Tag Archives: Constitution

Free Stuff vs. Freedom

Statue of Liberty

   The following is a disclaimer—I’m not trying to start a fight. Nevertheless, I do have an important observation to make and I’ll preface that by saying this: I believe this country will return to normal by the fall. I believe schools will re-open, stadiums will be packed, and stores of every make and model will return to business as usual. I even believe the Dow index on the stock market will, once again, reach the near-30k mark. There. However, here’s what I believe as well:

   If this little pandemic crisis has taught us anything, it’s the difference in lifestyle between a democracy and a socialist/communist regime.

An Objective Perspective

   Am I trying to start trouble? No. The trouble’s already begun. However, it didn’t begin with this pandemic. Rather, it began at some nebulous point in time when some citizens of the United States began to think that “democratic socialism” is even a thing and/or that “socialism” is a better way of life than a democratic republic.

   To believe that is to demonstrate a lack of understanding regarding the meaning of either one of those terms. And here’s how I know… “democratic socialism” is an oxymoron. The two concepts are diametrically opposed to one another. In other words, the terms are polar opposites—it’s very much like saying that a person is an “honest liar”.

   As a teacher trying to help students to comprehend the meaning of The U.S. Constitution and the archaic language of The Bill of Rights, I have to say—what I’m seeing today is eerily similar to what our forefathers so fervently tried to avoid in penning those documents. I find that what we’re experiencing right now—the government-mandated lockdown of our nation with all of its restrictions and prohibitions of our rights and freedoms—is a very explicit picture of what it would be like to live under an authoritarian government.

Free Stuff vs. Freedom

   Have we received any “free money” lately? Yes. Just this week, a very heartwarming $1200 per adult has magically appeared in bank accounts from sea to shining sea. The problem is, I’m not hearing the Halleluiah Chorus ringing across the fruited plain. On the contrary, I’m hearing protests rage from one end of the web to the other in articles, posts, livestreams, and podcasts as people demand to get back to work.


   With socialism, that’s not supposed to happen. Government-provided free money, loans and guarantees of future freebies are supposed to compensate for the trade-off: Our freedoms to roam wherever we’d like, to worship as we please, and to “pursue happiness” (short of a felony) are all forfeited for “free stuff”. However, I can’t quite comprehend why people aren’t excited about that—especially those who would vote for “democratic socialism” given the chance. Granted, many of those are young people who perhaps don’t fully comprehend the (vast) differences between democracy and socialism, but then again, that’s why we try to teach it. However, somehow the lesson isn’t translating…

“The Lesson”

   So… maybe this is the lesson—this real-life, can’t-escape-it, nightmare experiment in socialistic communism where the government behaves much like a parent: “I provide for you, so I tell you what to do and you do it.” Period.  Or, to put it another way—“I pay the bills, I make the rules.”

   Here’s the bottom line: It’s an either-or. Either we earn our own living and therefore get to protect and enjoy our freedoms OR we let the government pay for everything and our freedoms are eroded and destroyed.

There is no scenario in which the government pays for everything and our freedoms are protected. The very act of becoming dependent means we must forfeit our independence in order to be provided for.

   And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that.

   For those of us who get it, who can see that what we’re living now is a delectable little taste of future socialistic recipes to come, it’s time to point out the obvious: We’re living the socialistic dream.

   The question is—do we want to wake up?



Will This Post Matter?


berlin-wallWhen I was growing up, our Air Force family was stationed in Germany. During those years, my mother and father took us on trips all over Germany and so we were able to visit many breathtaking places: the Rhine River Valley, the Salzburg salt mines, Mad King Ludwig’s castle, the beautiful Black Forest region, and even the Austrian Alps. However, the two places I’ll never forget were the German concentration camp at Dachau and communist-ruled East Berlin. The sights, sounds and smells of those places are burned forever into my memory.

Dachau. My family and I walked along a dirt path bordered by an uneven line of white-painted rocks corralling patches of red posies and brownish-green grass. “Keep Off the Grass” warnings were posted in German and English. The path led to a large, white, one-story building with a black hole for an entrance. Tentatively, we stepped inside the iron doorway into a large room, perhaps 25’ by 40’, lit by a single light bulb. A horrible odor like rotten meat assaulted my nose and I gagged. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw – nothing. The room was completely empty except for a row of drains set into the cement floor and dozens of spigots pointed downward from the ceiling. Wondering what this place was, I noticed a sign on the wall. Thirty seconds later, I knew that I was standing in a Nazi gas chamber where, during WWII, Jewish people had been herded and locked into this room and then stripped naked while gas poured out of the ceiling, choking, suffocating, and ultimately, poisoning them to death.

East Berlin. My family took a tour bus to the communist side of Berlin. The Berlin Wall separated East Berlin from West Berlin so to pass from one side of the city to the other, we had to stop at the guard stations known as “Check Point Charlie”. This guard station was manned by East German soldiers armed with very large machine guns and snarling guard dogs.

Once outside the bus, we were struck by the contrast between communist-controlled East Berlin and democratic West Berlin; it was like walking from a color picture into a colorless photograph. Literally, everywhere, everything was black and brown and gray. Buildings destroyed during WWII still sat in great, bombed-out heaps of dark brick and black ash. Few people– all clad in gray or black – walked the streets and those who had ventured out kept their mouths closed and their heads down.

No one dared to smile.

My father, in Air Force uniform (because he was off base), approached an old woman to ask a question. I remember her ancient her coat on that cold, gray day – shabby and brown, with frayed sleeves. My father asked her, in German, if the building across the street had been destroyed during the war. The woman refused to look at my father. Mumbling something about not knowing what war he was talking about, she hurried away.

As our bus prepared to leave East Berlin, we again had to stop at Check Point Charlie. This time, the armed German guards boarded the bus and checked behind each seat, looking for anyone trying to escape East Berlin. They also rolled a large mirror under the bus to check for anyone desperate enough to try to hitch a ride out underneath it.

Big government Socialism gone very wrong.

I tell these stories to make a point. I am passionate about this country. Of course there are those who would tell you that that’s an understatement. I am deeply grateful for so much about our nation, particularly our freedoms: the right to say whatever we want without fear of government reprisal; the right to travel anywhere, anytime; the right to assemble together, to arms ourselves, to worship whomever and however we please; the right to “due process” if arrested and arraigned: a jury trial, the “presumption of innocence” in court, and the prohibition to be tried twice for the same crime.

So many other countries just don’t have these rights!

I teach teenagers and it breaks my heart to see that so many of them have no idea what our rights are and therefore no conception of their rarity in this world or their value. In fact, many students and even adults don’t know even basics facts – the VP’s name, for example. Therefore – and this is the point of this entire post – many, many, people in this country do not have any idea what’s at stake in this election. And these folks are going to vote.

Because of my father’s service and the lack of freedom I’ve witnessed in other countries, I understand that these freedoms must be defended and protected. And the best way to do that is to vote for those who will defend our Constitution.

So what are the candidates for?

Constitution and Supreme Court: Trump is for appointing justices to the Court who will uphold the Constitution which he sees as defining our law. Clinton will appoint justices who see the Constitution as a “living, breathing document” which can be changed. If the Constitution can be changed, then so can the rights listed in it. (See above.)

Economic Growth: Trump is for lowering taxes for businesses which has, in the past, caused businesses to grow and create more jobs; Clinton will raise taxes on businesses which is what has happened under Obama. That has not worked.

Military Readiness: Trump will expand the military; Clinton will maintain or decrease the military. This readiness speaks to our ability to defend ourselves against terrorism – or not.

Healthcare: Trump will replace Obama’s one-payer (insurance company) health care plan with one with lower premiums, lower deductibles, and more insurance plans to choose from; Clinton will keep Obamacare or institute a similar plan.

Illegal Immigration: Trump will build a wall and can make Mexico pay for it simply by cutting aid to Mexico equal to the cost of the wall. Clinton will not build a wall; she says she will increase border patrols. (That has not worked to date.) Trump is for deportation of criminal illegals and a “path to citizenship” (vs. amnesty) for other illegals; Clinton is for amnesty for all illegals, meaning they receive automatic and immediate citizenship and voting rights.

If Hillary Clinton is for the same policies as Obama – which she is (proven by the fact that he’s campaigning for her), and if those policies are not working now – which they’re not, how can we believe that doing the same thing for the next four years will improve anything in our country?

More importantly, if our Constitution and the Supreme Court are lost with this election, we will not get another chance to save them. We must vote to uphold the Constitution of the greatest country in the world – the United States of America.

I’ve seen the results of more government control in other countries. The only people who really think that’s a good idea are the people running those countries. People escape to this country to get away from countries controlled by governments.

There’s a reason for that. Think about it before you vote.


Happily Ever Never


Once upon a time, there was a place that had been run for many years by a not-so-nice emperor in a state called The People’s Republic of New York. Now in that state were many citizens who did not have many of the same rights as citizens in other states – which many New Yorkers didn’t really think was fair, but that was beside the point. No one really cared what the citizens thought. For example, the citizens of New York really believed in a thing called The Constitution which had another thing attached to it called the “2nd Amendment” which specifically said that citizens of the United States (which New Yorkers were even though the emperor sometimes forgot that) had the right to “keep and bear arms”. That meant that the citizens of New York (who really were citizens of the United States) should be able to buy a gun (legally) and carry it around.

Alas, it was not to be.

Sadly, the citizens of New York were only “allowed” to “keep arms” (have a gun) if they obeyed many, many rules, paid lots of money, and then were “granted permission” by the State. And even then, getting a gun permit took the citizens three to six long months – if they could get one at all.

In addition and even worse, the citizens of New York were not allowed “to bear arms” (carry a gun) unless they fit into a very small group of people called law enforcement, military (some of), or had a business requiring them to transport gobs of money. You see, most of the citizens were not deemed worthy by the State to have this privilege. But that confused the poor, dumb citizens of New York who really believed that The Constitution was more powerful than the emperor of New York and his helpers who, they could only conclude, had not read The Constitution. Furthermore, the citizens of New York did not think it was fair either that the emperor and his helpers got to “keep and bear arms” themselves – and they weren’t even military, law enforcement, nor did they own any businesses. (Although, the citizens concluded, since they did have gobs of money from taxing other people’s businesses, maybe that’s why they got to “keep and bear arms”.)  The other thing that made the citizens mad was that none of the criminals in New York ever had to get permission to keep or bear arms either.

And so it was that only the criminals and the politicians had all of their 2nd Amendment rights in The People’s Republic of New York.

But the thing that really made the citizens of New York very sad and depressed was that in other states like North Carolina, the citizens there could go and get a pistol permit in just three days which included “conceal and carry” privileges! This meant that the citizens of North Carolina still had their 2nd Amendment rights because they had not been stolen by their leaders. (This made many of the citizens of New York get mad and move there.)

The moral of the story is this: If the citizens of the United States elect a nationwide, liberal emperor who takes over the state of North Carolina and all the other states besides, then all of the U.S. citizens will suffer as have the poor, dumb citizens of The People’s Republic of New York.

And if this happens, no one will live happily ever after. Ever.






Uncommon Sense

         common-sense-rip         Whatever happened to Common Sense?  Unfortunately, it’s not so common anymore. While Common Sense used to be everywhere – courtrooms, Congress, cable, and classic movies and literature – now not so much. Common Sense is rarely found these days in newspapers, judicial decisions, social policies or any kind of pop culture. And forget classrooms. 

In fact, Common Sense is well on his way to becoming extinct. Instead, he’s being replaced by his six other brothers.

         Let me introduce them to you.

         The oldest brother is Get Some Sense. He’s big on education and thinks that the more degrees he gets, the more wisdom he’ll have. As a result, he’s up to his neck in PhD’s, MA’s and MS’s, MD’s, and whatever other alphabets he can buy. Unfortunately, while he’s smart enough to know that a tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable, he’s not smart enough to know it doesn’t belong in his fruit salad. Furthermore, in his vast acquisition of knowledge, Get Some Sense has deemed social promotion, entitlement and self-esteem more important than hard work; government regulations more important than parental authority; and “political correctness” more important than, well – common sense.

         Then we have Common Sense’s next brother, N.O. Sense. (N.O. stands for “No Originality”.) NO Sense is, basically, a follower. Whatever’s popular or the current trend or whatever the crowd is doing, NO Sense will be found doing, too. Needless to say, he has very few independent thinking skills and even less interest in developing any. He’s the soul of every sort of mob mentality from bullying to violent protests to drug use and crime. Tragically, he’s never been known to be the source of any good deed.

         Next is Not-A-Lotta Sense. (He’s a twin.)  Not surprisingly, Not-A-Lotta has not been very successful in life. He’s not very open to listening to advice; in fact, he’s a do-it-yourselfer. He has to find out everything for himself. The hard way. Like the time he bought that fruity computer stock (something to do with apples) from some guy out of his garage and Uncle Milt told him to hold onto it. But he didn’t. He needed beer money. Sometimes Not-A-Lotta Sense is a slow learner.

         Not-A-Lotta’s twin bro is Lacking Sense. “S-Lacker,” as he’s known, has the ability to think for himself; he just doesn’t. He tends to rush into actions and decisions with not much forethought. He’s often late to work (when he’s working), drives too fast (license optional), and spends money like water (picture the faucet left running).  He is, however, really good at video games.

         And then there’s Dollars and Sense. Dollars believes everything is about money. The only two questions he ever asks when making any decisions are, “How much will it make me?” and “How much will it cost me?”  For example, since vacations generally cost money rather than make it, he’s never taken one. He did fly to Aruba once but that was just to deposit money into a “non-existent” bank account. (The rest he keeps under his mattress.) Dollars is also a big fan of insider trading. But you didn’t hear that from me.

         And finally, there’s the last brother, Non Sense, who’s been around, it seems, since the beginning of time. However, it actually hasn’t been that long. Non Sense really came into his own in the late 60’s and particularly made a name for himself at a place called Woodstock. Since then, he’s been spotted in various places including Hollywood, Washington DC, and in most universities around the world. Non Sense babbles frequently on talk shows, “news” networks, and U-Tube. Social media is also a favorite hang-out. If Non Sense friend-requests you, I don’t recommend you go there.

         So – since his six other brothers have taken over, Common Sense has become rather rare. He’s found in few places these days: old books which no one any longer reads, the minds and hearts of the “Greatest Generation” (aka – “obsolete” by later generations), and in original, unabridged copies of sacred documents like the U.S. Constitution and the Holy Bible. Common Sense has become so endangered that I now suppose he’s better known as – Uncommon Sense.

         I will miss him.






No Freedom, No Destiny.


“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”

This, as you know, is the introduction (“preamble”) to the United States’ Constitution, and its purpose is to outline exactly what our government is supposed to do for “We the People”.

So – let’s see if that’s been happening . . .

The government is supposed to secure the “Blessings of Liberty” for ourselves and our “Posterity”.  Our “liberties” are the rights which are given to us by law – and which, unfortunately, we’ve come to take for granted. These rights, established first in the Declaration of Independence, include the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. This means that our government cannot just up and kill us for political purposes (as happens in some countries); the government cannot deprive us of our freedom or “lock us up” without “just cause” and “due process”; and the government cannot interfere with our own individual decisions regarding what brings us happiness and fulfillment (unless we’re breaking a law in the pursuit). Furthermore, the government cannot deprive us of rights such as freedoms of speech, religious expression, assembly (gathering with others, including to protest), to have and bear arms, and many other rights. (See the Bill of Rights.) And finally, the government is supposed to “secure” these rights, meaning to make certain they are “guaranteed,” they’re “safe” for us and our “posterity,” our children.

Is this happening? No. In New York State, for example, citizens don’t have the right to “bear” arms; “Conceal and Carry” permits are very rare and only issued by judges when we can “prove” we need one and the burden of proof is tough. Most of us don’t have that Constitutional right anywhere in New York state. That’s terrifying when you think about it.

Is “religious freedom” secure? No, not when companies are being forced to comply with practices that violate their religious beliefs such as providing abortion coverage with medical benefits. Now I get that not everyone reading this may agree with businesses being allowed to exempt themselves via “violations of conscience” but keep in mind that if the government says they “must” violate their consciences, it may well say one day that you must as well.

Is “freedom of speech” secure? Not entirely. “Hate speech” is now against the law and carries severe penalties. While that may seem like a good idea, who determines what is hateful? That’s the scary part. If someone doesn’t like your opinion, suddenly it’s “hate speech”.

Our government is supposed to “establish Justice”.  “Justice” means that all laws and the punishments for violating them are fair and just; it means there is no partiality shown in favor of the rich and/or powerful. Unfortunately, the fact is that justice, as defined by the Constitution has been violated in Washington D.C. when powerful people there have disregarded laws and then not only not been convicted but not even charged. Other not-so-famous people have been both charged and convicted of the exact same crimes. Has justice then been served? Has our Constitution been upheld? If everyone is not held to the same standard as others, then no, it hasn’t.

Is our Constitution in danger? The answer should be self-evident but in case it’s not, yes, our Constitution is in danger. Is this an exaggeration? No. Because once justice is trampled, so is our freedom. It’s over. Justice is the cornerstone of the Constitution.

Our government is supposed to “insure domestic Tranquility”. That means the government is obligated to keep the peace at home. Is this happening? No. Cities are burning as the authority of law enforcement (which is a government institution) is being undermined and even sabotaged. That’s a fact. And if our law enforcement at any level – local, state, or federal – is disregarded and disempowered, then there will be no “domestic tranquility”. Period. How can there be? Correct – there cannot. (Wait – there could be if “martial law” was declared and the military “kept the peace”. But I don’t think we really want to see that happen . . .)

Our government is supposed to “provide for the common defense”. This means that the government is supposed to protect the nation from its enemies – both foreign and domestic – through the use of a strong military force.

Is this happening? No. Terrorist attacks inspired by radical Islam in this country are increasing in frequency – whether done by terrorists at home or those accessing the United States through leaky borders or the non-existent vetting of refugees or immigrants. Moreover, the “common defense” is being undermined by a continuous “downsizing” of military force and equipment. These are facts, not speculation.

So – is the United States government providing for the “common defense”? No.

The government is supposed to promote the “general Welfare”. This does not mean the government is supposed to send out welfare checks or other government entitlements every month. Rather, promoting “General Welfare” refers to promoting “good for everyone”. The government is supposed to enact and protect regulations and laws which inspire and promote economic well-being, among other welfares.

Has this happened? No. The federal government has enacted policies detrimental to businesses, job growth, and general economic freedom in the market place. More government regulations on businesses result in fewer businesses established or able to stay in operation. This means fewer people employed and fewer people receiving paychecks, medical insurance and retirement benefits.

The state of our educational system is another “general welfare” failure in this country. Common Core? Not. Ditto the effects of failed energy production, healthcare, national debt, et cetera.

In short, the government has failed in the “general welfare” category.

I hope the point has been made that, above all else in this presidential election, we need to vote for those candidates who will stand for our Constitution and the rights it guarantees. If we don’t, it may well be one of the last votes we’ll ever be able to cast. Think I’m kidding? Voting is, essentially, a form of free speech, of expressing our opinions. If our freedom of speech disappears, I guarantee that our right to vote will do a quick vanishing act as well.

So – ROCK THE VOTE. But remember one thing as you step into the voting booth: No man or woman can ever guarantee your freedoms. Only the United States Constitution can do that.