Help vs. Harm: The Rule of A Mature Society by JoeNewman101

I have just reread an op-ed article by George Will in which he states “Government, the framers said, is instituted to improve upon the state of nature, in which the individual is at the mercy of the strong. But when democracy, meaning the process of majority rule, is the supreme value – when it is elevated to the status of what the Constitution is basically about – the individual is again at the mercy of the strong, the strength of mere numbers.”

Later in the article Will states, “The protection of rights, those constitutionally enumerated and others, requires a judiciary actively engaged in enforcing what the constitution is 'basically about', which is making majority power respect individuals’ rights.”

This is the issue: The needs of the society versus the rights of an individual, which I have been speaking about.

Of course, Will is referring to the Preamble to the Constitution which as you know states “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 for the United States of America.”

The 9th Amendment states “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Thus the question of what is a right and to what degree, and when can that right be restricted for the betterment of the whole society?

My view is that when the question arises, the rule of 'help v. harm' must be invoked.

If the help to the society (society’s government) is greater than the harm to the individual, the individual’s right can be restricted.

There are the obvious situations of invoking the draft in case of war and obeying a traffic signal; and the argumentative question of taxes or the recent dispute over the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act also serve as recent situations.

If we are to be a maturing society, a more civilized peoples' government too must have rights.

Let me cite a couple of quotes from speeches by Abraham Lincoln (naturally, these were in speeches about slavery, but the reasoning can be referred to any topic):

“It may be argued that there are certain conditions that make necessities and impose them upon us, and to the extent that a necessity is imposed upon a man he must submit to it. . . . It does not destroy the principle that is the charter of our liberties. Let that charter remain as our standard.”

Lincoln continued to state, “They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all: constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people everywhere.”

The goals expressed in the Preamble, in the 9th Amendment, and in Abraham Lincoln's speeches must be a constant.

Let's make them a reality.

~ Joe

My Impossible Dream by JoeNewman101

You already know that some of my friends and I, being unhappy with the state of things things, decided to play a role in the political scene.

In the course of playing that role I have had several interesting interviews. On several occasions, after the recorded interview, the conversation would continue.

I would often then say to the interviewer:

“Do you remember the movie Man of La Mancha, and do you remember the final scenes? Do you remember that the old Man of La Mancha is dying, but as he is dying he is singing with Sancho and Dulcinea, 'The Impossible Dream'?” 

LaMancha dies but the Dream goes on. Forever.

You have also been told that my mother and father, in the early 1900’s were exiled to Siberia. Exiled because they were expressing the Impossible Dream on the streets in Russia.

The Dream not of a party, but of a people.

In 1787 a group of the best minds in the country met in Philadelphia and transcribed that dream.

We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, to Establish Justice and Insure Domestic Tranquility, Provide for the Common Defense, Promote the General Welfare and Secure the Blessings of Liberty for Ourselves and our Posterity.

Our dream; yours and mine.

And here and now we can almost paraphrase Lincoln at Gettysburg.

“Today we are engaged in a great civil war; testing whether that dream, or any dream, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure … It is for us the living to dedicate ourselves to the fulfillment of that dream”.

Not the dream of a party but the dream of a people.

Senator Carl Schurz once said “I confidentially trust that the American people will prove themselves too wise not to detect the false pride, the dangerous ambitions, or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under the deceptive cry of mock patriotism.”

That brings me to my purpose in being here.

Each of us, I am sure, are getting multiple emails or phone calls, each saying “send $3 or $5 for this or that" campaign.

And the cause may be just. Instead of giving your money to buy, I am suggesting that you sell.

Sell 3 or 5 people on the justness of pursuing our American dream.

I think we will agree that one of our greatest threats is money in politics. We must replace a purchased Congress with a purposed Congress.

That is why this old man asked for this few minutes of your time. To share his impossible dream.

- Joe


Do I Think I Can Win? by JoeNewman101

As my campaign catches more attention in the media, the most frequently asked question I hear is, "Do you really think you can win?"  

My response is, "There will be no chance without hope, and if there is no sense of optimism, there will be no attempt." The optimism I have for my campaign I also share for this country. Even though replacing Rep. Buchanan (R) is important, it is a small battle in a greater war.

To me, that greater war is reversing the moves by the Tea Party and the majority of the Republican Party as they try to convince us that government is the problem.  

Republicans have been extremely successful in getting this message out. Yet, this message's premise is false. 

To the contrary, I contend that it is a truism that government is the tool a society uses to administer its needs. And without this tool, society would be stymied. 

Think on it, even small units of our society create a governing body (condominium and neighborhood associations, or fraternal lodges and service clubs). Each are organized so that the needs of the people are addressed.  It is for that very reason the Framers of the Constitution created the federal system of government we all have enjoyed since it was designed in 1787.  

Our goal should be to help our society return to its role of healing its ills and promoting the general welfare of all. And in our short history, we have done this.

Throughout our history we have faced difficult challenges. We have fought wars at home and abroad. We have fought against injustices and fought for the disadvantaged in our society. We removed slavery from our laws, we demanded that women have the right to vote, and we initiated and saw through the Civil Rights movement. 

During my lifetime alone we developed and implemented Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, OSHA, and numerous other government programs that protect and promote the general welfare of the citizens of the United States.  

Let us together then discuss, not ignore, the issues of our times: Health Care, Income Inequality, Education, Immigration, Marriage Equality, Climate Change, and all the other problems that are confronting us as a nation. Each issue is concerning and troubling, but solutions exist! There are so many things we can accomplish if we just work together.

So, do I really think I can win?  Yes, I can, if each and every American sits down to really think about the direction we need to steer our country as it deals with the difficult issues we are all facing, and discusses it with their friends, their families, and most importantly, their representatives.  That alone is a victory. This great nation was built on compromise and not on divisive rhetoric.

As James Madison once wrote: "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." It's time to sit down together as Americans and find solutions. Government should work for the general welfare of all and not just for a select few. Together, we can see that it does. 

An Anthropological.. What? by JoeNewman101

I've been asked recently, "What in the heck is an Anthropological Progressive?" and I would like to take the time to explain it below.

Anthropology, as I see it, is the study of the development of a society; in our case, the human society. From the beginning of time, humans have discussed and argued about the improvement of society's character and our relationships to one another.

The many religious documents that exist, I believe, are a continuation of our desire to improve society. I contend that the Declaration of Independence and, in particular, the Preamble to our Constitution are statements of humans' need to continuously move toward improving society.

My personal belief in progress towards a better society makes me an Anthropological Progressive.

Still confused? Leave a comment below and I'll be sure to get back to you.