I wanted to share my thoughts today on what being a constitutionalist means to me, and why that means more to me than party affiliation, or any other political boxes I can check:
Folks, I am a constitutionalist before I am anything else. This allows me, to have political allies from all walks of life, as long as we can agree that the law of the land must be adhered to, as well as the legal blueprint for amending it. This doesn't mean the law is without imperfections, nor are those who created it. The same is true for those whose job it is to defend it. We're all inherently, flawed human beings. We make mistakes, and we must correct them legally as a society at times. History is replete with major and minor instances of this. This is why I consider Americans, who readily accept political legerdemain, used to circumvent legal procedures when it suits their interests, the most unpatriotic citizens there are.
As for me, I've accepted the inevitable reality, that putting my own personal agendas and biases aside, and honoring the constitution, means there will be things I am opposed to, but must allow to legally stand. That is, if my arguments to the contrary are not legally strong enough, to influence a different outcome. I really wish more Americans would follow suit. It's such a relaxing political place to be…
So recently, I retracted a prior criticism of former POTUS Barack Obama – the whole “food stamp president” nonsense. While this post isn’t a retraction, I want to share my thoughts on another erroneous label affixed to him – the infamous “Obamaphone”. The ironic thing about this, is that it’s origins are rooted back to 1984 when some Americans were still in “Will we ever see a black president?” mode. A “Barack Obama” if you will, was still a dream. 1984? Yep. When Ronald Reagan was president. Some even argue that it goes back as far as Roosevelt, but I digress. That year, the FCC created the Lifeline Assistance program. That’s the actual name of the “Obamaphone” program, technically.
Obviously, cellular phones weren’t ubiquitous as they are now, in 1984, which is why the program provided free landline phone service, mainly to senior citizens. Interestingly enough, after eight years of the Obamaphone misnomer, so many remain ignorant of its history. Am I the only one who’s never heard of an “Reaganphone”? What about a “Bushphone”? “Clintonphone” perhaps? What about a “Trumpphone”? (that sounds like the world’s worst megaphone ever). You haven’t because they were never labeled as such, even though the program existed in every presidency since Reagan. In fact, Safelink Wireless offered the first such cellular (keyword alert!) phone service in Tennessee in 2008, near the end of Bush’s second term. Barack Obama wasn’t elected until November of 2008. The program started three months earlier.
There are some very, obvious motives and suspicious undertones, if I’m polite, associated with slapping this erroneous, derogatory misnomer onto the first black president, and literally none of his predecessors, but for now I’m not gonna go there (Hmm, no pun intended, but, did I just do that?). Now to be fair, the number of participants in the program, did increase significantly under the Obama administration, but that’s to be expected, with the expansion of any government program to assist the destitute in a recession. It’s a domino effect. If you had no problem with the program under Reagan, both Bush’s or Clinton, it’s simply hypocritical to have whined about it for the last eight years under Obama. I’ll be discussing three more things, I, and/or my political “macro tribe” got wrong, or, that were generally misunderstood or wrong when it comes to Obama. Then I’ll balance it by discussing the same number of things I stand by firmly, as far as my criticism of his presidency goes. Stay with me folks, this is about to get really interesting…
I’m going to change the format for my posts as of today, by sharing bullet points from my most popular social media posts. I’m very active on social media as most writers are, so this will help me reserve more time for my fictional writing & longer political pieces, which can be time consuming. Here goes:
Black Community to Trump: Don’t Air our Dirty Laundry:
Some have asked me, why some black Americans are so bent out of shape over Trump’s speech, which included incendiary yet truthful remarks about poverty in black America. Like the sheeple some are, they started giving knee-jerk anecdotal evidence such as “I’m not poor” as if that’s a substitute for analyzing hard data. Anecdotes disprove nothing. Since these blaxperts on MSNBC & the like are going to continue their destructive campaign of lies & economic amnesia at the expense of black America, I’ll tell you the reason for the faux outrage. It’s because black Americans don’t like their dirty laundry aired in front of, or by whites, least of all a right-winger. That’s the bottom line, and some need to get over themselves. This isn’t about individuals/you, it’s about the numbers for us as a whole. There’s no “I” or “U” in team. If you’re going to ignore the way black people have lost so much ground in America over the last 8 years, please get out of the way of those who genuinely care. I’ve got no room in my life for those who’d rather have their cultural egos stroked. Your allegiance to lies & ducking from the truth is just as dangerous as the bullets in a rogue, racist cop’s gun. Stop lying about black community failures & behaving like emotionally wounded children. Put on your big girl panties & grow up.
Democrats Milk the Obama Cow Again:
I find the timing of this new movie, “Southside With You”, about Barack & Michelle Obama‘s “first date” & eventual rise to the White House to be a very calculated, emotional distraction, and a perfectly timed release not long after his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. It’s really nauseating, but hey, after almost eight years of blissful symbolism & ignored failures, what’s one more milking of the Obama cow? Whatever…
America In 2016: Dumbed Down & Loving it
You’d think that with as many Americans in this country who are unhappy with the two major party candidates, we’d form a united front in solidarity against them both. Trump nor Clinton are the best persons to run the country, but they both have managed to slither through the primaries in victory. It’s a sad state of affairs, to see a populace so defeated & feeling powerless – so dumbed down. We have so much power and refuse to harness it. Thank God the founding fathers & those who fought centuries later in the struggle for Civil Rights didn’t acquiesce so easily to tyranny. What happened to that type of stamina & perserverance? We’ve all but been reduced to political zombies whose only sign of life is how polarized we’ve become. Even bees know the meaning of sacrifice, giving their lives against human foes with a final sting. It’s hard to believe that insects have more of a fight in them than we do…
Trump & Outreach:
Trump is making the GOP establishment look like fools. He demonstrates that the “We don’t do identity politics” excuse is just that – an excuse. With the way racial demographics is steadily changing in America, a political party that doesn’t do outreach to minorities will absolutely become extinct. It’s survival of the fittest – American political style. Anglo-Saxons are consistently declining as the majority with every census, and inevitably, ethnic minorities will become the majority, as is the case in most of the world already. Republicans lack the foresight & humility to see this writing on the wall, which will lead the GOP to it’s demise if they don’t change. Trump has a point, regardles of what anyone thinks his motive is. He is unafraid of going into the black community, which is a sign of strength, or strategic planning, depending on who you ask.
I just wanted to share my morning introspection with you – it will be brief but hopefully encourages you to do some soul searching of your own:
I spend most of my day writing about politics & fiction but I also go for walks and I’m a very introspective person who wrestles with ideas quite often, on those walks. Recently, I was thinking that memory & the ability to record history in whatever mediums are available to, or developed by a generation, exist to keep us from destroying ourselves — that’s one purpose anyway. We have the benefit of knowing the outcome of certain actions or failures to act because of recorded history. We know what signs to look for, yet too many of us suffer from willful myopia. Two of the first signs that we are on the path to repeating horrific mistakes from the past are the gradual, alarming refusal to see one another as humans – labels replace names, that I see too often. Too many of us assign a set of traits & beliefs to a label & allow very little room for deviation or exceptions once we assign them – “You’re a ___, therefore you must___”. I confess that I too, have been guilty of this – we all probably are, but we don’t have to accept it as something inherently human. We can evolve beyond such low-level thinking, I have hope for us as a species. Personally, I have even more hope & faith in Christ.
Secondly, irrational fear slowly replaces logic & common sense. Even as some read this, they are immediately thinking of a group represented by a label who fits the description, rather than or before looking into a mirror. I have not yet given up on the present inhabitants of this planet, but the deliberate disregard for historical lessons is glaring. Given what small space we are limited to, in the enormity of the universe & the fact that we are technological Neanderthals in terms of space travel, I just don’t understand why we don’t extend humanity to one another more consistently. It would go a long way in getting along. If not for ourselves then posterity. Regardless of how you think we got here — via aliens or evolution or a command from God, we have to share this space. If all of the oxygen disappears none of us will be able to breathe. Folks, let us not be selfish, uncivilized & behaving as if there is no memory or recorded history to guide us. If you’re still thinking of others to whom this caveat is fitting, be sure to first stop, assess, correct & govern self. Anything less is a betrayal to your own humanity.
You know, every year when I post things about MLK Jr on his birthday or the actual holiday, it never fails that a debate is sparked over whether or not he was a Republican or a Democrat. Never mind the wisdom shared from him in the post – Folks want to argue about whether or not he was a Democrat or Republican. Every year. Many of my Democratic friends will claim him & so will my Republican friends & an argument is born. People point out “facts” & opinions, post links, discuss what members of the King family have said (actually or allegedly) & so forth. It amazes me that almost every time a neutral post about the late Dr. King is created, this happens. Am I the only one who can see the irony of this?
A man who won a Nobel prize for Peace is remembered by annual catfights & arguments over what his political party was. Oh what an honor that must be in remembrance of him *sigh*. In reality, Dr. King promoted principles that all political parties & ideologies should and can embrace. He fought & died for equality & freedom for everyone, political affiliation (or lack of one) not withstanding. People often ask the question on this day, “How has Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (or his memory) impacted or changed your life?” For me the answer this year is that he has taught me that his life & death means more than politics, including the Democratic & Republican parties and so does mine. I pray that we all get this…someday. Happy 84th Birthday Dr. King.
One of the things that troubles me as I participate in & observe the plethora of political discussions throughout social media is the manner in which conservatives & liberals argue at one another & engage in name calling, instead of healthy, respectful dialogue. So a few months ago I asked for recommendations for a liberal with whom I could have such civil discourse with, even though we are ideologically opposed. I was specifically looking for a liberal blogger and after several recommendations, I was introduced to Yvette Carnell through our mutual Facebook friend Charlie Harris, who is also a Christian Conservative. After several discussions we both agreed that it would be a great idea to host this “bloguement”, featuring honest, civil debate in blog form on the political & social hot topics of the day.
Yvette Carnell is a self-professed Independent Liberal who is an editor of African-American news site yourblackword.net and also maintains her own popular blog breakingbrown.com. She is a former Hill staffer, writer, editor, social media enthusiast & I consider her a very worthy “opponent”.In all honesty, in my view, debating her is sort of like debating the liberal version of myself (if there were such a thing). She is also a fellow native of Atlanta, Georgia and a young black woman as am I. Her erudite commentary on social & political topics is well known throughout the liberal blogosphere. Yvette is a political analyst for the African-American business and politics site Madame Noire (formerly atlantapost.com) and she also contributes to internet newspaper giant The Huffington Post. Yvette is also a featured video commentator, in the popular videos of yourblackworld.net creator Dr. Boyce Watkins on Youtube.
I’m a Christian Conservative blogger, Republican & member of the Tea Party. My articles have appeared on numerous political blogs & websites including the Yahoo News Contributor Network, KiraDavis.net, former GOP presidential nominee Herman Cain’s CainTV & of course my own blog, Conservative Calmversation. I’m known throughout the conservative blogosphere for my provocative topics, candid opinions, humor & apologetics for the Conservative cause & the Christian faith. I am also featured on the Facebook page dedicated to highlight minority women within the Conservative movement, Conservative Black Women. I am also an editorial writer for Black Literature Magazine. The first novel of my fictional series, The Elements Book I is due for publication in early 2013 and my website is here. On Sundays, I host a 30 minute BlogTalkradio show called BookReads, highlighting authors of fiction.
The first topic that Yvette & I will be “blogueing” on is “Design your Ideal Healthcare Plan for America”. We both agree that the current state of healthcare in the private sector has not, is not & never has worked. We both dislike Obamacare, but for different reasons. Yvette is in favor of true universal healthcare run by the government and I am in favor of true healthcare reform, finally repairing what is wrong with the broken system we have had. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a very interesting endeavor on both of our parts! Input your email address (and confirm) on both of our blogsites to receive each edition of our “bloguement” to your email inbox!
Amid the controversy of statements made by Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, about his support of traditional marriage, I want to share with you my proposal to solving this seemingly never ending issue on same sex marriage vs traditional marriage. For the record, I am a Christian Conservative who supports traditional marriage between one man and one woman, therefore, although I respect proponents of same sex marriage, I oppose their platform on the matter, in favor of the tenets of my religious faith. Those who would oppose me because of their secular humanist philosophy or religious views even, certainly have the freedom to do so, however, if such opposition includes ad hominems such as bigot, homophobe, religious zealot or any other such labels, immediately, they demonstrate a lack of the very same tolerance which they demand from me, rendering their arguments exponentially futile to my ears.
Since this missive is not about the current Chick-Fil-A controversy, I will not discuss it, however, you can read Dan Cathy’s statement here if you are unfamiliar with it. Currently, only six states have legalized same sex marriages – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont & most recently, New York. Although these states recognize same sex marriage, the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) means that the federal government does not have to recognize these unions performed in those states. Also, Washington, DC, Maryland, Rhode Island and two Native American tribal jurisdictions recognize these unions from those six states but does not perform them. According to Wikipedia:
“Same-sex marriage has been established through court rulings and legislative action, but not via popular vote. Nine states prohibit same-sex marriage in statute and thirty prohibit it in their constitution. The movement to obtain marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s, but became more prominent in U.S. politics in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court declared the state’s prohibition to be unconstitutional in Baehr v. Lewin.
Throughout the 2000s decade, public support for legalizing same-sex marriage grew considerably, and various national polls now show that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.”
Before the current Chick-Fil-A controversy, the last event to re-ignite the debate on same sex marriage was indeed President Barack Obama’s open support of same sex marriage which some celebrated & others stood against. President Obama is no different from any other citizen in that he can personally choose to support or oppose any view he wants but since he is a self-professed Christian, this decision disappointed me greatly. As a Christian, I believe in the biblical scriptures on which I base my opposition to same sex marriage. The Bible is explicitly clear on homosexuality in both the Old & New testaments, therefore a marriage based on a homosexual union is utterly invalid to those whose religious faith inherently prohibits it:
“You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman.”
“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.”
Christianity is not alone in it’s condemnation of homosexuality:
“We also sent Lut: He said to his people: Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds. And his people gave no answer but this: they said, “Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!” (Qur’an 7:80-82)
“If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 4:15-16)
In Theravada Buddhism, it is explicitly mentioned in the Vinaya (monastic discipline) and prohibited. It is not singled out for special condemnation, but rather simply mentioned along with a wide range of other sexual behavior as contravening the rule that requires monks and nuns to be celibate.
Of course there are non-religious persons who support homosexuality and believe that it is as normal as heterosexuality and two persons who love one another should be able to join together in marriage legally. The arguments for same sex marriage are vast but predictable (in my opinion) and there are some religious persons (self-professed Christians included) who present arguments in favor of same sex marriage as well. I won’t present them here but the point is that regardless to the arguments from both sides, a solution to this dilemma will require compromise from both groups. Here are some major points in my proposal to resolve the issue:
Rather than re-defining marriage as well as civil unions for every citizen as an arrangement based on gender and sexual preference, let’s re-define them based on the institution ordaining the marriage or presiding over the civil union (religious institutions vs. the government). In other words, a marriage becomes a union ordained by a religious institution and a civil union becomes a union presided over by the government. This removes the entire issue of sexual preference by redefining it based on who performs the union. One complaint from those in the LGBT community is that “civil unions” have a negative connotation and are inherently inferior by name. Since a civil union would now be defined by merely being a union sanctioned by the government, regardless of the gender of both parties, non-religious heterosexual couples would also be “merged”under governmental civil unions.
With marriages & civil unions re-defined in this manner, certain terminology would also change. A religious institution will “marry” couples & the state (government) will “merge” a couple. Partners in a civil union will be called “life partners” and in marriages they will be called “spouses” . Religious institutions may or may not specify this with “husband”and “wife”. Civil unions will designate a “life partner A or B” (or I & II) on documentation.
Leaders of individual religious institutions or entire denominations as a whole will not be required to maintain licenses, the couples they marry will not either. Each religious institution may issue it’s own marriage licenses or permission to marry (or not)based on their own decision making processes. Each denomination or individual institution must submit their marriage requirements or procedures to the state government for the purpose of record keeping and in case of divorce proceedings.
The State (government) can continue to issue licenses as is for same sex and heterosexual couples alike who choose state sanctioned “mergers”.
It is the couples’ decision alone on which arrangement to seek. It is the religious institution’s decision to accept or deny a marriage based on their religious dogma or their interpretation of it.
Divorces would have a two step process for marriages (for filing), first, the religious institution would issue an certificate or decree (written consent) to divorce and take on the responsibility for any emotional distress and counseling. This certificate or decree would be presented to the state for the sole purpose of dividing assets, calculating child support or alimony payments to either spouse. The religious institution will deal with the spiritual and emotional, the state (courts) will only decide material & monetary divisions. The religious institutions may give a recommendation with the divorce decree/certificate/written consent for custody of any minor children, but this too, will remain the role of the courts. Civil Unions would only have a one step “dissolution” process, filing directly with the state and settling all monetary/material distributions with the courts just as marriages will.
Religious institutions must adhere to the law in each state with regards to the legal age of consent. In other words, a religious institution cannot marry a 40 or 18 year old man and an 11 or 14 year old girl in Georgia (for example), whose age of consent is 16. Religious institutions must also adhere to the law in each state not allowing blood family members to marry one another. This is because there is a proven biological risk for birth defects and other medical problems when close family members procreate. Such relationships includes siblings, cousins, parent-child…etc. Marriages of this type performed by a religious institution knowingly, can be annulled by the state and the religious institution would pay a penalty.
Now I have shared only a portion of my marriage proposal here and will share more as I fine tune it but with this proposal, marriage is defined by religious faith which is in accordance with today’s marriage practices, because for the overwhelming majority of marriages in the United States, the date of actual marriage (and anniversary celebrations) is based on the date of the ceremony and not the date when marriage licenses are issued by the state. Now as I briefly alluded to above, there are religious persons who support same sex marriage and believe that the Bible does not expressly forbid it, because although the New Testament mentions it (Romans 1:26) their main argument is that Jesus himself does not forbid it in his words. This is a spiritually dangerous technicality in my view, but everyone has the right to believe what they want. For the religious institutions in support of same sex marriage, as you may have deduced, they will in fact, have the freedom to marry couples of the same sex in theirindividual institutions or denominations.
Before my fellow Christians in opposition of same sex marriage start cursing me or my proposal, this is not problematic, because although we know and believe that homosexuality is expressly forbidden based on the scriptures, we cannot dictate to a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious gathering that they must share our interpretation of scriptures or sexual morality. Sinners are allowed to sin. If an entire church body decides to approve a same sex marriage, in short, that’s their business and we don’t have to attend such a church. I refuse to. That’s my personal decision. To find this problematic spiritually, you’d also have to take issue with any denomination that has any practice which yours does not based on a difference in scriptural interpretation or a lack of one. We cannot pretend as though all denominations are the same theologically or otherwise.
Now to some that begs the question, “Why can’t the federal government just legalize same sex marriage everywhere? What’s the difference?” The answer is simple – because in doing so the government is legislating morality for all. When an umbrella is opened fully, whoever is under it will be in the shade regardless as to whether they want to be or not. In order to get back in the sun or rain, one must have the freedom to do so and this is impossible with only one umbrella or a federal mandate.For some, this is the same problem if a majority vote does not go in their favor. If the federal government (or for that matter individual states) makes a law to legalize same sex marriages everywhere and the government decides who gets licenses and requires them in order for a person to perform a marriage, what is to stop the government from refusing a license to someone who refuses to marry a same sex or heterosexual couple? Wouldn’t a same or opposite sex couple be able to sue a religious institution for discrimination? Of course they could because as it stands now, marriages in the church are subject to the authority of the state, because without a license, a minister cannot marry anyone.
If we sever this relationship, the decision of who to marry becomes the sole decision of the religious institution and they cannot be punished or rewarded in any way for it. If you are thinking that such a scenario will never happen, think again, it already has in this instance. There have also been instances where churches refused to marry same sex couples and homosexual pastors have refused to marry heterosexual couples, which is their prerogative. In my opinion, this is inherently in conflict with anti-discrimination laws because of the existing license requirement imposed on leaders of religious institutions by the state. If we take away license requirements, we cut the religious umbilical cord to the state.
To avoid all of this, the decision of who can marry should rest in the hands of each religious institution or entire denominations and we must eradicate licensure requirements in this regard. What I am advocating for are individual umbrellas for each religious institution and one for the state. A religious institution has the right to oppose and refuse gay marriage or allow it. My proposal renders the state non-partisan as it should be and restores autocracy to religious institutions as far as marriage is concerned. Others will ask, will a church or mosque be able to deny interracial or interfaith marriages? The answer is yes as they should be, because religion is a predecessor of government and religious institutions can define marriage how they want with a few limits. Contrary to what some think or recent events, institutions who refuse interracial couples are not popular nor widespread. Ones who refuse interfaith couples (for example a Christian marrying a Hindu) are doing so because of religious dogma and are within their rights to refuse such a union. For every religious entity which discriminates for these reasons, there are ones that don’t. In America, we have options, let’s utilize them.
Both spouses and life partners would also have equality in civil and legal matters which are not covered by legal documents such as wills, for example. If same sex or opposite sex couples do not want a merger under a civil union because of any perceived inequality or inferiority because of naming, they can seek a marriage from a religious institution which will marry them and these days there is no shortage of institutions willing to do either. I must reiterate that neither marriages or civil unions are defined in my proposal by the gender or sexual preference of the individuals which make up the couple by the state. It’s up to the religious institutions to restrict their definitions to same sex or opposite sex couples, or allow both. This also would mean that DOMA would not need to be repealed necessarily, but rather it would be amended to define marriage as a union of religious origin rather than gender, for two or more** persons. A religious institution, however, can define marriage by gender in it’s decision of who it will and will not marry.
What one religious denomination decides to allow or refuse has no bearing on the religion as a whole. Denominations were created because of varying religious interpretations for the most part. If a religious institution presided over your ceremony you’re married, if the government did so you are merged. Your gender is irrelevant. From my perspective, this is the best way to compromise while keeping the state in it’s proper place with regards to marriage – limited but allowed some regulation, which is no different from private sector commerce. Think about it.
**Stay tuned, Walter Myers III will explore the topic of polygamy & marriage in Part II to this blog!