Wednesday, September 03, 2008

An Unexpected Gift

I expected a well-read speech, and I admit that she did a fine job reading it. I mean you don't win Miss congeniality with out some communication skill.

I expected a right wing rallying cry, and there was plenty of tough talk to go around.

I was a little surprised by the blatant pander to the oil companies, and was a little put off by the Exxon-Tupperware-girl sideline, but I suppose you can't bite the hand that feeds you.

I expected the "Fuckin Redneck" boyfriend to clean up, and he did.

Anyway...

There was one little surprise that I got from the speech. One little tidbit of knowledge that I was missing.

See, for years now, I've been in search of a political philosophy. I've been hovering around it, but unable to land on it. And often, I haven't cared enough to work it out.

I'm not really a Democrat. I mean sure, for now I'm registered as one, and I will dedicate much of this blog for the next two months to putting Obama in the White House. However, I don't really believe in governmental expansion and I'm not a fan of big taxes.

I was a Republican for about 20 years, but I cannot abide the ignorance of the religious right, the juvenile assholery of the neo-cons nor the filthy corruption of Big Oil. So, now, I'm really not a Republican either.

I thought maybe my personal philosophy lay in the battle of small government over big government, but my sense of law-based justice and appreciation for the stability that comes from a stron civil service would defeat my own arguments in my head.

But then, tonight, during her historic-but-fluffy speech, the Governor of Alaska said one thing. She said this:

"Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he [Obama] is worried that someone won't read them their rights?"

And in that moment, as Mrs G&T and I sat digesting in disbelief what we just heard, my personal political philosophy crystallized.

It became clear to me that whichever party is in power, whichever tax bracket i fall in to, whoever our enemies are, and what ever color or gender our president happens to be, I believe in the constitution.

I believe in it firmly. And if I have faith in anything, I have faith in It.

Parties are secondary. Taxes happen whether your state is blue or red, or whether your president is a D or an R. The pendulum swings to the right and to the left. However, as long as both sides respect the rule of law, and stand by their oaths to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, then everything will work out.

It was Governor Palin's sarcastic aside, however, that helped me see that. Her callous assumption that macho militarism and overreaching police powers were more important, or more desirable, than basic constitutional rights, reminded me that she and McCain and Bush and Cheney have completely disregarded the rule of law.

That is the basis for my never-ending ire with the current administration.

The reason that four years with McCain and Palin are just as dangerous as the last eight with Bush and Cheney, is that they share the same arrogant (and ignorant) lack of respect understanding for the Constitution.

"Country First" is fine, as long as that country of yours firmly follows the precepts of the law.

So, now, I know. I believe in the Constitution, and I oppose those who are a danger to it.

Thanks Governor Palin, you were a big help.

21 comments:

  1. "There are laws that keep you and I from killing each other" is something you once told me. I think it was a philosphical talk about the lack of existence of God and that morality has been replaced by not doing something to get incarcerated.
    Laws are great and the constitution is wonderful but how do you account for the crazy factor? Does the constitution apply to those who don't know it or care about it or even the consequences? You would say YES I am sure. But there are people out there whose sole purpose in life is to kill us because we have that document.

    One candidate wants to talk to these people the other wants to shoot first and ask questions later.

    The so called "dangers" of the last 8 years are open for interpretation. My question is..are we safer here in the U.S. now then we were 8 years ago? Would you trade a few thousand military men to keep a plane from flying into your house?

    We already know how Bush and McCain would answer that.

    I guess history will tell what Obama will choose.

    I fuckin hate insomnia

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  2. Dr. Brian, you and I have known each for many years. You know the family environment I was raised espoused the belief that law did not necessarily equate to justice, and vice-versa. As a person, I can honestly say that my first gut instinct is that justice should override law if need be... and it is because of that unshakeable instinct that I believe the law should be held in a higher regard.
    Mostly because I believe in the fallibility of mankind, especially in my own judgment. We are inherently flawed creatures, whether you believe us to be created by a higher power or by random chance. Because I truly understand we are flawed, we simply cannot gamble with justice, because the consequences are too heavy, too far-reaching and too grave to ignore - whether its condemning the life of an innocent man or a just invasion based on false pretenses of WMD's. The only alternative is to uphold the law, even when it is inconvenient, and even for the shitheads of the universe. Especially for them.

    As an aside, I acknowledge this to be contradictory, which is why I did not pursue either law or law enforcement as a career. Both would probably have ended poorly.

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  3. Good point. Man acts on emotion. We have these stupid feelings in us that make us do stupid things.

    I watched the movie "A time to kill" recently and I'm not sure what I would do if someone hurt one of my children.

    Right or wrong people vote based on emotion too.

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  4. The Right likes to play on this idea that "the terrorists" hate us because of our freedoms, our constitution, etc. What they fail to address are the constant appeals by radicals in the Middle East for us to simply get the fuck out of their countries. Not trying to paint a rosy picture of radical Islam, which scares the poo out of me, but to say this: that the attacks on America (9/11, USS Cole, blowing up embassies) were reactions to us monkeying around with someone else's country and basically, imperialistically, trying to gain a strategic advantage in the Mid East. It's war, fought by players without a formal army.

    Afghanis have been having the mortal shit bombed out of them since the 80's, we've been playing footsie with Iran about that long (and, by the way, probably fucked up for them any chance of a cultural revolution taking place by encouraging instead a jingoistic knee-jerk against the U.S. by our meddling), been allied to the million-pound-gorilla Israel which--while providing support to the only "democracy" in the region--provides a rallying point around the oppression of the Palestinian people...

    so the acts of terror against the U.S. were not exactly sui generis, as the White House would like us to think, as they throw up their hands and wonder publically why those crazy extremist want to blow up hard working American hockey moms.

    I'm not particularly isolationist, but am sick of the long-standing Republican practice of favoring (mostly covert) international positioning while leaving average Americans to basically fend for themselves.

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  5. FT, you bring up a very interesting point regarding Republican isolationism. I'm not quite sure I understand the dichotomy of the belief that we should act independently of international influences and focus on "America".... but we should ourselves interject within foreign countries when that country's freedom and democracy is being sought.
    Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should close our ears and eyes and pretend its not a scary world out there. It is and yes, there are people out there who are trying to kill us solely for being American (although their reasons are far more complex than we give credit.) However, it is so much easier to accomplish the task of vanquishing that sort of hatred and danger when we do it as part of a global community instead of going it alone. Yes, we could potentially do that... but at a long-term and high-risk cost. It's easier and more effective to leverage outside relationships with Europe to do so, but it's also got to be a give-and-take relationship.

    Terrorism is a global problem, we should treat it with a global solution. (Hey check me out! I'm writing political copy!)

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  6. Let me know when you've picked, and talked about who you've picked, and the fun starts again....

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  7. When the fun starts??

    I've got Dr. B, Dave and Familytrain thinking big thoughts!

    How much more fun do you want?

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  8. Bee are eye9:52 AM

    Well I'm glad someone finally figured out why the terrorists attacked us. All this time I thought maybe there were irrational regime leaders who were being brainwashed by an extremist religion.

    It's our own fault once again. We built up this country and just dared them to hate us. Then we supported Israel instead of letting Hitler take over. Maybe when Obama has his middle east bake sale with them we can all have one big group hug.

    Look, I hate Bush and have never been a McCain supporter either.
    But these people understand guns, bombs, genocide, and not diplomacy. Why can't we learn from the mistakes of Carter how to not underestimate Iran.

    So maybe Chris is right..let them all start killing each other again.

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  9. a concerned regular10:09 AM

    You guys need to chill. Let's see what happens at the debates when no one can read from a prompter.

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  10. Abdul Al Akbar bin mahmoud10:34 AM

    Yes, I will strap dynamite to my body and blow myself up because I hate your freedom. OOH, it makes me so mad!

    I cannot sleep at night knowing that you have freedom!

    And apple pie! I kill you because I hate your apple pie too!

    Death to apple pie eaters!

    loo loo loo loo!!! Look at me! I am crazy! I have no valid reason to be angy! nevermind that you hijack my government and steal my country's oil!

    I'm crazy! I kill for Apple Pie!

    Never mind that your fighter planes have killed my sister and my children. I am not angry about those things.

    I simply hate your apple pie!! I must be crazy! So, no sense in digging deeper to solve the root problems like poverty and corruption!!

    No! I am crazy Abdul, killer of apple pie eaters!

    Hide your pie, I am coming for you!!

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  11. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Like the Bible, the constitution is open for interpretation. However, one will allow you to worship goats and the other won't.
    So knock yourself out.

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  12. the father, the son, and the holy goat10:42 AM

    Blessed are the goat herders for they milk my udders.

    Blessed are blackberry brambles, because they taste good.

    Blessed are tin cans, because, well, they taste good too.

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  13. Abdul Al Akbar bin mahmoud10:43 AM

    I will kill you if you take my goat.

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  14. Surprisingly big thoughts from a blog that generally specializes in stories about Brian's troubling dating habits in high school, and of course, obsession with Christina Ricci and Dita Von Teese (not that there's anything wrong with that).

    There is a certain "crazy factor" - obviously you're going to come up with situations which clearly were never contemplated in the framer's original intent.

    Other times, there is a disconnect between the internal moral compass, which tells you that "justice" needs to be done, rather than "law."

    But, there's something significant to consider - The constitution and the justice system create the FRAMEWORK that matters, not the outcome.
    It creates the right to free speech, even if what you're saying is absolutely absurd or repugnant. And, sometimes, the legal system even gives you a manner of redress when than speech causes harm. It creates a system of rights and responsibilities that lets government, and society function. It has all the hallmarks of a good science experiment - its predictable, repeatable outcomes.

    The problem with going with your gut, or being guided by your higher power or whatever that may be, is that its relativistic. Your G-d might be different than mine. Your threshold for insult to your honor may be different than mine. At that point, at any moment in time, you have potentially explosive results. People live in fear, tribal and mob mentality rules. There's no framework for growth, expression or any of the benefits of entering into the social contract.

    You protect the rights of the smallest minority, both because it is the barometer of your evolution as a society, as well as your own personal protection for that one day when you are that minority.
    The one day when "they" stop coming for "them" and start coming for "you."

    Sometimes, it creates outcomes we don't agree with or don't like. But its the system that needs to be preserved, so that overall,we have a framework that strives for basic freedoms, justice, and equality. When you give people a free pass and let them get out of that line, you have moral relativity.

    You effectively create sociopaths- They recognize that there are laws in society, they just don't feel that they apply to them.

    That's not governing, that's mental disease.

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  15. David Plouffe11:22 AM

    Read what I said here:

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gG5r4m

    Give us $5.00 if you have not given before.

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  16. David Plouffe11:23 AM

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gG5r4m

    Here is the complete link

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  17. Seriously? You think Obama needs more money huh. Well, I think you should send me 5 bucks to defend my apple pie.

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  18. Anonymous5:46 PM

    Then we supported Israel instead of letting Hitler take over.

    I'd like to suggest that bee are eye brush up on the reasons why we got into WWII. Your general understanding of world events is touch and go as it is so you might as well get something correct.

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  19. Good point. Brian, look up the period when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

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  20. Mrs. G and T9:35 PM

    Damn, I had to do actual work today. Sorry I missed the fun. I have some really good Aaron Sorkin quotes saved up for just this kind of occasion.

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  21. oh my...I've got a really rotten feeling that McPresident is going to win this election...I just...I don't think that Obama can convince Joe Blow America to vote for him.

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Be compelling.

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