This is a follow on to the previous article “What are America’s core Values? Pt 1“. Initially I wanted to have a five part series on the Constitution, Bill of Rights and our (the citizenry’s responsibilities). While this article will stray from the initial thought process I had – it is no less worthy of your time and attention.
Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.
– Samuel Adams
After watching the news the past couple of weeks, I’d say that quote is as meaningful today, as it was when he said it. I have a lot to get off my chest this week, so if you’ll allow me to get on top of my soap box…
There is that crazy jerk in Charleston, S.C. (I will not use his name) that killed 9 people at a church bible study. Why did he spend an hour at the bible study prior to his assault on Mother Emmanuel? I believe it was to size up the competition, to make sure there was nobody there that could hurt him.
Remember what I said about Ferguson? It holds true here too: Its not about race – it’s about Character. As I mentioned in that article, there will be two conversations taking place. There will be the public conversation, with finger pointing and a bunch of hot air being spewed. But there should also be a second conversation: what do we do with those that do not want to participate in our society? How do the “silent majority” of good citizens overcome the growing violence in our society?
There was a man interviewed on CNN in response to the assault in Charleston, S.C., I wish I would have gotten his name; but he stated that people should; no, good people need to act when other people do wrong. This includes righting those when they do wrong. We must fortify our national character, and put forth good moral judgements that our children can learn from us. Adults need to be role models.
This jerk has re-ignited the call for stricter gun control. Don’t we have enough laws already regarding gun control? It seems to me, that if we just follow the laws already in place, and held those who break the law accountable, it would solve one part of the equation; now how do we take care of the criminals who carry guns illegally – that’s the bigger problem. There is a rush to punish the law abiding citizen – and the result will be the same. The law abiding citizen is punished for the crimes of criminals. I don’t often use Wikipedia as a source, but they have a good series of articles on legal topics and laws, both state and federal pertaining to guns in the United States. Like immigration, there are enough laws on the books, we simply need to enforce the ones that are there. I believe in the second amendment, I think the NRA and similar organizations have twisted it’s meaning; but I believe every citizen has the right to bear arms (provided they haven’t forfeited their rights through their actions). I also believe in background checks, both in selling arms from merchandisers and private sales. The problem isn’t guns, nor is it responsible gun owners. The problem is how to weed out the criminals, psychos, and guns obtained illegally by those who wouldn’t otherwise have guns. If gun ownership is banned, I believe crime rates will go up. Criminals seek soft targets.
This jerk in Charleston was cold and calculating: he is evil. There is a quote by Mr. Edmond Burke that my cat quoted to me:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Do I believe there is absolute evil in the world, yes I do. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, I feel pretty strongly about people who feel they are better than others. People, no matter their political affiliation or their religion need to be held accountable for their actions. I have stated pretty firmly that the Muslim majority who remain largely silent need to fix their house, get control of their radicals. It is the same here for me. Racism comes from all directions and in various forms. It is not simply a white / black issue. People should be judged for their actions and character; not the color of their skin or the religion of their preference. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Can you look yourself in the mirror? It is up to each and every one of us, as part of our civil contract and in our pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that we each have the obligation to be productive and useful. For those who are not useful and productive – every state has an international airport; go somewhere else – you are part of the problem, not the solution. We, as a civilized culture have an obligation to respect one another – no matter what color, religion, blood type (any other stupid reason you want) – we each have an obligation to each other. And as far as people like this jerk, and others who believe like he does… I’m ordinarily not a fan of the death penalty, but for you I’ll make an exception.
During the re-opening service at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston this past Sunday, Pastor Goff made the statement “Respect begets respect.” I couldn’t agree more. The Pastor also preached about how a faith community acts during times of trouble. Did the community in Charleston riot? No, people of faith will join hands and come together as a community. I think the parishioners of the church can feel proud of themselves. As one family member stated, “we have no room for hate.”
There are defining moments in every community. Defining moments of crisis, after which the community must decide whether they will draw nearer one another and become stronger — or break apart.
– Dr. Rudolph Featherstone (2002)
We have seen communities over the past few years choose the later; it is refreshing and makes me hopeful that a community chose to become stronger instead of breaking itself apart. There is a good article written by a Ms. Duquette. I stumbled across her blog (Take Off Your Shoes) in my research for this article, and it is an enjoyable and refreshing read from the doom and gloom you’ll find on many blogs. I encourage you to browse her posting. Reading through her posts; she is more eloquent than myself. The quote above comes from her blog.
She has two articles that also sparked my curiosity, The first, entitled “Guns” presents her case for gun control. The second, entitled “Molan Labe” is written by her friend with an opposing viewpoint. I can relate to both sides.
Recently, the Supreme Court made it’s decision in the court case, the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Vs. Texas DMV. In this, weird but true story, the Sons of Confederate Veterans were seeking an overturning of a lower courts decision to not allow the confederate flag be printed on Texas license plates. The stance taken by the Supreme Court was that since license plates are issued by the state, the state would be affirming the beliefs of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The government should not do so, and hence the lower court’s decision was upheld. As a matter of fact; I think the confederate flag should be removed from all license plates (I can feel the emails arriving already!).
As far as the confederate flag flying at the Capital building in South Carolina. This flag is no longer primarily a symbol of southern pride and heritage, it is more that that. This past week, as the National Ensign and the state flag were lowered to half mast, it was ironic that the confederate flag was not. Now, the news reported that the flag is incapable of being flown at half mast (Oh..you don’t even want me to get started on that one!). The confederate battle flag should not be flown from any governmental agency. I understand some who argue for the historical significance of the flag. But; that particular flag represents a very dark corner of our nation’s history, and represents the idea that one group of people is better than another. There is a flag which is inclusive in nature, and should fly above all others in this great land, and that is our National Ensign.
As such, I am of the belief that the confederate battle flag needs to come down – period. The flag belongs in museums and other places, namely those individuals who feel the need to fly it – not flying next to the National Ensign or on the back of a license plate in Texas. For those of you who are having trouble with this, let me make it perfectly clear… The confederate battle flag has no place being flown in government locations. It does not represent the values of the United States, where all are equal. If you haven’t already, I recommend you click on the Navy core value image to reflect upon the Navy’s core values.
I will return to our series, picking up after with the Bill of Rights, but I think recent events have been impacted by the values people hold. After these recent events, just what are America’s core values? Do we live in a land where all have the opportunity to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Do you have a comment? Do you believe in evil? In good? Disagree with what I said? I look forward to the conversation. After all, how can we grow if we do not hear and understand another person’s prospective?