The Presidents’ Day

Perhaps, if we, as Americans hold the office in the esteem it deserves, then maybe, just maybe, those who hold the Office and those who seek it, will too.

In 1971 under President Richard Nixon, the federal government established the idea of moving as many federal holidays to a Monday as possible. So, rather than celebrating President Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and  President Washington’s birthday on February 22nd, we celebrate ALL the presidents on one day, the third Monday in February. If you are my age, or a perhaps a older, you will likely remember the construction paper cutouts on the cork boards, the red cutout hearts, the black silhouette cutout of President Lincoln in one corner and one of President Washington in the other. Of course in every classroom, above the large and small letters of the alphabet, was the picture replicated below here by artist Ken Curtis. If you’re like me, you always wondered why it wasn’t finished.

george-washington

Was there a time when those two presidents, or  any of the presidents, held a more esteemed place in the minds and hearts of American citizens? Was there any time when those who held the Office of President carried with them a fuller understanding of the weight of the responsibility and the history that it contains? Is there still a sense of awe by a citizen, or better yet by a long term president,  when they enter the Oval Office? I want there to be.

A very long time ago, I had just finished my Air Force basic training. I was then assigned to the Security Police Training Squadron at Lackland AFB, literally across the street from where I had my basic training. One of my first nights out was to go to the base theater to watch whatever was the newest available movie in 1975. I will never forget what happened next. Just before the movie was to start, the American flag filled the screen and the National Anthem began. Immediately, with a thunderous sound, one hundred plus Airmen stood to the feet, at attention. A wave of goosebumps washed over me and I knew that I had become part of something special.

That feeling returns to me every time the Stars and Stripes fly and in public places, I see Americans with their hands over their hearts or rendering a hand salute. Their is a wave of emotion when I stand as a flag draped coffin moves past me or as uniformed soldiers meticulously fold a flag to present it to a veteran’s survivor.

Whenever I travel across the world and I return to home, as I walk into a U.S. airport customs area and there is a large sign  by the American flag that says, Welcome to the United States of America, I am reminded of that feeling. When a customs officer hands me my passport and says, “Welcome Home” I know I have truly come home.

In the movie, National Treasure Book of Secrets, Ben (Nicholas Cage) is face to face with the President and says, “…And because you’re the President of the United States, sir. Whether by innate character or the oath you took to defend the Constitution or the weight of history that falls upon you, I believe you to be an honorable man, sir.” The President Bruce Greenwood, says, “Gates, people don’t believe that stuff anymore.” And to the President, Gates replies: “They want to believe it.”

Whether you believe in a limited federal government and fiscal conservativeness or you believe in an expanded government with increasing social programs, you want to believe in that of which Gates spoke. If so, you are sick and tired of the fighting, backstabbing, limitless pettiness combined with gargantuan egos that have been the hallmark of the campaigns thus far.

May I suggest that on this President’s Day we continue to avoid what our forefather’s worried about, and that was the elevation of the Office of the President to royal status by remembering they are but humans? At the same time, I urges us to resolve to place on the Office the level of respect and integrity it demands. Perhaps, if we, as Americans hold the office in the esteem it deserves, then maybe, just maybe, those who hold the Office and those who seek it, will too.

VETERANS NOT CAPABLE

all military vets, merely because they are vets, are mentally ill.

9 MARCH 2013

Mrconservative.com reports:

“Sen Dianne Feinstein (D. Cal.) has long been a fanatic gun control advocate.  Yesterday, she upped the ante by declaring that all military vets, merely because they are vets, are mentally ill. On that ground alone she insists that vets should be denied any exemption to her extremist gun control bill.”

I am not certain what must overtake the electorate of California for them to come to terms with the total lunacy of their Senator Feinstein? What could possibly be the reason that Sen. Feinstein could make such a statement regarding veterans? Is it possible for her to truly believe what she has said? What will it take for her to be relegated to the annals of Washington history?

Veteran’s organizations across California must rally to keep her from doing any further damage. Her term in office does not end until January 3, 2019. She is currently 79 years of age and will be 85 years of age by the time her term ends. If there is anyone ‘not capable’ it must be Senator Feinstein. Read her rambling yet incontrovertible statement that PTSD is a new phenomenon that began with the Iraq war and because of that veterans are mentally ill and should not own guns.

California Senator Feinstein
California Senator Feinstein

 

An American’s Response to His Government

 

“God forbid that we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion.” – Thomas Jefferson[i] 

To what was Thomas Jefferson referring? A dozen years following the Declaration of Independence, a dispute exacerbated by poor economic conditions led some folks, particularly of Massachusetts, to rebel. The outbreak of violence, known as Shay’s Rebellion, stirred leaders to call a convention to establish a Constitution rather than the Articles of Confederation and to promote inter-state trade. The rebellion was quickly quelled and only a few lives were lost; eventually President Washington pardoned those convicted of treason citing that it was ignorance not malevolence that encouraged them to action.

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Still, one wonders how a man like Jefferson who sought always after a peaceful life surrounded by nature and his love of architecture could promote rebellion within the U.S.

Thomas Jefferson feared the lethargy of the people over a rebellion conspired by discontent. He believed that usually the discontent will be from the ignorance of some, they being misinformed of the propriety of certain government actions. He writes:

“The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.”[ii]

Lethargy of the citizenry should be feared more than insurrection. How lethargic is the population of the U.S. in 2013? (Notice, I did not ask if they are lethargic.) In today’s modern world, men often believe themselves well informed if only they drink of the pablum of mainstream media. It is possible however, with some effort to be accurately informed on the issues of state. If they are well-informed and thereby discontented, assured of the legitimacy under the Constitution of their stand; would Jefferson still be inclined to give them a free pass for rebellion? I believe he would based on his own writings wherein he has questions himself on the legitimacy of the actions of some and even questions concerning the Constitution. (Contrary to popular understanding, Jefferson was not involved in the writing of the Constitution directly though his thoughts on limited federal government and power in the hands of the people is certainly part and parcel of the document.) His strongest argument in support of revolution, however, is not a desire for anarchy but his fear of the lethargy of the people. That would be America’s death sentence.

Jefferson is often quoted from this same letter about the tree of liberty and it needing to be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants. A realist, Jefferson saw that revolt was more critical than peace if that peace is promoted by the people’s lethargy. He reasoned that if an uprising of the people cost a few lives then a few in consideration of the greater citizenry was not critical. Few quote the next sentence from the ‘tree of liberty’ portion of the letter. Please, allow me:

“It is its natural manure.” [iii]

DEATH: Who Chooses When It is All Right to Die?

In a recent article in the The Weekly Standard it was reported that twenty-three percent of Dutch doctors feel they have no obligation to report any time they have completed a euthanasia procedure. That isn’t all, in Flemish, Belgium thirty-two percent of euthanasia procedures take place without the request, consent or even notice to a relative of the person euthanized. If you think that through, once the “patient” is deceased, who is to know if they ever consented to their own death? Who is the wiser?

Oh, but not to worry, that is in the Netherlands and as liberal as they are, there is no real risk of such practices coming here, right? Not exactly. In the states of Washington and Oregon, euthanasia is legal. In fact, not only is it legal, it is easier to complete than it is to witness a Last Will and Testament. According to the The Weekly Standard report, in Seattle Washington, a person cannot be a witness to a will if that person is also a recipient of an endowment from the will, for fear of duress or undue influence. However, according to a Seattle attorney, quoted in the article, an heir can witness a request for euthanasia, can go to the pharmacy to pick up the deadly prescription, and can administer the lethal dose up to a year after the prescription is written to their relative with no other witnesses present, and this heir need not have any medical training whatsoever to administer the lethal ‘medicine’.

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Consider for a moment how many due process arguments and hearings must take place before a convicted criminal is executed. “But the protections accorded to those accused of capital crimes- however imperfect – are completely out of reach for a patient that doctors, health care facility, insurer and family have decided would be better off dead.”[i] (emphasis added) And that is in the United States! According to the report, “Oregon and Washington have no meaningful precautions against wrongful euthanasia, no procedures for discipline, or hearings or board of review. Doctors report their own cases and there is no penalty for not doing so.”[ii] (emphasis added)

Returning briefly to the Dutch, Dr. Joris Slaets, a professor of geriatric medicine estimates the patient’s life goals, vitality and life expectancy before he decides whether they are “worthy of further therapy.” He unsuccessfully attempted to dissuade an 80 year old woman from heart surgery, a surgery from which she recovered and is doing well.

The Hippocratic Oath, as translated by Michael North, National Library of Medicine, states “…I will do no harm or injustice to them. I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.”[iii] Not that I hold much concern for an oath made to Apollo and a stack of other Greek gods; but when anyone makes an oath in solemn acceptance of its wording and then so flagrantly disregards it, even one made to ancient gods and goddesses, where is the line that they will not cross?

There is an old joke that goes… ‘Be kind to your children, they are the ones who will chose your nursing home.’ Well, perhaps it is much more of a concern than choosing a nursing home when they are able to decide not where you will live but if you will live. It may be, not even they who decide, since in the Netherlands the doctors can choose what to do with you without even telling your children. Perhaps it is some form of misguided justice… the generation that failed to speak up for the unprotected unborn becomes the first generation to be the unprotected too old to live.


[i] Schulman, Sam “Last Rights” The Weekly Standard” Nov. 12, 2012

[ii] Ibid.