This is not the time nor the place to argue about this. What the public should do is resume masking in public places, even if most there remain unmasked, seek outdoor seating in restaurants, keep current with available vaccines and continue simple ‘at home’ testing.
That is my advice. Senior citizens and those with compromised immune systems, diabetes and cardiovascular histories should pay particular attention to it.
I am not a physician, but as Bob Dylan sang back in 1965, ‘You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
In the eyes of too many Americans, the Second Amendment (fully and correctly reproduced above in red), is treated by them as if it reads as follows, (in blue below) justifying rebellion. Of course, the Framers never intentionally provided making such a ‘poison pill’ available to take down the Constitution they were creating. Some people today believe that they did. And some are sitting in Congress.
In their minds, this is the imaginary content of the Second Amendment: ‘An unregulated Militia, being necessary to enable the people to overthrow a government which they believe threatens the security of a free State, or of that very government itself, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’
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The previous blog posting addressed the problem of gun violence. That issue is of such importance that we are addressing it again today, a bit more specifically. Please re-read Wednesday’s posting and what follows.
Unfortunately, to repeal the Second Amendment would require, if initiated in Congress or by a convention of States, the support of two thirds of both Houses of Congress and subsequent approval by the legislatures of three quarters of the States. If we wait for that to happen, all readers of this will be dead from natural causes, an exit strategy at least preferable to gun violence.
Therefore, because such repeal according to the Constitution (Article Five) seems next to impossible, a ‘de facto’ repeal of the Second Amendment must be accomplished by an interpretation of the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court, based on the Amendment’s words, not by political agendas. The weakness of that solution is that nothing prevents a future Supreme Court from ruling otherwise, as they recently did regarding abortion rights, but it is the best that we can hope for.
Such an interpretation should recognize that because we no longer have militias in this country, the Amendment’s first thirteen words are totally unnecessary and meaningless. (The National Guard, the closest thing that today’s States have comparable to such militias, follows the regulations of the nation’s armed forces and does not depend on its members bringing their own arms, so the Amendment does not relate to it at all.) So, let’s forget about miliitias.
This leaves the Amendment’s final fourteen words (‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’) standing alone, protecting the right of anyone to keep and bear arms for any purpose and without limitation. This is very dangerous and was never the intention of the Framers and is the cause of our being where we are today, in the midst of an epidemic of bloody gun violence in this country.
In summary, the next best thing to repeal would be a Supreme Court interpretation that (1) recognizes the obsolescence of the first thirteen words of the Amendment, and (2) limits its final fourteen words to ‘a right of the people, not to be infringed, to keep and bear arms for sport and target shooting, hunting and personal protection of one’s home or business, as regulated by the States or other jurisdictions, but excluding any weaponry designed for military use.’
It’s that simple unless you went to law school and became a judge.
As I wrote on Wednesday, getting a Supreme Court to do this now would require the President to nominate Justices who would favor such an approach, even if it meant expanding the size of the Supreme Court. Without such an expansion, the President would have to wait for at least three existing Justices to die or retire.
In the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was ready to do precisely that but did not have to when challenges to his New Deal legislation dissipated, his threat to expand the Court being sufficient. But FDR had strong majorities in both Houses of Congress behind him, something President Biden lacks.
A simple majority of Senators, including the vote of the Vice-President in the event of a tie, is all that is needed to approve a nomination to the Supreme Court. THE CHALLENGE IS ACCOMPLISHING THE PASSAGE OF LEGISLATION BY CONGRESS ALLOWING THAT INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF JUSTICES!
The Constitution is silent on the number of Supreme Court Justices, leaving it to Congress, but the Court’s own website points out that the number of Justices has been changed six times before settling on the present number in 1869. There is no prohibition on more such changes being made by Congress, in fact the Judiciary Act of 2021 did exactly that, including the addition of four more Justices, but that legislation, introduced in April of 2021, never made it out of committee consideration.
Unfortunately, Republican control of the new House of Representatives will soon make passage of such legislation impossible, the Democratic majority in the Senate, alone not being enough.
Passage of this legislation was something Democrats should have fought for while having majorities in both Houses of Congress. But they didn’t. And that is not their problem - - - It is your problem and America’s problem!
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Wrapping Up Thanksgiving
Heather Cox Richardson (in her daily newsletter, ‘Letter From an American,’) included this in her Thanksgiving Message, after pointing out how the holiday, barely observed until then, served to inspire Americans at the time of the Civil War to unite to preserve that for which we all should give thanks.
‘In 1861, Americans went to war to keep a cabal from taking control of the government and turning it into an oligarchy. The fight against that rebellion seemed at first to be too much for the nation to survive. But Americans rallied and threw their hearts into the cause on the battlefields even as they continued to work on the home front to create a government that defended democracy and equality before the law. And they won.’
And speaking of Thanksgiving, I was disappointed in the TV coverage of the traditional Thanksgiving Day parades. True, they have always been commercially sponsored, but this year, the floats promoting various businesses and entertainment enterprises far outnumbered the traditional presence of high school bands, the balloons, and floats manned by the employees of the stores, such as Macy's, which remained the parade's overall sponsor. I seem to remember that parades in other cities than New York used to be featured as well, but they were absent this year. The 'commentators' describing the parade on TV came off as second rate shills for their networks.
Most shocking to me was the presentation of Mariah Carey as the 'Queen of Christmas.' Did anyone consider that this might offend those whose religion already provided them with a Queen of Christmas? They might have crowned Ms. Carey as 'the Princess of The North Pole' or something like that instead.
Hope you enjoyed your Turkey.
The recent unexpected success of Democrats in most of the country, pushing back on forty years of conservative efforts to dismantle the policies that have contributed to the nation's growth, have been conspicuously absent in Texas and Florida. That is not because of the voters in those States, but because of the non-voters there. Despite issues that affected their own interests, too many citizens in these two States just didn’t vote. Only about 49% of eligible voters turned out in Florida and about 45% in Texas. Maine had the highest turnout, about 60%. Floridians and Texans apparently prefer watching football and exchanging barbecue recipes to political involvement.
I have written in the past about ‘the pendulum of history.’ Its leftward swing back toward equilibrium and even further has already started as the 2022 mid-term elections indicated. What will it take for this leftward swing to even encompass places like Texas and Florida and some of the States of the old Confederacy?
Unfortunately, bad things have to happen in greater frequency to motivate enough Americans to make such changes. They include the inability for the existing systems to deal with economic inequality, diseases such as Covid and its cousins, hunger, loss of personal freedoms, and of course, gun violence.
Without such motivational tragedies, change will not come easily. But it will happen. It will not, however, be without pain and bloodshed, and there is no guarantee that it will ultimately be democratic. Check out the pendulum.
And of course, please forward this posting to anyone you think might benefit from reading it. The place to send them is:
It has come to my attention that Google Blogspot, the platform on which Jackspotpourri is prepared, has revised its forwarding abilities. If you click on the envelope with the arrow at the conclusion of every posting, (it looks like this: ), you will have the opportunity to list as many email addresses as you wish, along with a comment from you, each of which will receive a link to the full blog that you now are reading, with all of its bells and whistles. This is a great advance from the very basic format Google Blogspot originally provided when they forwarded something for you. It might take a few minutes longer for your message to be transmitted but this method of forwarding offers the advantage of being able to forward jackspotpourri to many addresses simultaneously. Try it.Either way will work, sending them the link above or clicking on the envelope at the bottom of this posting.
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