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curiosity

October 2017

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curiosity

Canada anyone?

Friend of a friend sjc posted this message about not demonizing political office holders. Which got me thinking if I was being unfair to Dubya.

When Bush Sr. was in office I don’t remember being this scared. I didn’t like him. I thought he was corporate criminal who would set back women, minority, and labor rights 40 years while funneling money to his corporate friends. But you have to expect these sorts of set backs once in a while. Liberals and Conservatives provide necessary checks on each other’s excesses. When my people get back in power we will push things back the other way.

But that is not how I feel about this administration. I am really worried about what is going on now. Several of my friends have discussed moving to Canada.

When that sniper was shooting people down in DC I asked my LJ friend bedawyn who lives in the kill zone why she stayed there when there was a real danger of being shot. She answered “Might as well ask why anyone lives in Florida, since they have hurricanes, or why anyone lives in California, where they have earthquakes. Or why anyone at all lives in Northern Ireland or the Middle East. That's where our lives are. Even my town in Oklahoma was in the middle of Tornado Alley -- with the exception of my stint outside Philadelphia, I've never lived anywhere that wasn't a danger area for something. You can't live your life hiding.” I live in Upstate New York where the most pressing fear is hitting a deer.

The trouble with some kinds of danger is that they sneak up on you. Why did so many Jews stay in Germany? They couldn’t believe that their government would actually round them up and kill them. But now we know better. Governments in civilized, democratic, industrial nations have rounded up their citizens and put them in concentration camps. The government of the United States did it during WWII. We know they are capable of it. We have no excuse not to be cautious.

But further on the theme of demonizing politicians. It occurred to me that when Clinton was in office the conservatives where appalled at his lack of “character” because he had sex in the office. Liberals really were not bothered by Clinton’s behavior. As long as he was doing what we wanted politically we didn’t care who he slept with we didn’t even care that he lied about. All politicians lie. We don’t trust any of them. As long as he wasn’t screwing us we didn’t care who he was getting blow jobs from, we didn’t expect him to have a “good character”.

But, on “Fresh Air” yesterday they had on civil liberties lawyer David Cole and constitutional lawyer Douglas Kmiec. David Cole talked about how the politicians trying to put through the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness Program, and other post-Sept. 11 security measures keep saying “don’t worry, trust us, we wouldn’t do anything bad.”

And it occurred to me that the the Conservatives are really very fluffy bunny about this. They seem to think that it is enough to have men of “good character” and good intentions in charge and nothing will go wrong. While the Liberals are much more cynical. We don’t trust anyone. We don’t care about character because we assume that all politicians lie. We want laws in place, rules that prevent people in power from abusing that power because history shows they will. That was the attitude of the men who wrote the Constitution. They knew that power corrupts.

(603 words! Yay me!)

Comments

Constitution....

The writers of the Constitution did NOT know that power corrupts. In fact, that was one of the great debates that took place after the Constitution was released (but not yet ratified). The authors of the constitution, when pressed about possible abuses, said that in a democratic country the abuses of power the opponents of the constitution feared would not happen because the democratic process was an ultimate check. Abuses wouldn't happen, because the abused would have a voice in Congress, and the reasonable men of good character in Congress would do the right thing and prevent the abuses.

Opponents of Federalism, including Thomas Jefferson, claimed that that wasn't good enough, and that there needed to be structural safeguards in the Constitution itself. Jefferson wasn't in Philadelphia when the Constitution was written, so he didn't get to voice his opinions behind closed doors; he got to publically debate in the press and in the Virginia legislature the pros and cons of the new Federal COnstitution.

Finally, a compromise was brokered, and one of the first orders of business with the new Federal Government was to add the Bill of Rights; the safeguards that Jefferson and others felt were needed to defend against governmental abuses by a democratic Federal governemnt.

I think the record is clear that the anti-Federalists were right about possible governmental abuse and the need for the safeguards.

Re: Constitution....

Are you taking rhetoric lessons from Rick?

When you start off like that I'm inclined to disagree with you no matter what you say.

As it is, It sounds to me like we have a semantic disagreement. It sounds to me like your arguments support my statement.