Preparing for the 4th of July 2014

As I start this musing we are approaching the Two Hundred Thirty-eighth year of our independence from Great Britain. A new bit of alphabet soup has crept into our everyday existence – SCOTUS. This is not to be confused with the fourteenth century Scottish theologian Duns Scotus. Instead it stands for “Supreme Court of the United States.” Duns Scotus is considered by many to be the most important theologian of the High Middle Ages. The importance of SCOTUS is going through a considerable change in our time.
Consider their ruling on interim appointments. The Senate (they make their own rules) decides to have a session without any work being done every three day. SCOTUS rules that the ten day period used in colonial times still stands, though travel to see their constituents involves a matter of hours by air plane as opposed to days or weeks by horse and buggy or stagecoach. This effectively stalls the government, the intention of the Senate. I find it ironic that the appointments were to the National Labor Relations Board, something the GOP would rather see disappear.
This goes along with the decision that family owned corporations are exempt from providing the Affordable Care Acts contraception supplies to women on the basis of the family’s moral judgment. Ladies, you can kiss your religious freedom goodbye. Family corporations now rank right up there with the Pope – though don’t be surprised if Pope Francis suddenly discovers that sexual activity is more inclusive than reproduction. Justice Ginsberg’s dissent is well worth the read and borders on the prophetic. The corporate “person” trumps the individual “person” making individual religious freed (or the rights of citizens) a quaint thing of the past. Congressman Boehner need not have tried 140+ times to repeal the Affordable Care Act – SCOTUS has allowed corporations to cherry pick their observance or their denial.
It still bothers me that the Civil Rights Act can be set aside in states where SCOTUS deems that racial bias no longer exists. It has allowed for additional barriers to make universal suffrage not so universal.
One must admit that in colonial times voting was only the right of land owning males. Of course those “land owning males” pledged their fortunes and their sacred honor for the wellbeing of the fledgling state. Do we seriously think we can live 18th century rules with the people of the 21st century when fortunes are to be amassed and honor is up for grabs? At present we seem to be hurdling back to the 1930’s and undoing anything that happened since the Great Depression, ignoring the Great Recession. SCOTUS decided the 2000 presidential election, though the US Constitution provided another way to resolve the issue.
Government by dollars does not seem headed toward “of the people, by the people and for the people.” The Texas Monthly gave a summary of the rule of the state by Rick Perry. They stated that things went well for you if you were a business or wealthy. The average citizen fared far less favorably. Financial studies show that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. I wonder if anyone has stopped to consider what this does to the largest sector of the GNP – consumer spending. That involves people having money to spend and buying goods and services. It does not include off shore accounts. Does SCOTUS have some sense of the US Government serving someone other than big business and deep pockets?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
“We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Of course it took to a long time to discover “all men” included ALL – and women – and poor – and sick – the laborer as well land owners and managers. This was no document of the Tea Party.


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