DIVIDED BY THOSE WHO WRITE HISTORY?

History books in a bookstore (from here)

Someone once said that history is written by the victors. He probably was not the greatest of all victors, if only because his name has been utterly forgotten. — Winston Churchill (from here)

Who Is The Victor?

What is a history book? For good or for ill, history is what someone wants us to believe about the past. Here is the origin of the term => history.

What we know about history is either propaganda, true, or most likely, at least partly false. Because whatever we are taught motivates us, our teachers have an incentive to guide our motivations. Our teachers can try to instill wisdom, or they can strive to manipulate us.

This raises a question. Who is the victor? Is it the victor the one fights and wins the battle, or is the victor the one who taught the “victor”?

If the victor is the teacher, then we have come full circle. Propagandists like CNN now use children, still largely ignorant and in the process of being taught, as “teachers” to instill their version of truth into their elders (Parkland student: My generation won’t stand for this (www.cnn.com), for example). Apparently, understanding does not matter to many of us. What matters? Feelings. Otherwise, how did we reach the point where ignorant children can “teach” ignorant adults how they should “feel” about political issues?

Looking Back

Some years back I wrote A GAP TOO WIDE AND TOO DEEP TO BRIDGE. In this post I explained why I had given up on a project to help bridge our differences.

I use to have a page I called Bridge Makers, and I even identified a couple of Bridge Makers:  Bridge Makers: Coming Together to Face the Next Crisis and Bridge Maker Post at the Virginian Federalist.  On this page I acknowledged those bloggers who set aside partisan differences to come to the aid of a neighbor.  My goal was to encourage my fellow bloggers to see other bloggers as neighbors as opposed to Conservatives, Democrats, Liberals, Republicans, and so forth.  Unfortunately, it has been awhile since I saw a blog post I could call a Bridge Maker.  The last I saw was on August 5, 2007.

What is the problem?  Why have Bridge Makers become so rare?  I fear ideological lines have hardened.   Congress’ latest activities illustrate this all too well.  The health care bill the Senate just passed (see here), can hardly be described as bipartisan legislation.  Not one single Republican could be found willing to vote for it.  (continued here)

What is at the heart of that old post? I cited portions of Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville. Tocqueville was a French aristocrat who came to America to study our penal system. He stayed to study America itself. When he traveled about America in the years 1831 and 1832, Tocqueville observed that because of slavery the cultures of the North and the South had become distinctly different from each other. America, he decided, was not one people; it was two. Tocqueville expected the division over slavery to cause real trouble.

The division over slavery eventually led to the Civil War. Many fought with true ardor for their side. In TOO YOUNG TO DIE atimetoshare.me tells the story of John Herbert Kelly, a Confederate General. Kelly was a splendid man, a hero to his cause. At the age of 23, Kelly was promoted to a Brigadier General. Of course, in retrospect, almost all Americans now believe Kelly was misguided; he fought for the South. Still, one wonders at the courage he displayed in support of the South. Why didn’t Kelly understand slavery is a great evil? Apparently, someone had taught Kelly to believe otherwise.

Who Controls What Our Children Learn?

What is a people? What is a country? Is a country about borders or the character of a people? Was not our country a land composed of people with a shared identity? Do we still have a shared identity, or are we divided once again? When we teach our children about our country and our history, what do they learn? Who controls what our children learn?

It was about the time that Tocqueville started riding around America on horseback that New Englanders began to experiment with the public school system. As the decades passed, the New England experiment spread. With the passage of more time, state governments took control of the public schools from local governments. In the 1960’s the Supreme Court completed the secularization of the public school system. In more recent decades officials in Federal Government have sought control over school funding and educational content.

In the America that Tocqueville wrote about, parents controlled what their children learned. In the America of today, school boards, local officials, state officials, Federal officials, and interest groups of every description struggle for control of who teaches and what they teach. Some parents have acquiesced and left their children at the mercy of a hodgepodge that manages the public school system, and others taken matters into their own hands. Therefore, some parents home-school their children, some parents send their children to private religious schools, and the wealthy have nothing to do with the public schools. Others seek compromises. Well off parents buy homes in the best school districts. Less well parents, however, have little choice. Their children go to the worst of the public schools.

Is there anything about these different educational choices that divides America? Yes. Some parents used the options available to them and then struggle as best they can to raise their children in their religious faith. At the other extreme, others leave their children to the mercy of the public school system.

The majority of Americans have a Christian heritage. In secularized schools, which the public schools have become by definition, parents struggle to raise children as Christians. At best, public school systems just ignore the subject of religion. That implies religious belief does not matter, that Jesus does not matter, but this approach at least avoids instruction that is contrary to parental desires. More likely, however, children will encounter instruction in multiculturalism, teaching that all religious beliefs are equally valid, thus all equally invalid. Instruction may even be hostile to religion, especially Christianity, suggesting that belief in the God of the Bible leads to war. Hence, those parents who choose to send their children to public schools must make a deliberate effort to educate their children as Christians, and they must actively repel efforts by the public school system to instill differing beliefs.

Similarly, some parents struggle with the modern mass media. To filter out unchristian teachings and influences, some parents carefully regulate what their children see on television and the Internet. Unfortunately, some do not protect their children from the harmful aspects of the modern mass media.

So what should we conclude? Does the way we teach our children today divide us?  Does the observation that some parents struggle to raise their children as Christians and others accept a secularized education for their children divide us. If so, how?

Politically, our nation is divided into two camps:  Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Are all the people who make the effort to raise their children as Christians Conservative and all the people who don’t Liberal Democrats? No. Even during the Civil War everyone was not in just one of the two main opposing camps.  During his re-election in 1864, many had serious concerns that Abraham Lincoln might not be re-elected. Everyone in the North was not an abolitionist, and not everyone in the South supported slavery.

Even though the issue of slavery was the root cause of the American Civil War, each individual still chose his side for his or her own reasons, which might not have anything to do with slavery. Similarly, when some people choose to side with Republican politicians (who are not uniformly Conservative) and others choose to side with Democrat politicians (who tend to be more monolithic), each of us chooses our side for our own reasons.

Is the argument over secularization all there is to this? With respect to special interest groups, two stand head and shoulders above all the rest. Consider this item from opensecrets.org.

Teachers unions have steadily amped up their political involvement: From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high. Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where our data begins.

Two organizations account for practically all of the contributions made by teachers unions: The National Education Association (about $20 million in 2016) and the American Federation of Teachers (almost $12 million). Both groups — which compete for members, but also collaborate with each other through the NEA-AFT Partnership — are consistently among the organizations that contribute the most money to candidates and political groups. [Read more Background]

Given that the  partisan the teachers unions are so partisan, is any surprise that our education system polarize us? The free exercise of religion, a constitutional right, obviously implies that we each have the right to choose how we want to educate both ourselves and our children. Nevertheless, government, driven by the activism of teachers unions, fights any form of educational choice.

In fact, our universities have become just as partisan as our public schools. Consider this excerpt from an article in The Washington Times.

A new study confirms what even the most casual observer of higher education has long known — that conservative professors are vastly outnumbered by liberal ones — but it also shows that the problem is getting worse.

Published in Econ Journal Watch last month, the study looks at faculty voter registration at 40 leading universities and finds that, out of 7,243 professors, Democrats outnumber Republicans 3,623 to 314, or by a ratio of 11 1/2 to 1.

The study comes after a tumultuous few years at American colleges and universities, marked by campus race protests, the disinvitation of conservative speakers and the popularization of phrases such as “trigger warning” and “safe space.”

Out of five departments analyzed by the authors, the field friendliest to conservative scholars is economics, where there are only 4.5 liberal professors for every conservative.

Conversely, history is by far the least conservative-friendly department, where liberals outnumber conservatives by a 33 1/2-to-1 ratio. (continued here)

Why are university professors becoming more partisan? Money.

In 2013, federal spending on major higher education programs totaled $75.6 billion, state spending amounted to $72.7 billion, and local spending was considerably lower at $9.2 billion. These figures exclude student loans and higher education-related tax expenditures. (from here (pewtrusts.org))

Conclusion

So it is that our educational institutions have become increasingly partisan, and many people now accept Liberal Democrat propaganda as truth. Fortunately, many still resist, fighting to retain both our nation’s Christian heritage and constitutional republic.

What are some examples of the propaganda promoted through the public education system?

  • Socialism: since the public education system, owned and operated by government, is a socialist institution, its very existence makes a statement. However, polls show students now favor socialism (Millennials Don’t Know What “Socialism” Means (reason.com)).
  • Multiculturalism: multiculturalism is the notion all cultures are morally equivalent, that all religious beliefs are equally valid. Because multiculturalists believe in the moral equivalence of all religious beliefs, multiculturalism is in and of itself a religious belief, albeit an irrational religious belief.
  • Environmentalism: when it needs it, saving the planet is fine idea. Polluting (poisoning) each other is just stupid. However, before we spend lots of money on anything, the science needs to validated first. Surely we don’t need our schools scaring our children and teaching as fact things we don’t know to be true. Global Warming, for example, remains unproven, but that is not the way it is taught.
  • Gun control: recent efforts to involve students in gun control demonstrations make it obvious that students are being indoctrinated that guns, not people, are bad. Inanimate objects have ethics?
  • So-called LGBTQ rights: there has been lots of publicity about this here of late. At this point, Liberal Democrats seem to be pushing for schools to teach students that we each get to choose our sex. What we are born with does not matter. In fact, we should not be surprised if school administrators decide to go with unisex restrooms and locker rooms.

So what is the bottom line? We have a crisis in education. Instead of an educational system designed to teach our children how to think critically and to help them learn what their parents believe and why, we have a system that is increasingly designed to promote ideological beliefs that are contrary to our nation’s heritage and our children’s best interests.

We are at a crossroads. We can recognize the problem and fight tooth and nail, or we can continue to pretend no problem exists. If we love our children, we will fight tooth and nail for their sake.

What Can We Do?

Do you want to protect your country, your children and grandchildren. Then pay attention to the upcoming elections for the U.S. Congress.  In Virginia, Upcoming Elections include primaries on June 12th and a general election on November 6th.

We need to replace some of our leaders. To make a real difference, that means we must take part in the primary elections too.

106 thoughts on “DIVIDED BY THOSE WHO WRITE HISTORY?

  1. Excellent as always Tom…and a little aside regarding our friend Winston…
    he was a prolific writer we know…as he opted to write his own version of the history of WWII because he said he trusted only himself to get it right 🙂 and seeing that he had such a keen had involved…
    and if you haven’t caught our Wee Flea friend’s post today regarding the “thought police”…I think you’ll find it of interest…
    https://theweeflea.com/2018/04/05/the-thought-police-of-the-new-revolution/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Read our Wee Flea friend’s post. Insane doesn’t begin to describe the stupidity of banning a male choir. A male choir is going to have a different sound, just as a female choir would. In addition, it is an excuse for a guys night out. Women don’t do that? Of course they do, and spouses prefer it that way.

      When it is not a unisex world, where is the virtue in pretending it is? That is the part I don’t understand.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post, Tom. History and the way it was being taught is part of what prompted us to pull the kids out of school. We spent a lot of time simply engaging in living history projects,civil war re-enactments, renaissance fairs, the Lewis and Clark trail. They did not learn the facts, the dates, the quiz side of history, so much as they learned to empathize with history and the people who lived it. That is part of our problem as a culture, we have alienated ourselves from those who came before and created this division that suggests our ancestors were regressive and we are progressive,enlightened. They are the bad guys, we are the good guys. And of course, those who can’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    We went to visit a piece of the Berlin wall once, just a chunk of concrete, and a child’s shoe from the holocaust. Just exposure to those two things completely changed how they might feel about handing the government power and control over us, around things like gun rights.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @insanitybytes22

      Thanks for the comment. Your comment expresses how I hoped people would take what I wrote.

      It does no good to hate the slave masters of the South. I suspect many understood there is something wrong with slavery, but slavery of some sort has been the norm for as long as civilization at the very least. To them the alternative seemed more irrational than the status quo.

      Free the Negroes? Then what? As it happens, when the Negroes were freed, that did not solve their problems. Many fell on hard times, worse in many respects.

      Most of us cannot imagine being a slave all our lives. Most of us cannot imagine being “freed” and the fright of suddenly being on our own. When the slaves were freed after the Civil War, in the midst of hostile white populace that had just lost a bloody war…..

      Is it any wonder we still struggle with these problems? To understand what is wrong, we have to study history objectively, and we cannot even do that.

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  3. I loved the article here. we do need more bridgemakers. That said this paragraph does not apply to my region…The majority of Americans have a Christian heritage. In secularized schools, which the public schools have become by definition, parents struggle to raise children as Christians. At best, public school systems just ignore the subject of religion. That implies religious belief does not matter, that Jesus does not matter, but this approach at least avoids instruction that is contrary to parental desires. More likely, however, children will encounter instruction in multiculturalism, teaching that all religious beliefs are equally valid, thus all equally invalid. Instruction may even be hostile to religion, especially Christianity, suggesting that belief in the God of the Bible leads to war. Hence, those parents who choose to send their children to public schools must make a deliberate effort to educate their children as Christians, and they must actively repel efforts by the public school system to instill differing beliefs.
    To find the Christian heritage in many if not most New England families you have to go back to great grandparents of the Millenial Generation. Many if not most in New England are raising their families in a New Age even openly Pagan paradigm. Our six states stand at 2% Evangelical Christian. We are no longer even considering ourselves Post Christian Americans. May of my pastoral friends consider New England a pre- Christian mission field.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @joseph elon lillie

      I can believe it. That is where the notion of public education got its start. Yet New England was settled by devout Pilgrims and Puritans. They just could not figure out how to pass their faith onto their children. They tried, but they failed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the mention, Tom. I believe there will always be corruption in government, in politics, in the every day suffering of the common man. Our only hope as Christians is that this is not our final destination. Every day brings me closer to that realization.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Liberal anger at the Tea Party probably had less to do with what they were actually protesting about than how successful they ended up being with those protests. In fact, if at the time that the protests were at their peak, you asked 10 Tea Party protesters who came out why they came out, you would probably have gotten 10 different answers, a list of greivences that spanned from out of control Wall Street gambling to out of control government. Although every every average Tea Party protester couldn’t effectively “teach” a class on civics, ethics or the role of government, everyone of them was inspired by the fact that when our economy nearly collapses something is terribly wrong and they expected something to be done to fix it. And then, unlike OWS and the 99 Percenters, the Tea Party actually organized into one of the most effective political movements in our history by actually electing politicians who claimed, whether honestly or not, that they would fix our broken government to their satisfaction.

    I see the women in pussy hats and the kids protesting gun violence in schools in the same light. It’s less a monolithic ideological movement that wants to “teach” morality or history than a common reaction to the fact that, when we can’t protect our kids in their schools, we need to do something.

    We’ll see whether these movements will, like the Tea Party, also be politically effective, but the early signs that they are concentrated on voting tells me that they will be. We will also see if, like the Tea Party, their grass roots movement will be co-opted by the left wing version of the Koch brothers and riddled with demagogues more interested in getting elected than doing anything. But the early signs are that these kids have learned from the history of the Tea Party and are avoiding its fate.

    What appears to upset right wing pundits isn’t really the childish impudence that these talking heads are raging about. No, what Faux News is really mad about is the obvious media sophistication and effectiveness these kids are showing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “What appears to upset right wing pundits isn’t really the childish impudence that these talking heads are raging about. No, what Faux News is really mad about is the obvious media sophistication and effectiveness these kids are showing.”

      But they aren’t really kids. The average age is about 49. It’s basically the same mom demographic of other anti-gun protests.
      https://www.washingtonpost.com

      Only ten percent of the “protestors” were under 18.
      So the whole thing is a fake propaganda campaign, not an “effective kid movement”.

      ““Like other resistance protests, and like previous gun-control marches, the March for Our Lives was mostly women. Whereas the 2017 Women’s March was 85 percent women, the March for Our Lives was 70 percent women. Further, participants were highly educated; 72 percent had a BA or higher.
      Contrary to what’s been reported in many media accounts, the D.C. March for Our Lives crowd was not primarily made up of teenagers. Only about 10 percent of the participants were under 18. The average age of the adults in the crowd was just under 49 years old, which is older than participants at the other marches I’ve surveyed but similar to the age of the average participant at the Million Moms March in 2000, which was also about gun control.”

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Just to add…
          I’m very heavily involved in a lot of volunteer activities around our military base, currently.
          And I get all the e mails/Facebook pleas to join this or that cause.
          This month it’s child abuse prevention month. Or maybe week? Or perhaps it’s the year of the child? I forget, there are so many causes….
          I am supposed to demonstrate that “I care” by making pinwheels, distributing them and placing one in my yard.
          To me this is even worse that SPAM chain e mails that tell me to “You’re a fierce, beautiful and awesome woman! Now forward this to all the fierce, beautiful women you know!”
          I can just delete the above, the other one is actually asking me to waste my time and energy to “prove I care”.
          And of course, strong-arm all my friends and associates to do the same.
          So, no, I have not placed a pinwheel in my yard. I guess that means I support child abuse.
          I won’t wear “armbands of solidarity” for whatever either. Nor wristbands, pins, hats, ad nauseum ect.
          No, not even ribbons…though I’ve tied yellow ribbons around trees for homecomings as that isn’t about me, but actually about the person coming home and seeing it as a welcome.
          Nutshell: I’m not into empty displays of virtue signaling.
          This is the ridiculous modern world we live in.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I remember (sorry, just reminiscing) the first Gulf war.
            I was a young undergrad at the university (vegan at the time) and a fellow PETA member tried to strong arm me into protesting the war.
            I explained that I didn’t think it was a good idea to allow Saddam to invade Kuwait. Because he was a guy who had a lot of bombs, obviously liked to use them, bought them with his oil money, and taking Kuwait would get him twice as many bombs.
            Yeah, that conversation didn’t go well.
            They couldn’t really process it, but they made sure I was persona non grata after.
            This was in the early 90s.
            With social media, I’d bet a very very great deal of money the majority of these protestors (pink hats, ect) are simply strong armed into doing it by a really “passionate” person in their peer group they fear and/or don’t want to disappoint.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. So you are telling me that some 500,000 juveniles did not descend on Washington and other cities unaccompanied by their parents and unchaperoned by some other adult and that they were supported by a whole bunch of other adults? So the crowds we saw on TV were mostly voting age folks? Well, that changes everything…not.

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          3. @tsalmon

            It is not the children who are being effective. It is the people USING children to peddle their message.

            You think the kids made up that crowd. They didn’t.

            Like

          4. @anon

            I couple of posts ago you were telling me that you were not that elite. Now, you’re way too savvy to be taken in like all those hundreds of thousands of (apparently mostly college graduate) rubes who protested during “March for Our Lives”?

            Liked by 1 person

          5. “I couple of posts ago you were telling me that you were not that elite. Now, you’re way too savvy to be taken in like all those hundreds of thousands of (apparently mostly college graduate) rubes who protested during “March for Our Lives”?

            Not sure I understand what you’re saying. Sorry.
            I can be simultaneously “not that elite” and also more savvy than I was when I was over two decades ago when I was 19 years old.
            At present, I could easily strong arm many, many people into buying some multi-level marketing product I might peddle for whatever reason (it would be profit, but I might kid myself into believing it’s because I believe in that product).
            I don’t, because I think it’s wrong. I also understand the difference between business norms and social norms (multi level marketing peddlers mix these social norms…which makes things awkward for everyone, but they’ll still try to play along).

            Liked by 1 person

      1. So you are telling me that some 500,000 juveniles did not descend on Washington and other cities unaccompanied by their parents and unchaperoned by some other adult and that they were supported by a whole bunch of other adults? So the crowds we saw on TV were mostly voting age folks? Well, that changes everything…not.

        Like

        1. “So the crowds we saw on TV were mostly voting age folks? Well, that changes everything…not.”

          Ah, so when you say,
          “What appears to upset right wing pundits… it is the obvious media sophistication and effectiveness these kids are showing.”

          ….what you really meant to say is, “it’s the obvious media sophistication and effectiveness these middle aged moms who show up at other anti-gun rallies-but-this-time-they-brought-their-teenaged-kids are showing”

          Noted.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. @anon

            I like that, except for the fact that I’ve watched these kids being interviewed several times. They are the face of this movement, and if you don’t think that their good at media, then you’re not paying attention. I’ve done media, on occasion on a national level, and these kids are way better than I ever hoped to be.

            Like

          2. @tsalmon

            What the children are good for is garnering sympathy. Do they know what they are talking about? No.

            Here is an example. They want to ban assault weapons. What is an assault weapon? An assault weapon is something used to kill people? Well, that can include all firearms. An assault weapon is military grade automatic long gun? Those are not sold to the public. An assault weapon is semiautomatic firearm. You have just banned virtually all guns.

            What is the point of listening to children who don’t know what they are talking about? That says a lot about the gullibility of the audience.

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          3. “What the children are good for is garnering sympathy. Do they know what they are talking about? No.”

            Do you know how the bullet and cartridge of an AR-15 differs from a standard .30-30 or a .30-06 hunting rifle bullet and cartridge? Do you understand the differences in the effect on human flesh and bone that a bullet fired from an AR-15 might have as compared to standard 30-06 hunting rifle? What are the differences and similarities in lethality between an AR-15 and a military grade M16 or M4 carbine?

            If weapons that are designated as “assault weapons” such as the AR-15 do not have somewhat similar lethality, other than a burst fire mode, why would anyone want to own them as compared to other semi-automatic hunting long rifles? I can tell as a hunter, it’s not because AR-15 makes the best game hunting weapon.

            These kids don’t have to be weapons experts (like you?) to see that the weapon of choice of mass murder is a particularly good human killing device. It’s obviously the reason why actual weapons experts (and for different reasons, mass murderers) love them – they are excellent and incredibly cool people killing machines.

            Yep, it is difficult to regulate such things. Notwithstanding the 2nd Amendment issues, governments have to also set standards that are not just arbitrary or easily gotten around. But the difference between a large piece of legal-in-some-states fireworks and a military grade grenade would basically be lethality of purpose. We probably don’t want either in our churches and schools, but the grenade will definitely kill more children than the fireworks, don’t you think? Why? Because the grenade is designed to kill. It’s a good thing that grenades are harder to get for some reason, huh? Even a child would know that regulatory difficulty is probably a good thing.

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          4. @tsalmon

            There is now a constitutional requirement to justify to snowflakes whatever we want to do their satisfaction? Whatever weapons most frighten snowflakes have to be banned until we have banned them all? That is what you are arguing for. What if we get rid of the AR-15? Don’t we both know the snowflakes will never be satisfied?

            When we are young, the world seems so simple. Problem? There is a solution! There ought to be a law. Of course, when you go to school under a socialist regime that sort of stupidity is encouraged.

            What if my neighbor wants to own a powerful semiautomatic weapon to protect his home? Since several of my neighbors have been policemen, I am certain I have actually had that “problem”. Yet even if my neighbor is not a policeman, I am okay with gun ownership.

            With respect to weapons, what do I worry about? It is living in a community of spineless people who won’t defend themselves. It is there we are not safe. It is there criminals rule.

            Since I have seen very little evidence they respect the police, I wonder about the sanity of Liberal Democrats. Here is why. During the last century, in particular, armed and dangerous criminal regimes hauled of tens of millions of their own unarmed citizens into concentration camps. Was the AR-15 the problem? No. Guns did not create this problem. The problem is that people did not resist the tyrannical use of government power.

            So what do the people who hate the police want to do? They want to take our guns away. Could you guys get some loose screws tighten first?

            What is the concern of your “experts”? Some nut the government had multiple opportunities to stop goes into a school and starts shooting. That nut kills a bunch of people BECAUSE no one inside the school is prepared to stop him. Then the nut leaves, pleased with himself.

            And who are your “experts”? Frighten and angry children egged on by duplicitous adults.

            The odds of a school shooting is minuscule. The odds of being the victim of a crime are much better. Chances are, however, the police won’t arrive in time. That’s why even people who respect the police (and Conservatives do) want to be able to defend themselves.

            Like

          5. Oh, I forgot the NRA cliche: The only thing that stops a bad child with a grenade is a good child with a grenade … ?

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          6. Tom,

            You don’t know anything about the range of leathality in this weaponry so castigating those who wish to reasonably limit lethality as essentially as frightened cowards is your new argument. I spent 20 yesr flying a weapon of war, and I don’t want my neighbor to have access unfettered to the bombs, rockets and torpedos that aircraft could carry. Well I guess I’m a snowflake then too. You should see some of my neighbors. I don’t want them to have 50 caliber machine guns and grenade launchers either. I’d be much more affraid of those armed neighbors than my fellow military members coming to put me in a concentration camp. 😏

            Why do you have to always jump to the most ridiculously extreme argument? 🙄

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          7. @tsalmon

            Ridiculously extreme argument? You want me to listen to frightened children who want to edit (not properly amend) the Constitution based upon the fact that they were attacked in a school by a nut who could have been stopped if existing laws had been enforced? The whole pretext for the gun control argument is based upon THE MOST EXTREME ARGUMENT.

            Instead of giving the government more power, why don’t you worry about our leaders not doing what they are already supposed to be doing?

            School shootings are rare. Hand guns are used in most killings. We already prohibit all kinds of weapons. When they are already illegal, have have been for decades, why the hyperbole over 50 caliber machine guns and grenade launchers?

            When terrorists can just get in car and run over people, there is a point when it is just silly to worry about the concerns of snowflakes.

            Sharpened pencils are dangerous. Should we ban pencil sharpeners?

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          8. Your argument seems to come down to, “If there is no perfect solution to the problem, then we should do nothing about the problem”. Somewhere between banning every possible weapon and allowing everyone and anyone to have unregulated access to even the most lethal militaristic weapons is a reasonable, albeit imperfect, middle ground.

            School schooling may be rare but mass murder happens almost daily. Using legal assault weapons along with a legally purchased bump stalk, a guy just recently killed and injured hundreds of people in Las Vegas. Everyone who ever went to a crowded outdoor event or will go to one, is a potential victim or survivor if this sort of military grade lethality, no matter what their age and sophistication about guns and government and the 2nd Amendment. We may not all have the most informed opinions, but even the most ignorant and childishly innocent among us have a legitimate reason to protest that something can and should be done to limit the problem even if cannot be perfectly solved.

            One of the definitions of sovereignty is the exclusive control by government of military force. Somewhere between the totalitarian state and the chaos of anarchy lies a balance of reasonable constitutional and democratic regulation and control that even most gun owners agree is necessary. Your argument that making perfect the enemy of the good is simple but it is also specious.

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          9. BTW in case I haven’t been clear, I really like guns and own a few. Something about their power, elegance of purpose and precision appeals deeply to the Pilot part of me. If I didn’t have way too many competing hobbies, I would even loveto own an AR-15, or even better, the full military grade versions that these assault weapons are based upon. I don’t think that any reasonable gun enthusiast should be completely banned from owning such weapons either. I just think that rational and reasonable restrictions and legal responsibilities should be placed on such ownership and use. I know, I guess that makes me, like most gun owners, a “snowflake”.

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          10. @tsalmon

            Don’t own a gun. Don’t have much interest in perching up in tree waiting for deer. So?

            This is not about me. Our rights don’t come from me. Our rights don’t come from the barrel of a gun. Our rights come from God. You disagree? Is that is because you think our rights come the barrel of a gun or the brute force power and desires of the majority?

            Everyone has the right to defend themselves. We as a society only have the right to prevent a citizen from exercising their right to self defense when they would do so in such a fashion that they infringe upon the rights of others. Our personal preferences don’t matter.

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          11. Are you seriously asserting a God given right to have an assault weapon?

            “Ye, I say unto thee behold the rapid fire, high muzzle velocity rifle with expanded magazine capacity that the lord has made for you.”

            Must be found in one of those more obscure Dead Sea Scrolls. 😂

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          12. @tsalmon

            So you have put up a straw man, knocked it down, and then laughed at your own stupid joke. To make your stupid joke “work”, you had to put words in my mouth, words you know I never spoke and would never speak. Pathetic!

            If our rights don’t come from God, who do they come from? You? Me? Our neighbors? If what you believe is true, then where is the wisdom and courage to defend your own position?

            Don’t you know that government has nothing to give us except justice? Even the protection we enjoy from government we mostly derive from the justice we hope to receive after the fact, AFTER someone has committed a crime against someone we care about.

            The justice of man is almost always delayed. We give justice to the perpetrator. The victim? Not so much.

            Is what we we call justice our own invention, or is justice the simple acknowledgment of the fact that God expects us to respect each others rights? Is justice a process? Then what makes a process just? Who decides when a process is just? How do we determine when a process is just?

            Look at you. You insist upon denying people their right to defend themselves. Do you deny that such a right exists? Are you foolish enough to believe that the right of self-defense is meaningful without the right to bear arms? How could it be? Yet you insist upon supporting the cause of liars whose transparent objective is to destroy the Second Amendment.

            Because of the company you keep, you attack my position with nonsense. If your own position is defensible, then defend it. Where is the constitutional authority for what your expert children demand?

            Liked by 1 person

          13. “Look at you. You insist upon denying people their right to defend themselves. “

            Speaking of ‘straw man”, when did I say that? Your tendency Tom is to lump anyone who disagrees with you into one political category that you consider the polar opposite of your extreme positions. Sorry to disappoint by inconveniently not being the extremist that you desire to debate.

            I honestly don’t know about God given rights. We have discussed this before, and even you seem to admit that this concept is mostly an 18th Century invention of the Enlightenment that would have been unintelligible to any of the people during all the ages that the Bible was authored.

            There are, however, (and I think we can all agree with this) “God given responsibilities”.

            Can one imply rights indirectly from those responsibilities? Perhaps, but when we humans “imply” the infinite mind of God on anything, we have good reason to be cautious. Because I don’t pretend to know the mind of God as to which specific rights He has actually afforded and not afforded, I remain agnostic about it – maybe they exist and maybe they don’t but I am sceptical when liberals or conservatives pretend that God endorses the rights that they like but not the rights their political opponents like. Seems all to politically convenient. We we absolutely do know with regard to actual “legal” rights is that they do not practically exist without some institution with the power to define them, arbitrate them and enforce them.

            Am I making a “straw man” out of you when I take the logical leep from your statement that we have a God given right to defend ourselves with weapons to attribute to you the extreme position that God gave us all a right to an AR-15? Sure, it WAS meant to be comical and ironic. However, does your apparent outage at the joke mean that perhaps the sarcasm hit too close to exposing your claim to divine blessing on your politics as nonsense? I don’t know. When we start taking overmuch pride our own ideas is perhaps the best time laugh at ourselves. Like everything else, God invented humor. He probably laughs at us constantly.

            As for human justice being only after the fact, that’s nonsense as well. A system of justice doesn’t work if it does not prevent injustice going forward as well as dispensing justice after the fact. This goes in line with the whole institutional cynicism of the political Right these days. You point to all the crimes that our government fails to stop without even imagining the untold number of injustices that fail to happen because we have a relatively (by historical comparison) just institutional system to begin with. Once again you constantly make an impossible perfection the enemy of pretty darn good. Reform is constant. Our own positive progress tells us that progress is possible, but not guaranteed. Hope engenders that institutional progress. Hopeless cynicism engenders only chaos and despair.

            All legal rights in our system of justice are not unlimited, and that includes the right to have weapons. Because I believe that the right to have weapons, for defense as well as other useful purposes, can be reasonably restricted, doesn’t mean I’m completely against the right, and all rights. Trying to cast everyone who wants reasonable restrictions as wanting to take all our “God given” rights away is demagoguery, and as such a lie.

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          14. “Where is the constitutional authority for what your expert children demand?”

            Ok. Another lesson in constitutional law. SCOTUS considers constitutional rights as one category of “fundamental rights”. As such when a state or federal actor seeks to restrict or limit these fundamental rights, SCOTUS subjects that government action to “strict scrutiny”. Because it is a fundamental right, SCOTUS weighs the scale in favor of the right, and government must show a “substantial state interest” (safety, security, public or individual harm, etc.) that justifies the need to limit the fundamental right. If government cannot demonstrate “substantial” government interest that clearly outweighs the actual protections that the right affords, then the governmental action or law is considered unconstitutional. A great deal more goes into this (like standing, jurisdiction, penumbra rights, cultural tradition, and the 14th Amendment), but this is the very short Constitutional Law 101 version.

            In this way, even the most fundamental constitutional rights are not unlimited. Despite obvious 1st Amendment protection, free speech does not allow the individual to incite violence or yell “fire” in a crowded theater. The state can pass and enforce such reasonably restrictive laws.

            The 2nd Amendment right to bear arms has been a particularly difficult case for SCOTUS. Unlike, for First Amendment rights to speech, the 2nd Amendment language arguably could be construed as only applying to historically obsolete militia forming intentions rather than to any fundamental “individual” right. The Civil War and 14th Amendment changes to rights evaluations also plays into interpretation. Regardless, in a controversial 5-4 decision, SCOTUS found, not so much that individual gun ownership could not be highly restricted, but that it could not be completely restricted by the state. (See Heller vs. DC). Whether one agrees with it or not, therefore the individual right to own guns is a constitutional fact since Heller.

            Hope that answers your question.

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          15. Tom,

            Forgive me for the side journey, but this mutual complaint about “straw manning” has me thinking. When I am in my better angels I come to your blog seeking after truths that I don’t already know and to have the truths that I think I know challenged. I can go plenty of other places to have my opinions confirmed. Because you open your blog up to discussion and allow challenging positions, I assume that you are not just proclaiming the formidable amount of truth that you have discovered, but are also seeking to learn in the same way, am I right?

            I have been guilty of it myself, but in my heart, I know that “straw manning” is one of the worst forms of demagoguery. It is the act of telling lies to ourselves and to others about ideological opponents because we fear that our own ideological truthes won’t stand up to a sincere understanding of our opponents’ honest criticisms. Starting with this lie naturally leads to other lies that demonize and ultimately dehumanize friendly critics into existential enemies. It is the first and last resort of the tyrant and the terrorist.

            That said, this is your blog and you are going to do what you will do, but I will try henceforth to really understand and at least completely understand your position before questioning it. By the same token, I and your readers won’t actually learn anything from your wisdom if you are trying to correct positions that I don’t actually hold. I will find no actual truth here and neither will you. What would be the point of that?

            Can’t say that I won’t slip in a little obvious sarcasm and irony now and though.😈

            Liked by 1 person

          16. @tsalmon

            Speaking of ‘straw man”, when did I say that? Your tendency Tom is to lump anyone who disagrees with you into one political category that you consider the polar opposite of your extreme positions. Sorry to disappoint by inconveniently not being the extremist that you desire to debate.

            Given the nature of the Democratic Party, if Hillary Clinton had been elected, the Second Amendment would have been ended by judicial fiat. How? Let’s look at the constitutional excuse in your next comment.

            The 2nd Amendment right to bear arms has been a particularly difficult case for SCOTUS. Unlike, for First Amendment rights to speech, the 2nd Amendment language arguably could be construed as only applying to historically obsolete militia forming intentions rather than to any fundamental “individual” right.

            Heller vs. DC would have been overturned. Since when have Liberal Democrat judges had a problem ignoring precedent. It’s a “living Constitution”, right?

            What is wrong with ending the Second Amendment by judicial fiat?

            Amendment II

            A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

            Two Points.
            1. The last part of the Second Amendment says the Right Of The People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Think! The Second Amendment clearly states that there is a right to keep and bear arms. If you recall, we also have the 9th and 10th Amendments. The Constitution does not grant it, and the people who wrote the Constitution clearly did not want the Federal Government to have the authority to take the People’s guns away from them.
            2. Given the logic of your own argument, each state has decide for itself whether or not the militia is obsolete. Why? Once we know just exactly what a militia is, the idea of the militia being obsolete is just silly. Even though power has radically shifted from the States to the Federal Government (and it could go back the other way), States still have National Guard troops. If the people of a State decided their security required every male citizen to buy a standard automatic weapon and practice on the weekends, what is there to stop it from happening? Snowflakes afraid of guns? No problem. Make them practice shooting one. Since everyone loves powerful, noisy toys, that will cure them. So whether militias are obsolete or not depends upon each state’s organizing principle and nothing more. In fact, because of the reference to a militia and the fact our infantry troops use automatic weapons, the ban on automatic weapons is a constitutional overreach. Banning semiautomatic weapons would be absurd.

            So what about our better angels? I have no problem with what you said. I enjoy debate. However, debate is only useful when we focus on issues and ideas.

            Consider.

            I honestly don’t know about God given rights. We have discussed this before, and even you seem to admit that this concept is mostly an 18th Century invention of the Enlightenment that would have been unintelligible to any of the people during all the ages that the Bible was authored.

            What happened in the 18th Century? Did those guys invent a completely new concept of God-given rights? No. What they did was they implemented a constitutional republic.

            The Mosaic Code (which is somewhat similar to the Code of Hammurabi) lists all kinds of rights. Have you read the Ten Commandments (see => https://citizentom.com/2011/10/02/the-ten-commandments-and-government-part-1/)?

            The Mosaic Code existed to tell people how to honor God. Honoring God including loving His children and respecting their rights. Think! Genesis says we are made in the image of God. We are all God’s children, not just royalty or the king.

            What the American colonists wanted to do was protect our God-given rights using a constitutional republic. That was new. In the process they eliminated royalty and the divine right of kings and other such nonsense. What else was new? You can find that in the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment.

            Seriously, unless you think the majority gives us our “rights”, I don’t know what your mean by the term “rights”. I wonder if you even know what our “rights” might be and where our rights come from. I have yet to hear you explain.

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          17. Tom,

            If you don’t mind, let’s stick to what we actually know to be true rather than just speculation.

            As for your two points, it sounds to me like you are saying that that the individual states have the constitutional right to form mulitias and therefore can authorize all sorts of weaponry.

            This is a different issue that I have not thought about or challenged.

            Check me if I’m wrong, but you seem to assert from there that only the states can regulate weaponry. Does that mean that you think that it would be constitutional under the 2nd Amendment for a given state to completely ban all guns? If the right to have a gun is actually a federal right under the 2nd Amendment, then doesn’t the 14th Amendment afford SCOTUS the power to declare such a complete state ban unconstitutional? If gun ownership is a constitutional right, as Heller says, then what is it about the about the “strict scrutiny” SCOTUS evaluation of government actions that restrict gun rights that you don’t understand or that understanding, you disagree with?

            I’m not sure if a case exists where states have asked the citizenry to form militias and keep military style weaponry on the ready and the federal government objected, but that is not the issue here. Are you claiming that the 2nd Amendment says that federal government has absolutely no power to regulate the individual acquisition of any type of military weaponry at all? I guess I’m a bit confused.

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          18. @tsalmon

            Know to be true? If you have not thought about something, I cannot know it to be true? Are you serious?

            Do I think it would be constitutional for a State to ban all guns? No. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment would make that especially difficult. Prior to the Civil War, States would have had more latitude. However, the Second Amendment calls the right to bear arms a right. Make of it what you will, but the First Amendment specifies “Congress shall make no law”. The second just says “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” So I am not certain whether the Second Amendment applied to the states or not prior to the Civil War, but it does now.

            When I spoke of militias, I specifically addressed your argument. Militias are creatures of the States, not the Federal Government, and the concept of militias still has validity. It is just not being used. What this clause points out (read it), “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”, is that State governments, not the Federal Government, have authority over militias. Just because you decide militias are obsolete does not change that. What the Framers of the Constitution believed and the Constitution says is that an armed citizenry is necessary to the security of a free State.

            What I would add is that an armed citizenry is necessary to the security of a free United States. I trust the people we elect, particularly the ones you vote for, about as far as I can throw a dump truck loaded with granite.

            Are you claiming that the 2nd Amendment says that federal government has absolutely no power to regulate the individual acquisition of any type of military weaponry at all?

            You are the one making the claim that federal government has the power to to regulate the acquisition of military weaponry by private citizens. Then you point to the Second Amendment to justify this power, but the Second Amendment — the Bill of Rights — does not exist to give the Federal Government any powers. The Bill of Rights is a list of prohibitions.

            The whole point of the Bill of Rights was to prohibit the Federal Government in particular from doing anything that the Constitution did not authorize (Have you read the 9th and10th Amendments?). So going to the Bill of Rights for your authority is bogus.

            You want the Federal Government to ban certain firearms, not me. So it is your job to find where in the Constitution that authority resides. So far, however, it is obvious you cannot find it.

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          19. As for the Your comments concerning
            God given rights, it seems to me that you are saying that God gave us certain responsibilities to love one another and to see the image of God in one another, and the way that you put it is very well said. Next you say that the obligations that God imposed upon us means that we individually must afford other people certain freedoms. I’m still with you there. And I think that you would also agree that one of those freedoms is the right to be wrong, as in for example, someone’s right to choose to believe in a false god or no god at all.

            I don’t disagree with any of that, however, you must recognize that these rights are not so much directly and explicitly God given as indirectly and implicitly inferred from God given responsibilities, like the 10 Commandments. And it is the imperfect indirect and implicit nature of God given rights that makes their practical interpretation problematic, especially at the collective working level of government.

            It is hard enough to interpret God’s direct obligations upon us. For example, think of all the exceptions to “thou shall not kill” that we can come up with: in self defense, in defense of others, in a just war, etc. Now imagine how difficult it is when we try to inderectly imply a right to life from the commandment not to kill. Lawyers would swoon at the complex possibilities. Clerics and theologians would argue endlessly over such things so do you really want to trust government with such religious interpretations in order to apply the law? Which property rights come indirectly from the implications of God’s Law and which are simply invented by men for the sake of expedience or greed? Who gets to decide which government afforded rights are to be given divine sanctity and which are not? You? Me? SCOTUS?

            I’m not blind to the fact that an extension of certain Christian principles give rise to western democracy’s whole concept of rights. The same Christian concepts allow a secular state. Islamic countries have real cultural difficulties even imaging such a thing as separation of Church and State. So we are not dealing with absolutes here. It’s a confusing and imperfect dance between competing Christian cultural influences which hopes to find a governmental balance that is only “more perfect”, not divine.

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          20. “Know to be true?”

            Actually, I was only referring to your speculation about what an imaginary President Hillary Clinton would or would not have done? It’s like masterbation, it may feel good if one wants to please only himself, but otherwise is unproductive and the “issue” goes, let’s say, nowhere useful. 😏

            Just to clarify, we are both in agreement that SCOTUS has found a constitutional individual right to gun ownership. However, is it your contention that the federal government may not regulate that 2nd Amendment right whatsoever, even if a substantial federal interest is shown (under SCOTUS’ “strict scrutiny” test explained earlier) and it is asserted that that substantial federal interest is under a power granted to the federal government by the Constitution? Is it because you think these rights are unlimited? Or are you saying that you interpret the 2nd Amendment to read that only the states and not the federal government can limit gun ownership? If you are making any of these arguments, what specific cases and controversies are you basing either your arguments and objections upon?

            I don’t mean this to be difficult, but you make a good many broad accusations about areas of constitutional law without much specific reference. You seem to recognize that application of the original intentions of the 2nd Amendment to today’s cases and controversies is that not clear cut.

            We don’t really have militias now of the kind that the founders experienced. We have a large standing army and even our state national guards are professionals whose weaponry is highly controlled by state and federal governments.

            You also seem to recognize that the Civil War and the 14th Amendment changed and made somewhat vague the interpretation of all the Amendments, and in highly different ways. Rights that were meant to protect individuals and states freedom from the federal government government are now asserted by the federal government against the states. To a large extent this turned the rights protections powers of the Constitution on its head, making interpretions that might have been clear before far more difficult and ambiguous, with the interpretation of the 2nd Amendments new intention being particularly difficult.

            Regardless of this ambiguity, cases and controversies come before courts and they have no option but to decide those cases under precedents given by higher courts. If no precedent is available, then new interpretative precedents are slowly and painstakingly built upon one another over time. It is really difficult to address broad assertions that something is wrong without any specificity about how the court has already dealt with these difficult interpretations up to the present. Do you see what I am saying? I know it sounds smug to say it is complex, but I’m not doing it to be dismissive. I’m doing it because it is required in order to seriously address the issues that you are raising, not because I don’t think some of your complaints are not valid.

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          21. @tsalmon

            DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al. v. HELLER (=> https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZS.html) was a 5-4 decision. The more Conservative judges voted one way and the Liberals voted the other way. We know what kind of judges Hillary Clinton would have appointed. It is silly to assert otherwise.

            We have a three-tier system of government (four when we drag in school boards). The Constitution chartered the Federal Government to do certain things, and the Federal Government has gone well beyond its constitutional authorizations of authority. Most government was supposed to take place at the State level, but the State cannot PRINT money. Sigh!

            With respect to gun control, I just pointed to the absurdity of the problem. When judges take to using the Bill of Rights, which is nothing but a list of prohibitions, as an authorization of authority that is nuts. Some how or another, even though it explicitly says otherwise, we are supposed to believe that the Federal Government can do anything so long as the Constitution does not directly prohibit it? That kind of crap is like the elephant in the room. Unless we become willfully blind, we cannot miss it. There is nothing ambiguous about it.

            Your response? It is standard. Get so bogged down in the details, the books on a bookshelf you don’t have to look at the elephant because you are too busy reading case law. That is, just assume the Constitution says what you want it to say.

            Instead of reading the Constitution first, we are supposed to render more respect to judicial opinions, which are supposed to defer to the Constitution, but too often don’t. What too many judges have done to the Constitution is equivalent to what the Pharisees did to the Bible. They have made their precedents more important than the Constitution. That’s BS! The authority judges comes from the Constitution, not case law. When they exercise authority outside the Constitution, their decisions are invalid. Read Matthew 23. It is basically the same problem.

            Is the Constitution always self-consistent? No, but is close enough. If the Constitution does not authorize the Federal Government to be doing something, then if that something needs to be done, it is up to the States or the People to do it. Otherwise, amend the Constitution.

            Do I think private citizens should own stinger missiles? That is not something the standard infantryman needs. Still, if the Federal Government is going to regulate the sale of such things, there ought to be some authority for it that is actually in the Constitution. Why is that too complicated to understand?

            Let me make it easy for you. This comes from Article 1, Section 8.

            To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

            To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

            These statements come about as close as you are going to get to the regulation of the arms in the Constitution. If the militia is obsolete, then the clauses related to in Article 1 are obsolete, but they are not.
            Think about that. When it is convenient the Militia is obsolete. When it is not…..

            Since I have been busy, I missed your comment here =>https://citizentom.com/2018/04/05/divided-by-those-who-write-history/comment-page-1/#comment-80330.

            You are making it too complicated. The point of God-given rights is the principle. God, not government, gives us our rights. That’s why George Washington was the first among equals, not a king. We elect public servants, not demigods. Donald Trump is not our daddy; he just the Chief Executive of our government.

            Trump has a job to do. Because it is an important job, we pray for him. Otherwise, Trump is just another human being.

            If you read the first five books of the Bible, what you will see is that God has a strong interest in justice. Justice is the purpose of government, and justice is about human beings respecting each others rights.

            Is providing justice easy? For us? No. We don’t have that much wisdom. Why do you think King Solomon asked for wisdom from God? Fortunately, we can do the same.

            James 1:5 New King James Version (NKJV)

            5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

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          22. “Most government was supposed to take place at the State level, but the State cannot PRINT money. Sigh!”

            Well, I’m not so sure that most government still doesn’t take place at the state and local level. Here in red state Mississippi, they require me to title and register my little sailing dinghy. I had to go before an historical board for approval to put a small shed in my backyard. I feel far more embattled by the collective Republican totalitarian state of Mississippi than I do by the corrupt Republican chuckleheads running DC right now, but I guess they have just begun to bankrupt and ruin government there. Sigh indeed!

            Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Are you interested in seeking truth or just stating baseless opinions? Of course those are fun too. But you keep taking about the search for wisdom.

            Wisdom is built over time from difficult study in the search of the truth, and, more importantly, a realization that in some cases, the truth is not self evident. If we were to be guided by uniformed and incurious proclamations, then we would still think the Sun orbited a flat Earth.

            Back to sticking to your guns. If you read the laws and cases then you would know that federal gun control laws are based upon constitutional commerce powers where SCOTUS applies a tripartite test to the Commerce Clause assertion. If you read the Lopez and Printz cases, then you will know that a conservative majority walked back the federal gun regulatory commerce assertions in both those cases. If you have read Heller then you will know that a conservative majority found a fundamental individual right to own a gun and therefore subjected DC’s regulations to their “strict scrutiny” test and found those regulations lacking. If you read about a 100 other cases, then you will understand the full meaning and development of that strict scrutiny test. And finally, if you read all those gun cases carefully, you will find that, even with a conservative leaning SCOTUS, reasonable federal regulation of military style weaponry is still constitutional. Why?

            First, because even the most ideologically conservative justices on the court realize that the Constitution is mostly an institutional process document, and they believe in the institution. Second, because the justices on the court respect one another and don’t assume their fellow judges are corrupt liars just because they vehemently disagree. Thirdly, from a more practical standpoint, because they may be ideological, but they are not INSANE. They want the federal government to control economic commerce in stinger missiles. Whether they say it or not, EVERYBODY wants the federal government to have the exclusive regulatory authority over commerce in such military weapons of war. Talk about obvious. 🙄

            We can know all the facts and the the case history development and still honestly disagree without believing each other to be corrupt or liars.

            Wisdom means we listen and learn and know before we speak, and then only speak the truth we know is actually true. Being from a family of opinionated folks who think way too highly of their own self proclaimed wisdom on everything, I’m not always good at this, but I’m trying to be.

            “The point of God-given rights is the principle.”

            I get the “principle” Tom. Really, I do. What I don’t get and what you don’t ever explain is how this “principle” actually works in “practice”. Which rights are God given? Who says so? The deist Jefferson who really is only plagiarizing Locke? And when did God appoint Locke as one of His Prophets? And even if Locke and Jefferson are Prophets, the rights to “life, liberty and happiness pursuit” are pretty darn vague don’t you think? Besides, that, it’s not in the Constitution anywhere, so how in “practice” and under what authority is the government supposed to define, arbitrate and protect those rights at law? I thought you were against judges just making crap up when it’s “obviously” not in the Constitution. Would you really want them to interpret something as unspecified as God given rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” even if it were in the Bill of Rights? Hell, virtually anything could be a “God given right” if that were in there. You keep saying that the main job (maybe the only job) of government is to protect our God given rrights, but that government should not be defining rights rights because only God can assign rights. Do you realize that that all sounds righteous as Hell, but it’s just a bunch of confusing nonsense in practice. Im practice, government cannot protect rights that cannot be defined, abitrated and enforced by government, at least until God comes back to do it in person. If I’m missing something, explain it to me in practical, workable terms.

            I think I get the principle. I can parrot the principle back to you if you want. I can even throw in what Aquinas says about “natural law” and “eternal law”. I agree that the Christian principle of equality before God shapes our legal understanding of equal justice and being a nation of laws, not men. I also know that Christ”s eschewing of political and military leadership, as well as 100 years of religious wars, made western cultures ultimately decide that theocracy was a cultural bad fit for Christian nations. And that’s the rub.

            I know how it is “in principle”. You’re preaching to the choir about the “principle”. You use this “principle” all too conveniently to criticize the “practice” of legal jurisdiction prudence and constitutional law that you don’t like, but that is all. You dont want to actually learn how it is “practiced” in this finite but “more perfect system”, and you have no better system of “practice” to offer. You say you’ve asked God for wisdom, then do tell what it “practically” is in this regard. I’ll listen.

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          23. @tsalmon

            Most of the day-to-day government we see as citizens take place at the state and local level. However, the Federal Government spends almost twice as much state and local governments combined. Thanks to the abuse of the interstate commerce clause and institutions like the EPA, Trump found the economy stagnating. So all he had to do to get the economy moving again was to cut back on regulations.

            What about wisdom?

            Wisdom is built over time from difficult study in the search of the truth, and, more importantly, a realization that in some cases, the truth is not self evident. If we were to be guided by uniformed and incurious proclamations, then we would still think the Sun orbited a flat Earth.

            So how then are we suppose to know who is wise? Is it enough to elect someone who makes lots of promises. Should we trust people who make lots of promises to select wise judges? Is it wise to assume that old people in black robes always know what they are doing?

            Here is what King Solomon observe about wisdom when we forget God.

            Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 Good News Translation (GNT)
            The Philosopher’s Experience

            12 I, the Philosopher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I determined that I would examine and study all the things that are done in this world.

            God has laid a miserable fate upon us. 14 I have seen everything done in this world, and I tell you, it is all useless. It is like chasing the wind. 15 You can’t straighten out what is crooked; you can’t count things that aren’t there.

            16 I told myself, “I have become a great man, far wiser than anyone who ruled Jerusalem before me. I know what wisdom and knowledge really are.” 17 I was determined to learn the difference between knowledge and foolishness, wisdom and madness. But I found out that I might as well be chasing the wind. 18 The wiser you are, the more worries you have; the more you know, the more it hurts

            I have never read the court decision, but the “Untouchables” were popular when we were growing up. So I knew about Al Capone and the tommy gun. Here is the Liberal version of the thing (=> https://www.npr.org/2016/06/30/484215890/prohibition-era-gang-violence-spurred-congress-to-pass-first-gun-law). This was FDR era stuff, which we both know explains a lot about what was happening on the Supreme Court.

            So what if you do want to own an automatic weapon? Can you? Yes, but you have to be rich (=> https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/its-still-legal-to-own-a-machine-gun-its-also-extremely-difficult-and-especially-expensive). Gun control about is controlling the guns of the poor. If you are important or wealthy, you can have all the armed guards you could want. Is there wisdom in that? I suppose so. Don’t you want to have a gun when the other guy has a knife? Isn’t that the wisdom of the great Obama?

            Does banning guns stop murders? No. What happens when a society finally gets rid of all of the guns? It becomes time to ban knives => http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/04/08/london-mayor-sadiq-khan-targets-knives-as-murder-rate-spikes-there-is-never-reason-to-carry-knife.html. I kid you not.

            So what’s reasonable? Well, we are interpreting a document that does not say what we want it to say, reasonable is amending the document. Unfortunately, that can be inconvenient, and inconvenience can seem so unreasonable. Hence our politicians have found it reasonable to make the interstate clause say things that leave many of us scratching our heads.

            Here is what the clause says.

            To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

            That’s a gun control clause? No. Yet during that wonderful era when FDR was in charge, the Supreme Court decided that the regulation of interstate commerce did not even require interstate commerce.

            Wickard v. Filburn was a landmark Supreme Court of the United States case that was decided in 1942. This case pertained to the constitutional question of whether the United States Government had the authority to A) regulate production of agricultural goods if those goods were intended for personal consumption and B) whether the Federal Government had the authority to regulate trivial intrastate economic activities even if the goods and/or services were not intended for interstate commerce.

            Would you like to guess how the court decided that case?

            Some guns at least get sold across state borders, and banning their sale is at least a form of regulation. So what if the Second amendment says that’s not allowed?

            What should be obvious? The United States is a federation. The reason for that is that the framers of the Constitution feared that putting too much authority in the central government was a recipe for tyranny. In fact, what FDR accomplished scared people so much we now have term limits on the presidency. Wish we did the same for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

            What else should be obvious? The need for the rule of law, not the rule of strong men.

            What is the basis for the rule of law? Honor. We honor God by honoring just laws, laws that respect the rights of our brothers and sisters. When we allow men to twist the law, claiming anything else would be unreasonable, we are just succumbing to our own desires and fears. In pride, we put our own desires and interests before the rights of our brothers and sisters.

            Would it be especially difficult to get a Constitutional amendment banning the private ownership of certain types of arms? Probably not, but it would take some time and thoughtful debate. Moreover, some powerful people would lose lots of sleep trying to figure out how to word the amendment. As it is, too few think the amendment is worth the bother. It has become far important to get the “right” judges appointed to the Supreme Court.

            What about the vagueness of our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Is it necessary to define these rights in excruciating detail. No. What the Constitution does is define the powers of the government. When we limit the powers of the government, we limit the governments powers to infringe upon our rights. That’s why it is so important that the courts don’t find powers in the Constitution that the Federal Government does not actually have.

            Unfortunately, the way you view the Constitution places no practical limits on the powers of the Federal Government. If the Constitution just means what the men and women in black robes say it means, then it means whatever they want it to mean. If people like me cannot read the Constitution and question the decisions of our judges, then we cannot hold them to account.

            Like

          24. So you are saying that you do not agree with some of SCOTUS’ past interpretations of the Constitution. Well, I don’t agree with some of them either. Sometimes we might even agree in our disagreement. You know what. Constitutional scholars don’t agree always either, and they know what they are talking about. Justices don’t agree either, and they actually know what they’re talking about.

            That is all well and good. In fact, our whole system of government is designed to force compromise when there is just such disagreement, and we take what we think is a bad call and move on to the next pitch. We may not agree with a given call by the umpires, but we agree that, once the call is made, we live with it and go on with the game.

            If we can prove actual corruption (not just ideological disagreement) then the rules of checks and balances allows us to impeach the umpires. Why do you suppose though that the Framers chose to give the federal court lifetime appointments and made it particularly hard to impeach them?

            All you are telling me is that you don’t like some of the calls, but your claims to corruption are weak to nonexistent. So what then? You take your ball and go home?

            Our constitution is a complex game that is called the rule of law. It is a beautiful process, but it is not perfect. Our lawyer Founders and Framers were steeped in the British common law system that we adopted. They were “wise” because they studied and understood that process and it’s limita. They expected the process of precedent and stari decisus to build upon one another acording to the living and breathing cases and controversies that came before the Court. That’s how they played the game and they put in checks and balances that were designed to limit corruption, to allow even extreme ideological controversies to be channeled into compromise.

            You’ve told me that you don’t like some of the calls but you have not told me how you would create a better “process”, a better game. The game allows you to slowly walk back calls you don’t like, but the game requires the effort and the political will to do it. Good luck with that. Now either play ball or tell me how you want to change the game.

            Like

          25. @tsalmon

            That is all well and good. In fact, our whole system of government is designed to force compromise when there is just such disagreement, and we take what we think is a bad call and move on to the next pitch. We may not agree with a given call by the umpires, but we agree that, once the call is made, we live with it and go on with the game.

            This coming from a guy whose party sicced Mueller & Company (a bunch of Democrat lawyers) on Trump.
            😆

            It is not baseball. Baseball is not a blood sport. Politics is a blood sport.

            Am I against the “system”? Is that what you think? It certainly seems to be your straw man now. Since I disagree with some major decisions from the Supreme Court, do I want to take my ball and go home? What a silly supposition!

            The Apostle Paul wrote Romans. That includes this passage.

            Romans 13:1-7 Good News Translation (GNT)
            Duties toward State Authorities

            13 Everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. 2 Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself. 3 For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you, 4 because they are God’s servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God’s servants and carry out God’s punishment on those who do evil. 5 For this reason you must obey the authorities—not just because of God’s punishment, but also as a matter of conscience.

            6 That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. 7 Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honor for them all.

            Eventually, Nero had Paul’s head removed with a sword. In spite of willingness of Christians to be good citizens, Christians would not worship the Emperor. They would not render unto Caesar what belongs to God. So some the Emperors severely persecuted them.

            So why that attitude from Paul? Even bad government can be better than no government at all.

            The Roman Empire was the best government available. It was supported by most of the people. Compared to that system, the Roman Empire, our system is still relatively benign, but there is no point in pretending it is perfect. It is not even close to operating as it was designed, but it probably never has operated quite the way anyone hoped. Soon as Washington stepped aside, folks started feuding.

            Is politics a game? To some it is. King of the mountain is what life seems to be to some. To me political activism is just good citizenship. I support limited government, not no government. I think that if more citizens try to hold our leaders accountable to the Constitution we will be better off.

            Do I think we will all ever exactly agree as to how every part of the Constitution should be interpreted? No, but I do think we should encourage judges to read and pay attention to the 9th and 10th Amendments. So I support politicians who want to appoint Conservative judges, and I thought you knew that.
            😀

            Liked by 1 person

          26. Tom,

            Sorry so long to get back – on a trip to help my daughter run do a 100 mile trail run to support National Parks. 😥

            Sounds like we have come to some understanding, if not agreement.

            This intrigued me though:

            “This coming from a guy whose party sicced Mueller & Company (a bunch of Democrat lawyers) on Trump.
            😆“

            First of all, I’m just a voter at the moment, and belong to no particular party infrastructure or tribe. I think of myself as a moderate. However, because Trump is leader and figurehead of your Party right now, I am unlikely to vote for any Republican who follows him.

            That said, do you know it to be true that Democrats “sicced” Mueller on Trump? I don’t know it with certainty to be not true, but for it to be true, a conspiracy theorist has to believe one or both of a couple of unlikely possibilities have to be true.

            Mueller, a lifelong Republican was appointed by a Trump appointee in the Trump administration while both Congress and the White House were in complete Republican control so:

            (1) the Democrats
            are diabolical geniuses of suburb organizational skill who managed to finagle Republicans to investigate their own leader even though they have no power to do so; and/or
            (2) The Republicans are incompetant corrupt bumbling fools who cannot manage to avoid investigating themselves even when they have all the power to stop it.

            If I had to Pick either choice, it would be (2). I just don’t think the Dems are that smart or well organized. Otherwise Trump wouldn’t be president.

            So are you saying stuff you don’t actually know to be true, or are you into promoting the propaganda of vague conspiracies now?

            Like

          27. @tsalmon

            Hope Erin is feeling well. My bones and joints ache after running a couple of miles. Not about to run a hundred miles.

            As a practical matter you are a Democrat. I am not happy with the Republican Party, but I just take one look at Democrat politicians, and I get this urge to hold them at bay with a cross and then drive a stake their hearts at the first opportunity.

            The notion that Democrats are geniuses and Republicans are bumblers is amusing, but it has nothing to do with the problem at hand. The issue is the swamp. Politicians exercise influence and get rich by spending our money, not by being thrifty with it. Since Trump is an outsider (The leadership both parties don’t like him.) and actually does not favor spending and spending and spending and spending and ….., the leadership in both parties consider him a threat to business as usual.

            Look at the prognosis. Either we inflate our currency, or we reach the point where the interest on the debt exceeds the defense budget. We are leaving our children a mess, and we have no excuse for this. None!

            After all these months, Mueller still has nothing on Trump, but he has made a bully out of himself. Even you should be alarmed by what he did to Trump’s lawyer. The Justice Department and the FBI has been letting Democrats get away with serious infractions. Meanwhile, any excuse is used to go after anyone connected to Trump. That’s an abuse of justice.

            Supposedly, when Jim Comey was fired, we needed a special counsel. Since Rosenstein wrote the memo that explained why Comey needed to be fired, that’s a puzzle. Nevertheless, that was the primary excuse (=> https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/17/us/politics/robert-mueller-special-counsel-russia-investigation.html). Who did Rosenstein appoint? An old chum of Comey’s.

            Trump fired Comey because the man cannot be trusted. He showed Trump that Steele Dossier (which he knew was just opposition “research” from the Democrats), and he did not bother to tell Trump that the Democrats had paid for it. And he has admitted this, amazingly enough, in a TV interview (=> https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/13/james-comey-kept-donald-trump-dark-dossiers-democr/). Then the deep state leaked the dossier to the news media.

            At this point there is no reason for the Special Counsel to investigate Trump. On the other hand we should be wondering why Democrats are colluding with the Russians. There is clear evidence of that.

            Like

          28. Sounds like a good deal of conspiracy theory speculation, not something you actually “know to be true” Tom. When you need a web of red yarn just to tie less than circumstantial evidence together, and then have to resort to the mythical “deep state” to make sense of it, don’t you think perhaps it starts to sound a little like the tinfoil hat crowd? Yes, I know that they still have not arrested Hillary for running a child sex ring in the nonexistent basement of some pizza place, but Mueller has actually gotten, I think it is up to six, actual guilty pleas from former Trump associates and campaign leaders. I’ve lost count of the number of indictments. As to Cohen, what I do know is that it is extremely difficult to convince a judge that a prosecutor has enough probable cause evidence that a lawyer himself is involved in the commission of a crime to get search warrant on that lawyer’s communications with his clients, doubly so if one of his clients is the President. And in this case it was a federal prosecutor for Manhattan, not Mueller, who had to do the convincing.

            That’s what I actually know to be true.

            Like

          29. @tsalmon

            Know to be true? With respect to the Trump campaign rigging the election, you don’t know anything to be true. You just “know” you don’t like Trump. You cannot even provide a good reason for this witch hunt.

            Meanwhile we know for a fact that Democrat operatives rigged the primary elections in favor of the “lady”. We know for a fact Democrats paid for the Steele Dossier. We know for a fact that Obama’s Attorney General met with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac. We know for a fact that the DOJ and FBI gave H. Clinton especially favorable treatment, turning multiple “investigations” into sham operations. We know for a fact that the Steele Dossier was used as an excuse to monitor Trump and key supporters.

            None of Mueller’s charges against anyone have anything to do with the interfering in the election. What we don’t know is why Trump is being investigated instead of the Clinton’s.

            Do you know? Of course you do. Democrats wanted H. Clinton win, and all is fair in love and war (politics just being another kind of war). So they got a special counsel appointed. They hope that sooner or latter he will find something.

            Until Mueller’s goon squad does find something, the word of the day (for all those innumerable leaks), is “salacious”.

            Like

          30. @tsalmon

            You have it backwards. That is why you came back with such a lame response. I don’t have to explain what I would do. It is the people trying to burn Trump at the stake who have some explaining to do.

            Like

    2. @tsalmon

      Your comment has little to do with anything I wrote in my post.

      The Tea Party protesters were not all of one mind, but they did share one thing in common. They did not like what the Democrats were doing.

      What is the point of a constitutional republic? Is it so we can all march in lockstep like good Socialists? Nope!

      Anyway, I like anon’s comment. So rather than say more, I will just “ditto” what she said.

      Like

      1. I always like anon’s comments too. They are snarky and well written. Her arguments and anecdotes try to poke holes on side issues but they sometimes fail to actually touch the main point.

        That said, when she actually has me, she has me. I have to laugh. I’m not really here to change any minds that aren’t already willing to be changed, are you? I’m here because I enjoy the discourse. What was it Doug so aptly called it – something about a defense against the absurdity of it all? That’s not right but, something like that.

        Anyway, my point to your post was that children survive lots of their parent’s nonsense, and often exceed us. You apparently transcended our parents’ government indoctrination campaign enough to rage against everything they believed about politics (don’t get techy – that is meant humorously). My kids survived my nonsense and really are much more mature than I was at their age. Your kids will somehow survive you too.

        It is the multigenerational cultural and transcultural mores that hopefully will survive all of us that really matter.

        Like

        1. @tsalmon

          My girls make my lady and I proud as I am certain your children have made you and your lady proud. That said, we still have an obligation to protect the heritage our parents passed on to us.

          Do I respect the people of previous generations? Yes, but each generation produced defective traditions. To err is human.

          Look at Matthew 23 (=>https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=NKJV). See how Jesus calmly raged against the scribes and the Pharisees. Why? Didn’t the Pharisees constitute the most devoted followers followers of Judaism? Did not some, such as the Apostle Paul, eventually become His greatest disciples?

          What had the Pharisees done that so angered Jesus? Why did the Apostle Paul, as Saul, persecute the first Christians?

          The Pharisees elevated the traditions of men above the commandments of God. That is why so many of them could not recognize that Jesus was The Christ. They revered their own traditions more than they loved the Word of God or God Himself.

          When our parents make their traditions more important than the commandments of God, we must strive to recognize those errors and make corrections. When we err and make our own traditions more important than the commandments of God, we must pray our children will recognize the problem and correct our errors. This correction, I think, is the essence of what happens in a revival.

          What is true humility? It is putting God’s Will before our own. Because we are proud, we don’t do humility well. Hence, we must walk with God, keep our eyes upon Him, and remember we are just His little children.

          Like

  6. Next time you say this country is violent, you’d better be ready to back it up. That’s about where we are today with discussing the issues. There really is no discussion at all.

    Like

  7. @Micheal,

    Good article.

    If you ask yourself to identify who are the main drivers who contribute to “polarizing voters” and what is their main tool. See my reply to Tom if interested in my opinion.

    Regards and goodwill blogging..

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post Tom,

    How to get your message to voters is a challenging task, in my opinion.

    The victors in the USA are the owners of the news media, in my opinion.

    Fortunately, President Trump is making this fact known based on a recent poll that found 77 percent of USA no longer believes the propaganda.

    Wisdom begins with a search for truth. The truth of who the victors are is who controls the media in the USA in my opinion. The owners decide who who or what voters should elect by means of news propaganda to serve their interests, many linked to money and power.

    In my opinion, the news monopoly by the seven networks needs to be broken up same as the oil monopoly was in USA history.

    As for teachers propaganda, school vouchers will help in the long run to breakup the teacher propaganda monopoly in the USA, in my opinion.

    Regards and goodwill blogging..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. @scatterwisdom

      I too am relieved by Trump’s success.

      I am not certain what to do about the news media, but allowing large corporations to own large segments of the news media does cause problems.

      I am certain we need school choice. Parents need to control who educates their children and what their children learn.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is a growing sense that news should return to its original purpose: facts and non- biased reporting. This is hopeful I think.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @tinka756

          Hopeful? Yes and no. I think it is good to understand that reporters have their biases, I but I don’t know how anyone can be perfectly objective.

          What was the original purpose of the news? Advocacy. People have been in the business of advocacy for a long time. Many of the early newspapers in this country proudly displayed their party affiliation. Advocates just provided “news” as an incentive to get people to read what they wrote. Of course, advocates also emphasized the news that furthered their cause.

          What freedom of the press involves is permitting advocacy. We speak of non-biased reporting, but there is almost always somebody who thinks a news story, objective or not, is biased. Why? Well, some people always want whatever is reported to support their side. So we have to protect the right of reporters to report what they they should be reported. To get the whole story, we usually have to read multiple sources. That’s a pain in the neck, but it is what it is.

          Liked by 1 person

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