Racism: The Rhetorical Pacifier of Moral Qualms about Slavery

Thomas Jefferson is cited frequently in the historical scholarship on slavery because he spoke often and well about its moral and political implications. He eloquently expressed the self-acknowledged hypocrisy and ambiguity of the founding generation. He owned 154 slaves in 1794, freeing only 10% of them, and only after he died. He favored emancipation, but by buying slaves from their owners and preserving property rights. Both pro and anti-slavery forces laid claim to his writings for Civil War propaganda, with equal authority. . . .

Jefferson’s protectiveness of his way of life and property, helps to explain the era’s embarrassed hypocrisy about open violation of Revolutionary ideals. Justice Curtis hopefully argued in his Dred Scott dissent that the framers meant to act someday on their promises. . . .

The Constitution is an expression of the commitments of its framers and ratifiers — commitments to be developed and lived up to over time. . . .

The framers made a decision both to hold onto the idealism of the Revolutionary and Founding periods and to admit their own weakness and sinfulness. . . .

Tania Tetlow

Excerpted from: Slavery: a Crisis of Conscience , 3 Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law 1-46, 6-16 (Fall 2001) (240 Footnotes)

The moral arguments condemning slavery so obvious to us today did not elude the founders. While it is comforting that the founders did not indulge in a practiced ignorance, the very consciousness of their choice indicts their involvement in the tragedies that followed. I start here by giving a very brief overview of the governmental decisions on slavery made during the founding period, sketching the historical debate on the strength of the practical and political barriers to emancipation, and then focusing on the rhetoric of the founders and their own descriptions of the necessity of their choices.

A. POLITICAL BARGAINING

As the colonies struggled to define their nationhood, the framers of a new constitution found themselves confronting the issue which seemed both antithetical to the ideals of the recent revolution and essential to the perceived economic needs of some who threatened to refuse to join the proposed union. Most members of the Constitutional Convention shared a ‘tepid anti- slavery sentiment,’ and almost every framer outside of South Carolina and Georgia spoke in opposition to slavery. The unapologetic slaveholders of the lower South, however, threatened disunion if their ‘property’ rights and huge economic stake in slavery were not protected. Proslavery forces used arguments of economic self-interest tinged with cynicism about other rights. Charles Pinckney, a delegate from the deep South, opposed a Bill of Rights because, ‘[s]uch bills generally begin with declaring that all men are by nature born free. Now, we should *6 make that declaration with a very bad grace, when a large part of our property consists in men who are actually born slaves.’ The antislavery impulses of the majority would bend to the higher good of unification.

In return for greater national control over commerce and trade, northern states (which had legal slavery, although it was not so central to their economies) agreed to delay any potential legislation on ending the slave trade. Article V removed this provision from the realm of amendment for twenty years. Article IV, Section 2 provided for the returning of fugitive slaves. The framers also made their most infamous compromise: to count slaves as three-fifths of a person for purposes of both taxation and representation. The South’s demand to count its non-voting slaves as population to increase its voting power in the House was eclipsed only by its unwillingness to be taxed on these same people. Madison defended the compromise in the Federalist Papers somewhat reluctantly: ‘Let the compromising expedient of the Constitution be mutually adopted which regards [slaves] as inhabitants, but be debased by servitude below the equal level of free inhabitants; which regards the slave as divested of two fifths of the man. ‘ The national government never did levy a tax *7 based upon population, thus the three-fifths compromise served to aggrandize southern political power without costing its taxpayers a cent.

The framers refused to name slavery as such in the Constitution and instead referred to slaves as ‘person[s] held to Service or Labour.’ The framers’ reference to slaves as ‘persons’ shows both their willingness to recognize slaves as persons, and their embarrassment about naming the institution in the Constitution.

The issue of the slave trade quickly resurfaced in the first Congress. In 1790, the Pennsylvania Abolition Society submitted a petition seeking to levy the constitutionally allowable tax of $10 on the importation of slaves in order to discourage the slave trade. The House voted 43-11 to send the issue to a committee, which reported back that Congress did indeed have the power to regulate the slave As southern representatives filibustered on the issue, northern support slipped and the measure died.

During this debate, slavery apologists repeatedly invoked the agreement which forged the Union. Representative Smith described this agreement sarcastically: ‘We therefore made a compromise on both sides, we took each other with our mutual bad habits and respective evils, for better or worse, the northern states adopted us with our slaves, we adopted them with their Quakers. ‘ There was a threatening tone to the debate. Many representatives from the lower South promised their intractability on the issue, and elaborated on the length to which *8 they would defend themselves. When Representative Scott expressed his moral indignation at slavery and declared that if he were a federal judge, ‘I am sure that I would go as far as I could, ‘ Representative Jackson responded with a threat, ‘I believe his judgment would be of short duration in Georgia, perhaps even the existence of such a judge might be in danger.’

The upper South eased manumission laws in the 1780s, but quickly hardened them again in the 1790s after the revolutions in France, and especially, in Haiti. The specter of slave revolt terrified slaveholders often seriously outnumbered by their slaves. In 1787, the Northwest ordinance prohibited slavery in the Midwest, although it did not emancipate existing slaves. In 1807, after the delay mandated by the Constitution, Congress banned the importation of slaves. These limited steps effectively isolated slavery to the South and half of the Mid- Atlantic area.

B. MISSED OPPORTUNITY?

Historians debate the feasibility of emancipation during the ideological glow of the post-revolutionary era and before the hardening of racial attitudes during the succeeding decades leading up to the war. It is tempting to believe that the moment of decision-making about national identity and ideals presented the best opportunity to avoid later disasters. Thomas Jefferson warned, without naming slavery, that ‘once that Revolutionary moment of collective determination passed, the people will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.’

*9 The historian Gary Nash argues that the Revolutionary period offered a moment of possible redemption for the founders. Antislavery feeling was at a pinnacle. The lower south was weak politically and represented very little population with which to threaten disunion; South Carolina and Georgia had no other viable options. After the Revolution, it was doubtful that any former colony would want to return to England’s control, and the threat from Indians and the neighboring Spanish colony of Florida should have ensured their reluctant acceptance of almost any condition to join the United States. Nash argues that various proposals offered at the time for a gradual purchased emancipation and resettlement of freed slaves in the west were feasible.

Other historians dispute these claims, casting serious doubt on the popular strength of antislavery rhetoric. David Brion Davis writes that the moment of emancipation could not have come with the revolution unless the slaves themselves had become involved as a significant military force. Historians, Davis argues, have too often underestimated the economic strength of slavery during the Revolutionary period, exaggerated the force of antislavery sentiment in the Upper South, and minimized the obstacles that abolitionists faced even in the northern states.

The nation stands condemned for lacking the collective determination to end slavery. For an individual assessing the possibilities of emancipation, however, the task must have seemed nearly impossible. The degree of federal power necessary to accomplish any kind of meaningful emancipation would have seemed unattainable and ill-advised to the founders. As an economic bulwark of half the country, its abolishment would have created a credible threat to the union.

These ‘what if’s’ play an important role in judging the types of choices made by our early government, but they depend for *10 proof on historical evidence of popular beliefs, political power, and economic possibilities, which I do not address here. Instead, I look to the rhetoric of the elite and the ways that they described their ideological plight through pragmatic concerns.

C. CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE

The moral struggle in the 1770s and 80s played out during an era of unusually conscious decision-making. The debate contained a remarkable degree of candid self-assessment, measuring the reality of slaveholding against the powerful rhetoric of freedom and equality. As Patrick Henry summed up the problem:

Would any one believe that I am Master of Slaves of my own purchase! I am drawn along by ye general Inconvenience of living without them; I will not, I cannot justify it. However culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence & rectitude of her Precepts & to lament my want of conformity to them. The political elite suffered an ethical crisis (or at least acute discomfort) because they knowingly violated the fundamental rights that they had so proudly fought for.

We tend to paint history with the broad brush of inevitability. We thus devalue the efforts and courage of those who fight for change, and lull ourselves into the belief that progress merely happens. ‘It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively.’ The founders chose slavery. We may understand their choice in terms of the economic, social, and political forces, that informed their decision, but recognizing ‘historical positivism’ is essential to accepting responsibility as a nation for the resulting allocation of burdens and benefits still now in place.

D. THE EXAMPLE OF THOMAS JEFFERSON

Thomas Jefferson is cited frequently in the historical scholarship on slavery because he spoke often and well about its *11 moral and political implications. He eloquently expressed the self-acknowledged hypocrisy and ambiguity of the founding generation. He owned 154 slaves in 1794, freeing only 10% of them, and only after he died. He favored emancipation, but by buying slaves from their owners and preserving property rights. Both pro and anti-slavery forces laid claim to his writings for Civil War propaganda, with equal authority.

Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence pilloried the King for vetoing colonial attempts to end the importation of slaves. It was struck out after objection from South Carolina.

[The King] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation hither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another. The omitted paragraph shows both Jefferson’s desire to put aside the slave trade with other imperially determined marks of tyranny and the fear of slaves, which would restrain him. Unfortunately for the historical force of his accusation against the English, however, the United States would wait to put off banning the slave trade for thirty years after Jefferson wrote this *12 document.

Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and the rhetoric of the Revolution, made masterful use of the language of ‘inalienable rights’ and equality, along with explicit complaints of the English ‘enslavement’ of the colonies. The hypocrisy of such statements did not escape notice; blacks themselves reminded the nation of the implications of the claim of fundamental rights.

Indeed, Jefferson seemed to understand the role slavery played in measuring the nation’s, and his, soul. He wrote in his Notes on the State of Virginia:

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange in situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! His fear arose both from the inevitability of divine retribution, and most of all from the possibility that the ‘exchange of situation’ might come by earthly means, as it did in Haiti and France.

Instead of urging action, however, he expressed the cautionary gradualism which would characterize the passivity of his position.

The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.–But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one’s mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of *13 heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than bytheir extirpation. Thomas Jefferson, unfortunately, counted himself among the believers in the inevitability of progress. ‘It is an encouraging observation that no good measure was ever proposed, which, if duly pursued, failed to prevail in the end.’ He wrote this to a young man concerned about the delay of real freedom, and counseled him against any immediate personal action. ‘I hope then, my dear sir, you will reconcile yourself to your country and its unfortunate condition.’ Jefferson did so.

While the historian Winthrop Jordan argues that racism accounted for Jefferson’s passivity (‘[i]t was neither timidity nor concern for reputation which restrained him. . .[but] genuine doubts’ about blacks,) David Brion Davis insists that Jefferson’s primary motive was a lack of courage, ‘icy caution,’ and the ‘genuine conviction that his power to do good depended on maintaining his reputation, or in other words, his social identity.’ This basic conservatism resulted from his obvious economic stake in slavery, the fear of drastic change, and fear of slaves themselves.

Much of Jefferson’s writing contains a palpable sense of fear. His vision of a new order was constrained by his recognition of the depth of black anger and the power of white racism:

Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expense of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race. *14 Jefferson, as a slaveholder, understood the paralyzing fear of losing control of a slave filled with righteous anger. ‘We have a wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is on one scale, and self-preservation in the other.’ He took the idea of self-preservation very seriously, and cautioned, ‘if something is not done, and done soon, we shall be the murderers of our own children.’ He projected a Dostoevsky-like image of the wrongdoer trapped in a prison of guilt and fear, fed by his own knowledge of the fate he deserves. Jefferson could imagine no other path than to preserve his power over those he had so wronged.

E. THE PROBLEM OF HYPOCRISY

Jefferson’s protectiveness of his way of life and property, helps to explain the era’s embarrassed hypocrisy about open violation of Revolutionary ideals. Justice Curtis hopefully argued in his Dred Scott dissent that the framers meant to act someday on their promises. But more cynical forces, the power of fear and the pull of interest, pointed the course of history elsewhere. A southern representative in the First Congress bluntly explained the interests involved, describing slavery as ‘so ingrafted into the policy of the southern states, that it could not be eradicated without tearing up by the roots their happiness, tranquility and prosperity–that if it were an evil, it was one for which there was no remedy, and therefore, like wise men, they acquiesced in it.’ Ideological inconsistencies that pit belief against personal wealth tend to bend belief.

Perhaps, as the historian Edmund Morgan suggests, slaveholders called so loudly for freedom from tyranny because they wanted never to experience what their own slaves did, creating ‘a special appreciation of the freedom dear to republicans, because they saw every day what life without it could be like. ‘ ‘Southerners,’ Jefferson wrote to the Marquis de Castellux, are ‘jealous of their own liberties but trampling on those of others.’

*15 The degree of utter ‘astonishment’ (as Patrick Henry called it), at the disparity between word and deed varied by the individual. George Washington, for example, spoke at times unflinchingly of the enslavement of Americans by the British. ‘The crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us tame and abject slaves, as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway.’ But the hypocrisy of such remarks did not escape him, and he did free all of his slaves, if only upon his and his wife’s death. He announced in 1786, as the owner of 216 slaves, that he would never buy another. With some discomfort he bought more slaves, but tried through various technicalities to have others make the actual purchase.

Focusing on this moment of crisis about slavery requires us to face basic questions about the meaning of hypocrisy. Which do we judge more harshly– ignorance and racism or the conscious, agonized choice to do the wrong thing? Usually, we deem hypocrisy the worse sin. The continuing popularity of Justice Taney’s characterization of the founders as honest racists, not hypocrites, rests on the power of his argument that the founders were ‘incapable of asserting principles inconsistent with those on which they were acting. ‘ We want to believe Taney because it seems more important that the founders were consistent and true to their beliefs and yet read a whole people out of the human race, then to admit that their decision rested on ‘ye general Inconvenience of living without’ slaves.

Taney’s misreading of slavery’s role in the ideological roots of the country creates two somewhat paradoxical problems. His historical argument assigns too little blame, as if the political actors made their choices out of mere ignorance, and only passively evolving notions of humanity could and did lead to freedom. And it gives them too little credit for the strength of their commitments. Acknowledging a failure to live up to one’s values, while holding onto those values, is more brave and more *16 hopeful, than merely shifting the belief to fit the action. Racism represented the escape from guilt to which the nation would quickly turn, but this period of honest sinfulness says much both about the strength of the founders’ commitments and the weakness of their resolve.

The way in which the founders struggled with the interaction of their beliefs and actions reveals more than mere hypocrisy. The Constitution is an expression of the commitments of its framers and ratifiers–commitments to be developed and lived up to over time. True devotion to a commitment means both honest acknowledgment of its binding nature and a willingness to make careful choices that do not represent shortsighted selfishness. These commitments represent more than mere majoritarian expressions of will at a particular moment. They are promises to and by the ‘people’, the individuals who are to be governed by the nation.

The framers made a decision both to hold onto the idealism of the Revolutionary and Founding periods and to admit their own weakness and sinfulness. As Patrick Henry perfectly summed up, ‘However culpable my conduct,I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence & rectitude of her Precepts & to lament my want of conformity to them. ‘ In a perverse way, the founders’ hypocrisy shows how strongly they believed in inalienable rights. They were not yet willing to lie to themselves about the acceptability of slavery. ‘[I]nconsistency is a small price to pay for greatness.’ The contortion of belief represents the abandonment of its true fulfillment, while an honest violation can prove temporary.

Unfortunately, Jefferson helped to lead the march to racism, the rhetorical pacifier of moral qualms about slavery.

The Third Reich Revisited

Political candidates of both parties refuse to accept the reality that the entirety of the original Constitutional intention and the Bill of Rights must be protected and preserved in order to uphold their oath of office. Every failure to uphold any original Constitutional intention permits the erosion of freedom and justice.

The Third Reich Revisited
History records the consequences of the horrendous abuses of unchallenged and tolerated usurpations of executive power visited upon the world by Hitler. The liberal media of today rejects any comparisons of the past they don’t want to remember to what government has become in the political and economic environment now engulfing our Nation. Political candidates of both parties refuse to accept the reality that the entirety of the original Constitutional intention and the Bill of Rights must be protected and preserved in order to uphold their oath of office. Every failure to uphold any original Constitutional intention permits the erosion of freedom and justice.
At the top of list of those robbing us of our freedoms and denying us justice is the tyranny of Obama and his socialist administration joined by all the politicians who supported and continue to support his agenda to destroy America. Further down on the list are the candidates who are currently seeking the presidency. Perhaps at the bottom of the list is Rick Santorum, but even he has failed to commit to protecting our Second Amendment rights. One need only recall what resulted when Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-tung, and others throughout history succeeded in divesting their populations of their ability to fight injustice and tyranny.
What America needs is a leader not seeking political power, but one willing to sacrifice to reclaim our heritage. Washington was unanimously elected with all 69 votes of the electoral college drawn from members of all the political parties at the time. He went on to refuse any compensation for his services to this Nation beyond expenses. How far we have come to a president who lavishes himself and his cronies with politically motivated, exorbitantly costly junkets at taxpayer expense while betraying our Nation’s economic and security interests and implementing his corrupted, unjust, and historically proven failed agendas of socialism. From czars and the associated Federal bureaucracy unconstitutionally created by Obama, government has taken on the character of injustice at unprecedented levels. Notice how the liberals who want to rob the American worker of their endowed right to pursue happiness are insulated by already obtained wealth and political power often gained by injustices perpetrated on the very ones they claim to represent. The lies and deceptions of the propaganda machine spewing from the politicians and cesspools of corruption must be countered with the truth of science and history. Be it the unconstitutional stacking of the NLRB without Senate consent to the Obama forced NDAA unconstitutional provisions, our freedom and justice are being taken by tolerating the injustice of the political establishment.
Please understand that this message is not only to educate the public about the war against “enemies, foreign and domestic”, but more importantly, to enlist your support in the form of a vote to reclaim America. Voting is the responsibility of every American. Our Nation is on a threshold where we must decide whether we are going to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” or tolerate the injustice heaped upon us by the tyranny of the Federal bureaucracy. In order to restore liberty and justice for all The Committee for the Constitution is calling on all loyal Americans to communicate this message to all they have contact with and then for those to do the same. It is particularly important that every citizen contact their respective legislators at every level of government and let them know that without them becoming accountable to the citizens who elect them they will not hold public office in these United States of America. Established in the model of the Committees of Correspondence used to communicate during the Revolution, The Committee for the Constitution is critically dependent on patriotic Americans spreading this message by eMail, phone, or personal contact, and then for each citizen willing to stand and fight injustice to take up arms by responsible and informed voting. The Committee for the Constitution will continue to try to keep you informed with only truth and fact validate by true science and history. Enlist in this new civil war to reclaim our heritage.
There are realistic workable solutions to unemployment, out-of-control healthcare costs, unbridled capitalism, judicial activism, government bureaucracy, and the long list of the other injustices corroding and decaying the heritage paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of loyal Americans. There is no need to amend the Constitution if Congress will uphold its oath of office. More than any president, even, who some would call traitorous, Obama, Congress must be held accountable! This Committee for the Constitution has published many articles offering concrete and effective solutions for the crises we now face. We stand ready to share these alternatives by media phone interviews by contacting us at CftC@CommitteefortheConstitution.org to make the arrangements.

The AG’s attack on voter ID laws may backfire legally and politically.

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Eric Holder must be amazed that President Obama was elected and he could become Attorney General. That’s a fair inference after the Attorney General last Friday blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law on grounds that it would hurt minorities. What a political abuse of law.

In a letter to South Carolina’s government, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez called the state law—which would require voters to present one of five forms of photo ID at the polls—a violation of Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Overall, he noted, 8.4% of the state’s registered white voters lack photo ID, compared to 10% of nonwhite voters.

This is the yawning chasm the Justice Department is now using to justify the unprecedented federal intrusion into state election law, and the first denial of a “pre-clearance” Voting Rights request since 1994.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act was created to combat the systematic disenfranchisement of minorities, especially in Southern states with a history of discrimination. But the Justice position is a lead zeppelin, contradicting both the Supreme Court and the Department’s own precedent. In 2005, Justice approved a Georgia law with the same provisions and protections of the one Mr. Holder nixed for South Carolina. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board that an Indiana law requiring photo ID did not present an undue burden on voters.

1voterID

Getty Images – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

A second case offers a further glimpse into the High Court’s perspective on the modern use of Section 5. In 2009’s Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder, the Court declined to decide the question of the constitutionality of Section 5, writing that while it imposes “substantial federalism costs,” the “importance of the question does not justify our rushing to decide it.” But the Justices didn’t stop there.

They also cast real doubt on the long-term viability of the law, noting in an 8-1 decision by Chief Justice John Roberts that it “imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs.” That such strong criticism was signed by even the Court’s liberals should concern Mr. Holder, who may eventually have to defend his South Carolina smackdown in court.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley tells us she “will absolutely sue” Justice over its denial of her state’s law and that challenge will go directly to federal district court in Washington, D.C. From there it may be appealed directly to the Supreme Court, which would have to consider whether South Carolina can be blocked from implementing a law identical to the one the High Court approved for Indiana, simply because South Carolina is a “covered” jurisdiction under the Voting Rights Act.

In such a scenario, Mr. Holder’s tactics could well doom Section 5 itself. That’s a big gamble for the sake of trying to stir up election-year minority voter turnout.

Civil-rights groups claim this Justice offensive is needed to counteract a voting environment in which little has changed since Jim Crow. But South Carolina’s law, like Indiana’s and Georgia’s, explicitly addresses potential disenfranchisement by offering state-issued IDs free of charge. When civil-rights groups fretted about the ability of minority voters to get to the local Department of Motor Vehicles to pick up a free state-issued ID card, Governor Haley created an 800 number to offer free rides to anyone who couldn’t afford the transportation. About 30 people called.

In October, the South Carolina Department of Elections reported that some 240,000 state voters lacked ID cards. The DMV now says more than 200,000 of those had allowed their IDs to expire, lived in other states or were dead.

The Voting Rights Act was once needed to counteract the gap between black and white voter registration. By 2009 the gap had narrowed to a few percentage points in some covered states while blacks out-registered whites in others. Yet Justice retains a federal veto on election-law changes no matter how innocuous or racially neutral. Section 5 has become a vehicle not to pursue equal access to the polls but to play the grossest kind of racial politics.

As African-American men at the most exalted reaches of government, Messrs. Obama and Holder are a testament to how much racial progress the country has made. It’s a shame to see them pretending little has changed so they can scare up some votes.

Beneath Growth, a Sea of Poison

Today’s jobs report from the Department of Labor was encouraging news for the U.S. economy. It shows that 200,000 jobs were created and the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.7 percent to 8.5 percent. Jobs were created in every sector of the economy save one — government! This report is consistent with other economic indicators and shows that the economy is finally coming out of its malaise. But like any reports, they must be put into context. The creation of 200,000 new jobs is solid growth and above the 130,000 to 150,000 new jobs that must be created to keep up with population growth. However, this doesn’t mean happy times are here again.

There are not enough Americans working or looking for work. In fact participation in the labor force is at its lowest point in 30 years as many potential workers are not yet even attempting to find jobs. Moreover, at this stage in a recovery, new jobs should be surging instead of averaging less than 140,000 for the last three months. So all is not well and President Obama should not check the “mission accomplished” box. In fact, Obama’s painful economic policies will only serve to further hamstring America’s economic engine, thereby preventing a truly strong, vibrant economy that the country is capable of having.

The President single-handedly unleashed another poison pill on Wednesday with the White House’s announcement that he will exact another illegal, unconstitutional end-run around Congress with the appointment of three new members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) without Senate approval, all of whom are union officials. Here’s why that matters.

The NLRB is a five-member board that is responsible for investigating unfair labor practices, creating labor-related rules, and conducting elections for labor union representation. Last year the NLRB enacted measures shortening union elections to as little as 14 days, limiting employees’ ability to hear from both sides before they vote, allowing unions to cherry-pick which workers in a company can vote on unionizing, and preventing workers from insisting on a secret ballot in union drives, as Heritage’s James Sherk explains. These measures will make it much easier for unions to organize workers — but at the expense of workers’ rights. If workers want to join a union they have that right — management gets the union it deserves — but the government should not limit their rights in order to press workers into unionizing.

Prior to the President’s appointments, the NLRB had only three sitting members, with the one member’s term ending at the end of 2012. Were the NLRB to go down to two members, it wouldn’t have a quorum to conduct its business, meaning that the President’s Big Labor agenda couldn’t be enacted. Now, though, the President has appointed three new members who will undoubtedly carry out his agenda without any checks or balances.

And that agenda is to bolster America’s unions — a key constituency and political force standing behind the President. Unfortunately, their goal is not primarily to protect workers. The trouble is that the Big Labor agenda is fundamentally at odds with the pro-growth agenda that America is so thirsty for. Sherk explains:

Unions make businesses less competitive and discourage investment. This reduces job growth. Studies show that jobs fall by 5-10 percent at newly organized firms. Going forward, employment grows by three to four percentage points more slowly at unionized businesses than at otherwise identical non-union companies.

In short, America is witnessing President Obama put his Big Labor allies before workers, all in the guise of taking action on behalf of the American people. America’s job creators are sitting on the sidelines, as well, watching as this President takes actions that serve only to inject more poisonous uncertainty into the economy.

Apart from the economic ramifications of the President’s actions, the American people should also remember that his NLRB appointments are a blatantly unconstitutional, tyrannical abuse of power. The U.S. Constitution requires that the President receive the advice and consent of the Senate when making appointments — a requirement that President Obama entirely set aside in order to advance his agenda.

Today, the President may say he is finding success in fighting for the American worker, but in truth he is fighting for his political allies. Beneath the surface of his populist rhetoric, his policies are poisoning strong economic growth. And for the President, the Constitution is collateral damage.

Washington Update

The President may be gutting our national defense budget, but don’t worry. We may not have money for weapons, but Homeland Security just bought enough snow cone machines to fight the next cold war. Yesterday, President Obama stood at the Pentagon’s podium and announced steep new cuts to the U.S. Defense Department. Although he wouldn’t divulge exactly where the $487 billion would come from, the President is estimated to scale back the size of the Army and Marine Corps by more than 120,000, which will significantly impact security for all families–not to mention military families and their benefits. (To them, the message may as well be, “Thank you for your years of sacrifice. The unemployment line starts over there.”) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the new plan would also put the brakes on weapons development, missile defense, and America’s nuclear force.

Clearly, the White House is looting national security to make room for its pricy liberal domestic agenda. And under the Budget Control Act, the Pentagon will be staring down another half-trillion dollars in cuts if Congress and the President can’t reach a deal. “I’m sympathetic to the challenges that we face in terms of the deficit,” former Secretary Robert Gates said last November. “But the truth of the matter is…the Department of Defense is not the problem.” He’s right. The White House is trying to balance the budget on the backs of the military, while domestic spending balloons out of control. It’s like taking a hatchet to the military and using a butter knife on the rest of the budget.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, is just one of the members who hit the ceiling over the President’s approach. “This is a lead from behind strategy for a left-behind America,” he said. “[It] ensures American decline in exchange for more failed domestic programs. In order to justify massive cuts to our military, he has revoked the guarantee that America will support our allies, defend our interests, and defy our opponents.” While the country becomes more vulnerable, Obama’s pet projects do not. By dismantling the military, the President has even more money to spend on friends like Planned Parenthood.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) understands how disingenuous the cuts are in light of the billions of dollars Washington throws away every day. He published an entire “Wastebook” of projects that Congress could end to make room for some of America’s real needs. It seems the administration would rather disarm the troops than stop sending dough to a Texas pizza chain (p. 13). Want to understand the slippery slope of congressional spending? Stop by the $86,014 ski museum (p. 32). Or maybe we should couch our argument in the $862,000 cushion for furniture storage (p. 29). Between the Pakistani mango farmers (p. 4) and the $765,828 helping of D.C. pancakes (p. 7), it adds up to $6.5 billion in federal idiocy. This doesn’t include the hundreds of billions wasted in federal agencies and programs every year. Which begs the question–why is the President shrinking the military if he can’t even win a war on pork? Both Congress and the administration say they’ve exhausted their options for trimming the deficit. But after a year on the Oregon Cheese Trail (p. 30), surely they can Muenster up some courage to cut more. Otherwise, America’s future is headed to the same place as Alaska’s $15.3 million bridge: nowhere.

The Gumption of Presumption

Same-sex “marriage” is not just an attack on a traditional social institution–it’s an attack on the order of nature itself. That was made clear again this week when an Iowa court ruled that a child whose mother was a lesbian “married” to a woman and whose father was an anonymous sperm donor should have both female “spouses” listed on the child’s birth certificate. The ruling was based on a legal principle called “the presumption of paternity,” which historically has stated that when a child is born to a married woman, her husband is presumed to be the father of that child. In other words, the law “presumed” what was almost always true. But in the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex “marriage” in 2009, Judge Eliza Ovrom has twisted the “presumption of paternity” into a “presumption of parentage.” So what was once a presumption of something that was nearly always biologically true has now become a “presumption” of something that is biologically impossible (since a child cannot have two genetic mothers). Ironically, homosexual activists are reporting that the court ordered that an “accurate” birth certificate be issued–when in fact they ordered issuance of a certificate that is inaccurate since it fails to list both the mother and father.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.: He Kept His Eyes on the Prize

Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison

Posted: 1/5/12 04:56 PM ET

Racial segregation was approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in one of the worst rulings in history, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). In that case, the former Kentucky slave owner, Justice John Marshall Harlan, wrote this powerful dissent.

The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved…

…We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our people above all other peoples. But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of the law which, practically, puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a large class of our fellow-citizens, our equals before the law. The thin disguise of ‘equal’ accommodations for passengers in railroad coaches will not mislead any one, nor atone for the wrong this day done.

The wrong of that day of Plessy lasted into the 1960s. Justice Harlan, a Republican appointee, ringingly proclaimed that the Constitution must be “color-blind.” Let’s honor his memory, too.

Dr. King made his point in biblical cadences. He cried out from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial: “Let justice roll down like a river, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24) Following the peaceful conclusion of that great March on Washington in August, 1963, President Kennedy invited Dr. King and the leaders of the civil rights movement to a meeting in the Oval Office.

It was not Dr. King’s first time there. President Eisenhower had made a point of inviting Dr. King to meet with him to discuss civil rights when King emerged as the leader of the Montgomery (Alabama) bus boycott in 1957. Dr. King and his followers refused to ride in the back of the buses that their tax dollars supported.

Ike had used his appointive powers to name Supreme Court justices who would correct the injustice of Plessy. Barely a year into Eisenhower’s first term, the high court unanimously ruled against segregation in public schools in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). And Republican Eisenhower sent federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, when the Democratic Gov. Orval Faubus defied federal court orders to de-segregate that city’s schools.

Eisenhower was criticized endlessly by liberal elites for his emphasis on massive federal highway construction and for encouraging American prosperity. “A vast wasteland,” they dubbed TV in what all now see as its golden age. Still, it was over Ike’s new Interstate highways that the Freedom Riders of the early sixties blazed a trail to end segregation. And those TV news cameras let all Americans see, for the first time, the police dogs and fire hoses necessary to maintain segregation. Political reform followed quickly on the heels of Ike’s achievements.

When Democratic Sen. Hubert Humphrey led the fight for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he had no stronger ally than Republican Leader Everett Dirksen. Minority Republicans in the Senate gave even stronger support, proportionately, than Democrats did to push through that historic legislation.

Dr. King was willing to lay down his life. His assassination by a white racist on April 4, 1968 was the culmination of King’s lifelong advocacy of full equality under law.

“I have been to the mountain top,” Dr. King told his worried supporters in the days before his murder. He had indeed. He saw the promised land of equal justice under law. He had that vision because he kept his eyes on the prize. All Americans can be grateful for his legacy.

Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are senior fellows at Family Research Council.

America! Are You Not Tired Of Politics As Usual?

Please join with The Committee for the Constitution in this new war for independence by sending this message to all you have contact with. Demand that any person seeking your vote be endorsed by The Committee for the Constitution.

America! Are You Not Tired Of Politics As Usual?
For the Framers and Founders politics was never meant to be a job. The most successful and brightest in 1776 and 1787sacrificed to inaugurate a new era of liberty and justice for all in
history. This untried experiment in government was intended “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domesticTranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. [W]ith a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence”, they “pledge[d] to each other [their] Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor”.
“The preamble never can be resorted to, to enlarge the powersconfided to the general government, or any of its departments. It cannot confer any power per se; it can never amount, by implication, to an enlargement of any power expressly given. It can never be the legitimate source of any implied power, when otherwise withdrawn from the constitution. Its true office is to expound the nature, and extent, and application of the powers actually conferred by the constitution, and not substantively to create them. For example, the preamble declares one object to be, ” to provide for the common defence.” No one can doubt, that this does not enlarge the powers of congress to pass any measures, which they may deem useful for the common defence.1 But suppose the terms of a given power admit of two constructions, the one more restrictive, the other more liberal, and each of them is consistent with the words, but is, and ought to be, governed by the intent of the power; if one would promote, and the other defeat the common defence, ought not the former, upon the soundest principles of interpretation to be adopted? Are we at liberty, upon any principles of reason, or common sense, to adopt a restrictive meaning, which will defeat an avowed object of the constitution, when another equally natural and more appropriate to the object is before us? Would not this be to destroy an instrument by a measure of its words, which that instrument itself repudiates?” – Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833, Ch. VI. The Preamble
Clearly Justice Story of the United States Supreme Court, being of a generation directly familiar with those in Independence Hall in 1787 and those in the First Congress giving us our Bill of Rights, was very aware of the Framers’ and Founders’ intentions for this “one Nation under God”. Reading the above and applying it to the Constitution as a whole, and particularly to Article I, Section 8, and Amendment X, it is readily apparent that the politicians, bureaucrats, and judges that we have erroneously trusted to be bound by the intentions of the makers of “the supreme law of the land” have willfully violated that trust.
From the dismissal of states’ rights, to taxation without representation, to complete fiscal irresponsibility, to the failure to protect us from enemies “foreign and domestic”, to saddling our children with incomprehensible debt, to name but a few of the more pressing usurpations and failures to obey the very basic principles demanded in the Preamble, America is under attack.
The first step in reclaiming our heritage and restoring freedom and justice is for every citizen to individually recall all the behaviors that allowed us to enjoy the opportunities and blessings that were “endowed by our Creator“. Recognized by Gov. Bradford in his Of Plymouth Plantation, work and sacrifice have given all so willing that
opportunity. In the words of the father of our country, “religion and morality are indispensible supports”. The fight and the responsibility
rest on each patriot. From Plymouth colony on, repeatedly confirmed b
y history, socialist welfare governments any utopian order not fully established on the unchanging realities of human behavior fail.
With each loyal American doing their individual part, we must then cleanse our Nation of those contaminating and destroying all that enabled and sustained us. The lies and deceptions of political propaganda must join those infecting us as we hold all those that we place in positions of public service accountable. A first step is to bind all elected officials by contract to their oath of office.
Please join with The Committee for the Constitution in this new war for independence by sending this message to all you have contact with. Demand that any person seeking your vote be endorsed by The Committee for the Constitution. Like the Minutemen, we must take up arms and fight, and like Paul Revere we must spread the word to all our neighbors that the enemy is upon us!
1 “Yet, strangely enough, this objection was urged very vehemently against the adoption of the Constitution. – Elliot’s debates, 293, 300.” Ibid, Story

America! Are You Not Tired Of Politics As Usual?

Please join with The Committee for the Constitution in this new war for independence by sending this message to all you have contact with. Demand that any person seeking your vote be endorsed by The Committee for the Constitution.

America! Are You Not Tired Of Politics As Usual?
For the Framers and Founders politics was never meant to be a job. The most successful and brightest in 1776 and 1787sacrificed to inaugurate a new era of liberty and justice for all in history. This untried experiment in government was intended “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domesticTranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. [W]ith a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence”, they “pledge[d] to each other [their] Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor”.
“The preamble never can be resorted to, to enlarge the powersconfided to the general government, or any of its departments. It cannot confer any power per se; it can never amount, by implication, to an enlargement of any power expressly given. It can never be the legitimate source of any implied power, when otherwise withdrawn from the constitution. Its true office is to expound the nature, and extent, and application of the powers actually conferred by the constitution, and not substantively to create them. For example, the preamble declares one object to be, ” to provide for the common defence.” No one can doubt, that this does not enlarge the powers of congress to pass any measures, which they may deem useful for the common defence.1 But suppose the terms of a given power admit of two constructions, the one more restrictive, the other more liberal, and each of them is consistent with the words, but is, and ought to be, governed by the intent of the power; if one would promote, and the other defeat the common defence, ought not the former, upon the soundest principles of interpretation to be adopted? Are we at liberty, upon any principles of reason, or common sense, to adopt a restrictive meaning, which will defeat an avowed object of the constitution, when another equally natural and more appropriate to the object is before us? Would not this be to destroy an instrument by a measure of its words, which that instrument itself repudiates?” – Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833, Ch. VI. The Preamble
Clearly Justice Story of the United States Supreme Court, being of a generation directly familiar with those in Independence Hall in 1787 and those in the First Congress giving us our Bill of Rights, was very aware of the Framers’ and Founders’ intentions for this “one Nation under God”. Reading the above and applying it to the Constitution as a whole, and particularly to Article I, Section 8, and Amendment X, it is readily apparent that the politicians, bureaucrats, and judges that we have erroneously trusted to be bound by the intentions of the makers of “the supreme law of the land” have willfully violated that trust.
From the dismissal of states’ rights, to taxation without representation, to complete fiscal irresponsibility, to the failure to protect us from enemies “foreign and domestic”, to saddling our children with incomprehensible debt, to name but a few of the more pressing usurpations and failures to obey the very basic principles demanded in the Preamble, America is under attack.
The first step in reclaiming our heritage and restoring freedom and justice is for every citizen to individually recall all the behaviors that allowed us to enjoy the opportunities and blessings that were “endowed by our Creator“. Recognized by Gov. Bradford in his Of Plymouth Plantation, work and sacrifice have given all so willing that opportunity. In the words of the father of our country, “religion and morality are indispensible supports”. The fight and the responsibility rest on each patriot. From Plymouth colony on, repeatedly confirmed by history, socialist welfare governments any utopian order not fully established on the unchanging realities of human behavior fail.
With each loyal American doing their individual part, we must then cleanse our Nation of those contaminating and destroying all that enabled and sustained us. The lies and deceptions of political propaganda must join those infecting us as we hold all those that we place in positions of public service accountable. A first step is to bind all elected officials by contract to their oath of office.
Please join with The Committee for the Constitution in this new war for independence by sending this message to all you have contact with. Demand that any person seeking your vote be endorsed by The Committee for the Constitution. Like the Minutemen, we must take up arms and fight, and like Paul Revere we must spread the word to all our neighbors that the enemy is upon us!
1 “Yet, strangely enough, this objection was urged very vehemently against the adoption of the Constitution. – Elliot’s debates, 293, 300.” Ibid, Story

Democracy in America

. . . [True] “religion . . . imposes a salutary restraint on the intellect; and it must be admitted that, if it does not save men in another world, it is at least very conducive to their happiness and their greatness in this.”

Democracy in America
Alexis de Tocqueville

Volume II

Section I: Influence of Democracy on the Action of Intellect in The United States.

Chapter V



HOW RELIGION IN THE UNITED STATES
AVAILS ITSELF OF DEMOCRATIC TENDENCIES

I have shown in a preceding chapter that men cannot do without dogmatic belief, and even that it is much to be desired that such belief should exist among them. I now add that, of all the kinds of dogmatic belief, the most desirable appears to me to be dogmatic belief in matters of religion; and this is a clear inference, even from no higher consideration than the interests of this world.

There is hardly any human action, however particular it may be, that does not originate in some very general idea men have conceived of the Deity, of his relation to mankind, of the nature of their own souls, and of their duties to their fellow creatures. Nor can anything prevent these ideas from being the common spring from which all the rest emanates.

Men are therefore immeasurably interested in acquiring fixed ideas of God, of the soul, and of their general duties to their Creator and their fellow men; for doubt on these first principles would abandon all their actions to chance and would condemn them in some way to disorder and impotence.

This, then, is the subject on which it is most important for each of us to have fixed ideas; and unhappily it is also the subject on which it is most difficult for each of us, left to himself, to settle his opinions by the sole force of his reason. None but minds singularly free from the ordinary cares of life, minds at once penetrating, subtle, and trained by thinking, can, even with much time and care, sound the depths of these truths that are so necessary. And, indeed, we see that philosophers are themselves almost always surrounded with uncertainties; that at every step the natural light which illuminates their path grows dimmer and less secure, and that, in spite of all their efforts, they have discovered as yet only a few conflicting notions, on which the mind of man has been tossed about for thousands of years without every firmly grasping the truth or finding novelty even in its errors. Studies of this nature are far above the average capacity of men; and, even if the majority of mankind were capable of such pursuits, it is evident that leisure to cultivate them would still be wanting. Fixed ideas about God and human nature are indispensable to the daily practice of men’s lives; but the practice of their lives prevents them from acquiring such ideas.

The difficulty appears to be without a parallel. Among the sciences there are some that are useful to the mass of mankind and are within its reach; others can be approached only by the few and are not cultivated by the many, who require nothing beyond their more remote applications: but the daily practice of the science I speak of is indispensable to all, although the study of it is inaccessible to the greater number.

General ideas respecting God and human nature are therefore the ideas above all others which it is most suitable to withdraw from the habitual action of private judgment and in which there is most to gain and least to lose by recognizing a principle of authority. The first object and one of the principal advantages of religion is to furnish to each of these fundamental questions a solution that is at once clear, precise, intelligible, and lasting, to the mass of mankind. There are religions that are false and very absurd, but it may be affirmed that any religion which remains within the circle I have just traced, without pretending to go beyond it (as many religions have attempted to do, for the purpose of restraining on every side the free movement of the human mind ), imposes a salutary restraint on the intellect; and it must be admitted that, if it does not save men in another world, it is at least very conducive to their happiness and their greatness in this.

This is especially true of men living in free countries. When the religion of a people is destroyed, doubt gets hold of the higher powers of the intellect and half paralyzes all the others. Every man accustoms himself to having only confused and changing notions on the subjects most interesting to his fellow creatures and himself. His opinions are ill-defended and easily abandoned; and, in despair of ever solving by himself the hard problems respecting the destiny of man, he ignobly submits to think no more about them.

Such a condition cannot but enervate the soul, relax the springs of the will, and prepare a people for servitude. Not only does it happen in such a case that they allow their freedom to be taken from them; they frequently surrender it themselves. When there is no longer any principle of authority in religion any more than in politics, men are speedily frightened at the aspect of this unbounded independence. The constant agitation of all surrounding things alarms and exhausts them. As everything is at sea in the sphere of the mind, they determine at least that the mechanism of society shall be firm and fixed; and as they cannot resume their ancient belief, they assume a master.

For my own part, I doubt whether man can ever support at the same time complete religious independence and entire political freedom. And I am inclined to think that if faith be wanting in him, he must be subject; and if he be free, he must believe.

Perhaps, however, this great utility of religions is still more obvious among nations where equality of conditions prevails than among others. It must be acknowledged that equality, which brings great benefits into the world, nevertheless suggests to men (as will be shown hereafter ) some very dangerous propensities. It tends to isolate them from one another, to concentrate every man’s attention upon himself; and it lays open the soul to an inordinate love of material gratification.

The greatest advantage of religion is to inspire diametrically contrary principles There is no religion that does not place the object of man’s desires above and beyond the treasures of earth and that does not naturally raise his soul to regions far above those of the senses. Nor is there any which does not impose on man some duties towards his kind and thus draw him at times from the contemplation of himself. This is found in the most false and dangerous religions.

Religious nations are therefore naturally strong on the very point on which democratic nations are weak; this shows of what importance it is for men to preserve their religion as their conditions become more equal.

I have neither the right nor the intention of examining the supernatural means that God employs to infuse religious belief into the heart of man. I am at this moment considering religions in a purely human point of view; my object is to inquire by what means they may most easily retain their sway in the democratic ages upon which we are entering.

It has been shown that at times of general culture and equality the human mind consents only with reluctance to adopt dogmatic opinions and feels their necessity acutely only in spiritual matters. This proves, in the first place, that at such times religions ought more cautiously than at any other to confine themselves within their own precincts; for in seeking to extend their power beyond religious matters, they incur a risk of not being believed at all. The circle within which they seek to restrict the human intellect ought therefore to be carefully traced, and beyond its verge the mind should be left entirely free to its own guidance.

Mohammed professed to derive from Heaven, and has inserted in the Koran, not only religious doctrines, but political maxims, civil and criminal laws, and theories of science. The Gospel, on the contrary, speaks only of the general relations of men to God and to each other, beyond which it inculcates and imposes no point of faith. This alone, besides a thousand other reasons, would suffice to prove that the former of these religions will never long predominate in a cultivated and democratic age, while the latter is destined to retain its sway at these as at all other periods.

In continuation of this same inquiry I find that for religions to maintain their authority, humanly speaking, in democratic ages, not only must they confine themselves strictly within the circle of spiritual matters, but their power also will depend very much on the nature of the belief they inculcate, on the external forms they assume, and on the obligations they impose.

The preceding observation, that equality leads men to very general and very vast ideas, is principally to be understood in respect to religion. Men who are similar and equal in the world readily conceive the idea of the one God, governing every man by the same laws and granting to every man future happiness on the same conditions. The idea of the unity of mankind constantly leads them back to the idea of the unity of the Creator; while on the contrary in a state of society where men are broken up into very unequal ranks, they are apt to devise as many deities as there are nations, castes, classes, or families, and to trace a thousand private roads to heaven.

It cannot be denied that Christianity itself has felt, to some extent, the influence that social and political conditions exercise on religious opinions.

When the Christian religion first appeared upon earth, Providence, by whom the world was doubtless prepared for its coming, had gathered a large portion of the human race, like an immense flock, under the scepter of the Caesars. The men of whom this multitude was composed were distinguished by numerous differences, but they had this much in common: that they all obeyed the same laws, and that every subject was so weak and insignificant in respect to the Emperor that all appeared equal when their condition was contrasted with his. This novel and peculiar state of mankind necessarily predisposed men to listen to the general truths that Christianity teaches, and may serve to explain the facility and rapidity with which they then penetrated into the human mind. The counterpart of this state of things was exhibited after the destruction of the Empire. The Roman world being then, as it were, shattered into a thousand fragments, each nation resumed its former individuality. A scale of ranks soon grew up in the bosom of these nations; the different races were more sharply defined, and each nation was divided by castes into several peoples. In the midst of this common effort, which seemed to be dividing human society into as many fragments as possible, Christianity did not lose sight of the leading general ideas that it had brought into the world. But it appeared, nevertheless, to lend itself as much as possible to the new tendencies created by this distribution of mankind into fractions. Men continue to worship one God, the Creator and Preserver of all things; but every people, every city, and, so to speak, every man thought to obtain some distinct privilege and win the favor of an especial protector near the throne of grace. Unable to subdivide the Deity, they multiplied and unduly enhanced the importance of his agents. The homage due to saints and angels became an almost idolatrous worship for most Christians; and it might be feared for a moment that the religion of Christ would retrograde towards the superstitions which it had overcome.

It seems evident that the more the barriers are removed which separate one nation from another and one citizen from another, the stronger is the bent of the human mind, as if by its own impulse, towards the idea of a single and all-powerful Being, dispensing equal laws in the same manner to every man. In democratic ages, then, it is particularly important not to allow the homage paid to secondary agents to be confused with the worship due to the Creator alone. Another truth is no less clear, that religions ought to have fewer external observances in democratic periods than at any others.

In speaking of philosophical method among the Americans I have shown that nothing is more repugnant to the human mind in an age of equality than the idea of subjection to forms. Men living at such times are impatient of figures; to their eyes, symbols appear to be puerile artifices used to conceal or to set off truths that should more naturally be bared to the light of day; they are unmoved by ceremonial observances and are disposed to attach only a secondary importance to the details of public worship.

Those who have to regulate the external forms of religion in a democratic age should pay a close attention to these natural propensities of the human mind in order not to run counter to them unnecessarily.

I firmly believe in the necessity of forms, which fix the human mind in the contemplation of abstract truths and aid it in embracing them warmly and holding them with firmness. Nor do I suppose that it is possible to maintain a religion without external observances; but, on the other hand, I am persuaded that in the ages upon which we are entering it would be peculiarly dangerous to multiply them beyond measure, and that they ought rather to be limited to as much as is absolutely necessary to perpetuate the doctrine itself, which is the substance of religion, of which the ritual is only the form.1 A religion which became more insistent in details, more inflexible, and more burdened with small observances during the time that men became more equal would soon find itself limited to a band of fanatic zealots in the midst of a skeptical multitude.

I anticipate the objection that, as all religions have general and eternal truths for their object, they cannot thus shape themselves to the shifting inclinations of every age without forfeiting their claim to certainty in the eyes of mankind. To this I reply again that the principal opinions which constitute a creed, and which theologians call articles of faith, must be very carefully distinguished from the accessories connected with them. Religions are obliged to hold fast to the former, whatever be the peculiar spirit of the age; but they should take good care not to bind themselves in the same manner to the latter at a time when everything is in transition and when the mind, accustomed to the moving pageant of human affairs, reluctantly allows itself to be fixed on any point. The permanence of external and secondary things seems to me to have a chance of enduring only when civil society is itself static; under any other circumstances I am inclined to regard it as dangerous.

We shall see that of all the passions which originate in or are fostered by equality, there is one which it renders peculiarly intense, and which it also infuses into the heart of every man; I mean the love of well-being. The taste for well-being is the prominent and indelible feature of democratic times.

It may be believed that a religion which should undertake to destroy so deep-seated a passion would in the end be destroyed by it; and if it attempted to wean men entirely from the contemplation of the good things of this world in order to devote their faculties exclusively to the thought of another, it may be foreseen that the minds of men would at length escape its grasp, to plunge into the exclusive enjoyment of present and material pleasures.

The chief concern of religion is to purify, to regulate, and to restrain the excessive and exclusive taste for well-being that men feel in periods of equality; but it would be an error to attempt to overcome it completely or to eradicate it. Men cannot be cured of the love of riches, but they may be persuaded to enrich themselves by none but honest means.

This brings me to a final consideration, which comprises, as it were, all the others. The more the conditions of men are equalized and assimilated to each other, the more important is it for religion, while it carefully abstains from the daily turmoil of secular affairs, not needlessly to run counter to the ideas that generally prevail or to the permanent interests that exist in the mass of the people. For as public opinion grows to be more and more the first and most irresistible of existing powers, the religious principle has no external support strong enough to enable it long to resist its attacks. This is not less true of a democratic people ruled by a despot than of a republic. In ages of equality kings may often command obedience, but the majority always commands belief; to the majority, therefore, deference is to be paid in whatever is not contrary to the faith.

I showed in the first Part of this work how the American clergy stand aloof from secular affairs. This is the most obvious but not the only example of their self-restraint. In America religion is a distinct sphere, in which the priest is sovereign, but out of which he takes care never to go. Within its limits he is master of the mind; beyond them he leaves men to themselves and surrenders them to the independence and instability that belong to their nature and their age. I have seen no country in which Christianity is clothed with fewer forms, figures, and observances than in the United States, or where it presents more distinct, simple, and general notions to the mind. Although the Christians of America are divided into a multitude of sects, they all look upon their religion in the same light. This applies to Roman Catholicism as well as to the other forms of belief. There are no Roman Catholic priests who show less taste for the minute individual observances, for extraordinary or peculiar means of salvation, or who cling more to the spirit and less to the letter of the law than the Roman Catholic priests of the United States. Nowhere is that doctrine of the church which prohibits the worship reserved to God alone from being offered to the saints more clearly inculcated or more generally followed. Yet the Roman Catholics of America are very submissive and very sincere.

Another remark is applicable to the clergy of every communion. The American ministers of the Gospel do not attempt to draw or to fix all the thoughts of man upon the life to come; they are willing to surrender a portion of his heart to the cares of the present, seeming to consider the goods of this world as important, though secondary, objects. If they take no part themselves in productive labor, they are at least interested in its progress and they applaud its results, and while they never cease to point to the other world as the great object of the hopes and fears of the believer, they do not forbid him honestly to court prosperity in this. Far from attempting to show that these things are distinct and contrary to one another, they study rather to find out on what point they are most nearly and closely connected.

All the American clergy know and respect the intellectual supremacy exercised by the majority; they never sustain any but necessary conflicts with it. They take no share in the altercations of parties, but they readily adopt the general opinions of their country and their age, and they allow themselves to be borne away without opposition in the current of feeling and opinion by which everything around them is carried along. They endeavor to amend their contemporaries, but they do not quit fellowship with them. Public opinion is therefore never hostile to them; it rather supports and protects them, and their belief owes its authority at the same time to the strength which is its own and to that which it borrows from the opinions of the majority.

Thus it is that by respecting all democratic tendencies not absolutely contrary to herself and by making use of several of them for her own purposes, religion sustains a successful struggle with that spirit of individual independence which is her most dangerous opponent.


FOOTNOTES

1 In all religions there are some ceremonies that are inherent in the substance of the faith itself, and in these nothing should on any account be changed. This is especially the case with Roman Catholicism, in which the doctrine and the form are frequently so closely united as to form but one point of belief.

Northwest Ordinance

“Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Northwest Ordinance; July 13, 1787

An Ordinance for the government of the Territory of the United States northwest of the River Ohio.

Section 1. Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, That the said territory, for the purposes of temporary government, be one district, subject, however, to be divided into two districts, as future circumstances may, in the opinion of Congress, make it expedient.

Sec 2. Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the estates, both of resident and nonresident proprietors in the said territory, dying intestate, shall descent to, and be distributed among their children, and the descendants of a deceased child, in equal parts; the descendants of a deceased child or grandchild to take the share of their deceased parent in equal parts among them: And where there shall be no children or descendants, then in equal parts to the next of kin in equal degree; and among collaterals, the children of a deceased brother or sister of the intestate shall have, in equal parts among them, their deceased parents’ share; and there shall in no case be a distinction between kindred of the whole and half blood; saving, in all cases, to the widow of the intestate her third part of the real estate for life, and one third part of the personal estate; and this law relative to descents and dower, shall remain in full force until altered by the legislature of the district. And until the governor and judges shall adopt laws as hereinafter mentioned, estates in the said territory may be devised or bequeathed by wills in writing, signed and sealed by him or her in whom the estate may be (being of full age), and attested by three witnesses; and real estates may be conveyed by lease and release, or bargain and sale, signed, sealed and delivered by the person being of full age, in whom the estate may be, and attested by two witnesses, provided such wills be duly proved, and such conveyances be acknowledged, or the execution thereof duly proved, and be recorded within one year after proper magistrates, courts, and registers shall be appointed for that purpose; and personal property may be transferred by delivery; saving, however to the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskies, St. Vincents and the neighboring villages who have heretofore professed themselves citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs now in force among them, relative to the descent and conveyance, of property.

Sec. 3. Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a governor, whose commission shall continue in force for the term of three years, unless sooner revoked by Congress; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein in 1,000 acres of land, while in the exercise of his office.

Sec. 4. There shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a secretary, whose commission shall continue in force for four years unless sooner revoked; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein in 500 acres of land, while in the exercise of his office. It shall be his duty to keep and preserve the acts and laws passed by the legislature, and the public records of the district, and the proceedings of the governor in his executive department, and transmit authentic copies of such acts and proceedings, every six months, to the Secretary of Congress: There shall also be appointed a court to consist of three judges, any two of whom to form a court, who shall have a common law jurisdiction, and reside in the district, and have each therein a freehold estate in 500 acres of land while in the exercise of their offices; and their commissions shall continue in force during good behavior.

Sec. 5. The governor and judges, or a majority of them, shall adopt and publish in the district such laws of the original States, criminal and civil, as may be necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the district, and report them to Congress from time to time: which laws shall be in force in the district until the organization of the General Assembly therein, unless disapproved of by Congress; but afterwards the Legislature shall have authority to alter them as they shall think fit.

Sec. 6. The governor, for the time being, shall be commander in chief of the militia, appoint and commission all officers in the same below the rank of general officers; all general officers shall be appointed and commissioned by Congress.

Sec. 7. Previous to the organization of the general assembly, the governor shall appoint such magistrates and other civil officers in each county or township, as he shall find necessary for the preservation of the peace and good order in the same: After the general assembly shall be organized, the powers and duties of the magistrates and other civil officers shall be regulated and defined by the said assembly; but all magistrates and other civil officers not herein otherwise directed, shall during the continuance of this temporary government, be appointed by the governor.

Sec. 8. For the prevention of crimes and injuries, the laws to be adopted or made shall have force in all parts of the district, and for the execution of process, criminal and civil, the governor shall make proper divisions thereof; and he shall proceed from time to time as circumstances may require, to lay out the parts of the district in which the Indian titles shall have been extinguished, into counties and townships, subject, however, to such alterations as may thereafter be made by the legislature.

Sec. 9. So soon as there shall be five thousand free male inhabitants of full age in the district, upon giving proof thereof to the governor, they shall receive authority, with time and place, to elect a representative from their counties or townships to represent them in the general assembly: Provided, That, for every five hundred free male inhabitants, there shall be one representative, and so on progressively with the number of free male inhabitants shall the right of representation increase, until the number of representatives shall amount to twenty five; after which, the number and proportion of representatives shall be regulated by the legislature: Provided, That no person be eligible or qualified to act as a representative unless he shall have been a citizen of one of the United States three years, and be a resident in the district, or unless he shall have resided in the district three years; and, in either case, shall likewise hold in his own right, in fee simple, two hundred acres of land within the same; Provided, also, That a freehold in fifty acres of land in the district, having been a citizen of one of the states, and being resident in the district, or the like freehold and two years residence in the district, shall be necessary to qualify a man as an elector of a representative.

Sec. 10. The representatives thus elected, shall serve for the term of two years; and, in case of the death of a representative, or removal from office, the governor shall issue a writ to the county or township for which he was a member, to elect another in his stead, to serve for the residue of the term.

Sec. 11. The general assembly or legislature shall consist of the governor, legislative council, and a house of representatives. The Legislative Council shall consist of five members, to continue in office five years, unless sooner removed by Congress; any three of whom to be a quorum: and the members of the Council shall be nominated and appointed in the following manner, to wit: As soon as representatives shall be elected, the Governor shall appoint a time and place for them to meet together; and, when met, they shall nominate ten persons, residents in the district, and each possessed of a freehold in five hundred acres of land, and return their names to Congress; five of whom Congress shall appoint and commission to serve as aforesaid; and, whenever a vacancy shall happen in the council, by death or removal from office, the house of representatives shall nominate two persons, qualified as aforesaid, for each vacancy, and return their names to Congress; one of whom congress shall appoint and commission for the residue of the term. And every five years, four months at least before the expiration of the time of service of the members of council, the said house shall nominate ten persons, qualified as aforesaid, and return their names to Congress; five of whom Congress shall appoint and commission to serve as members of the council five years, unless sooner removed. And the governor, legislative council, and house of representatives, shall have authority to make laws in all cases, for the good government of the district, not repugnant to the principles and articles in this ordinance established and declared. And all bills, having passed by a majority in the house, and by a majority in the council, shall be referred to the governor for his assent; but no bill, or legislative act whatever, shall be of any force without his assent. The governor shall have power to convene, prorogue, and dissolve the general assembly, when, in his opinion, it shall be expedient.

Sec. 12. The governor, judges, legislative council, secretary, and such other officers as Congress shall appoint in the district, shall take an oath or affirmation of fidelity and of office; the governor before the president of congress, and all other officers before the Governor. As soon as a legislature shall be formed in the district, the council and house assembled in one room, shall have authority, by joint ballot, to elect a delegate to Congress, who shall have a seat in Congress, with a right of debating but not voting during this temporary government.

Sec. 13. And, for extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected; to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions, and governments, which forever hereafter shall be formed in the said territory: to provide also for the establishment of States, and permanent government therein, and for their admission to a share in the federal councils on an equal footing with the original States, at as early periods as may be consistent with the general interest:

Sec. 14. It is hereby ordained and declared by the authority aforesaid, That the following articles shall be considered as articles of compact between the original States and the people and States in the said territory and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent, to wit:

Art. 1. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments, in the said territory.

Art. 2. The inhabitants of the said territory shall always be entitled to the benefits of the writ of habeas corpus, and of the trial by jury; of a proportionate representation of the people in the legislature; and of judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law. All persons shall be bailable, unless for capital offenses, where the proof shall be evident or the presumption great. All fines shall be moderate; and no cruel or unusual punishments shall be inflicted. No man shall be deprived of his liberty or property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land; and, should the public exigencies make it necessary, for the common preservation, to take any person’s property, or to demand his particular services, full compensation shall be made for the same. And, in the just preservation of rights and property, it is understood and declared, that no law ought ever to be made, or have force in the said territory, that shall, in any manner whatever, interfere with or affect private contracts or engagements, bona fide, and without fraud, previously formed.

Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.

Art. 4. The said territory, and the States which may be formed therein, shall forever remain a part of this Confederacy of the United States of America, subject to the Articles of Confederation, and to such alterations therein as shall be constitutionally made; and to all the acts and ordinances of the United States in Congress assembled, conformable thereto. The inhabitants and settlers in the said territory shall be subject to pay a part of the federal debts contracted or to be contracted, and a proportional part of the expenses of government, to be apportioned on them by Congress according to the same common rule and measure by which apportionments thereof shall be made on the other States; and the taxes for paying their proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the district or districts, or new States, as in the original States, within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled. The legislatures of those districts or new States, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States in Congress assembled, nor with any regulations Congress may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers. No tax shall be imposed on lands the property of the United States; and, in no case, shall nonresident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. The navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the carrying places between the same, shall be common highways and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of the said territory as to the citizens of the United States, and those of any other States that may be admitted into the confederacy, without any tax, impost, or duty therefor.

Art. 5. There shall be formed in the said territory, not less than three nor more than five States; and the boundaries of the States, as soon as Virginia shall alter her act of cession, and consent to the same, shall become fixed and established as follows, to wit: The western State in the said territory, shall be bounded by the Mississippi, the Ohio, and Wabash Rivers; a direct line drawn from the Wabash and Post Vincents, due North, to the territorial line between the United States and Canada; and, by the said territorial line, to the Lake of the Woods and Mississippi. The middle State shall be bounded by the said direct line, the Wabash from Post Vincents to the Ohio, by the Ohio, by a direct line, drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami, to the said territorial line, and by the said territorial line. The eastern State shall be bounded by the last mentioned direct line, the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the said territorial line: Provided, however, and it is further understood and declared, that the boundaries of these three States shall be subject so far to be altered, that, if Congress shall hereafter find it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two States in that part of the said territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan. And, whenever any of the said States shall have sixty thousand free inhabitants therein, such State shall be admitted, by its delegates, into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, and shall be at liberty to form a permanent constitution and State government: Provided, the constitution and government so to be formed, shall be republican, and in conformity to the principles contained in these articles; and, so far as it can be consistent with the general interest of the confederacy, such admission shall be allowed at an earlier period, and when there may be a less number of free inhabitants in the State than sixty thousand.

Art. 6. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided, always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.

Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the resolutions of the 23rd of April, 1784, relative to the subject of this ordinance, be, and the same are hereby repealed and declared null and void.

Done by the United States, in Congress assembled, the 13th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of their sovereignty and independence the twelfth

1st Presidential Address to the Joint Houses of Congress

“. . . [T]he foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality . . .”
– George Washington, Friday, May 1, 1789

Excerpt from the 1st Presidential Address to the Joint Houses of

“. . . [I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe–who presides in the councils of nations–and whose providential aids can supply every human defect–that his benediction may consecrate to rite liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration, to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the People of the United States, Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished, in the system of their united government, the tranquil deliberations, and voluntary consent of so many distiller communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot he compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude, along with humble anticipation of the fixture blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.
By the article establishing the Executive Department, it is made the duty of the President, ” to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The circumstances trader which I now meet you, will acquit me from entering into that subject, further than to refer to the great constitutional character nuclei which you are assembled, and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism, which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications, I behold the surest pledges that, as on one side no local prejudices or attachments–no separate views, nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests; so on another, that the foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens, and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire: Since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than first there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity Slid felicity: Since we ought to be no less persuaded, that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People.
Besides the ordinary objects submitted to your care, it will remain with your judgment to decide, how far an exercise of the occasional power, delegated by the fifth article of the Constitution, is rendered expedient at the present juncture, by the nature of objections which have been urged against the system, or by the degree of inquietudes which has given birth to them. Instead of undertaking particular recommendations on this subject, in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit of the public good. For I assure myself, that whilst you carefully avoid every alteration, which might endanger the benefits of an united and effective Government, or which ought to await the future lessons of experience; a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen, and a regard for the public harmony, will sufficiently influence your deliberations on the question, how far the former can be more impregnably fortified, or the latter be safely and advantageously promoted?
To the preceding observations I have one to add, which will be most properly addressed to the House Representatives. It concerns myself, and will therefore be as brief as possible. When I was first honored with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty, required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation. From this resolution I have in no instance departed. And being still under the impressions which produced it, I must decline, as inapplicable to myself any share in the personal emoluments which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the Executive Department; and must accordingly pray, that the pecuniary estimates for the station in which I am placed, may, during my continuance in it, be limited to such actual expenditures as the public good may be thought to require.
Having thus imparted to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the human race, in humble supplication, that since he has been pleased to favor the American People with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government, for the security of their union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures, on which the success of this Government must depend.
George Washington, Friday, May 1, 1789

Global Warming

 

Global Warming

“Global warming” is a real phenomenon. The Earth’s temperature is increasing, and that has been happening for a long time. The temperature of the earth has been increasing more or less continuously since the time of the cave man.

Approximately 18,000 years ago the earth began a gradual process of warming up after more than 100,000 years of Ice Ages. Much of North America, Europe, and Asia lay buried beneath great sheets of glacial ice. By about 15,000 years ago the earth had warmed sufficiently to halt the advance of glaciers, and sea levels worldwide began to rise. By 8,000 years ago the land bridge across the Bering Strait was drowned, cutting off the migration of men and animals to North America.

Since the end of the Ice Age, Earth’s temperature has risen approximately 16 degrees F and sea levels have risen a total of 300 feet! Forests have returned where once there was only ice.

From a geological perspective, global warming is the normal state of our accustomed natural world. Technically, we are in an “interglacial phase,” or between ice ages. The question is not really if an ice age will return, but when. But, that said, totally refuting the imaginations of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm

Don’t panic when you hear global alarmists warning the earth may have warmed almost 1 degree in the last 200 years. Although this still hasn’t yet been proven, it is in fact exactly what should be happening if everything is normal.

If Global Warming stops, then you can start worrying! It means our warm interglacial phase is over and we may be heading into another Ice Age!

CREDITS:
ANIMATED GLACIER: Courtesy of Illinois State Museum
 

The “Greenhouse Effect” is realand contributes to global warming.

The “greenhouse effect” helps to moderate temperatures — especially nighttime temperatures. Without the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of the Earth would be -18 degrees C.

 

Greenhouse gases allow sunlight to pass through Earth’s atmosphere, but as sunlight strikes the earth it is partially changed to radiant heat. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, water vapor/droplets, and methane help inhibit the escape of radiant heat back into space.

 

That is why the danger of nighttime frost is greater when the skies are clear than when skies are cloudy.

 

 

 

The main causes of global warming are orbital eccentricities of Earth and variations in the Sun’s output. Global warming occurs in cycles caused mainly by changes in the sun’s energy output and the sun’s relative position to the earth. Solar flares emit incomprehensible amounts of energy in various forms. One such electromagnetic eruption knocked out the entire power grid of Quebec for nine hours. A flare directed at Earth could easily shutdown the power to an entire hemisphere. Heat generated by such massive current flows can instantaneously raise ground temperatures several degrees in seconds. Other types of flares emit heat as radiant energy in the infrared spectrum. It is totally beyond reason to presume that any human initiative can alter or effect global temperature cycles.

 

Major Causes of Global Temperature Shifts

 


 

 

 

(1) Astronomical Causes

  • 11 year and 206year cycles: Cycles of solar variability( sunspot activity )
  • 21,000 year cycle: Earth’s combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun ( precession of the equinoxes)
  • 41,000 year cycle: Cycle of the +/- 1.5° wobble in Earth’s orbit ( tilt)
  • 100,000 year cycle: Variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit ( cycle of eccentricity )

 (2) Atmospheric Causes

  • Heat retention: Due to atmospheric gases, mostly gaseous water vapor (not droplets), also carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other miscellaneous gases– the “greenhouse effect”
  • Solar reflectivity: Due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps

(3) Tectonic Causes

  • Landmass distribution: Shifting continents (continental drift)causing changes in circulatory patterns of ocean currents. It seems that whenever there is a large land mass at one of the Earth’s poles, either the north pole or south pole, there are ice ages.
  • Undersea ridge activity: “Sea floor spreading” (associated with continental drift) causing variations in ocean displacement.
 
 
The Greenhouse Effect is caused primarily by water vapor.Over 95% of the greenhouse effect is the result of water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere. But because water droplets held in suspension (clouds) make almost as good a reflector as they do a thermal insulator, there is little rise in daytime temperatures due to the greenhouse effect.
 
     Any greenhouse warming, if it does occur, is limited to primarily increasing nighttime temperatures, which provides beneficial moderation of nighttime low temperatures, but no increase in daytime high temperatures. Dr. Patrick Michaels, Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, has demonstrated this phenomenon very effectively.
 
The world’s natural wetlands produce more greenhouse gas contributions annually than all human sources combined.
 
Global Warming in the United States over the last 100 years has seen temperatures rise < 1° C.
 
     Temperatures have gone through nearly two complete cycles of warming and cooling over the last 100 years. During the period 1900 to 1940 temperatures were increasing. Then from 1940 to 1980 temperatures were decreasing. Currently, temperatures are increasing back to about where they were in the 1930’s.
 
     Overall, the total average annual temperature increase in the U.S. in the last century is so slight the actual amount is uncertain– maybe 1/3° C.

There is less than 1/10th of 1% carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere today.

 Carbon dioxide is such a small component of Earth’s atmosphere (380 parts per million or 0.038%) that it shows up on the chart below as only a thin line (shown at 2x actual thickness, just so you can see it!). Most CO2 comes from natural terrestrial and ocean biologic activity, and compared to former geologic times, Earth’s atmosphere today is arguably “CO2 impoverished.”

 

 

 

 

 In the last 600 million years of Earth’s history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm.

 

Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time 

 

Late Carboniferous to Early Permian time (315 mya — 270 mya) is the only time period in the last 600 million years when both atmospheric CO2 and temperatures were as low as they are today (Quaternary Period ).

Temperature after C.R. Scotese http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm
CO2 after R.A. Berner, 2001 (GEOCARB III)

 

There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example:

 During the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today.

 The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm — about 18 times higher than today.

 The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm.

 

According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the principal gas that trees and other plants need to survive, just like oxygen (O2) is the principal gas that humans and other animals require. Trees absorb CO2 and release O2– animals inhale O2 and exhale CO2. The Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle order enabling life had to exist before the flora and fauna it sustained.

Earth’s first, primitive forests made their prolific debut 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous Period . Before then, the atmosphere held far more CO2 but concentrations declined throughout the Carboniferous Period as plants flourished.

During the Carboniferous Period the atmosphere became greatly depleted of CO2 (declining from about 2500 ppm to 350 ppm) so that by the end of the Carboniferous the CO2-impoverished atmosphere was less favorable to plant life and plant growth slowed dramatically. Today, CO2 concentrations are barely at 380 ppm (0.038% of our atmosphere) and most of that comes from entirely natural sources.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is not to be confused with its poisonous evil cousin carbon monoxide (CO), which can kill humans and animals in just a few minutes. Life as we know it could not exist without carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Recent studies indicate CO2 enrichment of 1.5 times the present amount in the atmosphere increases photosynthesis by 45%.

Carbon dioxide is invisible. The puffs of clouds you see from coal-fired power plants are just that– clouds. Powerplants use steam to drive the turbines which generate electricity. Steam must be cooled and condensed to water to reuse it to make more steam.

The fat, curvy towers that look like they are belching white smoke are really only emitting pure water vapor. They are in effect making clouds.

The actual exhaust emissions come from the smokestack, which is the tall skinny tower. Because modern technology makes it possible to remove much of the fly ash and sulfur before releasing smokestack gases to the air, smokestack emissions today are often almost invisible.

 

The following temperature record shows that natural variations in global temperatures occur in roughly 500-years cycles. The primary cause of these variations in global temperature is due to the cycles of the sun and Earth’s orbit about the sun. In addition to 40-year cycles and 500-year cycles, other temperature cycles include:

  • 21,000 year cycle:Elliptical orbit of the Earth around the Sun (precession of the equinoxes)
  • 41,000 year cycle:Cycle of the +/- 1.5 degree wobble in Earth’s orbit
  • 100,000 year cycle: Variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit ( cycle of eccentricity )

CHART INFORMATION and SOURCE: Example of regional variations in surface air temperature for the last 1000 years, estimated from a variety of sources, including temperature-sensitive tree growth indices and written records of various kinds, largely from western Europe and eastern North America. Shown are changes in regional temperature in ° C, from the baseline value for 1900. Compiled by R. S. Bradley and J. A. Eddy based on J. T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vol 5, no 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record

In 1989 as the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war were winding down, the Union of Concerned Scientists began to circulate a petition urging recognition of global warming as potentially the great danger to mankind. The petition was eventually signed by 700 scientists. Only three or four of the signers, however, had any involvement in climatology. Richard S. Lindzen, MIT

President Clinton and others cite a letter signed by 2600 scientists that global warming will have catastrophic effects on humanity. Thanks to Citizens for a Sound Economy, we know now that fewer than 10% of these “scientists” know anything about climate. Among the signers: a plastic surgeon, two landscape architects, a hotel administrator, a gynecologist, seven sociologists, a linguist, and a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. Global Warming Treaty is All Pain, No Gain —Malcom Wallop.

Over 17,000 scientists have signed the Global Warming Petition to express their view that “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. 
Reference: (1) U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007; U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, December, 2007.

 

     The temperature measuring method that most accurately measures global warming is orbiting weather satellites. Since about 1979, each day satellites measure the temperature over about 80% of the globe to an accuracy of about 0.1 degree C. Weather balloons only make measurements at specific locations that are concentrated mostly over land (1).

 

     The real signature of greenhouse warming is not surface temperature but temperature in the middle of the troposphere, about 5 kilometers up. If global warming is occurring from an increasing greenhouse effect due to CO2 additions by humans the temperature of the middle troposphere should be warming faster than Earth’s surface (2,3). However, the opposite has been happening– which suggests either the surface temperature records are in error or natural factors, such as changes in solar activity, may be responsible for the slight rise in surface temperatures (approximately 0.6° C, globally) that appears to have occurred over the past century.

 

     Interestingly, in the 5 years leading up to 2007 the temperature of the mid troposphere has actually decreased slightly and surface temperatures have ceased warming— even as CO2 concentrations have continued to increase (4). This should not be happening if CO2 increases to the atmosphere are the primary driver of global warming.

 
  Atmosphere
   Surface -vs.- Satellite Temps
View a close-up image.
 
View a close-up image.  
Image courtesy of NASA
 
Image courtesy of NOAA (4)

 

References

(1) Satellite Measurements of Atmospheric Temperature Change: New Results from Old Satellites; presentation by Carl A. Mears and Frank J. Wentz, Remote Sensing Systems, November 2005.

(2) Climate Change Science; Compiled by Ken Gregory, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, November 11, 2007.

(3) Climate experts debate in NYC, March 2007– specifically, testimony by Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(4) Tropospheric and Stratospheric Temperature Record from Satellite Measurments, The National Climatic Data Center, NOAA Satellite Information Service, April 27, 2003 update.

 

 

 

The Cost of Freedom

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The Obama administration has increased our national debt more than all past presidents combined. The reversal of the debt to equity ratio has resulted in (1) China selling U.S. Treasury bonds in OTC markets; (2) the U.S. dollar at new lows against all major currencies; (3) Social Security hemorrhaging red for the first time since its inception; (4) the IMF now calling for the replacement of the U.S. dollar, as the world reserve currency; (5) the Federal Reserve buying back unsold Treasury bonds at every bond auction; and (6) most, importantly, our balance of trade at the worst negative balance in history.
In our homeland, current projections show that most Americans will outlive their savings, because of the rising cost of living. Although politicians pay themselves and government employees better than the salaries of those paying their undeserved salaries and benefits – the American taxpayer, they fail to effectively address the vital economic issues that have resulted from the violation of the original intention of the Constitution. Responsible are the voters who vote for those who ignore every tenet expressed in the Preamble to “the supreme law of the land”. How long is going to take a public, satiated by the highest standard of living the world has ever known, while wasting and destroying the heritage paid for by those before them with blood and sacrifice, to understand that freedom is never free? The blessings of “liberty and justice for all” are being denied our children while we are consuming ourselves with multiple addictions and wasting the blessings heretofore afforded by this “one Nation under God” on various entertainments and self indulgences.
Tolerating the greed and avarice of the impersonal and presumed unaccountable, out of control bureaucracies from governments to union leaders oblivious to the plight of the rank and file to the corporate boardrooms sustained by misguided cronies in place only to perpetuate the injustices heaped on stockholders and workers, Americans pay the price in lost jobs, at the grocery, and in everything they work for. Where is the next Washington or Lincoln? Most certainly, we need a leader not experienced in the political brokenness that has brought us to this brink of economic disaster. We need a leader versed in the truths imbedded in the Constitution – a person of wisdom guided only by the truths of science and history! We are at war!
Perhaps the next time the vast majority of Americans spend their hard earned, well deserved dollars, they might reflect on the following:
The dollar you spend to provide food for your family has decreased in value well over 60%. Whether in the container holding less or costs going up, or taxes to government at every level, the American citizen is being decimated by bureaucratic injustice. Now is the time!
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

IT SEEMS THERE HAS BEEN A LITTLE CONFUSION ABOUT OBAMA’S TAKING CREDIT FOR A RECENT HAPPENING. THE FOLLOWING WILL EXPLAIN:

“Thanking Obama for killing Bin Laden is like going into McDonalds and thanking Ronald McDonald for the hamburger. It’s the guy cooking the burger that should get the credit, not the clown.”

How to Get An ObamaCare Waiver

A helpful guide to health care independence.


People around the country were excited to learn that our benevolent masters in the Obama Administration chose to grant another two hundred indulgences from the ObamaCare disaster last month. It’s strange that the Department of Health and Human Services chose to post the names of the latest lucky winners without making a big announcement. They just kind of tossed the list on their website and hoped no one would notice it. Of course, conservative bloggers found it right away. We love to celebrate the good fortune of others.

The royal court has now issued 1,372 exemptions from ObamaCare. You may be asking yourself: “How can I get one of these valuable waivers?” Based on the waivers granted thus far, I’ve prepared this helpful guide.

1. Join a labor union: The waiver list reads like a “who’s who” of Big Labor organizations. Membership in a huge collectivist organization that owns a big chunk of the Democrat Party is a great way to escape the crushing burden of ObamaCare. The President isn’t foolish enough to subject his most valued political allies to his “brilliant” health care reforms!

2. Work for a huge corporation: Jack-in-the-Box, Cracker Barrel, Ruby Tuesday’s, Waffle House… these are among the most recognizable names of corporate waiver winners. Who would have guessed that restaurant chains were so much more competent to manage their own health care plans than the rest of America? Many other waiver recipients are industrial concerns with thousands of employees. Relief from ObamaCare’s staggering costs will provide them with a competitive advantage worth millions. Small businesses are for chumps!

3. Work for a health care company: Quite a few of these exemptions go to the health care industry and pharmaceutical companies. Remember the mid-90s, when drug companies were hives of malevolent evil, denounced repeatedly by Hillary Clinton – who felt so badly about her previous association with these villains that she short-sold her pharmaceutical stocks? Well, forget about all that. The past is a strange place, and we cannot live there.

4. Work for the government: State and local governments get plenty of ObamaCare waivers. You’re in luck – they’re always expanding, even during brutal recessions with high private-sector unemployment. Meanwhile, back in December, the Obama Administration declared it would ignore legislation designed to force Congressional representatives and their staff to live under ObamaCare, until the big state-run health care exchanges are up and running in 2014. If you were smart enough to join the ruling class, you’d have your waiver already!

5. Open a luxurious boutique in Nancy Pelosi’s district: Fully 20% of the latest ObamaCare waivers go to luxury businesses that happen to be located in the district represented by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Among the favored enterprises are Parisian cafés good enough to catch the discriminating eye of an International Monetary Fund honcho, and restaurants that sell $59 porterhouse steaks. You can escape from ObamaCare without compromising your fabulous lifestyle, provided you have the right political representation.

6. Live in Nevada, New Hampshire, or Maine: These three wonderful states have been granted special exemptions from many of ObamaCare’s provisions. The waiver for Harry Reid’s Nevada just came through this week. It was granted because treating them like one of the lesser 47 states “may lead to the destabilization of the individual market,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Enjoy your ObamaCare disaster, un-favored states!

I hope this guide proves useful in your quest to maintain some semblance of individual liberty and quality health care. Good luck!

In short, be a corrupt hypocrite.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=43572

Obama’s Disgrace at Medal of Honor ceremony

Did You Elect This Man?

Obama’s Disgrace at Medal of Honor ceremony

Some say those who commit such acts of omission, referring to the article below, may be only lacking in historical perspective when they ignorantly trample (being not informed) on basic tradition… BUT, knowing [former Secret Service – protected the President] the detail and briefings (from The White House and military) that go into a moment like this, you must ask – where are the wise counselors? And IF that counsel (briefing on the significance and historical tradition associated with the MOH) WAS given, the only two viable explanations for President Obama’s reprehensible behavior are these:

-he forgot to salute, or
-he selectively, and willfully, ignored his briefers and their recommendations.
Most U.S. Presidents seemed to discover the “sanctity” of the presidential office only after having obtained it. Even they come to revere it as something ‘above them’. With this president, you get (by his actions) that it is a role “due him”.


Did You Elect This Man?

Obama’s Disgrace at Medal of Honor ceremony

Some say those who commit such acts of omission, referring to the article below, may be only lacking in historical perspective when they ignorantly trample (being not informed) on basic tradition… BUT, knowing [former Secret Service – protected the President] the detail and briefings (from The White House and military) that go into a moment like this, you must ask – where are the wise counselors? And IF that counsel (briefing on the significance and historical tradition associated with the MOH) WAS given, the only two viable explanations for President Obama’s reprehensible behavior are these:

-he forgot to salute, or

-he selectively, and willfully, ignored his briefers and their recommendations.

Most U.S. Presidents seemed to discover the “sanctity” of the presidential office only after having obtained it. Even they come to revere it as something ‘above them’. With this president, you get (by his actions) that it is a role “due him”. Reading of, and trying to understanding his “centers of influence” that have contributed to his make-up, my only open question is – why are so many surprised? We know our character will reflect those philosophies and values held by those with whom we have long term association. We have seen this in him. He has so “simply failed” to salute on many occasions in many venues… His repeated actions make you wonder if he truly believes he is “above it all.”

Professionals have written of the narcissistic personality traits of this President, in particular. They seem to reflect frequently in his behavior. In which case, this article’s observation and opinion seems warranted and justified. Classically, he will say one thing while he reflects a contradicting behavior. In the MOH award ceremony, that I watched several times, he kept saying repeatedly, “I really like this guy.” That’s nice. But it is not about “I”… Go on… The whole point of the ceremony and the award is not just to acknowledge an individual’s remarkable selfless action and stellar performance of duty “above and beyond,” but to demonstrate , by presidential example , the honor to be afforded and reflected by those into whose presence the MOH comes. Our country does NOT know what to do or how to receive one who crosses paths with a bearer of the MOH. We don’t see many because most are given posthumously. He had opportunity. He had a moment to be most presidential and to give this country a lesson and example. Anyone can make a presentation. Few can teach. Fewer can lead. And those that are the best of leaders- lead by example.

Warm regards and Semper fi,
Jim Meyers (Board, CftC)
above article edited, emphasized, or added to by the CftC, where indicated in blue

>

Why No Salute by Obama at the Medal of Honor Ceremony?
By Attorney Rees Lloyd
November 26, 2010 NewsWithViews.com

A moment of national pride took place recently in the White House when an American soldier, Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, received the Medal of Honor for bravery above and beyond the call of duty in combat in Afghanistan<

Sgt. Giunta became the first living American soldier to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. He is now one of only eighty-eight (88) living holders of the Medal of Honor.

As modest and self-effacing as he is brave, Sgt. Giunta brought further honor to himself by his humility in receiving the nation’s highest medal of valor. While he made no comment in the ceremony, Giunta said before the ceremony that he was “not at peace” with being “singled out” for the honor as so many other soldiers did so much. And after the ceremony, he said he would trade the honor in a moment if he could bring back those whose lives he attempted to save under enemy fire but was unable to save. He definitely showed that he was an American in whom America could be proud.

In contrast, there was another “first” at the ceremony involving the Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Hussein Obama, in whose conduct the nation cannot and should not take pride: As far as is known, Obama became the first President, the first Commander-in-Chief , not to salute the living recipient of the Medal of Honor after presenting the medal.

It is a tradition in the military for all military personnel, no matter how high their rank, including the Commander-in-Chief, to salute a holder of the Medal of Honor no matter how lowly his or her rank. If General David Petreas was to encounter Sgt. Giunta, it would be the General who would salute the enlisted man, as a sign of respect for that soldier’s extraordinary bravery, but also to show respect to all those who have received the Medal of Honor.

At all gatherings of veterans of the American Legion, or VFW, or other veterans organizations, if a Medal of Honor recipient enters the room, even a National Convention involving thousands, the proceedings stop to render military honor to that holder of the Medal of Honor. All veterans rise, come to attention, and salute. It is a matter of pride, of respect, of tradition.

And, as far as is known, it is tradition that every President who has had the honor to present the Medal of Honor to a living recipient, has shown humility, respect, and national pride in that recipient by stepping back and rendering a salute.

It was missing in action in the Obama presentation. He is apparently above all that; “like a God,” as an editor of Newsweek once wrote.

Instead of rendering the traditional salute, after fumbling as if all-thumbs in trying to affix the blue-ribboned Medal of Honor, Obama, equally awkwardly, tried to “hug” the Sergeant. Yes, a “hug” for the soldier who remained at attention with eyes front in military bearing.

But a “hug” is not a “salute,” even in the Age of Obama. While there may be some comedic value in Obama’s pathetic display, it was more emetic than comedic. I didn’t write about it at the time, so as not to distract from Sgt. Giunta’s receipt of the Medal of Honor. But days have passed, and it needs to be said.

Why? Is it naught but petty carping of poor President Obama? I think not. He is the Commander-in-Chief” who has in his power the lives of those who serve in defense of the country, which he himself did not deign to do. It is pointing out that this man, this professional politician, repeatedly evidences contempt for America, for America’s traditions, and for Americans who respect those traditions.

It is as if he loathes the nation he was so desperate to lead, and be loved by, Messiah-like. It is of a piece with his constant misquoting of the Declaration of Independence by leaving out the words “endowed by their Creator” when speaking of “unalienable rights.”

Perhaps more aptly: It is of a pathetic piece with Obama’s penchant for declining to abide by the U.S. Flag Code when the Flag passes to place his hand over his heart. Instead, he drapes his arms down and enfolds his hands at his crotch Michael Jackson style. It is now mocked as Obama’s “crotch salute.” But it isn’t funny. It is contempt by Obama for the Flag, for America.

Perhaps it is unfair to criticize this President of the United States for displaying such contempt for American traditions. Perhaps it is too much to expect an American President to salute a recipient of the military Medal of Honor when that president never served in the uniform of his country; has said that the Rules For Radicals of the America-hating socialist revolutionist Sol Alinsky are “seared into my [his] brain;” who launched his political career in Chicago from the living room of the revolutionist Weather Underground rich-brat-bombers Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn; and who sat for twenty years in a pew of the church of Rev. “God D…n America” Wright, being marinated in hate-filled, grievance-filled, self-defined “anti-white” and “revolutionary” Black Liberation Theology.

Then again, perhaps it is not too much to expect anyone who would be America’s president to at least respect American traditions, including honoring the Flag, and saluting those who receive the Medal of Honor.

© 2010 Rees Lloyd – All Rights Reserved

REES LLOYD is a longtime civil rights attorney and veterans activist whose work has been honored by, among others, the California Senate and Assembly, and numerous civil rights, workers’ rights, and veteran’s rights organizations. He has testified as a constitutional expert at hearings before the U.S. House and Senate representing The American Legion.

He has been profiled, and his work featured, by such varied print media as the Los Angeles Times and American Legion Magazine, and such broadcast media as ABC’s Nightline and 20/20, Fox News In The Morning, and, among others, by Hannity. His writings have appeared in a variety of national, regional, and local newspaper, magazine, and other publications. He is a frequent radio commentator, and a sought after speaker.* [*For identification only. The views expressed here are solely Rees Lloyd’s and not necessarily any person, entity or organization he may otherwise represent. ]

E-Mail: ReesLloydLaw@gmail.com

Anonymous said…

“Without judgment I write these words.” Sorry…like so many others you (anon. 1 and 2) have passed judgment without even looking at the evidence. You have judged that this president (Obama) is “harmless” despite his actions that prove otherwise and fault those of us who are outraged for simply examining the evidence: no proof of eligibility; appointing radicals and cheats (taxes) in his administration; a close friend of domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn; nationalizing the auto industry and health care and turning our country toward outright communism; lack of respect for Constitutional law; fraudulent use of a soc. security number, and on and on and on. And while not holding his hand over his heart may seem trivial to you, there is a federal statute that requires us to do that when the National Anthem is played. And this man is president??? Even if ignorant of the law, which he apparently is, he should do it out of respect! No, anon. 1, you judged him “innocent” without any supporting facts, yet condemn the rest of us for our outrage when we have all the EVIDENCE we need that he is NOT GOOD FOR AMERICA, and may not even be American.

anon.2…where is the evidence about GWB? Or is this another dose of leftist propaganda? Oops..sorry. Just another case of “judgment” without being based on evidence.