Thomas choosey about protecting voters' will
In his hypocritical column of Aug. 13, "No one judge should have power to overturn public will," Cal Thomas makes the case that the public has voted against gay marriage in California and that judges should just accept the will of the voters.
That sounds like a fine argument until you learn that Thomas and his conservative Republican ilk have opposed the will of the voters on the medical marijuana issue for the last 18 years.
California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1992 and have faced constant opposition from judges, police and lawmakers.
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The voters of 15 states have now voted to legalize medical marijuana. Are conservative Republicans ready to let the voters have their way? Apparently not; even supposed "libertarian"-leaning Rand Paul and his supposed "liberal" opponent Jack Conway are both opposed to medical marijuana.
Here is the test for Thomas and the rest of the Republican moral crusaders. This fall in California, the voters will have a chance to totally legalize marijuana for adults. The latest polls show that marijuana supporters are in the lead with 52 percent of the projected vote, compared to 36 percent opposed and the rest undecided.
When marijuana is legalized by the voters this fall in California, will Thomas and the rest of the Republicans embrace the will of the voters?
Of course not. They will fight them tooth and nail as they have been doing for the last 18 years.
Thomas just wrong
In a recent column, Cal Thomas compared California Judge Vaughn Walker's actions in overturning the state ban on gay marriage to Julius Caesar's power over gladiators in the "Roman Coliseum."
First, let's get the names of the structures right. The Coliseum is in Los Angeles, it opened in 1923 and Caesar never presided over any gladiatorial games there. The Colosseum is in Rome, its construction began in 70 A.D. under the Emperor Vespasian and was completed by his son, Titus, in 80 A.D. Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C., 120 years before construction on the Roman Colosseum was completed. Caesar did not preside over gladiators in a structure that did not exist during his lifetime.
This mistake calls into question what other facts Thomas got wrong and the accuracy of his conclusions.
There is a reason for an independent judiciary, namely, to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. It is axiomatic that fairness is never dependent upon sheer numbers; rather, fairness depends upon the merits of the idea itself.
That's an idea that Judge Walker understands, but Cal Thomas does not. Unfortunately, some of the darkest moments in American history occurred when an independent judiciary abdicated the responsibility of protecting an oppressed minority.
How different would this country have been if the 1857 Supreme Court had decided the Dred Scott case differently and held that slaves were citizens protected by the Constitution? Extending constitutional protection to an unpopular minority group — sound familiar?
James F. Wisniewski
System hopeless ...
It's fairly easy to get lost in the headlines of the newspapers and find yourself drowning in a boiling pool of government problems.
It's too much to keep track of all the issues in the federal, state and local governments, and even more impossible to fix those issues.
Only the most championed and distinguished experts in their respective fields would be able to suggest a viable option to each particular problem, and even then they would have fierce disagreements and debates with their colleagues.
But when it comes to the government, everything changes. The fundamental belief in democracy is that somehow, somewhere, in candle-lit rooms with red velvet carpets, a group so noble, intelligent and humble sits and brainstorms resolutions to all these problems.
It is believed that — with a bill here, a law there — we can stumble upon one solution that can change virtually everything.
The system, as it is, cannot be saved. These are the facts we all must accept regardless of our political background. It's time we look for alternative methods and stop trying to reform what cannot be reformed.
We are frantically hoping for one magical bill that will save us from debt, spending, bodies, problems and collapse.
... or messy but vital
Historians often question: Do the times make the men, or do the men make the times?
I favor the former notion.
But I also see the importance of particular men, and not always those most prominent. More than many others, John Marshall, a former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and John C. Calhoun, a vice president and politician, set the destiny of this nation. Marshall defined government power and rights, and Calhoun rebuked those definitions. Thus we came to a clash of cultures incipient from the founding of the colonies with their separate charters.
That Marshall's bias toward cooperation and union prevailed over Calhoun's policy of individuality and nullification is God's blessing to America. That the Tea Party conservatives, ignorant of history and seeking only personal gain and licentious liberty, continue to blight our lands is our burden.
Sure, our government is messy and contentious. Only tyranny is efficient. The men who compromised and drafted our Constitution knew all this. In any society, be it a nation or a family, compromise is essential to felicity. The greatest good for the greatest number is our goal. This is achieved through cooperation, where all can achieve, rather than with competition, where few are rewarded.
Remember this when next you vote. Favor those who support cooperation rather than those who only oppose to benefit themselves. History is in the balance.
God and coal
And lo, a great voice came from on high. It was the voice of the mighty God, and the voice sayeth: "Behold my children, for the weather is changing and the world is growing warmer even to the four corners of the Earth. Thou should take note and prepare, lest thou becometh overheated." Then the word went out throughout the land:
"God is trying to destroy Kentucky's coal industry."
Tax cuts no boon
While the conservatives in Congress keep calling for an extension of President George W. Bush's tax cut to stimulate economic growth, many middle-class families are still waiting for the stimulus the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts gave the rich to trickle down to them.
Conservatives cannot argue that tax cuts for the wealthy stimulate the economy when you consider that, after nearly 10 years, the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts did not pay for themselves and were a disaster when it came to job creation.
How long must the middle and lower classes have to wait until these tax cuts for the rich help boost the economy and enrich the standard of living of all Americans?
Norman E. Goldie Jr.