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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Death To America

  Death to America. When most people hear that phrase they think of radical Muslim terrorists who are also shouting "death to Israel", and anything else they wish death upon. but death to America could be coming at a faster pace than even terrorists might imagine, and in a much simpler manner than just blowing stuff up. It seems to be coming in the form of the death of the United States Constitution.
  You remember that antiquated piece of parchment the Constitution don't you? That is the one that starts out with "We the people". We the people don't appear to be paying much attention to it these days. We have five people who waltz around in black robes, and everyone says they are experts on the Constitution, but that remains questionable at best. Apparently it is the job of these five people to find things in the Constitution that are not there. That job description seems more like that of "magician" than "justice". The best part? These people are appointed for life. They can interpret the Constitution in whatever way they like, who is going to stop them?
  That moldy old piece of paper known as the Constitution then goes on to enumerate a Bill of Rights. These are 10 rights that are not given to us by any men or governments, but our Creator, in whatever form it is you chose to worship the Creator in. Because they are given to us by the Creator, they cannot be taken away by men or governments. At least that is the original idea. In the past six years, almost every single one of these rights has been maligned, ignored, twisted, or just plain threatened with extinction. Hmmm, six years huh? Coincidence? I think not.
  When this very thin-skinned president hears people say things about him that he doesn't like, he threatens the first amendment. The right of free speech. The reason it is first is because it is the most important. When a crazed racist gunman shot nine people in a church in South Carolina, the second amendment, the right to keep and bear arms  was immediately to blame. That old piece of paper sure has an itchy trigger finger. When the IRS thought it was a great idea to target Conservative and Tea Party groups for their beliefs when filing for 501c3 tax status, those groups were asked the most invasive and irrelevant questions, and asked to produce information that was in no way related to their request.This could only be described as a fourth amendment violation of unreasonable search and seizure.
  The most recent, the 10th amendment. It states quite clearly, that any powers not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution are powers granted to the States and/or the people. Roughly 37 states put whether or not they wanted to ban same-sex marriage to a vote of the people. What could be more American? All but 3 or 4 said yes, they wanted a ban. The will of the people. Well, the five people in robes came along, again, and said essentially, too bad. Your vote is null and void because we know what is better for your state more than you do.

  How have we gotten to this point? How has the Constitution, a document so genius in its creation, so wise to have a method of checks and balances, written by ordinary men who knew human nature and it's thirst for power, become so distant from it's original form? Why have we as Americans not protected that original form? Because we wanted to make it say something it does not? Because we wanted to make it fit our own agenda? Because on a basic level, if it does not say what we want we throw a tantrum and decide that is what it says anyway? Yes, yes, and yes.
  If we are going to just pick and choose which of those amendments we like and which ones we don't, we are rapidly headed to a bad place. A place that may be hard to recover from.
  But just one more question. If we have done this to four of the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, how many more will we do it to? We are almost half way there. Does this mean that the fundamental transformation is nearly complete?           

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thoughts on Charleston

     The entire nation was horrified this week as a deranged racist lunatic went to the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina this week and opened fire, killing nine people, including Pastor Clementa Pinkney, as they sat in a bible study.
  A bible study, in a church. Shouldn’t that be one of the few places in your life that you feel safe? Innocent people, no doubt doing something they have done on Wednesday evening for a long time. It is nearly impossible to wrap one’s mind around.
  It is not a time for politics; it is not a time for lectures. There will be plenty of time for debate on race or gun control or whatever else people think needs debating. It is a time to remember and celebrate these nine people. By all accounts, they were not just Sunday morning Christians, they were 24/7 Christians.
  For many people, even those of us who were not born at the time, it conjured up images of a church bombing in 1963 in Birmingham Alabama. Four little girls lost their lives. That was such an ugly time in our history, most people will readily admit to that. We all want to think that things like that just don’t happen anymore.
  What stands out about this? Definitely first, the reaction of the good people of Charleston. Be it ingrained Southern hospitality and politeness, or just plain humanity, what was meant to pull them apart has only brought them together. There have been no riots. There has been no looting. There have been no death threats. Only love and solidarity for their community. Have the usual instigators and trouble makers who seem to show up on the scene been warned stay away or else? That would be nice. The citizens of Charleston have been nothing short of an amazing example.
  Does it take unfathomable acts of evil such as this to make Americans of all stripes come to a screeching halt and examine, not each other, but ourselves? Should we take inventory of our own hearts and minds? Refreshing our proverbial page can only be a good thing.
  Can we make certain that these nine people did not give their lives in vain? What does that mean? Well, there may be a lot of definitions to that. While we reflect on a Sunday morning on all that has happened this week, and even though we may not have known any of the victims personally, we feel like we do now. How would they like us to proceed from here? With hatred in our hearts and thoughts of revenge? Doubtful. This Blogger can only speculate, but I am guessing that Reverend Pinkney, a man of God who invited a total stranger into his church to worship right alongside of him, and the others would be the first ones, just as their family members did, to forgive the stranger. They would want us to come together as Americans, and as human beings, and just love one another.

  The people of the Emmanuel AME Church and the people of Charleston will get through this. They are stronger than they realize today, and they have nine guardian angels that will show them the way.