Readers comments 10-6-17
Our practice of conflict
Kris Meyer’s entire argument (COURIER, September 29) rests on a view that is undoubtedly correct: there is a “hierarchy” of governments and the laws of a higher entity “supersede” those of a lower level.
But he implicitly adds to that view another very mistaken idea: that the lower governmental bodies and their laws must at all times and at all costs do nothing to contravene what the highest body decrees. Otherwise we have “lawlessness.”
If that assumption is carried to its logical conclusion, we arrive at the Führer principle that the highest authority cannot be questioned: he or she who must be obeyed.
This country is not founded on such a principle. We recognize there is at all times a conflict of ideas, interests and powers between the component elements of our nation.
The Supreme Court settles some of those disputes—others end up being settled by elections. And some need not, even cannot, be settled, at least not in the short run. Those arrangements are not “lawlessness.” It is not as if there is no sheriff in town and unlawful behavior runs wild in the streets. Everything Mr. Meyer cites as a violation of his vision of the final word are items in our practice of conflict.
Mr. Meyer ends up blaming the Democratic party for this state of affairs. But that is hard to swallow when we have examples of Roy Moore being elected senator and Sheriff Joe Arpaio being lionized by a certain president, despite their acknowledged violation of rules enacted by their superiors in the hierarchy.
I can’t help but get a good chuckle when I read conservatives talk about the Constitution, blessed order, the purity of the letter of the law, the never-ending threat to the Second Amendment (this in a country that has something like 300 million guns in circulation!), the general going-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket hand-wringing at which they are so expert.
They can go from Leave It To Beaver to A Clockwork Orange in the matter of a few sentences. So I guess it is okay for many in our current administration to question the free speech rights of NFL football players (What First Amendment?) and to hold out for almost a year preventing former President Obama the right to appoint his choice for the Supreme Court such that a Scalia-like conservative can be inserted under the next president’s term, to mention just two things.
And what about the argument for states’ rights that all these folks yammered on about during Mr. Obama’s perceived (by them) federal dictatorship? I think what it boils down to is if they like something, all of these arguments go out the window. When they don’t like something, they dust off the usual outrage.
On another note, if one really craves an organized society with no gray areas or messy issues with which to grapple, I highly recommend the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale as a source of possible inspiration.