Apparently, when you spend copious amounts of time lingering by the fire, you are biting coal. So I guess I would say that has been my primary activity of late. I've also spent a lot of time reflecting on the Civil War. It's not an past time I'd recommend, since it has led in my case to headache upon headache, general confusion, and a loss for words. It is rare for me to struggle to form a definite opinion; however, this particular historical dilemma has me completely flummoxed. Here are a few of my unresolved problems: 1. Slavery. It seems to me that the typical Conservative response is that legislation on "domestic institutions" belongs to the State and not Federal legislature. But isn't that unacceptable? Maybe you could allow States to determine the punishment for trafficking in human beings; but surely it is morally defunct to leave the determination of absolute moral standards up to the whims of a legislative body. Moral apathy is not healthy. Nor is it healthy to let people assume that it is up to them to decide good and evil. 2. Secession. Lincoln says that he does not dispute "the right of revolution" but claims a long train of abuses is needed for a right of revolution to exist. Of course he would insist the South had nothing to complain of; it must have looked much more threatening from their point of view down there. This situation becomes unbearably confusing since of course you cannot get a consensus on who is getting oppressed and if they are being oppressed. Lincoln's two more interesting point was that the Union existed prior to the States and that a State has no right to withdraw without asking the permission of the Federal Government and the rest of the States. This does make sense when you consider that secession affects every State in the Union. Seen from the South's point of view, however, this excludes any possibility of escape...of course the North would never let them get away. There is also the inconvenient fact that the debt on the Louisiana Purchase was still being paid off. Quite a few of those Southern States were taking off to become their own country while allowing the Federal Government to continue paying for their land. This seems (to me at least) to be a case of inexcusable fiscal irresponsibility. 3. Geographical Faction. After assessing the situation through the Lincoln Douglas debates, all I could see was George Washington with his head buried in his hands. His farewell address was one long admonition against factions forming on a geographical basis, and then it went and happened anyway. I seem to remember Jefferson delivering a morose line about the "current generation" throwing away with careless ease all that their fathers fought and died to earn. And in the end, the feeling I most often carry away from studying the situation is intense frustration. They could have worked out their differences without the histrionics, hysteria, and ultimate bloodshed. After reading some of those ridiculous speeches (the Cornerstone Speech comes to mind) all I could say was "Oh, come ON!"
From Catherine_Creagan - 24.12.08
I refrained at first from posting on the results of November's election from a desire to adopt quiet resignation in the face of what I felt to be rather bombastic elation and despair. Surely there have been greater catastrophes in the history of the world and this nation. But now I feel impelled to address the expectation of those others who seemed poised on November 4th for the explosion of an inevitable Glorious Summer. There could be entire essays and books on the relative merits of and problems with Obama's policies at home and abroad. His Progressivist and Socialistic leanings certainly bring me no joy. But the insurmountable problem has little if anything to do with an emasculate foreign policy or ineffective medical system. These and other issues do not just pale, they fade into meaninglessness in the face of his flagrant pro-abortion position. This country was founded upon a certain principle: that just rule was derived from the consent of the governed because all men were created equal. Considering that Obama is our first African American President, it would be logical for him to be a champion of the rights of disenfranchised citizens. Granted, the unborn child is not a citizen of the United States of America because he or she has not yet been born. But the Declaration of Independence does not say that all men are "born" equal. It says we are all "created" equal. If we discard this principle and decide that certain individuals among us are not equal because they are not as developed, intelligent, or capable as we are, we risk all the rights we ourselves hold dear. If we deny the humanity of the fetus because he is less intelligent, we forfeit our right to life to the first person we meet with a higher intellect. If we deny the humanity of the fetus because he is less developed, all children forfeit their right to life to the first adult they meet. Once one member of society's rights are thus threatened, the rights of all are threatened. This is why abortion, in vitro fertilization, and embryonic stem cell research are the paramount issues. If we as a nation can no longer rise up and declare that the Founding Fathers were right and the equality of man pertains to all men, that abortion is murder of the cruellest and most heinous nature, then we have ceased to exist as America. We have become the ghost of a beautiful idea. This applies to those who concede that abortion is morally wrong. Those who do not believe that embryos and fetuses are human are at least not betraying the founding principles of the country; they are merely deceiving themselves. But those who will both say abortion is murder and then vote for a man like Obama are hypocrites and traitors of the blackest kind. They committ treason against their country and act as accomplices in the passive submission the ultimate moral evil of our day. At least the citizens of Nazi Germany could protest that they didn't know; these villains have no such excuse. They were staring straight into the eyes of the Innocents as they voted. No promise of a bright new future for America is worth the cost of your soul. This phenomenon of nominally pro-life voters throwing morals and ideals to the winds in order to participate in a hopeful love fest with change knows no parallel in America's history. It was both an act of suicide aginst themselves and an act of treason against the hopes and expectations of the world. With Jefferson, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."
From Catherine_Creagan - 10.12.08