Spring 2013 is off to an interesting start. Though it may not be one for the record books, it has been a period of incredible contrasts, of good experiences and not so good ones, memories I may not soon forget, and some that I would like to forget.
First, who knew that after experiencing one of the driest summers in recent history, that today we are hoping for a little dry weather so we can complete planting this year’s corn crop?
The two or three days the first week of April, in some areas, is the only window where ground temperatures and relatively dry soil were conducive to getting out there and putting seed into the ground.
On the national scene, who knew we would witness more incredible displays of violence and mayhem?
We heard about murders in Newtown, Conn., and elsewhere in Colorado and Texas. Then, there was the Boston marathon. Runners and bystanders took a direct hit as the alleged bombers exploded homemade devices along the route, killing three and wounding more than a hundred.
Currently, a debate is brewing over whether the surviving bombing suspect should be read his Miranda rights, a legal statement mandated to be read to all born and naturalized U.S. citizens upon their arrest for any alleged criminal activity.
According to Yahoo News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a naturalized citizen.
A non-scientific survey on the Fox News website indicates overwhelming support for withholding the Miranda rights from Tsarnaev.
Apparently, few people understand the Constitution’s provisions, much less the Bill of Rights and subsequent laws, protecting American citizens from unlawful arrest and prosecution without due process.
Not that anyone, including yours truly, doesn’t demand an appropriate response by law enforcement, judicial investigation and prosecution of the perpetrator of this horrible act. We are part of a nation that protects all rights of all of its people. We even protect those who are charged with breaking the law and demand they remain innocent until proven guilty.
Not long ago, someone said, “I despise history.” Not that an obsessive focus on the past is a good thing, but we ignore learning the lessons of the past at our own peril.
Dare we ignore the terrible cost of the last Great War, of the holocaust and the incredible loss of life? Dare we forget any of the lessons learned from this?
Dare we forget the incredible burden our founding fathers took upon themselves as they debated the merits and meaning of each word within the documents? Words like “equal,” “liberty,” “pursuit,” “happiness.” What about concepts like “freedom from oppression and tyranny”?
Hidden within each word or phrase are dozens, even hundreds, of anecdotal stories and tales that reinforce their resolve to create a more perfect Union.
Ignorance of the incredible cost that paid for our freedom, not to mention the lack of understanding about our laws, how our freedom and rights as citizens can be taken away, simply because we have no understanding of them and are not willing to fight for them, is no excuse.
Ignorance is not bliss. It can become the soil, the incubator of increasing anarchy and oppression.
Fox News—hardly the bastion of objective news reporting, but no more partisan than CNN on the other side—posted an article on the website about House Speaker John Boehner’s recent decision to build a coalition with the Democrats, bypassing ultra conservatives’ opposition to legislation and moving forward with his agenda.
Not surprisingly, Kansas Congressman, Tim Huelskamp, is outspoken in his opposition to Boehner’s strategy.
In retrospect, had Boehner implemented this strategy six months ago, it is a high probability that a farm bill would have been passed by the House, with a workable bill moving through the joint Ag Committee, and a new farm bill would have been signed by the president.
According to my sources, informal whip counts support this assumption, though the outcome was not guaranteed.
That said, Speaker Boehner should be applauded for his willingness to set his personal preferences aside and actually focus on his mandate to govern effectively through bipartisan cooperation, rather than allow a minority faction of his own party to dominate strategy.
Moving forward, House leaders signal their intent to move forward with the markup of farm bill legislation, provided no credible resistance is forthcoming.
Senate leaders, however, though they indicated earlier that mark-up of the farm bill on their side would occur no later than the week of April 20, remain uncertain now that the self-imposed deadline is past.
Lastly, it was an incredible sight to see: Cherry blossoms were everywhere in our nation’s capital. Nature really put on a show this time, even though it was a few weeks late.