Friday, August 28, 2009
Speakers will include: Emcee Scott Sidney, a regional coordinator for AFP; Conservative radio talk show host, Jerry Bader; long time activist for the Wisconsin Prosperity Network, Linda Hansen; Pastor David King, founder of Milwaukee's God Squad (Who will hopefully not be using the same metaphors he used in Madison- but then, he is a democrat willing to speak against the profligate spending coming out of D.C.); Mark Block, state director for AFP; Dr. Phil Zimmermann, resident physician at the UW-Madison and director of WisconsinRepublic.org and Bob Basso as Thomas Paine.
It sounds like it should be a wonderful mix of speakers. I have a schedule conflict, but if I can manage around it, I plan to attend.
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I received a back to school reminder from the folks at Wisconsin Family Action that contained a useful link to a list of back to school resources for Christian families from Wisconsin Family Council. Among those resources is a video on student's rights to live their faith at school. As I was looking at that link, I was recalling my own experiences with the public school system. I think there is another resource parents desperately need if, for some reason, they cannot homeschool their children.
I have written a post at the AFB on this issue and I encourage you to read the post and the discussion which follows -if you have not already done so. If you don't have time, the short version is that school officials, acting "in loco parentis" are able to interrogate your child at school, without notifying you, for the entirety of the school day, if your child is implicated in any way to have been even contemplating a crime or any activity for which charges could be brought against your child. They do not have to notify you. They may lie to your child in order to coerce a confession and they are not required to tell your child what his/her rights are in this situation.
Now most of you are probably thinking, that won't happen to my child, so this isn't an issue for me. What if your child upsets another child, or another child simply wants to be mean? We all know that children can be unpredictable. All that is necessary for this sort of interrogation to occur is one child telling a teacher or principle they heard your child saying something that could be perceived as a threat to the school or another student. A frustrated statement of " They make me so mad, I could just kill them." about another student would be sufficient, in some situations, to lead to such questioning. Once such an interrogation session has been initiated, it is my feeling that the school official feels an obligation to obtain a confession of some sort to justify their actions in questioning your child.
Are you an outspoken parent who opposes the plans of the local school board? While I would prefer to think such tactics would be beneath most school administrators, it is possible that such an interrogation could be used to shut you up.
The bottom line is, you need to protect your child from this procedure at school. Even if they are the greatest kid in the world they are not safe from the mischief that can result from envy or malice. You owe your child this duty of protection if you are sending them to a public school. And if your child is the type of kid who would do such things? He/She needs your protection too. We all are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and we all have a Constitutional right to have an attorney present during questioning. That includes your child, innocent or guilty. (If you child is guilty, there is a place in the process for confessions, but that place is not under the interrogation of school officials.)
Your school administration will undoubtedly argue that their questioning cannot be used in a court, but the judge can certainly ask the arresting officer why they arrested and charged your child. The answer "school officials told me the child had confessed to this crime" is permissible.
Send the school a letter rescinding their authority to act "in loco parentis" in the event that your child is being questioned about anything for which they could be criminally charged. Hopefully, you will never need it, but just in case you do, you'll be glad you did.
Below is a generic form of the letter that I used. I am not a lawyer and I have no idea how this would be regarded in a court, should it come to that. I hope it will at least give your school administration enough of a reality check that you will be informed if your child is ever in this situation.
"This letter is to rescind the school district’s right to act “in loco parentis” to my child in the event that he is being questioned about any matter that could involve criminal charges being brought against him. Just as I would not expect you to act as a doctor in the event of a serious injury, I do not expect you to act as legal counsel in this situation.
Whether you recognize it formally or not, when you question a student about a crime, you are acting as an agent of the state and that is a direct conflict of interest with your status of acting “in loco parentis” to my child when he is a student in your school. I recognize that this is a challenge for you and that you feel duty bound to act in the best interests of the school at large.
With that in mind, I cannot in good conscience put my child or you in such a position. Therefore, I must insist, that in the extremely unlikely event that my child should be in such a situation, I require immediate notification. I also forbid any questioning of my child unless he has a parent or a lawyer who is acting on his behalf present at the time of such questioning.
I would also encourage the school board to recognize the serious consequences of such questioning in today’s world. There are many ways for students to be brought to the attention of school administrators for such questioning, ranging from actual criminal actions to the malice of other students or adults. Should students be questioned about a crime without even having a parent present? Is that really in the best interests of our students? What does that teach them about their Constitutional rights? I encourage the school board to review current policy and make appropriate changes."
"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. " ~Deut 6:7
Monday, August 17, 2009
I keep hearing people refer to "our democracy". I think I have posted on this before, but as it continues to be a bee in my bonnet, I wanted to give it another shot.
The United States of America is a REPUBLIC. (Technically, a Constitutional republic with a strong democratic tradition, but I digress.) It was formed as a republic because, in the words of our founders:
"Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death." ~ James Madison
The reason for the short and violent lives of democracies? In a word - greed. "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." ~Thomas Jefferson
When someone claims that we have or want to have a democracy, they are declaring either:
- that they are uninformed as to what a democracy really is; or
- that they want our government overthrown quickly; or
- that they are too lazy to be precise in their terminology.
Some may find this to be mere quibbling, but it is not. When one or two people are sloppy about terminology in a casual setting, that is forgivable. Most of us are not walking around with dictionaries to hand. (Although, there are those of you with i-net access through your cell phones.) But when our electorate is content to hear our elected officials push this or that legislation in support of our "democracy", or because it's the "democratic" thing to do, we have a problem. When we do not call them to task about their use of the word democracy to describe our form of government, we have a problem. When our elected officials claim they have voted a particular way because that's what a majority of their constituents wanted and they think that's okay because that's how a democracy works, and no one objects to that reasoning, something is monumentally wrong with our country. ( I won't even address the folly of spreading democracy across the globe. Spread freedom and independence based on man's God given rights? Yes but leave democracy to those who lack the ability to exercise personal responsibility.)
Now I realize that I may appear to be on thin ice here. I am reading scathing commentaries about certain elected officials who plan to ignore the expressed will of their constituents and return to Congress to vote for the egregiously proposed HR 3200 or one of the other freedom restricting, money wasting, unconstitutional health care plans currently on the table in DC. I am not saying that I approve of those monstrosities. But we do have a republic. And that means our elected legislators are supposed to be voting for what is best for the country, not what the majority wants.
Our legislators are supposed to be voting in a way that preserves our republic and our freedoms, not their power or popularity. (HR 3200 infringes egregiously on both our republic and our freedoms.) Voting in a way that encourages Americans to exercise their freedoms while maintaining their personal responsibility and independence. Not voting for bloated government programs that take away our ability and incentives to pay our own way. Not voting for entitlements and charity. Charity is not the business of a republican form of government except when that government wants to buy power from the people in order to impose some form of tyranny upon them.
Dr.D, one of my readers, recently sent me a commentary entitled: "What Samuel said about Solomon" in which Mr. Frank Chodorov remarks on the change in governmental form that occurred when the Israelites demanded to have a king, like other countries.
The Israelites were a self-governed people, answerable to God and their communities for their behavior and actions. "It was a conservative society; adherence to proven principles was the only way by which the pursuit of happiness could be furthered. That which was "right" in the tribesman's eyes was "right" by custom, tradition and the laws of Yahweh, to the enumeration of which the Old Testament, before the Book of Joshua, devoted much space. Freedom is not license."
In this commentary, the author notes that the people grew weary of taking responsibility for their own decisions. That, instead of thinking and planning and behaving in the way that allowed the most individual freedom for each person, they wanted to give up their freedom in order to relieve themselves of the concurrent risks and responsibilities. He also notes the consequences for giving up that freedom and personal responsibility.
"The immediate occasion for the revolutionary demand was what we would today call an emergency. In fact, there were two emergencies. In foreign affairs things were going badly for Israel; the Philistines had not only beaten them roundly in battle, but also made off with the sacred ark of the covenant.
On the domestic front, they had lost faith in their leadership. The two sons of Samuel, whom he had appointed as assistants, did not live up to the high standards of their office; they had "turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment."
Samuel seems to have been a political scientist of the first water, all the more remarkable in that he had no books to go by, but only his wisdom and his observation of kingship in operation. So that, when the elders said "make us a king to judge us like all the nations," he was displeased. The story says that he took the matter up with Yahweh, who assured him that nothing could be done about saving the Israelites from themselves, since they had given up on first principles.
It was because they had forsaken the rigorous tradition of their forefathers, with its insistence on self-reliance and personal integrity, that they had lost the victorious touch that carried them from Egypt to the outskirts of the Promised Land. The breakdown of the judge system could be traced to the same lack of self-discipline. Therefore, said Yahweh, give them what they ask for, but as a parting shot you might "shew them the manner of the king that shall rule over them"; and tell them also that when they realize their mistake, it will be too late to regain freedom: "The Lord will not hear you in that day.
"Ye Shall Be Servants
So Samuel outlined the order of things under a king. First, there will be conscription, replacing the system of voluntarism that had served the tribesmen well throughout their peregrinations, and the conscription will not be confined to military service but will include service in the king's household. What's more, women too will be subject to involuntary servitude. Then, "he will appoint his captains over thousands and captains over fifties."The term "captain" is ambiguous, referring sometimes to men of war, sometimes to what we would call nobles, sometimes (by the kind of work assigned to them) to bureaucrats; it was in the reigns of David and Solomon that "captain" took on many meanings.
And, continued Samuel, the king will take from you the best of your lands "and give them to his servants," thus establishing a landed aristocracy, which the laws of Moses clearly forbade. What's more, for the upkeep of his establishment "he will take a tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards"; apparently, compulsory taxation was new among the Israelites. To top it all off, "ye shall be his servants."
I find myself wondering if this insistence on calling the American form of government a democracy is a way of distancing ourselves from our responsibility to monitor our legislators. I wonder, in the face of the stimulus spending(under Bush as well) , cap and trade and HR3200 if our legislators, who continually refer to this country as a democracy, are aware of what they are doing by perpetuating the idea that we have a democracy.
The way this nation was set up insured a good government only if "We the People" remain vigilant. I believe we may be seeing a return to the vigilance necessary to maintain our freedoms, but I wonder if it has not come too late. We have been deceived into becoming a culture which believes that it is better to pay taxes to have somebody else take care of our ill and elderly than to be forced to care for them ourselves in our homes and communities. The inevitable consequence is that our culture places decreasing value on individual lives. Instead of welcoming the opportunity to care for the woman who bore you and raised you and sacrificed to put food in your mouth, grandma is now regarded as a burden.
Why shouldn't our younger voters see communism or collectivism as desirable? We have not instilled in them the reverence for life and individual value that is the mainstay of our freedoms. The value system that best promotes freedom, independence and personal responsibility, that of Christianity, has been thoroughly mocked and derided in order to accommodate those who wish to live in ways that are costly to society as a whole. Men are no longer encouraged to marry the mothers of their children. Women are encouraged to kill their children if they become pregnant at an inconvenient time. Marriage itself is mocked and made fun of even as those who wish to live in the self destructive lifestyle that is homosexuality attempt to co-opt the term to give themselves an appearance of moral respectability.
There is a real danger in using vocabulary incorrectly. Words must mean what we, as a society think they mean or we cannot have a functioning society. We can no longer be sloppy about the difference between a republic and a democracy or we will lose our republic.
"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day. But a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly proves a deliberate systematic plan of reducing us to slavery." – Thomas Jefferson
"And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.
And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city." ~ 1 Samuel 8:18-22