes some Democrats as well as Republicans) want it to stay the way it is, keeping the government (and that means the IRS) as far away as possible from their wealth and without the tools to get closer to it.
And don’t tell me that is communism
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I Keep Writing Letters
Content of a Letter I sent to the Palm Beach Post on Jan. 24
The article in Tuesday's Post about Governor DeSantis' administration rejecting the new Advanced Placement course on African American Studies for use in Florida schools mentioned only one long-time Republican person of color switching to 'independent' because of that. Every Republican Black official in Florida, either elected or appointed, should follow suit and switch their registration to either 'No Party Affiliation,' or Democratic. At a minimum, they should not be supporting Governor DeSantis. Those that continue to do so have a serious problem with their priorities and should open their eyes.
I will let you know if they publish it.
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Two ‘Not to Be Missed’ Opinions
Find Time to Read Them
And speaking of the Palm Beach Post, two columns appeared in its January 25 edition. One reproduced Heather Cox Richardson’s recent ‘Letters from an American’ blog posting explaining how abortion first became an issue during Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, a year before Roe vs Wade. Find it at https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/january-21-2023 or CLICK HERE.
The other, originally an opinion piece in the New York Times by former Senator Gary Hart, a failed seeker of the Democratic presidential nomination almost half a century ago, severely criticizes House Speaker McCarthy’s vengeful efforts to investigate the ‘weaponization’ of government against conservatives. Check it out at https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/17/opinion/church-committee-republicans.html or CLICK HERE.
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Two Items of Interest:
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