Archive for March, 2006

 Under My Roof, I Make The Rules

How many times have we all heard this phrase? Whether it was from our own parents, or some movie or TV sit-com? Well, the statement is true enough in theory, but under our current system of government, it is far from true in practice.

Ignoring for the moment the Supreme Court’s ruling last year on eminent domain, why does the government even need to bother with the formalities of seizing your home, if they can dictate what goes on inside of it?

I’ve been following this story since it broke here in St. Louis last month. A small municipality called Black Jack (insert jack-booted thug joke here) has taken it upon itself to define what a family is and to dictate to its residents who can and cannot live in their homes. One couple in particular has been denied an occupancy permit because their “family” does not meet the criteria specified by city officials.

You know when I read something like that, I get hung up on the words “occupancy permit.” The notion that I need to seek permission from someone else to occupy a home I have purchased is ludicrous, and I applaud this family for moving in anyway even though they didn’t have “permission.”

This month, Black Jack Mayor Norman McCourt, made some statements that are even more contemptible. Including the claim that “many municipalities in the St. Louis area have similar – if not identical or more stringent – rules.” Wonderful. Even city governments are resorting to the old “everyone is doing it, why can’t we?” argument. So it doesn’t matter how many individuals’ rights to property are being violated, as long as all of the city governments are violating them equally?

Let me ask you, when you were a child, what was your parents’ response when you told them that “everybody else is doing it, so I should too”? I think it’s time Mayor McCourt check whose roof he is living under.

 V for Vendetta

This is a powerful film. Sadly, too few people will see it. And of the ones who do, not enough of them will see the deeper message contained within it. That message manages to surface once or twice in between the glitz and the action, mostly embodied in the dialogue of the main character V. His line that “people shouldn’t fear their governments; governments should fear the people,” while paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson (“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”), is arguably the central message of the movie.

I think most people upon hearing this message would probably agree with it, as long as they don’t spend too much time thinking about it, but when they realize the full implications they would view it as being too impolite. Too revolutionary.

But as V also says, near the end of the movie, ideas are bulletproof. Our country was founded on the idea that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that the rights of the individual are supreme. That idea is certainly bulletproof. It sparked the last revolution, and it will no doubt spark the next.

 Where Does The Time Go?

It’s hard to believe that our little man is going to be 5 months old this week — the time just flies by. As a parent, you are torn. On the one hand, you can’t wait to see them grow, learn, and experience new things, but on the other hand you hate to see the time come when you can no longer cradle them in your arms.

A wise man once told me that you cannot know the true meaning of love until you’ve had children of your own. I think I would have to agree.

 A Decade Gone By

This month marks 10 years that I have had a presence on the Internet, and I’ve chosen to celebrate this milestone by revamping my site once again. I hope these changes make the site easier to navigate (and easier for me to update so that I’ll actually do it more often).

 I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care

There’s an old joke about a man-on-the-street interview in which they ask a typical John Q. Public which is the bigger problem facing our country today, ignorance or apathy? His response is the title of this article.

I was reminded of this after reading this story today. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched Leno’s “Jaywalking” segment on The Tonight Show, that the results of the survey are true. The average American knows little to nothing about the system of government under which they live, nor do they care. It is a testament to the vision of the Framers that they were able to craft a system that even 200 years hence affords us the luxury of not knowing or not caring.

But it should also be noted that the Framers assumed there would always be a vigilant citizenry ready to rein in a government that went astray. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” This is the state in which we find ourselves in America today.

I just wanted to make the point that you cannot fix a system of government that relies on fans of the Simpsons to vote for the “fixes.”