Thursday, February 16, 2012

A little presidential history

Do you realize that (barring a last-minute miracle for Ron Paul) this year will mark the first presidential election since 1924 in which neither candidate has seen military service?

There was a spate of service-less elections in the early twentieth century, but those were all contests between men who had come of age in the late 1800s, when the military was mostly composed of professional soldiers and it was unusual for a young man to serve and then go on with his life.

Heck, the latter half of the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth were dominated by veterans of the War Between the States and the Second World War, respectively. Every president between 1945 and 1980 was a combat veteran. (To his credit, President Reagan served but was not allowed into combat service.)

Newt, Rick, Mitt and Barack are all guys who had ample opportunity to serve their country and instead stayed home safe. Embarrassing. I hope it's not going to be a trend. The willingness to place one's body between one's home and danger is a crucial part of what makes a good statesman. And a man who is going to be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces ought to have done his time in those forces.

Disclaimer: I never served myself. I paid a visit to an army recruiter in high school, but was turned down because of my childhood asthma, and I never made any further effort to enlist. To my lasting regret.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A chilling thought

Up to now, I've been assuming that the HHS mandate was simply a colossal misstep on the president's part, thinking that because so many Catholics contracept, he could get away with demanding that the Church buy them contraception. I figured it was going to backfire on him in the election. We make up a fifth of the country, after all, and a majority of Catholics voted for him the last time around. Depriving them of their first amendment rights seems like a sure-fire way to lose in November.

But last night, it occurred to me: what if the president has been reading history and knows exactly what he's doing? What if he's familiar with the Edmunds-Tucker Act?

For those who are maybe less brushed up on religious suppression than our Dear Leader, the Edmunds-Tucker Act outlawed the Mormon church, allowed the government to confiscate its property, and denied the franchise to any practicing Mormon. Incredibly, it was upheld by the Supreme Court, and remained on the books until 1978, although the 1890 manifesto renouncing polygamy made it irrelevant. (Incidentally, one of the petitioners in the case was Mitt Romney's great-uncle.)

Currently, the Catholic Church operates 625 hospitals, 230 colleges and universities and God only knows how many charities (adoption agencies, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospices, and so on). What's to stop our Democratic Overlords from confiscating all those institutions and using them as building blocks for a single-payer system? He's already shown that he thinks of the First Amendment as legal Charmin. Why should he respect any of our other rights if he gets away with it the first time?

I suspected this might be coming three years ago, but I didn't think it would ever get to this point, and certainly not on a federal level.

As much as I hate to say it, if the administration won't back down on this point, then the bishops need to close the institutions that aren't covered. Immediately, so that the government doesn't have a chance to seize them. If Obama wants to get us out of the charity field, he's welcome to try, but under no circumstances should we provide him with the facilities he so desperately wants to pervert to immoral uses. I know it's harsh to withdraw so much good from the needy (who aren't to blame for this whole disaster in the first place), but if the alternative is to render unto Caesar the things that are God's, then I don't see that we have much choice.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Pissed off to the point of derangement

(Sorry for the language in this one. But I think it's warranted.)

You know, I promised when he was elected that I wouldn't succumb to Obama Derangement Syndrome. And I think I've stuck pretty well to that. I haven't mocked his teleprompter or claimed that he really was so stupid that he thought there were 57 states. I haven't freaked out at his every move and shouted that he was going to clap us all into concentration camps. Overall, I think I've been pretty respectful to the president.

But that ends now. I want that back-stabbing sonofabitch out of office, whether by election or impeachment. I want his name so besmirched that Democratic politicians will beg him not to endorse them. I want his legacy to be on a par with Nixon's. Catholics (not me, but plenty of others) tipped the scales in his favor in the election, and this is how he repays them?

On second thought, forget the Catholic part. I'm not angry on behalf of my church, but of my country. We're American citizens, God damn it, and we will not be stripped of our guarantee of free exercise of religion. Not by Barack Obama, and not by anybody else. If this be derangement, so be it.