• Obama, Sotomayor, and Ordinary

    President Obama’s Sonya Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination did not surprise me in the least. A liberal president chooses a liberal nominee—knock me over with a feather. I can only hope that, as with past Supreme Court Justices, they’re not always what their presidential benefactors expect them to be.

     

    However, what’s all this about Sotomayor being more representative of “ordinary” Americans, on the bench, than, presumably, past and current justices? How does being reared poor in the projects of the Bronx make one ordinary in any case? Aren’t we being told her story is extraordinary?

     

    I grew up in a small middle class mill town in Massachusetts. My father abandoned our family when I was five condemning my mother, brothers, and me to years of poverty. To my mother’s credit, we never felt poor at the time, but as an adult I can’t ignore the fact that we were indeed.

     

    Here’s my point: I grew up poor and that did not make me ordinary. There were a few rich families in town and a few poor ones, but the vast majority of the people in town were within the traditional middle class—if there were such a thing as ordinary in my town, wouldn’t it have been those majority middle-class folks?

     

    When the left speaks of ordinary it seems leftist-speak meaning, the poor—the liberal’s perpetual “victim-class”—the Progressive’s target constituency. If the president truly wants a Supreme Court justice who represents “ordinary” Americans, perhaps he need only choose a candidate who believes in interpreting the U. S. Constitution as constructed. If a constituency perceives a flaw, there exists a mechanism with which to alter it, and that mechanism is through amendment and not through the soft tyranny of judicial activism.

     

    And what’s so great about “ordinary” people sitting on the bench anyway? Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and other founding fathers, with regard to their contributions to the American cause, were anything but “ordinary,” and it seems to me that regarding founding a nation conceived in liberty, they were extraordinary indeed. 

  • D.C. Chique

    If you ever want to know if some public effort might be a political scam, just watch how fast its proponents attempt to ram it down your throat. We’re seeing a lot of that lately with this new administration. Everything’s a “crisis,” must be rushed, and when did not reading what you’re signing become the latest D.C. Chique?

    “The debate is settled,” we’re told by proponents of so-called, “Global Warming.” I have to admit I feel a bit hesitant using the term, “so-called,” but what else can I do? When the weather appears cooler than normal, they change the term to so-called, “Climate Change;” covers all bases I suppose.

    While the earth may indeed be warming, due to whatever causes, how is this different than what the Earth’s done since its birth—heat up, moderate, and cool down, moderate, heat up, and so on? When even an honest question is derided as right wing ignorance or an attack on science, how can any declaration of crisis be deemed authentic science? Science demands questions—tough questions from all quarters.

    This is not a new scam, just new packaging, and one attempted back during the Carter administration, which, sadly, I remember all too well. I was in high school and had just learned to drive in time to enjoy gas shortages, rationing, and the long lines when gas was available at all. We look back on those days with anger as the boneheaded Progressive’s policies were avoidable. We also look back and laugh at the pseudo-quasi-Soviet-like-cars created in deference to, “the environment.”

    Are the “Eco-Friendly,” and oh so silly, teensy-weensy, and quite dangerous “Smart” cars being thrust upon us (but mostly purchased by, look-at-me, enviro-nuts), destined to be added to the slab-heap of vehicular absurdities such as the “K” cars, Pintos, and Gremlins of the 70s and 80s? My guess: Yep. But, just like the pale-green tuxes and puffy pink-purple gowns we wore to our proms back then, we all need things to look back on—and laugh at.

  • Letting our Founding Fathers down

         In his brilliant essay, Live Free or Die!, which appeared in the April 2009 issue of Imprimis, Mark Steyn posits, Americans have a choice: “They can rediscover the animating principles of the American [our emphasis] idea…or they can join most of the rest of the Western world in terminal decline.” Steyn defines the American idea as one of limited government and self-reliant citizens free to seize upon myriad opportunities available in a free nation to achieve the greatest success possible.

         Accepting Mr. Steyn’s premise is crucial to understanding at what point we are in America today. When discussing the motivations our Founders had when creating America no one argues that limited government and individual liberty were the grand “new” idea, which set the great American experiment as unique in human history. Had our Founders sought to simply create another dominant, powerful, paternalistic government, what would have been the big deal? Every other country in the world had a government of this sort—we may as well have remained under Farmer George.

         The question we have to ask ourselves is, are we letting our Founders down? Thomas Jefferson, patriarch of libertarians everywhere, admonished American progeny that, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Are enough of us willing to pay that cost—are those of us who are vigilant doing everything possible under the American sun to maintain the liberty we still enjoy and to reclaim that which has been usurped?

         Big government proponents on either side of the aisle obviously no longer hold en masse the principles of our Founders as the preeminent American ideal. The evidence of this is quite plain: Even the tiniest government growth is commensurately matched by individual liberty’s loss. Both Republicans and Democrats have been complicit in and are guilty of growing government, albeit at different rates, but still to the detriment of an ostensibly free citizenry.

         Steyn quotes Dutch writer Oscar van den Boogaard, which is one of the most poignant and intellectually honest statements I’ve ever heard from anyone anywhere regarding human liberty. Mr. van den Boogaard said, “I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.” How many of us does this describe? How many of us erroneously believe liberty is an infinite state?

         Our Founding Fathers entrusted liberty to the care of their posterity—us. Let’s not incur the disgrace of being the American generation who lets them down. The end of the American experiment of limited government and individual liberty; what a sad legacy for us to pass on to our posterity.

  • Busier than Thou

    Every once in a while I migrate back to this theme: What’s up with editors? Actually, this includes agents and publishers. I don’t know about you, but as one who still manages an alternate full-time career, family obligations, and writes as if it’s a second full-time job, my day is filled from top to bottom with stuff to do. I suspect it’s the same for you.

     

    So what is up with editors, agents, and publishers who treat their time as if it’s directly doled out by God, when they treat the writer’s time as if it’s doled out by the guy lying by the trash can sucking off a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag?

     

    As busy as I am, when someone takes the time to write me, either at my website or my Examiner.com site, I take the time, even if I can only write a line or two. I think this shows simple respect.

     

    On occasion, when an agent deigns to reply, they’re sure to let me know just how fortunate I am to have received a reply from his or her highness. This dichotomy is baffling, the people who need what writers produce in order to put food on their tables, can’t be bothered to show the simple etiquette they were taught in kindergarten.

     

    I understand that these folks receive submissions by the tons. However, their excuses for failing to respond, leaving writers to wait and wonder, fall on deaf ears by the rare few who do extend the simple courtesies.

     

    Recently an agent specifically request I send her material. Although part of this was my fault for waiting too long, she kept me hanging for eight months and only replied to my email after I’d notified her I was no longer interested in her representation.

     

    However, my advice is to continue to be polite and respectful yourself and don’t lower yourself to this, apparently, much too acceptable behavior in the industry.