Over the past year, I’ve been seeing a lot of news stories and opinion columns from various conservative writers complaining about the “obstruction” in Congress by Democrats, long screeds about the inability of the President to get anything done because of the distraction of the special prosecutor’s investigation, and following hearings in the House. More recently, a number of the same writers touting the “exoneration” of the President by the investigation, and bemoaning the “death of democracy.” Leaving aside that the report did not exonerate President Trump, which was very clearly stated by the special prosecutor, the other complaints just show me that conservatives have absolutely no memory.
Tag Archives: Constitution
Every spring, I have to attend a state-wide supervisor’s conference. It’s something I’d rather not go to, since it’s mostly “same old, same old,” but the main value is the social interactions with the other supervisors. In the after-hours chatting, the buzz was about one of the supervisors recently having been fired. What did they do? They’d posted a very offensive racist comment on a newspaper story. Unfortunately for them, this particular newspaper used the Facebook comment plug-in, which linked that comment right back to their Facebook page. On which, they prominently had their job title and employer. The numerous people offended by the comment promptly sent off e-mails and made phone calls to the head office.
If there’s been one common feature between the left and the right over the past decade, it’s that they all have an idea for what they want to see changed about the government. The specifics of those ideas depend on the particular ideological slant, but they all have a complaint with the way things are and “how it should be.” I’ve seen calls to abolish or restructure the Senate, change to a parliamentary system, changing birthright citizenship, gun ownership, balancing the budget, along with calls for a third party. Most of them come down to “we think we’re not getting our way,” and that a new form will get them that. It’s nothing new.
There was a recent report by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation that only 40% of Americans could pass a citizenship test. That’s the test we give to all people who are applying for citizenship, but not to those who were born here. That’s actually a slight improvement from previous results. I wish I could say I was surprised by that, but I’m not. In various internet forums and in person, I’ve run into a sizable number of people who have little clue about how government works and the history of this country. That would be disturbing enough in and of itself, but what is truly terrifying is the number of people who should know better, up to and including the President, who don’t.
One of the things about growing up in upstate New York is that you get to know a lot of Revolutionary War history, in particular the earliest battles of the war. New York’s nickname, “the Empire State” is because at that time, it held “the keys to the empire.” This makes sense if you realize that in the 18’th century, moving troops and supplies was a laborious task. Roads were poor or non-existent, so progress overland was time-consuming and difficult. To move heavy materials, troops, and other supplies quickly? The quickest way was by water. Look at a map of New York, and you have Lake Champlain and the Hudson River running North-South. From Albany, you have the Mohawk River running East-West. On the northern end of the state, you have the Saint Lawrence river, leading into Lake Ontario. If you were the British, and wanted to split the colonies, those routes were the key to splitting and breaking the Revolution.