Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “Constitution”

Colorblind Rule of Law

Our President is a lawyer.  So is the Attorney General.  They have sworn oaths to uphold the Constitution.  The Constitution guarantees, among other things, the right to a jury trial.

George Zimmerman had a jury trial on charges of second degree murder and manslaughter.  He was acquitted.

The jurors heard all the evidence presented by each side.  It was a fair process.

Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman.  That is undisputed.  What was disputed was whether Mr. Zimmerman was entitled to shoot Mr. Martin as a means of protecting himself.  The evidence showed that Mr. Martin attacked Mr. Zimmerman, broke his nose, and was banging his head against the concrete sidewalk.  There was a jury instruction about self-defense.  That means that a person is entitled to use deadly force under certain circumstances.   That was the basis of the acquittal.

The President was not one of the lawyers trying the case.  Neither was Eric Holder, our Attorney General.  Since they were not involved in the trial, they should not second guess the results of the trial from their lofty positions.

It does not help racial tension to criticize the trial as if it was unfair because Trayvon was black and Zimmerman white/hispanic.  Each side had its day in court.  If our nation is so racist, how did a black man get elected President by the white majority?

The protestors chanting “No justice, no peace” are not helping racial tensions, nor are they respecting the Constitution and rule of law.  That chant might have made sense if the prosecutors had refused to bring the case to trial.  They did bring the case to trial, however.  That really happened.  That was how we dispense justice under the sacred rule of law.  The way to contest the results is to appeal to a higher court, not to riot in the streets.

Can someone explain how stealing jewelry from Target in the process of “protesting” promotes justice for Trayvon?  As far as I know, Target had nothing to do with the case.  If some priest I don’t know in another city gets convicted of sex abuse, I just might shoplift from Walmart because, you know, I have many relatives who are Catholic.  Feel me?

Maybe President Obama will scold the protestors like he scolded the police before charges were brought against Mr. Zimmerman.

Attorney General Holder, who is black,  added fuel to the fire by holding out hope that he might bring federal charges against Mr. Zimmerman (since the NAACP did not like the trial result).  Shame on him.  He took an oath to uphold the Constitution.  Was he absent from law school on the day they taught about the right to a jury trial?  Double jeopardy is prohibited by the same Constitution.  It does not seem likely that Attorney General Holder, who heads, get this, The Justice Department, got an “A” in Constitutional Law.  Let us chip in and send him back for a remedial course, not in Ethnic Studies, but in Constitutional Law.  I fear that he and the President are confused about the meaning of their respective oaths of office.

Independence Day

On the 4th of July, we Americans celebrate our nation’s independence.  It is fitting and proper that we should do this.

In addition to celebrating with parades, picnics and fireworks, it is also appropriate to pray.

Our prayers should certainly include thanking the Lord for the U.S.A. and our opportunities as citizens.

Our prayers should also include intercessory prayers for those who serve in the military and in various government leadership positions.

And, let us pray for wisdom for ourselves as well as our leaders.  I humbly suggest that we consider our expectations about what the federal government ought to be doing and what it ought not be doing for its citizens.   In the 200 plus years since our nation was formed, the role of government has expanded to such a degree that dependence on the government has been fostered.

The founders provided a wonderful framework by setting up our precious Constitution.  Our representative form of government provides the opportunity to debate choices we face about what the government will provide as services and spend for those services.

On Independence Day, let us think about (and pray about) how much dependence on our government we will accept as free people.

Mitigating Scandals By Passing The Buck

A few weeks ago I wrote a few pieces about my pre-campaign for political office, probably the U.S. Senate then, but now I aspire for higher office.  My pre-campaign is like pre-approval for a credit card — it is not yet approved and my campaign is not yet announced.  However, I have been learning a lot by observing the current administration’s approach to what lesser politicians would perceive as criticism.  President Nixon could take lessons from President Obama.

President Nixon thought he had to admit or deny accusations about Watergate.  President Obama is way more cool than that.  He actually jumps on the bandwagon of the accusers.  He embraces the opportunity to empathize with his critics.  He is very upset by what has happened in Benghazi, what has been done by the I.R.S., and what has been done by the F.B.I.  He is appalled, just like the rest of us.

President Nixon was concerned that the famous “buck” which President Truman had said stopped in the Oval Office actually did stop there.  President Obama has a very different viewpoint.

He is unapologetic about not protecting the ambassador killed at our embassy in Libya.  He is appalled that it happened and he is appalled that anyone would blame the State Department or the military or him.  He wasn’t at fault because he did not really know what all was going on that fateful night.  It was his night off.

Apparently, the buck has not stopped at all.  It was no one’s fault, not even terrorists.  The people who attacked the embassy might not have been terrorists as we commonly use the word.  They were terrorists in a very complicated sense of the word “terrorist” that is so complicated that the denial of this tragedy being caused by terrorists for too long was, well, due to a misunderstanding.  It is complicated, like I said.

What I have gotten out of it is that there are real Al Qaeda terrorists, whom President Obama assumed we all were suspecting, when in actuality the terrorists who performed the terrorism at Benghazi were merely wannabe terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda without being official card-carrying members.  It is an important distinction to our president but I’m not smart enough to understand the distinction or why it is important.  Initially we were told that it was a mob upset by a movie.  Then it was a terrorist act by non-terrorists.  Now it is terrorists who are responsible, but not Al Qaeda terrorists — they know better than to do any terrorist acts now that President Obama has Al Qaeda on the run.

President Obama is also appalled by the I.R.S. having targeted conservative groups.  Some might say that was done under his watch, making him responsible.   Those who say that are silly Trumanites who still believe the buck stops with the President of the United States.  This president is appalled just like the rest of us who are not the president.  He is just like us.  He read about it in the papers.  No one told him what was going on.  He is very appalled.  He is not to blame, of course.  He don’t know nuthin’ about it.  Ignorance is bliss, they say.

Well, President Truman did not say that ignorance is bliss.  He said, “The buck stops here.”  He should have said, if only he was not so dang forthright, “I only know what I read in the papers and now that I read what my administration has been doing, I am appalled.”  That is smart politics.    I am catching on to the modern style of leadership.  Accountability is out of style.  Empathy — that is the ticket!

Don’t say that you are sorry for what you have done or not done.  Instead, say that you understand how those of us in the general public “feel” because you feel however they feel.

President Obama and I, a pre-candidate, feel the same.  We feel the same as each other and we feel the same as the general public feels.   We have empathy.  It is easier than leadership because it is reflective and reactive.

President Obama is a lawyer.  So is the Attorney General, Eric Holder.  So am I.  The President, Attorney General and I are all appalled that the F.B.I. violated the privacy of Associated Press reporters.  We all agree that should not have been done.  We did not know and, now that we do know, the three of us are feeling sad even though we are not at fault.   I am under the impression that the F.B.I. is a rogue organization that none of the three of us control.

When I am elected, I too will make it a point to not know about such things.  I would make it my job to not know.  Whoever is in charge of the Justice Department should do something, if we only knew who is in charge.  I used to think the President and the Attorney General were in charge of the Justice Department, including the F.B.I., but it was long ago that I took American Government in high school, Political Science in college, and Constitutional Law in law school.  I was probably absent the day the teachers and professors covered the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

I am not (yet) in the chain of command, but it is comforting to know that if I become Attorney General or President, I will not be to blame for anything as long as I am suitably appalled by what my subordinates did, or failed to do, which I won’t know about until I read it in the papers.  And, to go beyond my mentor, if elected, I pledge to never read newspapers or listen to the news.

I am also practicing my best sincere look with appropriate body language.  In the photo below I am demonstrating my transparency by gesturing with an open hand, indicating my, you know, openness and, I guess, honesty.  Who wouldn’t vote for an honest-looking cowboy who empathizes with how every American feels?

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