What’s Up With That?
I normally don’t write about politics here. However, this subject needs attention.
There has been much conversation about the violent protest last month, and criticism of President Trump for what he didn’t say, and then what he did say. The criticism keeps coming back to the point that many Americans and most of the media/press think the office of the president is the moral authority of our country.
For the record:
- I am not a fan or supporter of President Trump (I didn’t vote for him either)
- The protesters in Charlottesville (white supremacists, KKK, etc.) have a despicable message
And then we have this report: Charlottesville violence: Rabbis cancel Trump call over remarks
A prominent coalition of rabbis has pulled out of an annual call with the US president over his remarks about violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The four groups said Donald Trump’s statements were “so lacking in moral leadership and empathy” that they had no choice but to cancel the call.
They condemned Mr Trump for blaming “many sides” for the violence on 11 August, which left one woman dead.
I also have nothing against rabbis or the Jewish religion. But I do think, as did our founding fathers, there must be a separation of church and state. So why would we want any president to meet with any religious organization? The President represents all the people and religion should be separated from government. President Kennedy had this to say about it:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
Who is the Moral Authority in America?
It isn’t a coalition of rabbis, or a council of neither Catholic Bishops, nor the National Council of Churches, nor the U.S. Council of Muslim Organization, nor is it the President of the United States.
At best, the office of the President is a compromise. Candidates are chosen in the boardrooms and backwaters of the Aristocracy of Influence. In 2016 less than 30% of eligible voters voted in the primaries and about 58% voted in the general election. And of those who did vote, we need to ask ourselves how many were uninformed, misinformed, uneducated, or miseducated. Probably a majority.
Heck, the President isn’t even the Voice of America, as there is no unified voice.
So if neither our religious leaders nor the President are our moral authority, then who is?
The Moral Authority of America
The moral authority is the laws that protect our individual freedoms and rights. We can start with the Bill of Rights.
Most Americans are clueless about where the principles for the founding of our country came from. Those amazing American Revolutionaries were deeply influenced by the philosophies and writings of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire — intellectuals who are mostly unknown to those who vote today — how is this even possible? The spirit of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights might be summed up by a famous quote that has been attributed to Voltaire, although it cannot be validated that Voltaire said or wrote it, it is a Voltairian principle that was embraced by our founding fathers…
I disapprove of what you say, but i will defend to the death your right to say it
As hateful as the ideas spewed out by the protesters in Charlottesville are, we must recognize and defend their right to say these things and their right to assemble. To deny them these rights is much worse than their message. Those counter-protestors who tried to silence them, intimidate them, incite violence, or block their right to march are the ones who have committed the greater offense.
Trump was at first criticized for saying nothing, then criticized when he said, “I think there is blame on both sides.” Let’s dissect this.
Whenever there is a crisis, somehow the media, press, the public, and opposing political factions expect the President to make a profound statement – to make a statement that invokes this concept of “Moral Authority.” Is the public so devoid of education, American history, personal philosophy, ethics and morals that they need the President of the United States to tell them what is right or wrong? If we do need the President to tell us, then we have more serious problems than who is in office. And if the President states that racism is wrong, will that change anything? Will it change a single person’s personal beliefs? Absolutely not.
Was the violence in Charlottesville an issue for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to even weigh in on? No, it wasn’t. The violence falls under the jurisdiction of the local and state governments. We will eventually find out what really happened, and more than likely both the protestors and the counter-protestors at times initiated the violence, or as Trump said, “…there is blame on both sides.” This is an objective statement, which almost no one is willing to recognize.
We will probably also find out that the mayor of Charlottesville and the Police Department did not exercise due diligence and are mostly to blame for the violence, which Mayor Michael Singer has already tried to deflect on Trump, when he said, “Look at the campaign he ran. Look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand all of these white supremacist, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups, and then look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up and condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed, all of those different efforts just like we saw yesterday, and this is not hard.”
This is a heated subject in the media. I really don’t care about them, other than the fact that it is not the function of government to install or maintain any monument or public art with taxpayer money. Let’s face it, most Americans really don’t know who the people depicted in the monuments were or what they really stood for. Most Americans don’t care about these monuments. We have more important problems to solve, and removing a monument will not end racism or solve a single problem. How can Americans understand what theses monuments are about when A Gallup poll in 2013 reported that:
- Only 57% of Americans know that the 3rd branch of the US government is the Supreme Court.
- Only 59% of Americans know how many U.S. Senators are from each state.
- Only 47% of Americans know what the first 10 amendments to us U.S. Constitution are called.
- Only 34% could identify the document that contains these words; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
- Only 33% know who wrote the “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”
- Only 17% of Americans know who the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is.
Those who want these monuments removed are among the Aristocracy of Influence, determining what the few of them want, and then forcing their views on the rest of the population. If a city, county, state, or the federal government has a Confederate Monument on government property, or own a monument on private property, then let the voters decide what to do. Put it on the ballot and let them vote… and probably less than 20% of the eligible voters will even bother to cast a ballot. If the people decide the monument should be taken down then those folks should pay for it – not burden the entire population with the cost.
What Should We Do As Individuals?
Become educated. Get informed on all the issues. Vote in every election. Always oppose anyone who wants to limit individual rights. Always oppose systemic racism, prejudice, or any limit on individual freedoms. Speak out, protest peacefully, support political candidates who embrace the individual rights of all citizens. Become politically active… citizenship in our Republic carries a lot of responsibility. Disagree and oppose those who are hateful and prejudiced, but defend their right to speak.