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Constitutional Thinking: American on the couch

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I am not talking about the one in front of your T.V.  I’m talking about the one you might lay on to analyze the past year, what happened and to set goals for the coming year. It’s time for our annual review, so please allow me to play psychiatrist for a moment and let’s see if we can think our way through some problems.

Everyone has a world view, and when it’s challenged with heavy information that contradicts what one believes, the result is often “cognitive dissidence”. People lose their sense of security and feel vulnerable. Our psychological defenses kick in, and denial is usually the first one to show up. It is easier to deny something and move on, sticking to what we originally thought. 

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’m not sure I want to know” or “If that were true, someone would have told me?” Empirical thinkers will look at evidence, and if it is convincing, change their mind. Other thinkers live in a paradigm, and if any new or troubling idea doesn’t fit, they will ignore it. 

A third group of thinkers might be called the wishful or fearful thinkers. They won’t believe anything that might be disturbing, since they can’t face the truth. They feel vulnerable, and often become angry and ridicule the one bearing the news.

Americans often tend toward excessive pride and exhibit a lack of humility. 

Our traditional belief in American Exceptionalism leads us to think that the bad things that have happened in Germany, Russia, or other countries could not happen here. It is true, our Founding Documents are the exception in all of world history, but people, throughout history, have exhibit personal character flaws.

It is important that we learn to overcome or at least control our flaws, and be able to look at both sides of an issue and adjust to the truth. The Republic needs your help. How did we get in this mess?  A great article by Marilyn M. Barnewall entitled, “How in the Hell did we get here?” lays out part of the path:  Here are some questions she raised:

How did we become: 

-a nation where graduating students who can barely read, are taught practically nothing about critical thinking…and do not have a clue about what the Constitution says, let alone means? 

-Americans who belittle those who earn and think the world owes them a living

-Americans who convince themselves they are happy, but are so unhappy, they escape with drugs and alcohol?

-dependent upon TV, computer games, and movies for entertainment, rather than accomplishment?

-become so complacent about physical or external life that abortion became acceptable for birth control?

-a land where churches emphasize God serving humanity, rather than, humanity serving God?

-a big business/financial community, with too big to jail banks involved in organized crime?

Marilyn then goes on to say, that knowing and not doing something about all of this and making sure it ends, is our downfall.  

She wonders when was the last time we carried a petition and got signatures to get an issue on the ballot. When is the last time you involved yourself in the candidate selection process, rather than just ‘voting for the candidate the Party sponsored? 

People wonder why the entire system is corrupt. If you don’t become involved, yet expect political honesty, you don’t understand the concept of “Power Corrupts…”

Morally bankrupt Senators Lindsey Graham (R) and John McCain (R), are excited about the Defense Authorization Act turning the “Homeland” into a “Battlefield” and ending Posse Comitatus, enacted to keep troops from abusing citizens as happened in the South after the Civil War. We now have institutionalized and codified martial law in the U.S. The new law potentially could drag any American into being labeled a terrorist with the wording “any associated forces”, so if you visit a website, attend the wrong meeting, or come into contact with the wrong person, you’re cooked.

Senator Graham adds, “Please know what will come your way: Death, Detention, and Prosecution, and when they say, I want my lawyer, you tell them, shut-up, you don’t get a lawyer.” 

Fortunately, House Bill 3676 has been introduced by Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La) to amend the detainee provisions. Let’s get it passed, but remember, loyal Americans would never have passed it originally.

Do you think our Congress would have voted for and many people have supported the Patriot Act if it had been called what it really is, the “Repeal of the Fourth Amendment Act?” We willingly allowed ourselves to be fooled by not thinking clearly due to fear.

In the next couple of years or sooner, we will likely be challenged again, so get off the couch and think more clearly next time. Your session’s over.  Jesus showed us the way, so be brave. Merry Christmas!

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