Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recent Birthdays

Saturday was Robert E. Lee's birthday, a commemorative date so forgotten that it's no longer worth the paper of the calendar it's printed on.  Some states in the Deep South actually merged the date out of quiet protest with the Martin Luther King holiday they adopted during the 1980s and 90s.  Texas didn't do this, as the state had already created a "Confederate Heroes Day" on January 19 forty years ago.  While staff duties are cut back on this day at Texas agencies, state offices fully observe the federal King holiday every third Monday of January.

President Obama's 2nd Inaguration yesterday signaled more than just the deadness of a holiday like Lee's birthday.  I don't know that I've ever heard an inaguration speech more agenda-oriented.  He's allowed to do this, of course; I'm not faulting him for that.  And there's part of me that would have wanted to work with him, but the President has proven completely unwilling to work with me.  But again, I don't mean to single him out for this attitude.  Ever since President Bush 41's infamous 1990 Budget Deal, the White House - every White House - has operated on a "we will take only what our power/majority will get" strategy.  Clinton was the master at this, especially considering that of the entire past 20 years, he had the toughest opposition in Congress.  Actions of honorable compromise and concession, which was the true legacy of General Lee, are as moribund as the commemoration of his birthday.

But there is another Civil War legacy that might be as dead as Lee's, and that is, ironically, the one of conciliation put forward by Abraham Lincoln.  True, he took no prisoners in the pursuit of his agenda.  But once vanquished, Lincoln held fervently to a spirit of forgiveness and compassion toward his enemies.  Lee knew this, and it was one of the reasons Lee trusted Grant and the Commander-in-Chief to recieve a surrender.

President Obama and his supporters have yet to demonstrate this aspect of Lincoln's legacy.  So hellbent have they been in executing their plan of social justice, no where yet do I see the slightest hint of openness toward their opponents.  There is always time to change, but I am not holding my breath.  I would gladly like to be counted among the loyal opposition if I knew the President would have me.

So in the spirit of Lee's conciliation, on this day I would like to lay out where and how I stand in relation to the President's agenda.  I am not asking for anything at this point.  I simply feel that an honest presentation of what most of last fall's losers really think and feel has not yet been presented.  I will lay out just a few issues:

  1. Marriage for Homosexual Men and Women - I am not a homophobe.  I am not terrified of gay men, nor do I fear gay people being around my children.  If anything bothers me about the lesbians ahead of me in the Walmart check-out line, it's that they are arguing over the per pound price of pork chops and holding everyone up.  I do, however, care about how civil institutions recognize the official pairing of gay people.   I hold fervently to the idea that a state or local jurisdiction can and should decide this (the U.S. Constitution does not need to proscribe a definition of marriage or the right thereof any more than it should define the population value of a slave).   I believe my community should be able to express my values about what I think marriage should be.  My faith informs these values.  Allowing a civil institution to bless the marriage of homosexual people is one step closer to forcing a religious institution to recognize such a marriage.  To link "rights" with loving someone is absurd.  Otherwise, I truly don't care how you live and how you love unless you are claiming the name of the Lord Jesus over your life and relationships, concerning which Christians have been given very clear instructions about how we are to reflect him.
  2. Budget and taxation issues - I believe a human being should be able to chart his or her own course in life.  I hold dearly to God's Providence as the means to do this.  Public policy can and should support this, but only to a modest degree.  The problem is determining the modest degree, and deciding what boundaries to put on entitlements or "ladders of opportunity."  47% of our nation no longer sees public assistance as a safety net; the government is a big box retailer to almost all of these people, be they an immigrant, a single parent, a disability applicant, a veteran, a widower, a member of an ethnic minority intent on revenge, and even many professionals.
  3. The Second Amendment - It is true we no longer require a militia to defend our lands as was the case as recently as 150 years ago.  Accordingly, full-auto firearms, grenades, mortars and SAMs should be restricted from public purchase.  This is the extent to which the right to bear arms should be restricted without being infringed.
  4. Violence in media - a non-issue
  5. Climate Change - climate change has been proven to be a natural phenomenon as much an anthropogenic one.  There is a case to be made that the global industrialization of the past 100 years has had an impact, but only a modest one.  Do we cancel out fossil fuels until we better understand the human contribution?  Of course not.  The country's best scientists state there shouldn't be cause for alarm and there is no need for catastrophic predictions and poltical hysteria.  America does not need to "lead" in this area.
I will admit that this short list is reactionary and defensive.  I have complied it in response to the speech yesterday.  Are the President and his supporters listening?  I'll give them until Lincoln's birthday to answer.