My wife and I recently spent some time in the Buffalo, New York area. We saw Niagara Falls, Old Fort Niagara, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, and Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum. We also drove a little ways south east to visit Letchworth State Park. For someone raised in the high desert of the Intermountain West I saw more water than I ever remember.
We flew over Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. We looked across Lake Ontario to see the Toronto skyline from Fort Niagara. Granted Niagara Falls were pretty impressive but the falls in Letchworth State Park on the Genesee River were very scenic. Seeing a ’57 Thunderbird, a ’67 Cougar, several Pierce Arrows, was interesting for me. The 1940 Lincoln that looks just like a model I put together as a kid was an unexpected highlight.
Being able to visit in what I’ve heard called a “shoulder season” is a big advantage to being able to choose when you travel. We didn’t exactly have Niagara Falls to ourselves, but there wasn’t the huge crowds trying to get to things. There were a few times people were crowded but mostly it was just going to different places to see things. I also noticed that unlike here at home, my wife and I weren’t the only couple holding hands. One older couple near the falls was even engaged in a passionate kiss. Maybe they were on a second honeymoon, as the tradition used to be to visit that area on your honeymoon.
So while we were vacationing the political world was coming unglued. I keep hoping for a world where people will let other people be what they want to be and government will be there to help with things we need to do together. I know this is a dream, but the people who broke with the British Monarchy in the 1700’s also had a dream. They felt the people in the community would have the needs of the entire community in mind while a king would be more concerned about what would keep him in power. They laid out their goals in the Declaration of Independence. I think it was very powerful to state we all have a right to life, liberty, and a pursuit of happiness. The Articles of Confederation didn’t do a good job of giving these rights to all. They eventually came up with a Constitution to try to achieve a balance between the desire of many leaders for power with using that power for the good of the community. Now we seem to have some people that are more concerned about that power than the community.
They provided a schedule of elections as a way to deal with people that aren’t looking out for the good of the community. Along with providing elections they provided a way to check, balance, and if necessary remove officials that are not keeping the needs of the community as their most important concern. One thing they picked up on was that groups can exert this improper kind of power over other groups. One of the first things the new Congress did was to lay out some rights that we have that no matter how much a group may want to have things a certain way the government can’t do that. Did they ever think those rights would include Same-Sex Marriage? I doubt it. Additional amendments and court decisions have given this right.
This is the third impeachment inquiry I’ve lived through. The first was an abuse of power. It would have resulted in impeachment and removal from office had Nixon not resigned first. The second seemed to be a political smoke screen by those that weren’t getting their way through Congressional and Presidential checks and balances. They chose to base it on a sexual act because they knew for many that would get many people thinking in terms that were emotional rather than on the facts of what the community needed.
The current situation seems to be more like the days of Nixon. It is an abuse of power, not we don’t like that there was some sexual activity in the White House. The thing is, looking at the Clinton impeachment and the acts that have brought about the current inquiry are very different. This time seems to be about using government to keep one person in a position of power encouraged by those that think they will also get some power on his shirt tails.
So what if we face another situation in the future that is a merging of these last two. Someone is convinced he or she will be able to have the power they desire by getting federal agents of one agency or another to harass and/or arrest people based on some consensual sexual activity or lifestyle. Let’s say they declare this oppression on polyamorous groups. They start raiding the homes of triads and arresting the people living that lifestyle. They know the Constitution would be an impediment to this harassment so they hide it. There are laws and rights that are meant to prevent this kind of abuse of people involved in actions that some just dislike. This isn’t like theft or murder that involves the interactions of people and taking rights to life or property from them. The only thing is that those doing the harassment dislike how these people chose to live. They try to hide what is going on until they feel they have enough people they could use that to build up emotional support.
So they have been committing seizures of people not based on any law. They have been hiding this from public knowledge knowing they would be stopped. They are hoping to make this the norm. The thing they are trying to circumvent is the Constitution. All Federal officers, office holders, and many employees take oaths to uphold the Constitution. They don’t take an oath to a person or office, or to a particular party, but to uphold and defend the Constitution.
I’m convinced if the Constitution isn’t upheld we could easily face something like I’ve described. We have to keep the checks and balances strong so no President can dictate law, so Congress can’t put laws in place that violate certain basic rights, and judges are selected to uphold the laws and Constitution, not decide in certain ways on one party’s pet issue.
Even though ethical sexual choices aren’t explicitly protected by the Constitution I think they involve rights that are protected. There should be strong laws in place for people that abuse other people’s right as regards their own bodies. Not only should rape be considered the heinous crime it is but ways to investigate it should be improving. Not like create a crime lab that can’t and doesn’t keep up with processing the evidence we can now gather. If someone wants to have sex in a club in front of others that all consent, then great. If someone wants to peek in someone else’s windows to watch them undress or have sex, then they need to be dealt with. I’m not even necessarily saying this person needs to go the jail, but something to stop them needs to be done. If there are no ways to help them learn to be an openly participating member of some sexual community, then jail may be the consequence. But we should be looking for ways to help everyone in their search for happiness that the Declaration of Independence named as one of our rights.