Preamble to the Constitution

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Doesn’t “promote the general Welfare” mean providing the people of the United States the basic necessities of life? Shouldn’t that include health care, decent housing, a minimum standard of living, clean air and water, pure food, and an education? Why does the Tea Party and their ilk scream that the government has no business in providing or regulating these things; that programs like these are “unconstitutional?” Have any of them ever read the Constitution?

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Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In the 1920s in a country suffering from economic hard times, the woes of the people were blamed on members of a specific religious/ethnic group. Houses of worship were desecrated; members of the group were beaten and murdered; eventually some 6 million of them were rounded up and systematically exterminated. Does the United States really want to follow that path? Do those who are advocating suppression and repression of Muslims remember what the ultimate fate of Nazi Germany was?

To be fair and honest, much of the fiscal woe Germany suffered during the 1920s was due directly to the impossible burden of war reparations imposed upon it by the victorious allies, not so much as actual reparation but a large part as revenge. 12 million people (who were NOT responsible for anything) paid the ultimate price for that in concentration camps and the like; many many millions more, both civilians and military, died as a direct result of war.

The United States happened to be in position to help Germany, Japan and Italy recover after their defeat – the Marshall Plan, the occupation of Japan post war come to mind. In a way, that was the United States’ reparation for our acquiescence to the demands of our allies for punitive damages from Germany.

There are many angry people in the United States. Their anger is, I believe, rooted in fear and uncertainty caused by economic factors having to do with Islam and Muslims only because the previous administration dragged us into an illegal war which was a significant factor in creating the current economic situation. The sad thing is that the war was against Iraq, which had nothing to do with with the extremists, and also had no weapons of mass destruction, as had been claimed by the George W. Bush administration. The other most significant factor in the current financial situation is the lack of regulation and oversight caused by the same administration, with an early, though small, boost in the direction of deregulation by the Clinton administration. TARP and the bailout were passed during the Bush administration. Cause and effect here seem to be too painful for the right wing(nuts) to acknowledge, so the target of the vitriol is Muslims.

These angry people are wrapping themselves in the Constitution of the United States while they are tearing it to shreds. The United States was NOT founded as a Christian nation, not even a Judeo-Christian nation. The First Amendment was VERY clear about this.

Unfortunately, none of this, not the misplaced anger or the willful ignorance of the Constitution they so profess to love and revere, surprises me, though it saddens me deeply.

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The United States has become a culture of mean.  Maybe it always has been, but I just didn’t notice until recently.  Reality shows, with their emphasis on humiliation and rejection, are some of the most popular on television.  Why is being mean to other people something “entertaining” to watch?  Why is seeing someone fired “entertainment?”  Does it make the viewer feel better about him/herself to see another person brought down in such a public and permanent manner?  Does the viewer feel relief that it isn’t he or she being exposed in such a public way?

What has happened to manners?  Where has consideration for the feelings of others gone?

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Abby Sunderland/Louis and Alicia van Praag

There has been so much said about Abby Sunderland’s dismasting, which ended her attempt at circumnavigation, but there hasn’t been any attention paid to an adult couple in a smaller boat making a passage from Tahiti to Pago Pago (far north of where Abby was) who have also lost their mast and were also rescued by a fishing boat last Wednesday. Why is what happened to Abby different from what happened to the van Praags?

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