Friends, Enemies, and Tomorrow.

     If you’re like me, everywhere you turn these days you see people who are so emotionally invested in politics that they are willing to consider their fellow citizens as enemies for no more than a difference of opinion about politics or politicians.

     What has happened to us?

     Up until a few years ago, it seemed as if we could all accept the fact that we disagreed on some things, yet remained amiable. We might have some animated discussions about politics at times, but we remained friendly, as a rule, to our neighbors.

     This has changed for many people this year. Some among us have allowed themselves to become so emotionally charged with the political arguments that they have apparently lost sight of the fact that in the end we are all still friends and neighbors. Instead, they have succumbed to the base temptation to assign those who disagree with them to the status of enemies.

     Again, what is happening to us?

     Let’s admit one simple fact: No two of us will ever agree on everything, but there will always be something with which we can agree with one another. There is no way around that fact. At any rate, when the discussion ends, we will still have to live with each other to some degree. We will still be neighbors.

     Yet some of us have decided to engage in the “enemy” game. They have lost sight that these political differences are simply differences in opinion on what our community problems are and how to solve them. That is all it is.

     Is a difference of opinion enough to justify having our community split into hostile divisions because some of us are willing to spread animosity and vitriol rather than engage in an honest discussion about the potential problems and solutions? For a rational person, I would think not.

     As long as we have a government, we will always have differences in how each of us thinks that things should work. We can’t escape that fact.

     The real solution is to enter into the discussion with all interested parties with an honest and open mind, having respect for the facts as they present themselves. In doing this, we must all bear in mind our obligation to love our neighbors and treat them with the same courtesy which we would expect in return.

     Still, we will all encounter those who would seem to value division and strife over neighborly good will, and who will level accusations without evidence, and insults without merit. I would ask the reader to, please, do not respond in kind, but instead simply remind these people that this is simply a disagreement over how best to manage our community. We will still be neighbors after the disagreement, and shame on us all if we allow such a debate to make enemies out of friends.

     If we want progress, we must discard the enmity and bickering, and embrace friendship with honest and truthful debates.

     Will tomorrow see us as a community of friends, or as several groups of enemies?

     It is our choice.

     Pray we choose wisely.

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Gov’t panel urges ‘plant-based’ diet, taxes on sweets

Newsdesk International

Careful folks, big brother is watching. The federal committee responsible for nutrition guidelines is calling for the adoption of “plant-based” diets, taxes on dessert, trained obesity “interventionists” at worksites, and electronic monitoring of how long Americans sit in front of the television.

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Why I Want the Right to be Unhappy.

The Commentaries

     Allow me to open this with an excerpt from “A Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley.

     “…..Isn’t there something in living dangerously?’

     “There’s a great deal in it,” the Controller replied. Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time.”

     “What?” questioned the Savage, uncomprehending.

     “It’s one of the conditions of perfect health. That’s why we’ve made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory.”

     “V.P.S.?”

     “Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It’s the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences.”

     “But I like the inconveniences.”

     “We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”

     “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I…

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A Difficult Choice.

     I have said little about it recently, but the Grand Rapids sales tax referendum is a hot topic locally. As I am outside of the city limits, I will not be voting on it myself, but would like to share a few thoughts for those who will.

     I am neither in favor of the sales tax, nor opposed to it. There are good arguments on both sides. For those in favor of it, there is the promise that an implementation of the sales tax will nominally decrease property taxes, and significantly decrease special assessments. I do agree that property taxes and special assessments should be reduced. The argument against the sales tax is a combination of the fact that Grand Rapids has too high of a tax rate already, combined with the potential of the sales tax hurting some businesses in Grand Rapids. These are also fair arguments. That’s why it is a difficult choice. Both sides are correct in their reasoning, so the choice is not between right and wrong, but between preferences.

     The concern I do have is something else. We, no matter where we live, already have more different taxes than we can keep track of. Most of us do not even realize how many taxes we already pay, and just discovering what they are would take more time than most of us, myself included, have available. Because of this, my inclination would be to oppose the sales tax, not because of its merits, or lack thereof, but because it is yet another tax being added to the far too numerous taxes most of us already pay.

     I would actually be likely to support it if the sales tax would be used to completely replace another tax, rather than simply being added to the myriad taxes we already have to contend with. Fewer taxes mean more transparency, more taxes mean less. Not necessarily by design, but by the difficulty encountered when trying to keep track of them all.

     Just my opinion, and something for you to think about in the days leading up to the vote.

          Mike Vroman.

The US Constitution, The Articles of Confederation.

 

An honest evaluation of the US Constitution would not be complete without a look at the document it replaced, The Articles of Confederation, and the deficiencies therein which led to its replacement.

The Articles of Confederation can best be described not as a document which founded a nation but as a treaty which loosely bound a set on independent nations together. It was governed by a council appointed by these states, and closely resembled what we now have in the United Nations.

Some of the weaknesses which led to its downfall were:

  • Lack of enforcement authority. The individual states could disregard much of what the council agreed to, leading to a lack of cohesion which was unacceptable in their current time and situation. It must be remembered that England still had a desire to regain control of these former colonies, and their wealth, and they were only strong enough to resist this together.
  • There was no consistent leadership. The complexion of the Congress changed as the states appointed different representatives, and the continuity of policy would necessarily suffer. Also, strong representatives from a particular state could sway the Congress in that state’s favor.
  • No provisions were made for a national army or navy. This was a major weakness in view of the possibility of invasion.
  • No national courts. At the very least, this would prove to be necessary to ensure that the Congress did not overstep its bounds.
  • The states could place tariffs on goods moving between states. This was detrimental to the free trade which was necessary for the economic survival of the various states as a whole.

As a result of these weaknesses, it was determined that the document had to be replaced with one which corrected these, and other, perceived deficiencies. Next time we’ll start in on its replacement, the Constitution.