Sunday, March 16, 2014

Trey and Rand's Excellent Proposition

There has been much comment on the proposal by Trey Gowdy (R, SC) and Rand Paul (R, KY) and other like to pass a law holding that Mr. Obama is proceeding "lawlessly" by not cracking down with his sequestered (you know they are) jackbooted storm troops on the brazen anarchy being perpetrated in Colorado and Washington State by passing in those states legalization of marijuana laws, which of course fly in the fact of our Federal statutes. Many commenters have haw-hawed at the plain fact that such an Excellent Proposition is flatly contradicted by the general position of the Far Right that in this great land of ours, States Rights ought to have the position it had back at the origin of the Republic, when white men of property (and a few Native Americans, truth be told) could own black men and women and bid them do the work at the bite of the lash. In those glory days before the ragged Lincoln took up arms against his own countrymen for simply begging to exit the voluntary agreement, white men of property all agreed on a few things. One of them was that each State was in truth a country, with the right to do things as its men of authority sought fit. (In some way this was little more than an extension of the status quo in the days before the Revolution. The King was far, far away. Colonies would on occasion have little skirmishes to determine by arms what was otherwise a loggerhead. On November 22, 1718, for example, Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard, was killed on the Pamlico Sound off Ocracoke, NC, by a naval force sent by Virginia's governor. It is generally understood that Teach was operating under the employ of North Carolina's Governor at Bath, NC.

The War Between the States, it is understood, pretty much ended the originalist framework of the United States with regards to "states rights." The Federal Government had proved by force of arms that individual states could not just do whatever they wished. Slavery was abolished. As time went on, women were allowed to vote at long last. Alcohol was prohibited and then re-allowed. Presidents were limited to two terms. In the mid-1960s black people were at least legally given the rights of white people which the Civil War had already established to them 100 years earlier. In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that women have equal medical rights to men, including the right to control the outcome of their own pregnancy with the assistance of medical personnel. There were no caveats set on this basic political truth--women and men were equally citizens, period, which followed from Women's Suffrage itself.

Mr. Gowdy and Mr. Paul have of course toiled diligently to return to the days of yore, when States had far more power. Along with many of their cohort, they have supported laws which undermine the fundamental premise of Roe V Wade. They have both supported various efforts by the states to reduce the ability of people of color to vote. For Gowdy and Paul, the only fundamental law of the land is the Second Amendment. This law was fundamental in the days of Edward Teach, and in the deepest sense it is only by voluntary agreement that brute force is ever kept from holding full sway. This, indeed, is the story of the history of mankind.

While commentators have tended to shake their heads at the quixotic effort to hold the President to task for not enforcing Federal drug laws in states which are experimenting with alternatives, noting that Mr. Obama will surely veto the Gowdy/Paul measure--it's just another example of empty posturing by the Republicans, one move amongst far too many to invigorate the low information voters that keep Republicans in power--I'd hope Mr. Obama will instead take them up on this.

We're about to experience an influx of trained military veterans, men and women who have learned their hard skills in the toughest place on the globe, Afganistan. Let's deputize them if they care to pursue a career in law enforcement. Certainly one of their tasks would be to enforce Federal drug laws. Fine with me. I've smoked some grass of course (I'm a musician; nuff said). It's a subtly evil drug, as pernicious in its long term effects as alcohol or any other. Short of an expensive effort at serious education (who wants to pay for that?), legal pot will ensnare more of our kids. But while these fresh new cops are on the job, let's use them to enforce our constitutional rights to women's health care as well. Far too many states have used defacto procedures to limit women's health care. It's a subterfuge and everyone knows it. Let's stop it with Federal Marshals now that we have a coalition of Left and Right on the issue. Same with voting rights--all the little amendments to voting rules patently aimed at discouraging voter participation are clearly unconstitutional. Send in the Marshals. Rand Paul and Trey Gowdy are on board.

While Mr. Obama is hard at work directing the Marshals in their extensive "clean up" of this rotting faux states-right cesspool, maybe Congress could move on to the next point of agreement. That would be impeaching Supreme Court Justices for blatant activist over-reach. I'd start with those still on the bench who voted to seat George W. Bush in the face of a popular election in which he was obviously defeated. I'd continue with the Justices who have overturned the expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, and those who have voted to allow a tiny handful of oligarchs (such as the Koch brothers and Art Pope) to achieve political power in a direct relationship to their financial power (see, e.g., Citizens United). I'd add those Justices who gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Mr. Obama can quickly appoint fresh new Justices with more competent resumes.

We now, at last, have a governing coalition. Mr. Obama, strike while the iron is hot. Once the Right Wing returns to power it will be pretty much too late.

Note: After Blackbeard was killed, his head was hung to the bowsprit of Capt. Maynard's ship, Maynard sailing back to Norfolk, Va with his prize, and presenting it to the Governor. Legend has it that in the centuries since, the head was fashioned into a chalice, and, ironically, that it now resides in the inner recesses of Gimghoul Castle, a mysterious structure situated on the bluffs at the east end of Chapel Hill, NC, where it is said to be taken out on secret occasions for use in dark ceremonies. While I have been to the grounds of the Castle, and enjoyed the beautiful view extending on clear days to the spires of Raleigh itself, some 20 miles to the east, I have no personal knowledge of the Order of the Gimghoul or its various rites and passages, and I recount this legend only in the interest of Truth and Knowledge.


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