Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bad Laws from the Blue and the Red (a post-election rant)

Technically, I’m retired from blogging, but yesterday’s election results have managed to irritate me enough to prompt a brief return to this forum. Two jurisdictions, one “red” the other “blue”, passed laws that are just plain foolish and demonstrate the narrowing of thought that can occur no matter where people fall on the ideological spectrum.

The first case comes from San Francisco where the city’s residents passed a law banning the possession of handguns and ammunition within the city. Residents will not even be allowed to have a gun in their own homes.

I am continuously amazed with liberals who will scream bloody murder anytime they see the First Amendment being infringed but pretend like the Second Amendment doesn’t exist. We can’t pick and choose which amendments we like best. And while I know guns are pretty dangerous things and that the Second Amendment is oddly worded, any serious study of that amendment will reveal that our Founders wanted to ensure we could own a gun. Free speech is dangerous too. So is giving violent criminals fair trials where they can get off on a technicality. Our Founders knew that freedom comes with risk and enshrined that balance in the Constitution. The people of San Francisco have no authority to override the Second Amendment anymore than early twentieth century Mississippi had the authority to override the 14th and 15th.

I could go on about the ineffectiveness of such laws (see: Washington, DC) but there’s more irritating election results to discuss, so let’s move on.

Good ole’ San Francisco also passed a measure encouraging high school and universities to ban military recruiters. I have no problem with people who protest the war. But this kind of action (and this is hardly the first case of it) is abhorrent. First, it assumes that young men and women are too stupid to make up their own minds and have to be “protected” from the big bad military. Secondly, it is a clear violation of freedom of speech and association to ban one employer but allow all others access. What would San Franciscans say if a conservative city banned Disney from recruiting because of that company’s gay-friendly attitudes? They’d be outraged. Just as those of us not trapped in liberal groupthink should be outraged that San Francisco would approve of such a measure.

Finally, let’s move on to my home state of Texas where my friends and neighbors just passed an amendment to the state constitution banning homosexual marriage. This was clearly a very pressing issue that had to solved before the state addressed our crumbling public health system and piss-poor schools.

I know I’m in a minority here, but how in the world is gay marriage a threat? Really? And don’t give me that b.s. about “slippery slopes” and how gay marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality and god-knows-what. All those other examples involve exploitative relationships where one person is exercising depraved power over another. That’s not the case with homosexual relationships which are formed through mutual love.

Do we as a nation not support mutual, loving relationships? Is commitment between two people that abhorrent that we have to run out and ban the act? Our culture is not threatened by accepting loving, committed relationships. Our culture is threatened when we pretend such relationships are evil—when we exploit religion and inflame prejudice and pretend we are saving ourselves. We are saving nothing.

And don’t tell me the Bible condemns homosexuality. The bible condemns loaning money too and we aren’t rushing to the polls to ban banks. In fact, the Bible barely mentions homosexuality and, when it does, many Biblical scholars will tell you that the references were directed to the Greek and Roman practice of older men coercing adolescent boys into sexual relationships. That clearly is immoral. But consensual love between two men or two women is not a sin and is not condemned in the Bible.

Outside of scripture itself, why would anyone want to believe that God would let two people fall in love and then condemn that love as sin? Where does Jesus or any of his disciples ever claim love to be a sin? They don’t. And that’s the moral guidance I choose to follow.

I may be wrong. Who knows. But if I’m going to err in this world, I’d rather err on the side of mercy and grace. I wish the people of my state felt the same. Apparently, there’s still a lot of convincing to do.

Thank you for reading this rant.

12 Comments:

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Rex Deaver said...

Alan,

1) The courts have repeatedly held that the Second Amendment is a bar on the federal government, not the states.

2) Schools routinely block employers from recruiting, especially when that employer has a record of predatory recruiting practices.

3) Gotta go with you on this one though...I have never understood this issue.

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Rex

1) Just for intellectual purposes, why can states violate the 2nd amendment but can't violate other amendments? How is it possibly consitutional to ban the possession of a handgun in people's own home? I'm no gun nut but I see laws like these as reactionary meassures that feel good but do nothing to stop gun violence. I'm willing to bet most of the people who voted for this think the curtailing of freedoms in the Patriot act are bad because they harm freedom while providing almost no protection. These draconian gun laws are much the same.

2) Calling military recruiting "predatory" is a pretty harsh accusation. I know there have been instances of promises made that weren't kept but I don't think those instances rise to the level of "predatory." I don't like attempts to silence any person or any organization. If the people of San Fransisco don't want their youth to join the military, they should provide them better options, not try to banish the recruitors. I don't think 18-22 year olds need to be sheltered.

3) Yeah, well, you and I are in the minority. Hopefully, with hard work, that will change.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Tom Strong said...

Regarding gay marriage: minority, schminority. It's the right thing to do. And fact is, this particular minority is pretty large, and it's growing - especially among people our age.

The Daily Show had a nice bit on this a few days ago. Available at Crooks & Liars.

 
At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Rex Deaver said...

Alan

1) Just for intellectual purposes, why can states violate the 2nd amendment but can't violate other amendments?

Because it hasn't been incorporated into the 14th Amendment.

I'm no gun nut but I see laws like these as reactionary meassures that feel good but do nothing to stop gun violence.

I tend to agree.

2) Calling military recruiting "predatory" is a pretty harsh accusation. I know there have been instances of promises made that weren't kept but I don't think those instances rise to the level of "predatory."

There have been much more egregious instances than that, especially recently. Things that would have gotten any employer...say an accounting firm...banned from recruiting.

3) Yeah, well, you and I are in the minority. Hopefully, with hard work, that will change.

I dunno if it will happen in our lifetimes. I live in Kansas. :)

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Rex,

1) Bah. And people wonder why the average American doesn't understand Constitutional theories or why a justice's judicial philosophy is important--I've actually studied Constitutional law (albeit as an undergrad) and still get tied in knots.

2) I clearly don't know the extent of the complaints, but I really don't think barring recruitors is the answer. I prefer to err on the side of open discourse and free association.

3) I really hope you're wrong. I think it will change. We may not see gay marriage legalized, but we may see civil unions become common place and accepted by mainstream society. I was at the Smithsonian awhile back and saw an exhibit on Brown v. Board. In it, there was a video that showed news footage from the time. I was amazed at how many otherwise decent looking Americans were acting like racial intergration was the end of the world. Racism was incredibly commonplace even amongst decent folks. Yet now, just 50 years later, there isn't a decent person left in America who would make such terrible statements or even privately hold such prejudiced beliefs. I hope that is the way we trend on homosexual issues.

 
At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) If it weren’t for the fact that viruses like this tend to spread to other parts of the country, I’d say, “Let them have their election results!” Let them secede from the union – be their own little country. They voted for it, let them live with it. I’ll never go there or visit there. I’ll never buy anything that comes from there. After an earthquake renders them worse off than the residents of New Orleans after Katrina, I won’t send a dime to help with their relief. Maybe sounds harsh, but you’ve heard the expression, “You made your bed, now lie in it!” I still have a few friends in Kalifornia. I’m encouraging them to leave. The fact that this has actually taken place is like a Twilight Zone become real. Astonishing. Frightening. A nightmare. (P.S. I predict a slight, but noticeable, increase in gun sales throughout the rest of the country.)

2) The banning of military recruiters from schools comes from the ostrich-minded hatred of war and conflict in general. Those who supported this believe that all conflicts can be resolved peacefully, and when struck a blow by the enemy (9-11) we should turn the other cheek (ask the UN). I’d wager that no Vietnam (or Gulf war) vets voted for this. It’s a way for parents and their kids to have one less decision to make. Who isn’t in favor of “making life a little easier?”

3)not gonna touch this one.

 
At 1:08 AM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

Welcome back Alan...
When I saw you in hot debate a few post back... I knew it wouldn't be long until you put a post up. Hope you and yours are doing well these days...
AubreyJ.........

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Dennis Sanders said...

Nice to see you comment, Alan. I'm not a gun nut either, but this law in San Fran is stupid, dangerous and won't do a damn thing to stop gun violence. Don't get me started on the banning of military recruiters. If these kids are adults, then they should be able to make up their own minds and not need the state sheltering them.

You know how I feel about the gay marriage ban.

 
At 2:30 PM, Anonymous sleipner said...

I know it's never gonna happen, but I want the 2nd amendment overturned.

Pretty much everywhere in Western Europe, guns are banned. Violent crimes and gun-related incidents are WAY lower than here. Direct correlation, imho.

In addition, the 2nd amendment was written specifically for the purposes of preventing a government from having soldiers violate its citizens' rights, coming into your home, and doing whatever they want. We have other things to combat that now, such as laws, and the media.

Gang violence, kids shooting up their schools, "going postal" - these would not EXIST, or at least would be much less common if guns were made illegal.

And I don't give a flying fcuk about hunters rights. They can go fishing instead. Besides which, who needs an AK47 to take out a goose?

Regarding the military - wake up and smell the lube. I've heard reports that as much as 1/3 of the military is gay - despite DADT. You can't even come close to reaching recruiting goals - yet there's tens of thousands of willing gays out there. Please use your shorn heads for something other than plugging up your asses.

3 - I personally believe gay marriage will eventually be ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court (assuming Bush doesn't stack it with too many folks that are as comfortable in white robes as black). There will be several more states that allow it, and more than constitutionally ban it, but eventually (probably in 10 or 20 years) it'll happen in the whole US. Course I'm a bit biased on the issue, being gay ;)

 
At 5:13 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Just an interesting factoid: Canada has about as many guns per capita as the U.S. and yet much lower incidents of violent crime. Clearly it's not just the guns. Something else is going on here.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Hey, Alan ... good to see you back. Just a quick look and I found this website about guns in the US vs. Canada, which disputes your point ... it looks like the number of firearms per capita is actually about 1/3, and even less when you're talking about handguns. Where did your information come from?

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

Alan,

Why don't you simply make it semi-retired and give us at least a weekly helping of your particular brand of wisdom. I have to agree with you 100% on this.

I see nothing wrong with law abiding citizens owning guns. It's the automatic assault rifle goons who scare me.

As for gay marriage, this is simply a case of people who are afraid of people who are not like them. Monogamous married couples, straight or gay, theoretically results in less promiscuous sex and the possible spread of disease. Wouldn't this be in the best interest of everyone?

 

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