Why the Supreme-Court Argument from Trumpers Doesn’t Work

2010 Supreme Court photo

The only half-valid argument I have heard in support of Trump is in regard to appointing Supreme Court justices.  That is, if you fear who Clinton might try to appoint, vote Trump.  And, yet, I still find this half-valid argument totally naive and, especially, totally insane when it comes from Trump supporters.  Anyone who actually-really-truly cared the teensy-weensiest bit about this part of our government would know from recent events alone that the President isn’t the ultimate authority on appointing justices.  If that were true, President Obama would have replaced Justice Scalia already.  Hello!

No, if you really care about Supreme Court justices, pay attention to your Senate races as well.  Senators share the ultimate authority with the President.  The republicans in power in the Senate at this very moment are proving that (and stupidly so, in my opinion).  If they can block justice appointments for a year, they can block them for four years.  (Personally, I won’t be voting for any politicians who ever supported Trump because they obviously take our government no more seriously than rooting for their favorite football team.  Paul Ryan really let me down here when I once had good hope that he wouldn’t.  In my own state, Richard Priem will never get my vote.)

As Christian as I am in my personal life, I am also a patriot when it comes to government.  As such, I believe that a judge should be neither left nor right.  Their only dogma while on the bench should be the law as it was intended by the writers of the law.  Justice Scalia was an excellent model of that and it was a sad day for our country when he died.  Thus, this is how the Supreme Court appointment logic breaks down for me:

  • Clinton + republican Senate = moderate justices
  • Clinton + democratic Senate = left justices
  • Trump + republican Senate = unpredictable: likely loony left or loony right
  • Trump + democratic Senate = loony left justices

Therefore, in the justices argument, Clinton plus a republican Senate has the best odds of appointing a justice I can believe in and Clinton has the best odds overall of appointing a justice I can respect, left or right.  And, yet, I haven’t even gotten to the real insanity of the Trump argument.

Our government has become superhuman… and part of that is that the justices are acting like law makers and congress is acting like judges.  This is the heart of the bigger issues for me and justice appointments are just one part of the many problems.  Clinton will likely continue to make this worse, so I can’t vote for her regardless of the likely justice advantage over Trump.  Trump, however, wants to be executor, law maker, and judge — in other words, a dictator — and I certainly can’t have that.  His ideal judge would be a puppet.  By his own words, little about our Constitution is safe with Trump.  That is the real insanity of this.

But, who am I kidding? Those who are dug into supporting Trump can’t be woken up to the reality of what exactly Trump is promoting just like all other fanatics throughout history couldn’t be woken up in their day.  I have just as little hope in talking sense with them as anyone else ever did with Hitler and Mussolini supporters in the past.  No, fanatics like this will happily march off a cliff before even remotely considering how insane or evil their loyalty is.  Thus, it is entirely not surprising that all I hear from Trump supporters is hate speech in their proselytizing.  Their own words betray them.  Their own words clearly indicate that they don’t believe in the basic freedoms our Constitution was written to protect.  They want some country other than the United States of America.  Curiously, I believe in their right to want a different country, I just personally wish they would go and do it somewhere else because it shows no respect for those who died for this one.  At a minimum, they should do it more respectfully.

To be fair, I think many on Clinton’s side, and Clinton herself, don’t want the country the Constitution describes either, but I also have a more general hope for them and other Americans than I do for the raging Trumpers.  Yesterday’s America believed in teaching a man to fish.  Today’s America just wants to give a man a fish and declare their job done so we can get back to our selfish lives.  The rampant entitled sense of the poor today did not create itself.  No, the misguided selfishness of today’s do-gooders created that entitlement monster.

So, what to do? Why am I writing this? I don’t know.  Self-therapy maybe.  The idea that 25% of America is dug into Trump is hugely depressing.  I had though better of Americans.  Maybe I will reach a few fence sitters.  Probably not.  I don’t have much of an audience.  All I can really do is press on and never give up on seeking the truth and doing the right thing, as best as I can know and do it.  I will not be voting for Trump or Clinton or Johnson or Stein.  I will vote for what is right and, if I cannot find it, I will vote for none of the above.  Those of you who call me hateful things because of this, your words reveal who you are inside… just like my frustrated words about the fanatic followers of dictators and bullies reveal who I am inside.  I am quite confident that any justice Clinton may try to appoint would be a much greater friend than any raging Trumper.

At the end of the day, I often find all of this fairly insignificant because global warming appears to be a much greater threat now than our broken, superhuman government.  After you vote, go home and stock your cupboards.

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Hey! America! Stop being a lazy idiot and do something meaningful!

sl-shadowA society cannot choose to endorse some sins and expect to leave the others behind.  You choose one, you choose them all.  Duh!  To the point, you cannot choose to legalize and promote things like lust, drug use, greed, and pride, and expect to remain free from slothfulness and selfishness.  Double duh!!

Right now, there seems to be a war on cops.  Why?  Because we asked for it.  We all asked for it.  The rich and the academic upper crust opened the door to not only sin but also to entitlement to sin, and now the poor are paying the price of wanting the same freedoms to sin.  Entitlement to entitlement.  The leaders of our country have failed us because we have failed to ask our leaders to hold us accountable to any commonsensical direction.

The rich look at the riots of the poor and wonder how the poor can feel entitled to break into their neighbor’s business and steal stuff just because someone pissed somebody else off.  Lose a sporting event, however, and it’s not just the poor or uneducated looting and burning their neighbor’s castle is it?  We are like the father who let his teenage daughter go out clubbing alone in a foreign country and then wonders why she disappeared, likely murdered.  Why are we not all pointing our fingers at the father who failed to be a leader and protector when he let his daughter walk alone into risky behavior?  Similarly, we should all point fingers at ourselves when the obvious source of the poor’s sense of entitlement is all of us!

Just look at ourselves.  Look closer!

I see a man bullying a shop owner and taking whatever he wants.  Then, later, when he is walking in the center of the street like he is immune to any civil rules, he is confronted by a cop is somehow shot and killed.  Am I really supposed to then feel sorry for him?  Seriously?  When his parents cluelessly claim he was a good boy and didn’t deserve to die, am I suddenly supposed to forget that he was a bully who felt entitled to steal from his neighbor and then ignore the police?  When I’m wondering how his parents could fail so stupidly in seeing that their son was a bad person and that perhaps they, themselves, failed as parents… I then must look closer and wonder where the role models were for these parents.  I look around and see politicians, businessmen, and even religious leaders being accused of major crimes and all of them claiming innocence.  Where has gone the man who can stand up and say right from the start “Yes, I did it. It was terrible of me to do this and I’m sorry. No excuses.”

I see the media being completely uphelpful and possibly even evil in their spin.  I see a cop trying to manage a situation at a pool party that looks unmanageable.  I then see Wolf Blitzer become the first of the star personalities on CNN to edit the video to make it look more sensational. Previous to Wolf coming on the air we could seen the officer being taunted by other men and then, when one of them reaches for his back pocket, the officer draws his weapon.  Hey!  Duh!  Isn’t that what officers are trained to do?  If someone was in my face and then appeared to reach for something unseen, what would I do?  I would not respond well, I’m sure.  But Wolf, apparently, is better than that and is the first on CNN to edit the taunting out so it appears the cop pulled his weapon without provocation.  CNN is all too happy to report on the manhandling and the draw but I don’t think I ever heard any news source mention the taunting.

I see the media being completely unhelpful in their spin.  I see a mother smacking her boy upside the head several times for trying to join a riot.  We cheer her attempts to teach right from wrong.  Yet, any smacking of kids not justified like this by video is reported as abuse by the media.  This has given kids all the power in knowing how to make their parent’s lives (and other adult lives) miserable simply by whining a bit to the right people or by taking video out of context.  When we see video of a belligerent teenager being manhandled by a cop, we cry foul again for some reason I still don’t quite get.  And, yet, we have to listen, once again, to a parent claim how sweet their child is.  Barf.  Why bother trying to raise a child anymore?  America has become a stupid place for raising children.

I see the media being completely unhelpful in their spin.  I see a law breaker not cooperating with the police and eventually being taken down by a hold that restricts blood supply to the head (and should not restrict the air supply as reported).  Watch that video again and really look at it.  Break it down play by play.  I am absolutely positive that you will see that the officer releases this supposed “choke hold” much sooner than what you remember the media telling you.  Yes, some tragic things can happen when you don’t cooperate with the cops but, then: Is it really the cops’ fault then when things go bad?  Sometimes, yes (as in 16-rounds or rough-ride or 20-tazings yes), but other times, no.  Be smart about what the media spins to us.  Do we really want to be a bunch of whiners like the black guy I heard on the media lamenting that now he has to teach his children to be cooperative around the cops if they don’t want trouble? Duh! I’m pretty sure that’s what my parents taught me and I’m white!  Is that where we went wrong?  African Americans stopped teaching that?  Again, look closer, all of America stopped teaching that when we started teaching entitlement.  Just ask any school teacher these days if the parents are any better than their entitled and whiny children.  Likely not — it appears to me most of us are promoting entitlement in our children — and likely by example.

I see all traditional religions under attack.  If religion is popular at all any more they are the ones that create their own gods — gods that are okay with our chosen set of legalized sins such as lust, drugs, greed, and pride.  Whereas, I’m pretty sure the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Quran, Guru Granth Sahib, etc. all have teachings against lust, greed, and pride.  But, no, in America today it is more important that you embrace your temptations as your right to identity than it is to overcome your temptations to be a better person.

If I have a temptation to sleep with anything that moves then, dammit, that is part of my identity and I have a right to it!  Even if I wreck my family to claim it, I not only have a right to it, I also have a right to be loved by America for my struggles to embrace my “true” identity.  America sees a gay cowboy to feel sorry for in the Brokeback Mountain story.  Ugh, we’re screwed.  I see a Bruce-Jenner-like man that abandoned his family and probably deserves the loneliness the story gives him.  We’re so screwed.  America wants me to embrace by my hidden sexual temptations/orientations (believe me, they are there) and become a home wrecker instead.  We’re so… so screwed!

I suspect most traditional religions have something similar to the idea that idleness is of the devil.  And, yet, here we are with idle populations running rampant in America and the rest of us bickering about it when these populations are only our own creation.  With the drive promoting the absurd notion that everyone must go to college to succeed, we have killed off all the skilled labor training programs we used have in the middle of the last century.  Those who don’t want to go to college no longer have a path for success and, thus, languish in idleness.  We all broke it, not they.  We are so obsessed about college these days it has become another entitlement with lots of cushy amenities.  Even if someone (such as I have) builds a meaningful life without a degree, they will still not be able to even submit an application to many jobs they are otherwise qualified for; purely because they do not have a degree — some online application systems don’t allow submissions to go through without a degree.

In all this madness to persecute religion and legalize sin I see even the Supreme Court of the Unites States guilty of populism.  In 1890 the Supreme Court decided the federal government could define what marriage is (and even what type of cohabitation is allowed) — because it was popular to hate Mormons at the time.  In 2015, however, the Supreme Court decided the federal government cannot define what a marriage is — because it is currently popular to hate all traditional Christians, who are believed to hate gays, even though such hate would hardly be Christ like.  (And, somehow, the Acts of Congress in the 1800s defining against a Mormon view of marriage still stand.)  I’m so confused.  With our government so easily swayed by populism, we should change our motto to “In God we don’t trust” or “In celebrities we trust.”

Look at ourselves.  Look closer!  With both media and government promoting hate, lust, drugs, greed, and pride, it’s our own idiotic fault slothfulness and selfishness are rampant.

So, get off your butts and do something!  Do something meaningful.  Do something for your country.  Don’t base your vote for leaders on selfish parameters.  Do something right.  Be vigilant.  Be bold and report crime.  Don’t be a wuss.  Don’t give terrorists a place to hide.  Be a good person and be a better parent.  Be a role model of good things and not a role model of idiocy.

Hey!  America!  You make me sick.  Stop it.

Why did I name Bruce Jenner and no one else (except, maybe, Wolf Blitzer and CNN)?  Because he premeditated and publicized the selfish entitlements he claimed which opens him up for direct commentary.  I can’t say for sure any of the others did.

 

How to Fix Education in America…

Old School House in Brooks California built in 1868

… and Probably Fix Many Other Things as Well

If pride is the root of all evil, then employing the proper amount of respect for one another should cancel all the failings that pride has brought us.  Instill greater respect in our children and we should see a return to happier times as our children grow into leaders.

It appears to me that America could learn a lot about respect in schools from the Asians.  It is obvious that we should be observing the best education practices throughout the world and adopting the ones that fit our particular needs.  Indeed, we already do this.  Therefore, I suggest that we attempt to adopt the respect that comes with the title a teacher carries in some Asian countries by granting a similar title to our teachers in America.  A very attractive aspect of this solution is that, unlike raising teacher salaries (a fine idea but apparently not very doable at this time), it would cost us little to pass laws requiring the administration to always address teachers by their official title.  And where the administration must go by law (and perhaps the students as well), the public may follow.

More particularly, this is what I suggest and what it looks like (and, no, I am not a teacher myself):

  • All school administration officials are required to always address a teacher by the title of “Teacher.”  The easy aspect of such a law or rule is that it can be tried at any level: private, local, or state.  Include other other government officials in the law if you can such as mayors and governors.  Basically, what this law should look like is that all official correspondence from the administration to Teacher Jones, for example, must be addressed to “Teacher Jones.”   Even things like paychecks should show this title.  Similarly, in a conversation between the principal and Teacher Jones, the principal, by law, must address the teacher by the full title of “Teacher Jones” throughout the conversation and cannot use any other familiar names.  (To nitpick, the title address should come before any pronouns in a sentence such as “Teacher Jones, will you do such and such for me?”)  It would be my hope that at some point the laws can be taken further to require students and even parents to also properly address teachers during official business… that is, if common courtesy fails to dictate this.
  • The administration is there to support the teacher and not the other way around.  For example, if the principal needs to be present during a dispute between a parent and a teacher, the principal must appear to back the teacher in all things (and must also set the example how to the properly address the teacher by proper title).  If the teacher and principal disagree on certain points, this should not be visible to the parent and should be resolved at another time.  The administration may serve to handle disputes between teachers — but a better idea might be for the teachers to set up a council of their peers (such as 3 or 12 fellow teachers, depending on level of dispute) to handle such matters.  The administration, such as the principal, may serve to help guide the teachers toward a common goal.  The administration may be in charge of evaluating teachers and the teaching systems in general.
  • The parent is there to support the teacher and not the other way around.  If you see wisdom in the old saying that it takes a town to raise a child, then granting more power to our teachers to raise our children is likely our best hope to reclaim this wisdom in our modern cities.  If we cannot trust our teachers to be experts with children, then we are lost.  Therefore, a teacher must have the right to lecture parents when needed and even give parents disciplinary assignments that may affect the advancement of their child.  Teachers should also conduct home visits somewhat regularly in pairs or small groups.
  • The teacher and the teacher’s classroom is like unto a captain and the captain’s vessel.  The first and final authority in a classroom must be the teacher assigned to that classroom.  This authority also applies to substitute teachers when in place.  The administration can help guide a teacher but must ultimately respect the teacher’s authority with the development and discipline of a student.  Laws may need to be written to help support this and to do more to protect teachers from angry parents.  Furthermore, like a captain is responsible for their passengers even during port, a teacher can exercise authority over their students even in public outside of school hours.  Disrespect in public can rightfully be handled later at school.  Past teachers, retired or not, can still exercise some residual authority over students they recognize in public with disrespect handled similarly when reported to the student’s current teacher(s).
  • All teachers should attempt to be a model of how power sharing should work.  Rules may need to be written to help establish this.  Teacher power sharing may look something like the following.  All students must respect the authority of all teachers at all times.  If a student is in the presence of another teacher and not their own, they must obey that teacher.  If a student appears to be under a conflict of orders from more than one teacher, then the student and teacher should do their best to resolve the conflict and all parties ultimately report back to the student’s regular teacher or “home” teacher if orders were altered.  I thought about writing some example scenarios here but they seemed silly and full of common sense.
  • The title of “Teacher” should not be automatic and can even be stripped from undeserving individuals.  The title should have to be earned — perhaps through the current certification process — perhaps something more.  Once earned, the title is generally kept forever.  Substitute teachers can earn the title.  If switching careers from teaching to school administration, then the title should be put away for that time in favor of more appropriate school administration titles.  The title can be revoked if the teacher is proven to not be acting in the best interest of children.

Much of this may sound similar to the way faculty are seen at universities but this is neither my goal nor have I thought much about the connection.  I have thought a bit about tenure systems and would strongly recommend against such things for elementary teachers.  Our kids are too important to risk keeping a bad teacher in place due to such rules or politics.  If a teacher becomes tired of the occupation, or loses skill, move them out if the situation cannot be improved.  How to properly evaluate teachers and weed out the less talented ones is probably the subject of a whole new thought process and another essay.  For now, I would hope that the above suggestions would bring about such a better quality of teacher that they would figure out how to weed themselves out.  But, yes, perhaps that is hoping too much.

Reason Behind the Rant

I believe strongly in fixing things from the inside out.  Parents, in general, do not give teachers enough respect and it also shows in their kids.  Many parents do not give anybody enough respect and this also shows in their kids.   Therefore, because many parents can’t parent properly, let us give more power to the teachers to help the next generation grow beyond the previous one in spite of the parents.  This is the best hope for our schools and for all parts of our future… provided we can find teachers up to the challenge.

Hopes

It is hoped that reestablishing respect in our kids early on will grow into respect in all things throughout our country, resulting in a better America.

It is hoped that elevating the position of a teacher by simply elevating (and perhaps regulating) the title of “Teacher” will attract better-quality teachers regardless of pay.

It is hoped that once we have attracted enough better-quality teachers and have given them sufficient respect to act with more authority, they will then begin to fix the pay problems in innovative ways, which should further the attraction of even more better-quality teachers.