Friday, July 25, 2008

I’m Out of Here!

In a recent post by Ann Althouse we find the following quote:

"22% of Americans 'believe that any state or region has the right to peaceably secede and become an independent republic.' Middlebury Institute/Zogby poll.”

In casual conversation I would wager you have heard someone say we would be better off if we were not burdened as a country by some state(s) or general area. Some even believe there is a constitutional imperative for such an action. It may appear in their document but I could not find it in my copy.

The confusion may arise from the perception of the people and their misunderstanding of the government. We are bound by more than one set of laws. With the onset of increasing federal power, we have seen a diminished importance for each individual state. The very word government in the mind of the citizens has some vague nebulous identification which escapes the average bear. Keeping up with the latest regulations at the federal, state and local level brings into question the legitimacy of the old expression, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” It has become so complex that the days of the family lawyer have gone the way of doctor’s house calls.

When I lived in Colorado, every new lawyer “cut his teeth” on water law. In the arid west, sooner or later, every lawyer needed to be well schooled in those statutes. In larger communities, corporate attorneys are prevalent. In other states, labor/management practice is the rule. About the only universal discipline is tax law. Of necessity and a constantly growing body of law, attorneys have nearly all become specialists.

One of the commenters made the following observation: “There is certainly ample reason to think the US government is too large and unwieldy to be responsive to its citizens' interests anymore. In 1790, the population of the entire United States was 3.9 million (smaller than 26 of the current states). There was one representative per 30,000 people, compared to one per 700,000 today, which gives a modern voter 1/23rd the voice of a 1790 voter. At the same time that our say in the federal government has shrunk dramatically, the power and size of the federal government has grown even MORE dramatically.”

Apparently the federal motto, “E pluribus unum” goes untranslated and therefore unknown among the population. I thought this was settled back in 1865 at the conclusion of the Civil War (popularly know by my neighbors in the Ozarks as the “War of Northern Aggression.”) The government schools teach that it was about slavery when in fact it was an exercise in the rights of individual states. In a highly diverse and ever increasing population regional differences become exacerbated and do indeed stimulate the citizens of some areas to wondering why we continue to support and align with the foolishness of folks in _________; you fill in the blank here yourself.

The reason is simple: our strength lies in unity. One need only look at central Europe and the Balkans to see the result of tribal units deciding to nationalize. During WW II, the amalgamation of many of these individual states under a single flag, Yugoslavia, provided sufficient influence to become a thorn in the side of aggressive neighbors. Once the common threat disappeared, the tribal mentality returned and chaos ensued.

The continued break-up of many African states serves to make the point as well. When people’s self interest trumps the greater good, the result is obvious. These smaller units lend themselves to corruption, oppression and the other ills which afflict the mentioned areas.

Being blessed with a Constitution which protects our God given rights demands a cohesive effort on the part of all our people. Once a breakup of any magnitude occurs, then the locals separate themselves from the common goals outlined in that precious document. A hundred thirty five years ago we expended 650,000 dead and countless treasure to secure the concept of union. It was important then and it is even more important today.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 47

Somebody finally came up with a simplistic logo I can support. As predicted, when the guys in Washington decided that some commitment to solving our energy crisis on our own would be productive, the price of gas started to drop. As more governmental types jump on that bandwagon, I further predict a continued reduction in the price at the pump.
You have to love the thought and the picture. It says all that needs to be said.

It bears repeating

I am an old man. I repeat myself. It comes with the territory. If you have read this before, be patient and re-read it and then rejoice with me.

Twenty-five years ago, I was struggling to rebuild my life and with God’s help had about three years of sobriety. I was traveling nation wide at the time, working fairs and festivals, and my son and I had started a business in Houma, Louisiana. I contacted my first wife (a saint, by the way) and asked if I could have our daughter travel with me for a couple of weeks.

Jenny was about eleven at the time and I was thrilled when her mother gave the consent necessary for the trip. Jenny came from her home in Las Vegas and we connected in Illinois. We worked a “truck show” in Byron, Illinois, spent the Forth of July on the beach near Michigan City, Indiana watching fire works and continued east. Over the course of the next ten days, we had a fabulous time together and wound up in Washington, DC where I gave her a primer in America’s history.

We lived on peanut butter, bologna and Ho-Ho’s; made necklaces and earrings for Dad out of candy strung on elastic; and, most important just did Dad/daughter stuff. She still talks about it and I still remember the joy of it.

Finally, the time came to drop her off at LaGuardia in New York and send her back home to Nevada with a heart full of memories and a suitcase full of dirty clothes. My next show was another truck event high in the Helderberg Mountains above Albany, New York. I was early for the event and after I was set up, I had time to wander about the sub-Alpine scenery. Perched on a rock amid the scrub pines, I sought God to acknowledge his hand in my recent experience and thank Him profusely for His role.

While I was at it, in the course of my one-sided conversation with God, I expressed through the momentary return to normal life, the realization that I needed a normal, God fearing woman and asked for his assistance to locate one. That evening, the show commenced for the weekend and I continued peddling my wares in that delightful setting.

The following week I made my way to Shinhopple, New York for a blue-grass festival on the left branch of the Delaware River. My set up faced the stage across about two hundred yards of open meadow. On Saturday morning, folks dragging blankets, lawn chairs and coolers started to occupy the empty space and the opening acts had begun their performance. The weather, sunny, calm and 70º was perfect and a few folks started to come over to inspect my wares. As I looked out over my display I noted a smallish, attractive woman making a bee-line for my location.

When she arrived she looked over the American Indian jewelry very carefully as we exchanged friendly conversation. She settled on a pair of inexpensive turquoise earrings, paid, and we continued to talk. And talk we did for about the next two hours until she thought her friend might be missing her. Before leaving, she invited me to come over and share some of the carrot and celery sticks she brought along.

Later, the wife of a fellow vendor watched my space and I located the space where the carrots and celery lurked. We continued the conversation we had started earlier and it continued for another hour or two. I then returned to my spot and the lady who watched it had done a great job, sold a bunch of stuff but thought I had gone off and died. I remarked, “No, I have just been interviewing my future wife.” By then, there was no question in my mind that God had delivered, as promised, my future. It was just up to me to furnish the petty details.

Toward evening, she returned and reluctantly reported she had responsibilities at home with her teenage daughter and had to leave. I then proposed we have dinner together on Monday evening after the show. She quickly accepted and recommended a nearby camp ground and promised to make reservations for us. Dinner for two in Oneonta, followed by more exchange of life histories, followed by ice cream at Howard Johnson’s, followed by yet more sharing until 4 am. followed by an invitation to dinner at her house the next evening.

We were both overcome with the realization that we would indeed be married, live out our lives together, and that God would bless us both in our endeavor. The following year on July 21, 1984, Elder Joe Masek, of the Binghamton RLDS, solemnized our commitment in the backyard of a lifelong friend of the bride. Somehow, the best man managed to lose his shoes on the flight from Louisiana and a neighbor’s cat was present in all the ensuing photos. Nothing really mattered since God was present along with many well wishers and family.

Neither Jan, nor I, question for a second the role which Almighty God has played in our lives and in our marriage. We mutually acknowledge His presence, not only in the formation of our relationship, but also in His continued presence in support and comfort in the occasional trials we have faced since. Throughout He has enabled us to face our life together with a sense of humor and the awareness that “that which God has brought together, let no man put asunder.”

Mrs. Moon, on this auspicious occasion, I thank God for you and reaffirm, I love you.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Sunday, July 20, 2008

National Public Rip-off

I followed a lead to an article which was featured by NPR (National Public Radio) about a couple of folks in northern Ohio. I was eager to follow the story of their plight and discover why NPR took such an interest.

Ms Nunez’s father worked for General Motors for 45 years and apparently provided a fine living for his family. The piece doesn’t say what happened to him or his wife. We are provided with the information that Ms Nunez is divorced and on some sort of social security benefit plus food stamps. She lives in publicly subsidized housing ($100 per month) and complains about food costs, lack of public transportation (her van broke down,) and a shortage of local jobs. She and her daughter are both unemployed.

Let us understand clearly that my spouse believes I am very cold. I took one look at the picture and came close to understanding at least a part of the problem. Folks, it would take a lot of groceries to maintain those two.. This could well be the greatest crisis in their lives and put them on the road to recovery from a serious food addiction.

I am worn out from tales of grief from the likes of NPR about the poverty stricken when it is obvious they have never missed a meal, a snack, or any other opportunity to cram edible material in their mouth. Please save any comments about “glandular problems;” I just don’t buy it.

There was no coverage on either of these two ladies taking advantage of educational packages available to upgrade their skills in anticipation of better employment opportunities. No comment was made about leaving this obviously distressed community to find a better life elsewhere. One friend suggested that the daughter might consider having a child as that would increase their public benefits. This is a prospect that I am reluctant to even address on a family oriented blog.

When I first brought this up I was confused and thought that the referring link had, in a warped attempt at humor, directed me to the Onion. When I discovered it was a serious (?) website, I definitely got my Irish up. I admit severe resentment of the NPR and the public funding which they employ to bring pap such as this. To even think that this type of reporting is subsidized by your tax dollars and mine is reprehensible.

I think I shall just close this before I entertain a thought which will earn me eternal condemnation.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon