hello

And yet…

July 6, 2009

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America of 51 flags

July 6, 2009

Somewhere, someone wrote about Europe of a thousand flags. Cannot, for the life of me, track down where such a phrase came from. The point is immaterial, the reason I bring it up is in reference to D’s last post. The phrase refers to the past, when local dukedoms, free towns, monarchies, democratic villages, and city-states were the general tone of Europe. Before the monarchies and (later) republics began to amalgamate such self-ruling localities into dependent provinces.

In response to D’s exit question: so long as the populace is complacent in accepting the “glitz and glam” of D.C. and ignoring the “pettiness” of their state government (to say nothing of their county and city), then no, such Senators are immune. If, however, we can revive that wonderful and peculiar love of a specific place (e.g. your neighborhood), then perhaps such senators would be under a popular recall so fast, they would get whiplash from the plane trip home.

Perhaps the way forward is rekindle the pride and love of local places. Our European ancestors often took surnames based on their ancestral village. Our American forefathers were adamant about being first Virginians and only then Americans. The reason is because Virginia, or better yet, Richmond, is real. That is, a man can look around and build up Virginia, if only by building up his home, his business or trade, his neighborhood, and city. If a horde of West Virginians were to suddenly march against Richmond (a la Napoleon of Notting Hill), Richmond is defensible. America is a castle in the sky.

America, in this regards, is a hazy abstraction and a collection. Until we realize that what is real in our everyday lives (keeping our eyes, for the moment, on the immanent side of things) is that which we can touch, see, and effect. America, as such, is well represented by the fireworks many of us witnessed this weekend. It is a grand show: written across the sky in brilliant colors and thunderous claps. But what is real is the people we witness the pyrotechnics with, the field in which we sit, the family and friends we love, and the city (be it a village of 100 or a city of 100,000) around us.

America is a hypothesis. It is a grand experiment, for sure, and I do not denigrate it as such. What I mean to point out is, quite simply what matters in our everyday lives is the local scene where we spend 95% of our time. In that regards, why do not we as a citizenry begin to demand our local government (primarily the State, as cities and counties derive their authority from there) to take up responsibility and shrug off the behemoth of the national government, except where it is needed? In that same light, when do we as a citizenry (emphatically NOT consumers) begin to support our local businesses over and above the corpulent corporations?

California is real. If it accepts a federal bail-out, then it will lose any remaining truth and pretense of being governed by Californians. It will fall to the degraded status as a mere province of D.C.

I entitled this post America of 51 flags (Porto Rico- run!). Perhaps what I really meant was America of 3192 flags.

There have been a few times in my life when I realized that everything I knew was wrong. Like when I realized that the Republican party isn’t the answer to every political problem. Or when it hit me that God wouldn’t push me into my vocation since the greatness of a vocation is my free will choosing God’s will. That not all nuns line up in the spirit of the convent from the Sound of Music. Each of these instances, though mournful at the loss of simplicity, broadened my view of reality.

And the United States Government cannot continue to operate as a host for 50 state-sized parasites.

These roles have been proposed by Washington and accepted by states over many years through the passing of funds from one to the other. Shorthand: In a state-run America, how is it that the universal drinking age is 21 years? Within 50 different state governments, one would expect at least one outlier – unless a universal system has been put in place by a larger entity (see: Federal Government) through strings attached to highway funding.

Through these deals the Congressmen and Senators in Washington circumvent the local governments that they represent and have traded the potentially difficult path of legitimate legislation for the easy path of state manipulation. A state government is comprised of elected representatives to make laws, but a Senator in Washington can vote for legislation that effectively undercuts the entire elected system of the state. Far fringe rumblings are continually concerned about the creation of a North American Union (Canexica, MexAmeriDa… whatever), but is the state/Federal Government relationship being being strongarmed into a further microcosm of such a union?

I never thought that Star Wars would scare me. I used to just see sci-fi… now it’s Pelosi, Reid, Biden, Clinton, et al:

Exit Question: If a Senator proposes legislation that cuts his own state government out of the issue at hand, should he be a viable candidate for reelection?

Confusing, I know, but we’ll get through this.

Smoking is bad. Right? Smoking related illness kills 440,000 people every year (about 36,000 per month). On Thursday, the Senate voted to increase the extent to which cigarette nicotine can be regulated, as well as limiting advertising ability of tobacco companies. Safe to say, the likely intention of the Senate is to reduce the number of smokers since they are a… drag on the health care system.

If I were a flat republican, I’d have a huge problem with this, as it flies in the face of strict capitalism. However, I consider myself to be a Catholic Conservative. Behind all the politics and rights and who can do what and opinion, we are all people, created by God, with a specific and common human nature. In the biggest picture, the purpose of politics not to enforce an ideology, but to create conditions of the social life where people can more readily better themselves (GS 74). Outside of a particular political system, it is important for the government to protect society from things that may cause them harm such as smoking, drugs, pornography, murder (abortion and assisted suicide), and so on. Guns are not included, as the government often cannot protect a person from an immediate violent attacker. This is not to say that a nanny state is required, but that the state must be involved in removing from society things that run against a person’s human nature; against their ability to attain happiness.

So tobacco companies are getting muzzled a bit. This would be fine except for the fact that in February 2009, this same Senate passed legislation for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) that expanded free heath coverage to an addition 4 million individuals (who have ‘modest’ income and do not qualify for Medicaid). Big deal? Yes, for many reasons; most immediately because it is set to be paid for with taxes taken from… drum roll please… If you guessed cigarettes, you’re absolutely correct! Tell him what he’s won Melvin – it’s a Kimball piano – absolutely correct! The future of health care will be dependant on that which sickens people!

Watch:

Interesting that the girl in the video mentions flu season. With the new pandemic level for swine flu, I think it might be good to quickly put things into perspective, 36,000 people die from the common flu each year; H1N1 Swine flue has killed 145 people.

The only sense this makes to me is if there is such an incredible health care crisis, the Obama administration will have an “excuse” to step in and take over the nation’s health care. Similarly, though for another post, if FOCA passes, the USCCB would be and has declared that it would be morally obligated to close all Church run hospitals – creating just such a crisis for the government to step in.