As Others See Us

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Once again I find myself quoting someone else’s words … but sometimes, other people have a way of expressing exactly what I’ve been thinking and it seems so much easier to let them tell the story. Thus, following are the comments made by a contributor to the Pubic Forum of our local newspaper:

We were recently honored to host a group of Canadian family.

I thought it interesting to hear their views on our crazy American situation. Here is what I heard.

  • They do not understand how we idolize the rich and powerful and allow these elites to get away with anything. Where is the common value of law and order for all.
  • They compared the American culture to a Roman Colosseum where the masses are trying to survive everyday while the 1% watch the fights and cheer them on from the stands.
  • They all agreed that it’s odd that the GOP and MAGA want to blame every little thing on Biden and Dems. When in fact the world over has the same or far bigger problems. Like the cost of gas. No president actually has the power to control the cost of fuel.
  • They mentioned the American culture of exceptionalism. Years back this was much more true than it is today. Look at the numbers and America is far behind in many areas like children’s education, poverty, and health care. Many other advanced countries surpass America in these basics.
  • “We don’t get the gun thing”. Yes Americans have a strong gun culture. But they thought our founding fathers did not mean the right to bear arms was above the rights to freedom and safety which are even more important. They had a couple mass shootings in Canada the last 10 years but virtually none compared to us because of their strict gun laws. Laws that did not impose on hunting.
  • Our culture “God and Country” go together with what they see as the ‘White Christian’ majority. The irony is these same Christians absolute opposition to other religions. Our country was founded on freedom of religion.

The contributor ended by saying he’s lived in many other countries, but he still prefers America and urges us to “keep it a strong democracy.”

I agree.

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Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

“While The Rest of Us Die”

Last night, while looking for a movie to watch, I came across this rather intriguing title —While the Rest of Us Die: Secrets of America’s Shadow Government— and decided to give it a look-see.

WOW.

To say I’m impressed is an understatement.

The production is dated 2020, so it’s not new (except to ME as I’d never heard of it before) — and apparently there are two seasons (I’m on Season One, third episode).

I’m watching it on Tubi (with ads), but it’s also available (for free) on DirectTV and SLING TV. Other options include either rental or buy charges.

If you haven’t seen this mind-boggling production, I urge you to put it on your to-do list!

If you have seen it, I would be interested in your overall comments/reactions — but PLEASE … PLEASE … PLEASE 🙏 do NOT go into detail as I want to be able to see things unfold on my own. Thanks. ❤

Can The Supreme Court Be Fixed?

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The U.S. Supreme Court is a failed institution. According to Alternet.org*, it is …

A nakedly partisan majority installed by a losing presidential candidate in the Oval Office simply because he could, using only its authority, and not the law, as justification.

A captured body serving a powerful, very small political minority (the very rich, the pathologically “moral”) to the exclusion of the whole of the rest of the country and its needs.

Over the years, suggestions have been bandied about to increase the number of Supreme Court judges as a solution to the partisanship (most recently evidenced in the Roe vs. Wade debacle). However, past efforts to this end have not been successful. Further, it has been noted that doing so could “unleash a spiral of retaliatory moves by whichever party is in power.”

Nevertheless, the idea has once again surfaced. Most recently the talk centers around increasing the number of judges by four. If done under the current administration, this would obviously give the Dems a majority (7-6), but who’s to say that down the road the same imbalance wouldn’t happen again? If vacancies continue to be filled by the POTUS in power, it’s inevitable the tide will shift.

Several other ideas have been put forth in the referenced article, but IMO, each one tends to have its drawbacks.  Except one. It’s referred to as a Supreme Court lottery:

All federal appellate court judges, roughly 180 in total, would become associate justices on the Supreme Court. Panels of nine justices would be randomly selected from this pool. Importantly, decisions on whether to grant certiorari on a given case would be made by panel members who would not know the ideological makeup of the panel that would hear the case. Thus, this plan would frustrate partisan maneuvering.

IMO, the key words in this proposal are “randomly selected” and “frustrate partisan maneuvering.” In other words, as the article notes, this approach would tip the scales of justice toward justice and away from partisan manipulation.

There is little doubt that the makeup of the Supreme Court needs to be reworked. While Democrats are extremely unhappy with the current slate, there have been times in the past when the opposite was true.

Bottom line: Discussion concerning the structure of the U.S. Supreme Court needs to be moved to the active agenda (including, IMO, changes in the age limit).

What do you think? Is the above a workable solution? Do you have other ideas? Is a change even possible in the current political climate?

*(Full Disclosure: Alternet.org is described by MediaBiasFactCheck.com as Left Bias.)
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Image by Venita Oberholster from Pixabay

How Old Is Too Old?

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When Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1981, he was 69 years and 349 days old. At that point in time, he was the oldest person to ever be elected as POTUS. Although many considered him too old to hold the office, some years later Trump came along and at age 70 (and 220 days), he was chosen to become the U.S. President.

Then in 2021, the record was surpassed when Joe Biden was voted in as POTUS at 78 years of age.

In this article, the author (who believes we need a constitutional age limit for president) writes:

It’s obvious that we are living longer and are generally healthier as we age than previous generations. But it’s also true that the vast majority of us slow down, both mentally and physically, as we head into our eighth decade.

Even former President Jimmy Carter weighed in on the topic when, in 2019, he commented: “I hope there’s an age limit…If I were just 80 years old, if I was 15 years younger, I don’t believe I could undertake the duties I experienced when I was president.” 

Yet both Trump (who will be 78) and Biden (who will be 82) have both considered running for the office again in 2024.

Of note, there are several members of Congress who are also serving at advanced ages:

  • Diane Feinstein, age 87
  • Chuck Grassley, age 87
  • Don Young, age 87
  • Nancy Pelosi, age 80
  • Bernie Sanders, age 78
  • Mitch McConnell, age 78

While the U.S. constitution does specify a minimum age for elected members of Congress and the President, it (rather unfortunately) does not address a maximum.

Interestingly, according to various polls, more than half (58%) of Americans say that there should be a maximum age limit — with most suggesting 80 years of age. However, to my knowledge, there has been no legislative action or discussion on the matter.

(Hmmm. Considering the above list, I wonder why …?)

While it is true that chronological age can be deceiving (nearly everyone knows individuals who are far more vigorous than their advanced age might suggest), mental and physical capabilities DO diminish as we progress in life. And while there may be some truth to the sayings that “age is a state of mind” and “you are only as old as you think you are” — can we put our trust in such adages when it comes to running a country the size of the United States? Especially if an event arose that required a “snap decision” that could affect millions of people?

I tend to think not.

(It is my sincere wish that the roster of 2024 presidential candidates will include candidates that can walk straight and think clearly. 🙂)