“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” ~ John Adams
America is not a democracy, it is a democratically elected Republic. We elect those who represent us democratically, i.e. via a majority vote. That’s as far as we go as far as being a democratic society. The power and authority these elected representatives wield while serving the people are limited and defined by a Constitution, with certain rights being placed beyond their reach in a Bill of Rights which they cannot touch.
A republic can only survive as long as the electors, We the People, hold true to the principles that are contained with a nation’s constitution. The moment the people begin to disregard those principles a nation begins to transform from a republic into a democracy. In a democracy the majority always gets what it wants. It has been said that a democracy is two wolves and a sheep discussing what is for dinner. I prefer to think of it as a society in which the rights of any one group might be lost simply because a majority votes them away. Continue reading
It just boggles my mind that people cannot see what is going on in this country with regards to the never ending battle to deprive us of our right to keep and bear arms. How I wish that people had an internal switch that they could flip to turn off their emotions and examine the facts without emotion getting in the way. But unfortunately, Samuel Adams was correct when he said that “Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.” Therefore any argument in support of less gun control is bound to fail because it will be confronted with the argument that you support more public shootings and more children dying. You could provide mountains of factual evidence and have it logically arranged to arrive at a desired conclusion yet you will lose your argument because you cannot defeat the people’s overwhelming desire to be safe and secure from ‘gun toting crazy people.’
Yet that cannot cause me not to try and force feed some logic to your illogical arguments, can it? Continue reading
The other night at work I overheard someone ask when our next holiday is. While even I enjoy an occasional day off from work, and a paid one at that, it got me wondering if people just enjoy the day off without ever giving any thought to the true meaning of the holiday they are getting off work for. I’m sure that there are some who think about it, while for others it may just be a momentary flicker of recognition as to why they are getting the day off. Continue reading
When I was growing up as a kid, way before Man of Steel, before Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of him, there was a TV version of Superman with the title role played by actor George Reeves. At the beginning of every episode was the same voice over that repeated the following words, “Superman – defender of law and order, champion of equal rights, valiant, courageous fighter against the forces of hate and prejudice, who disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.”
What did they mean by the American way? Continue reading
Have you ever heard the word fester? Do you know what it means? It can be used in many connotations, but there is one which I would like to take a moment to discuss. In this connotation to fester means “a negative feeling or problem which becomes worse, or more intense, especially through long-term neglect or indifference.” and for those of you who may not know this, indifference is the same as apathy. Festering is what happens when you get a sliver but don’t remove it immediately; it sits there and fills up with puss and may become infected. Continue reading
On Wednesday January 17, 1979, amidst a group of other young men, I stood in a room in Oakland California and raised my right hand and stated the following words, “I, Neal H. Ross, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…“
I can’t say what was running through the minds of those other young men in the room thirty plus years ago, but I know upholding the Constitution was the last thing on mine. I had recently been laid off due to budget shortfalls in the State of California which caused me to lose a damned good job working for our city’s public works department which had vacation, a pension, and medical. So I was in need of a job, desperate, and running out of options. The military seemed my only option, so I chose the easiest path, the Air Force. As I stood there mindlessly repeating that oath I was thinking more about what I had gotten myself into than about defending a document I had never read in its entirety. Continue reading
head out ass
I know some of the people who read my articles may not be Christian, and therefore some of the things I am about to say may not sit well with them, but these are my views and as long as the First Amendment still retains some of its protection over freedom of speech I intend to keep speaking what’s on my mind. You can take what I say with a grain of salt if you want, but I believe that evil exists, it has a name and a face and it is currently more powerful than ever.
If you have read the Bible what is the first thing you read about man after making their appearance on Earth? It is how the serpent tempted Eve, and how she in turn convinced Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. Their disobedience to God’s command not to eat from the tree of knowledge caused them to be banned from Eden. Whether or not you believe in the Bible as being the word of God literally, the first story, (if you want to call it that), is of how succumbing to evil causes man to lose that which is precious to him.
Fast forward to the Founding of our Republic… Continue reading
Prior to the summer of 1787 the government of these States united was a joke. It lacked any real authority to enforce the laws it passed and the States went about their business disregarding their responsibility to provide revenue to support it. Also, due to no regulatory ability there were so many varied restrictions and tariffs imposed that trade amongst the States, and with foreign nation’s suffered so much that it almost completely can to a standstill. Something had to be done, and done quickly. Continue reading
How many of you, (and be honest), when you go to vote know little to nothing about the candidates you are casting your vote for? How many of you just look to see if there is an R or a D next to their name and vote for the candidates belonging to the same political party you do? Is that a fair assessment of how extensively you check a candidate out before electing them to office? Although there probably are exceptions to this rule, I would bet that this is how most people vote. Sure, there may be some who watch the campaign ads and the debates to help them formulate an opinion among candidates of the same party, but I would venture to guess that there are very few who do any kind of extensive research on candidates from the ‘other’ party, or their own party for that matter. Continue reading
Moments after being sworn in as the first president of these States United under the new Constitution, George Washington stated, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” I’m going to be blunt, does that mean anything at all to you, or as Andy Dufresne asks the warden in The Shawshank Redemption, “Are you obtuse?” In case you’re not aware, obtuse means slow to understand something. Continue reading
The First Amendment protects, among other things, the freedom of speech. It does not demand that you speak, it only protects your right to do so. It does not require that you obtain a permit to speak nor does it require that you register your speech with the government. It also does not limit how many words you can use when you speak, or write an article or book. Free speech cannot be restricted simply because another takes offense at what you say. However there are some common sense rules that one should apply when exercising their right to speak freely. For instance, one should not burst out with a sudden inspired oration during church or while in a movie theater as it would disturb the others in attendance. One should not speak falsely about the character or actions of another as that is slander or libel. But other than that, free speech is just that…free and unlimited. Continue reading
I know that I am not alone in feeling the way I do about my country. Unlike magnets where opposites attract, human beings tend to gravitate towards those who share similar beliefs. While it is true that there is strength in numbers, one has to be very careful not to fall into a herd mentality and allow others to think for them. From my own experience that is what sets me, and the friends I have chosen, apart from the vast majority of people in this country…we tend to think for ourselves. Continue reading
My last article spoke of my belief that history, particularly that of your own country, is important in understanding the how and the why of our system of government was established, the principles it was established upon, and more importantly, how it has shifted over the two centuries America has been in existence.
Americans are fond of tossing the word tyrant around in regards to the leaders of other countries, yet they are unwilling to do the same in respect to their own leaders. The word tyrant has become a catch phrase used to describe anyone whose policies and rule we dislike. One of the first definitions found in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary for the word tyrant is, “a ruler who has complete power over a country and who is cruel and unfair.” Yet there is another definition, which may come from Plato and Aristotle, which states that a tyrant is, “an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution.” Continue reading
As anyone who has read even a few of my commentaries knows, I like to quote the Founding Fathers…a lot! I think since it was they who were alive during our war for independence, and since it was they who directly participated in the writing of our founding documents, that their beliefs should hold much more value than those of modern day politicians and political pundits.
That does not mean that our Founders were perfect men, they weren’t, not by any stretch of the imagination. But what makes them so incredible, and therefore their views so valuable, was the fact than at a single moment in history so many men with so much intellect and understanding of politics and human nature, came together and established a system of government based upon individual liberty. Continue reading
A friend of mine shared this public service announcement on his Facebook page that has me outraged to the point I can barely speak about it rationally, but I will try. The ad begins with this kid who peeks into his sisters room while she is reading a book on her bed. Then he goes into a room, (his parents?) and opens a dresser drawer and removes a handgun. He then takes the pistol to his room and puts it into his backpack then lays back on his bed.
It fades to the kid walking down the aisle at school into a classroom. The camera shows the faces of the students and you think that at any time he’s gonna pull the gun out and start shooting. Then at the end the bell rings and the kids file out. The boy is left alone with his teacher. He walks up to her desk, puts his backpack on the desk and pulls out the pistol and sets in on the teachers desk. The teacher is shocked, but then the kid says, “Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house.” Continue reading
Honestly, I hadn’t planned on writing another article for 2014, especially one on Christmas Day. Then a friend posted an image on Facebook and got the gears turning in my head and…well here I am again at this keyboard spitting out my thoughts.
I suppose I should begin by sharing the words that inspired this whole thing. As I said, a friend posted an image on Facebook this morning and it was just a simple box with the following words “Rules won’t make a virtuous society because good people don’t need them, and bad people won’t follow them.”
That right there sums up all that is wrong with America today; all that is wrong with society, AND with government. It’s amazing what the proper combination of words can do; eighteen simple words explains what I’ve been trying to get across using thousands of them. Continue reading
“Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible.” ~ Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane (1821)
Let’s be honest, America has lost its way, it has forgotten who and what it is. People today blame one political party or the other for the problems this country currently faces, while others blame the gridlock between the two parties for our problems. If you want the truth, neither of those two reasons are the real problem for all the problems in America today.
Think about it, we have what’s known as a representative form of government. It is not a democracy where the majority gets what they want all the time. It is not a dictatorship or an oligarchy were one man, or a small group of men, decide what is best for the country and their will is supreme. Under our system we choose candidates to represent the people in the management of the government. At the time it was established the states also had a say in the federal government by way of their choosing the members of the Senate. But that balance of power was shifted when they tinkered with the system by ratifying the 17th Amendment, giving the power of electing Senators to the people.
So now the system truly is representative of the people who inhabit this land due to the fact that we choose the president; we choose members to the House of Representatives; and we choose the Senators to represent our states.
The key word in all this is ‘represent‘. One of the definitions for the word represent is to express or explain what is happening or what people think. So if our government is disjointed and dysfunctional it is because we as a people are disjointed and dysfunctional. In that, our government truly is a mirror held up to the people it represents. Continue reading
~ Foreword ~
© Steven Michael
I knew from the onset that this was going to be lengthy and quite detailed. I realized that due to this fact that it would preclude it being read by many people. I also no longer care. I write for those who are willing to take the time to educate themselves, not for those who are too lazy to turn off their TV’s for an hour or two to read something that may teach them something they didn’t know. I also write solely for the purpose of staying at a certain level of proficiency at the actual act of writing. Writing is a skill, that unless practiced, is lost. So I write as much for myself as I do for you. That being said, if you wish to learn something, then please continue reading. (N.R.) Continue reading
In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that November 11 should be celebrated as Armistice Day, stating, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
In 1945 a movement, led by Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran, pushed to expand Armistice Day to cover all veterans. In May of 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill into law declaring that November 11 be a day of celebration for all veterans. A month later Congress amended the bill renaming it Veterans Day. Continue reading
In 1831 the French government sent Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont to the United States to study our prison system. But the underlying reason for their visit was to study our country as a whole, particularly with respect towards our young republic and our democracy. The result of their 271 day visit is Democracy in America with Volume 1 being written in 1835 and Volume 2 being completed five years later.
I recently purchased both volumes in one single paperback book. For the longest time it sat on my shelf because I was apprehensive about starting the daunting task of reading a book of nearly 1,000 pages. Finally I mustered up the courage to open it up and begin reading. I was pleasantly surprised that the reading was not as dry as I had expected. In fact de Tocqueville writes in a style that is quite enjoyable to read. My only concern is that I do not have enough highlighters as I have been highlighting passages left and right as I make my way through it. Continue reading
Imagine a small farming and ranching community just outside a large city. Imagine that these farmers and ranchers gather together and decide that they need a body to settle disputes and manage the affairs of the community. So they constitute a city hall and hire a sheriff to maintain law and order.
For awhile things go smoothly, nobody bothers anybody else and the community prospers. Then let’s say the city council decides that it wants to fix up the roads in the community, but to do so they need to raise revenue. So they impose a tax on the farmers and ranchers. The community agrees that it would be nice to have some paved roads, so they agree to the small increase in taxes. Continue reading
When I got home from work last night I checked my e-mails and at the very top of the list was a CNN News update saying that you were going to make a statement regarding the ‘urgent humanitarian situation’ along the Southwest border. All night long I tossed and turned because I was so angry I could not fall asleep.
You people created this humanitarian situation, and by ‘you people’ I mean every one of you idiots in Washington D.C…AND your predecessors.
I know your fond of blaming George W. Bush for the mess you inherited, and in some things you did inherit a mess. But you know something, you applied for the job. You knew what you were getting yourself in to. So stop blaming Bush. Do you remember a guy named Harry Truman? He was a President once. Well President Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here”. Why don’t you grow a set of balls and accept the fact that while you occupy the Oval Office whatever happens in this country is YOUR responsibility. If you can’t accept that then maybe you shouldn’t have run for office in the first place. Continue reading
Can I ask a favor? Could you turn off your TV’s, your cell phones and put on your thinking caps for just a few minutes and ponder the things I am about to say. Not that what I am about to say/ask will make a whole lot of difference in the end, but it will at least cause you to think about something that has been floating around in the back of my mind for quite some time now. Honestly, it won’t take long and it WON’T hurt.
First of all I want you to think about our Constitution; what is it and from where does it derive it’s authority?
Is it merely a list of suggestions, a guideline if you will, which our government may follow; is it something general, with the so-called general welfare clause allowing our government to take whatever measures it deems necessary to maintaining peace and prosperity for the United States?
Or is it the law by which all government officials are bound, (by oath I might add) to obey? Continue reading
On the opening day of the Constitutional Convention Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph raised four concerns which would guide the delegates in their search for ways to amend the Articles of Confederation, or replace it with something which they felt would better suit the needs of a growing nation. These four points were: what properties a government should possess, what the defects of the current confederation were, what dangers the United States currently faced, and what measures might remedy the above-mentioned situations. Continue reading
When we come into this world as babies we are pretty much blank slate with our minds empty and innocent and pure. Everything we become as an adult is due to the accumulation of knowledge and life events that occur over the course of our lives. Whatever prejudices we have, or belief systems we hold, they were somehow instilled into us as we grew from infants into adults.
This knowledge that we acquire and these beliefs we hold guide us in the choices we make and the way we live our lives. Sometimes we can change ourselves by acquiring more knowledge, but that would require that a person have the desire to expand their knowledge base instead of relying upon what they have already learned up to that point in their life. We can also change our belief system, but that is more difficult. To do so requires a deeper introspection and a lot of self examination. It often causes a condition known as cognitive dissonance, which is when an individual experiences stress due to having been exposed to information which contradicts the belief system they currently hold. In this instance many people simply refuse to accept the new, often valid, information, and go on believing what they have believed for years to avoid the stress having to accept the contradictory information causes them. Continue reading
It has been commented that I have strayed from my purpose in writing, that instead of trying to educate and inform people that I have taken to criticizing and insulting them. I won’t deny that I have, of late, felt a deep sense of frustration and, even, anger that the things I have written have not been effective in changing the hearts and minds of the people to whom I was addressing them. Nonetheless, I have been remiss and I apologize for being so harsh and critical. With that in mind I would like to attempt to write a bit about the general thoughts and beliefs of the men who existed during the time our country fought for its independence, and established our system of government. Continue reading
Do you think it is possible for a group of people to completely take over a country without firing a single shot? Most wars in which one country invades another end up costing countless lives on both sides before the invasion is either repelled, or is successful. Our country, our system of government, was unique in that the people, through representatives of the various states, gathered together and decided what type of government it should have. Even once an outline for this system of government was decided upon it had to be approved by the people of the states. Having just gone through a long bloody war to free themselves from a tyrant, it was an uphill battle to convince many of the people that this new system of government would not erode the authority of the states, and infringe upon the rights of the people.
So, let me rephrase my initial question. Do you think it is possible for a group, be it a nation, or simply a group of men, who oppose our system, to overthrow, or at least gain control of our system of government without the people realizing what has happened? Continue reading
Karl Marx, co-author of the Communist Manifesto, once said “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” By beginning this article with a quote from one of the founders of communism I already know that I will lose credibility among many who may otherwise have continued to read this article. That is unfortunate because bad people, or people whose views you disagree with, still occasionally get things right.
From the way I see things Marx could very well have been talking about the United States right here and now. People think that simply because they can go to the polls every few years and cast a ballot for their choice of candidates that they are making a difference. Most of those that do bother to vote go back to their lives feeling good about themselves, believing that they are actively participating in the democratic process of choosing the candidates that they believe will best serve them. They couldn’t be further from the truth. Continue reading
Mockingjay is Coming…
Regardless of what some people think, I’m not the brightest of light bulbs in the room. In other words, I don’t consider myself that damn smart. There is, however, one thing I am…stubborn. My wife says that I am matigas ng olo, which means hard headed. You see, when there is something that I really want to accomplish I simply don’t give up until I have achieved my goal. When I was in high school I tried out for wrestling and tennis. I was never really any good an either but on one occasion in each sport I decided that I was NOT going to go the entire season without a win. I dug my heals in and fought like hell until I did what I had set out to do…WIN!
If you are a regular reader of my little commentaries you will have noticed that for the past two weeks I haven’t written anything. It is not because I don’t care anymore about what is happening in this country, rather it is because I don’t see anything I have to say making one whole hell of a difference one way or the other.
As a sort of side experiment I have been printing out articles written by other writers, and I even printed out Frederic Bastiat’s book The Law, and took them to work for others to read. Nobody seemed to care about those as they weren’t written by me. That tells me one of two things. First that either people want me to do the research for them and then condense it into an easy to understand format, or secondly they read my articles as an amusement, a novelty, something written by someone that they know personally. Continue reading