Tag Archives: Constitution

The Zen of politics – Romantic vs Classic forms

Hi readers. Thanks for the visit.

Probably some of you have noticed as I have that things in Washington D.C. aren’t always as they appear to be.

Moving the White House and Congress to Disneyland – A serious proposal

The reasons for this reach deeply into the psyche of the people who call themselves Americans. They’re entrenched in the idealized construct of the US Constitution and the romantic, dehumanized cardboard cutouts of the ‘founding fathers’, US presidents, generals, politicians and jurists. By definition their motives were pure, their decisions and actions were entirely driven by the desire to protect the rights of the future citizenry.

A classical view of all this would note a few contradictions inside the fog of idealism. The supposed ability of the judiciary, for instance, to shed the skin of partisanship and self-interest once sworn into office. The fact a substantial portion of the humanity born inside the borders, the ‘Indians’, were not to be included in the census, not to be taxed. In fact, were not citizens at all when it came to the protected rights of citizenship. The only protections the US Constitution provided them were treaty obligations approved by the US Congress. Even the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868 pretended the tribes governed themselves and the US Government had no jurisdiction over them. Excluded for automatic citizenship even those who gave up tribal affiliations.

Keeping the options open, those realists. Kept them open until 1924, by which time the protection of any rights they might have had as citizens couldn’t do them a hell of a lot of good.

Not to say impartial or non-partisan Supreme Court jurists, or what happened to the rights of American Indians has anything to do with anything except reality.

The reality. Washington D.C. is inhabited by human beings looking out for their own best interests. They’ve pared the environment down so it’s contained in a two-party system to protect itself from intruders, outsiders, invaders. They’re all singing from the same songbook inside the conch shell where the only sound you hear is their ocean.

Whining about taxes, rights protected by Constitutional amendments, undeclared wars and candidates for National elected offices who aren’t blessed with chins can’t penetrate the walls of the conch shell.

The reality is that if any of that can be changed it can’t happen in a capsule of romantic form anchored to a past that never existed, celluloid people canonized in myth and a piece of paper with less substance than a US dollar.

Playing nicknack tallywack inside Washington’s two-party system only results in them throwing the dog a bone. But the dogs do love it.

That’s reality.

Old Jules

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Andrew JacksonCare – Brute force over asking the Supreme Court

Hi readers.

Probably a good case can be made for Andrew Jackson being the lousiest president the US ever suffered. It might even be said his decision to use brute force against South Carolina in 1837, instead of asking the Supreme Court whether a State is allowed to nullify its agreement to be part of the Union, was the cause of the Civil War.

Certainly President Thomas Jefferson believed States had the right to secede. President James Madison waffled some on the subject, but might also have believed it. Daniel Webster still believed it in 1890.

The reason the answer wasn’t obvious was in the document preceding the US Constitution, the Articles of Confederation. Those 13 entities agreed to a permanent union. But the Articles of Confederation were nullified by the new US Constitution. And the new Constitution didn’t say a damned word about it being permanent.

So when the Tariffs of Abomination were passed by a majority of states, putting several into one hell of a pinch, South Carolina first protested, screamed, begged, stamped its feet, and finally declared itself no longer part of the Union.

That would have been a good time to settle the question. President Andrew Jackson could have asked the US Supreme Court to decide whether a State had the right to withdraw. But Andrew Jackson didn’t give a tinkers damn what was legal nor what was Constitutional. Andrew Jackson was a point-of-the-gun man, proved it when he moved the tribes across the continent at the point of a gun after agreeing they’d be okay if they’d put down their guns.

So President Andrew Jackson, instead of asking the Courts whether South Carolina had to stay in the Union, asked the same states who’d passed the Tariffs of Abomination whether they’d pay to send 100,000 troops to South Carolina to keep them quiet and hungry.

Andrew JacksonCare. Soon to be followed by Abraham LincolnCare.

Or, “How to get your face onto a piece of US currency“.

Old Jules