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Constitution Interpretatiion

We have continued debate over how to interpret the Constitution. Our new nominee to the Supreme Court says he will interpret it according to the way it is written. Other people, constitutional lawyers, say they are strict constructionists. Still other lawyers say the Constitution is a breathing, living document that changes with the times. Then there are those who want to follow the intent of the authors of the document and those who want to interpret in terms of what it means today. Some practice what is called judicial restraint. There may be others who have other methods they believe should be used. There was the read between the lines theory which I never understood. I looked between the lines. There is nothing there but blank space. How do you read something out of blank space? Is that like reading tea leaves or looking into a krystal ball? It sounds similar. Then there is following precedent. We should follow decisions made by prior courts, even if the decisions are obviously wrong. I don’t understand that one either. Plenty of cases have been overturned and cases will continue to be overturned as our society grows and changes and our ideas of right and wrong change.

The fact is that the men who framed the constitution and were our founding fathers who supported the passage of the constitution did not agree on what the constitution meant and what kind of government we should have. The main disagreement was how strong the central government should be and how much authority the congress had in passing legislation. That argument still continues today. It will be interesting to see what the new nominee believes the constitution says and means as written. So far in two hundred and fifty or so years we have not had two people who agreed on what the words meant. Maybe we should be glad that someone has come along who will be able to tell us.


Trump’s Foreign Policy

After his statments made today, the President may be thought of as delusional, mentally unbalanced and incapable of making sound decisions. That is one of the options available to explain the statments he made after meeting with Putin. Delusional is defined as holding beliefs that are patently untrue. That is one way to describe his mental state at this time. The evidence has been mounting over the last two years but the today I believe for some it may have passed the point of no return.

There is undisputed evidence that Russia interfered with and meddled in the election. Putin admitted he wanted Trump to win and told his government to help him win, although Putin did not admit to taking part in or approving any illegal activity. Trumpt’s refusal to admit the Russian interference is very disturbing. His continued condemnation of the Russian investigation is nothing short of bizarre.

Some are calling for Trumpt’s removal from office. That would mean that Pence would become president. I am not happy with the prospect of a President Pence, but his ability should not be part of the consideration of whether or not Trump should be removed from office. If Pence becomes president then he can be judged by his performance. He should not be prejudged.

Trump is unpredictable. His intentions in foreign relations are unclear.  I keep trying to determine what he is doing with foreign policy but it is like searching in the dark for an unknown and unmarked path. I sometimes find clues but then they disappear among confusing and unbelievable statments or tweets. One of the problems may be either an inability or an unwillingness to be more transparent. He may just be  ineffective in communicating the reasons for his behaviors and may lack the ability to explain what he is trying to achieve. Lack of ability to communicate may be a large part of the difficulty. But at this point there is no way to know because we have little insight as to the reasons for his behavior. We cannot judge something we do not know. Or something that may not exist. I still think there is a plan there somewhere unexpressed either intentionally or not. I am still unclear on where he is going or why.



Greater Appalachia

Greater Appalachia reaches from Western Pennsylvania in a south and southwestern direction to the hill country of West Texas. It includes parts of Southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, all of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee,  northern parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, all of Arkansas, parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. The people who settled the there were mostly from Southern Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland, areas of little organized government or law enforcement. They came to America to find freedom and liberty. They arrived in America and passed by the settlements along the coast and moved inland. They disliked the people in the northeast who believed in town meetings, schools and government.   They also avoided and had distain for the coastal people from Virginia south who were descendants from English nobility and landed gentry who wanted to live like aristocrats with peasants replaced by uneducated poor people, indentured servants and slaves. They wanted to own their own land, farm, and be free and independent. They wanted to be self-sufficient, equal and unbothered by government. They fought against the British in the revolutionary war, providing most of the troops and most of them fought for the Union in the civil war. They composed the bulk of the fighting forces and leaders in both World Wars.

The people of Greater Appalachia are mostly Protestant. They are against abortion. Most of them want low taxes, a small government, and few business regulations. They want protection of their second amendment rights,  border protection, law and order and more conservative judges in the Supreme Court. They want fewer ties to foreign countries and fewer troops overseas.

Their culture and opinion of government and what type of government they want differs greatly from the people of the Northeast and the Deep South. Democrats say they are for a unified country. They need the votes of Greater Appalachia in order to regain the White House.

In the last few elections the electorate has been almost evenly split. In 2016 the Western states, Greater Appalachia, and the Southast joined together and voted  against the Northeast and the Pacific Coast states. The result was a Republican President.

What happens in the next election is entirely up to the democrats and what they do to get these voters to swing back up their column. They voted for Bill Clinton and they voted for Obama twice in enough numbers to get them elected and re-elected. They could elect democrats to the White House again in the future. We will see what happens.





I always remember divisions in our country. I was not aware when I was young of why there were divisions. I just knew there were. There were political groups my parents did not like or approve. When I was very young there was a war, World War II. I knew there had been a war between the North and South before me or my parents were born.  I knew my ancestors were from England and there were people whose ancestors were from other countries. And I knew from my parents that we were different from them. Later on I learned about the Scots-Irish who lived in the Appalachian Mountain. And about the Cherokee who lived near the Smokies where we went every few months for the weekend. I liked the shops that sold tomahawks and Indiana drums. I knew there were Catholics that lived up north. My clothes came from a children’s store owned by a Jewish man who spoke with an accent that made him hard to understand. There were people with dark skin who lived in nearby cities who were not allowed in restaurants or other stores where my family shopped. II had no understanding of any of this. I only knew that it was so.

When I got older I studied history and learned things about these different groups. And countries around the world. I studied anthropology and sociology to learn about groups. I have read a lot on culture and class and ethnicity and race. My knowledge has grown greatly since the time I was young. My understanding has not.

I see different cultures and different people. There are groups with different  looks and habits learned and acquired by adaptations, gene mutation and genetic drift. There are my groups and your groups and my people and yours people.

Peoples divided are lIving together and living apart with each side vowing they are right, knowing  they are right, knowing  deep within that they are right. They spend their time demonizing the others, the ones that are so wrong.

i thought the divisions would end during my lifetime. We were smart, my friends and I. Surely we would work things out. We did not. The divisions will be passed on to our grandchildren and their grandchildren. They will have to deal with it. My friends and I who seemed so smart will not be around to see.

Summer Musings

Hot weather has come to Metro Atlanta. I should not be surprised, it happens every year about this time. Hot, humid, muggy days that never seems to end. Step outside and it feels as if you are wrapped in a blanket. A warm, smothering blanket. I think the summers are getting worse. Maybe it’s me. Maybe as I get older the heat bothers me more. Maybe I just can’t it as well. That applies to everything else in my life. Why shouldn’t it apply to handling the heat. My reflexes are not as good. don’t drive as well. I can’t make decisions as quickly as I could years ago. I take that into account when I drive. I don’t drive as fast. I try to avoid having to make left turns. Left turns as dangerous. More people have accidents making left turns than doing anything else. So I plan my route to avoid left turns as much as I can. And limit them to turns at red lights where I have a turn signal. But back to the heat. (My mind tends to wander a bit now days. I have trouble listening to the news. I am glad I can hit pause and rewind. I do that a lot. Rewind and relisten.  Sometimes several times until it becomes clear. Maybe people don’t express themselves as well as they used to. No, I think it is me and my shortening attention span.) I grew up in a small town in North Georgia. The elevation above sea level was 1200 feet. It was high enough to cool off at night. I loved that. And breezes during the day were always cool. It would cool off at night and the breezes were cool. There were a few days with high temperatures and no breeze, but not many. There was no air conditioning then. At least not for me. Not at my house. And not at my dad’s auto parts store. I worked there during the summer. People worked on their own cars back then. I sold a lot on points and condenser, speedometer cables, water pumps, shocks and other parts to people who would do the work themselves. Some of those parts they don’t have any more. Points? What are points. My wife is from Texas. I spent lot of time there when the kids were growing up. It was hotter there then it is here. When it gets hot we’re are just grateful that we fon’t live in Texas. They don’t have cool breees there. And it does not cool off at night. Not like it does here. And we are glad to be here.

American Politics

We are in a crisis in America. We are divided just about in half between left and right. The divide has been pretty even for the last few presidential elections. Now all I hear is Democrats accusing the Republicans of being racist and Republicans accusing Democrats of being socialists. The extremes in both parties think the other party is all bad and theirs is all good. I hope it is just the extremes. It may be worse than that. It may all of both parties. Reading the posts on these blogs sounds like it. I don’t see many blogs by moderates. Maybe that is normal. The people with the strongest feelings are going to be the most vocal.  I see a lot of closed minds. Strong feelings do that. They close the person’s mind so that no opposing view the can be tolerated, much less considered.

I have been spending time reading books on history and politics to try to determine how we got to where we are now. The history of our split goes back a long way. Hundreds of years.  It’s an interesting story. I am not going to go very far into history but the split we see now is not a new one and the issues are not new. Wars and revolutions have been fault over the same issues.

Our country seems to be breaking apart. We look back to a time when we were all in agreement and to the values upon which the country was founded.  In truth, there was no single unifying idea for our country. The  framers of the constitution had their own differences. We hear people speak of our founding fathers as if they were all in agreement about the type of government we should have. They were not. They were very divided. They were so divided two of them had a duel resulting in the death of one and the disgrace of the other.

The men known as our founders had tried to form a government with the Articles of Confederation but had failed. The government they had formed was not functioning. Then they met again. They compromised greatly and agreed on a document to form a government. The constitution. But they still had not succeeded. They had formed a country with a stronger central government but it was too strong for some. Before several of the states would adopt the constitution it had to be amended ten times to put limitations on the powers of the central government. A document that had to be amended that many times contained major flaws.

Even then they argued about how the new government should function. What laws should be passed. Just how much power the central government had under the constitution as amended ten times. The constitution had only drawn out a framework with guidelines on how laws would be passed and enforced and how disputes and disagreements would be settled. The document set forth no laws. It only delegated duties and functions for the different branches. And it contained limitations of power in the Bill of Rights. Divisions and disagreements remained.

I look forward to seeing our county united. I don’t say again because I don’t believe it ever has been.  I hope we can do better than that. And better than we are doing now. At least get past the hate and the smug conceit and arrogance that I see so much of now. Even someday become united.

The Melting Pot – Ethnic Grouping

The United States has long been called the melting pot. That is a strange thing call a country. When I hear that I picture a fireplace in a log cabin. There is a roaring flame. A large black iron pot hangs in the the fireplace. It either hangs by its handle or sits on something. I am not sure which. But somehow it is there in the flame. I imagine different foods have been placed in the pot. A piece of meat cut from something that was shot and butchered. Different kinds of vegetables, plants, herbs, and seasonings place in the pot. All being boiled in water. Somehow all these ingredients put together and heated will mix into a stew or soup that will be good to the taste and nourishing to the body. The different substances will be there but will still be separate identifiable parts.

Is this how the country works. Are all the different peoples mixed in the pot but blend in together to become something sustainable?

Or is our county more like an large pot in a steel or iron mill where different materials are mixed together, heated until the all melt and blend together in one molten liquid with no separate identifiable substances. The mixture become one inseparable solution, leaving no way to ascertain what the original ingredients were.

That is a question we need to ask ourselves. Whether we want to continue as a mixture of parts or a solution with the loss of identity of the separate original parts.

At the present time we are like the first pot. We are all in one pot but we are storing around maintaining our original identities. I see ads on television trying to get me to order a kit. I can place a swab in my mouth and send it back and the company will analyze it and tell me where my distant ancestors were from. Then I will know my real identity and who I am and what my heritage is. Of course all my ancestors will not have come from the same place. The percentages will be written out. Thirty per cent from England. Twenty five per cent from France. They can even tell the part of the county or the village in some cases. They do that by comparing genetic clusters. As a population is bound together for years they begin to share the same genetic mutations which are unique from populations in other areas.

it may be that years from now our descendants will be able to find out what parts of the United States their ancestors were from. If that is true then we can never expect to be like the second pot. We will always be like the first pot. Different people with different genetic clusters living in the same pot. Together, but different with different identities and origins.

i have not ordered one of those kits. I have not had my DNA tested to determine where my ancestors were from, what my identity is and what are my origins. The only thing I know is I was born and grew up in North Georgia. I am told I was born in North Georgia. I do not know that of my personal knowledge. That is a legal term meaning things you know because you saw them happen. You were an actual witness to the events and remember the events. I get very confused when asked about my ethnicity. Can I say North Georgian. I usually say American. North Georgia has to many letters. Appalachian would be accurate but I can’t spell that without a spell checker. Georgian is not good. I am not like the South Georgians. They have a different ethnicity down there that I can’t or don’t identify with. So I stay with American.

In summary, I believe we will always be like the first pot. Different pieces living and mixing in the same pot. How we will continue to get along is something we can’t predict. That is up to each succeeding  generation to determine.