Hot Issues Through the Prism of Process

Our nation has to deal with emotional and controversial issues on a continuing basis.   There has always been one topic or another that is the issue de jour during ever era.   For the last few decades we have had to deal with intergration, abortion, gay rights and gun control matters that evoke the strongest and most passionate of debates and disparate views as to dealing with such matters.   It is not always the substance that causes as much uproar for some of us as the process by which we change are laws or regulations.   There are those who are not consumed one way or the other on the abortion arguments but feel very strongly about the way the abortion laws have been determined in our nation. 

 Essentially our laws are made by legislative enactment, executive order or a ruling of a court.  The process of rendering our laws and therefore our justice is supposed to be subsumed by our Federalist system of Government.  There is supposed to be a balance between the powers of the States and the Federal government.  In some matters the Constituion is clear that the Federal authority is controlling such as in matters dealing with patents, bankruptcy, immigration, and power to make international treaties.  In other areas the power is intended to be exercised by the States.  The most common of these would be education and criminal laws.   Whenever there is a crossing of the boundaries there is an increase in tensions and political conflict.   Each politcal entity protects its turf like a mother bear.   These powers and limitations are spelled out quite clearly in Article One of the Constituion and the 9th and 10th Amendments to it.  

What did and still appalls me about the Roe v. Wade case was not the substance so much as the method of that law’s creation.  It broke the traditional pattern of our Federalist system.  The Supreme Court created out of whole clothe a new “right” of privacy and then followed on by postulating that such right included the power of a woman to control her own body and that of an unborn child.    There was no legislation regarding this matter at the Federal level.  The various states had their own laws regarding abortion rights or restrictions as the case may be.  What infuriates me about the decision is not the effect of the ruling as much as it is the ruling itself.  The Court legislated from the bench.  You can read the Constituion for yourself and I encourage you to do so and even read earlier decisions of the Supreme Court interpreting the Constitution and you will find nothing there that even hints at such a right.  If the various states wished to be pro choice with their legislation that would have been alright with me.  I might personally have opposed such laws but at least the laws would have gone through the political process and thus vetted by the voters in the individual states.  We might well have ended up with a hodge-podge of laws regarding such an issue but that would have been fine with me.  Our freedoms and rights are intertwined with the Federalist system.  Over time the most favored choice of the people in the states would have prevailed and most importantly the law would have been respected and the people would have been much more willing to accept the outcome whatever it was.  The worst thing is to have a new law created by judicial fiat or executive edict where the people feel they have no voice in the process and thus the outcome.

Education is strictly a state matter and no business of the Federal government.  The Feds should be nothing more than cheerleaders on this issue.  There should be no Department of Education.  All those billions collected in federal taxes each year should be eliminated from the Federal budget and the states left free to tax at equal, lesser or greater amounts as they see fit to run their educational system.  Now we are in situations where the Federal money comes from Washington with strings attached that would make a spider envious.  Every dime of that money is flying in the face of our Federalist system.  Why do we tolerate it?

The process of making our laws is so important to reinforce the concept of the rule of law.  That concept is the foundation of our entire political and economic structure in this country.  When a court creates new laws it make the people feel alienated and thus often hostile to that law.  You know what–the people were alienated and that is why they feel that way.  The were cut out of the process. 

The most recent example of this abuse of the political and Constitutional process is the executive order regarding gays in the military.  Again the substance of the issue is not what makes my skin crawl, it is the process.  The Constituion provides that Congress can establish the rules and regulations for our army.  When an important issue to some folks is removed from the political cauldron however messy, it is taking power away from the people and will always make them resentful.  A resentful population is never a good thing.   Most of us most of the time will accept and live by the outcome of our traditional political processes.    This is true even when we don’t like the outcome as long as we felt we had a voice in how the law was made. 

I hope Sotomayor is listening to the people.   Most dictators never focused so much on the outcomes as they did the process.  If they could control the process of government they would achieve their goals.  Then they would usurp the process so it was taken away from the people.  

With its current and re-occurring budget mess why don’t the folks in California require an accounting of the cost for medical care and education provided to the illegal aliens? It would be billions per year.  Per court ruling they might have to allow them to enroll in school but they can ask them about their status; there is no law against that and indeed would only be enforcing our laws.  Same is true with the free medical care, ask them, make them sign.  Advise if they lie it is a state crime for fraud and that they will be turned into the immigration authorities.  Explain to me again why we should be obligated to educate people who aren’t even citizens or legal residents?  These are people who are supposed to be deported, not rewarded.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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