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I think the more important goal of this conversation - and it is a very good one I think - would be to try to determine what everyone can agree on.
Nothing is perfect. Changes in social and political policies require a lot of compromise and "tinkering" to effect. Perhaps we can agree that we have a problem. The question then, becomes the approach to a solution. And remember that we don't have to solve anything "once and for all." Obama Care was a start, and it was always recognized that there would have to be changes. People thought Social Security and Medicare were awful as well. What has happened with these two programs is that they have responded to problems over the years, and still try to get better.
Philosophically, I disagree with the notion that the provision of health care should be "competitive" in any way; it should not be a business. It's like suggesting that there should be competition for fire protection and law enforcement. "Hello, this is 911. Please provide you fire or police protection insurance number!" If we're all going to pitch in for these, then it seems logical that we would do the same for healthcare. You have a "right" to police protection but not health care? Seems strange to me.
For me, the point is that change has to start somewhere. An amendment or referendum are among the only direct actions that the populace can attempt. I am concerned about how it all will work, but I support Amendment 69 exactly because it is such an attempt. I'm willing to give it a try and see if it will help. If not, we can try something else, and we almost always will disagree on what will work. We just can't let the disagreement paralyze us. Since we can't accurately predict the outcome (no one has a crystal ball!), let's try it and see what happens. We'll learn important lessons no matter what the result.
Amen brother!! You definitely are preaching to the choir here. The problem is that, for the most part, the politicians like the electoral system just the way it is!! They like gerrymandering, and they like the fact that not everyone votes. It's like the fox guarding the hen house!! We will be going down in flames before either of your suggestions is implemented. Too rational!
I would like to add one more, however. What's with the Tuesday voting? And why does all voting have to happen on one day? There are a LOT of other possibilities. This is just another thing that reduces voter turnout, which I think politicians secretly like!
Actually, more than half of us regularly vote in presidential elections, which is what I'm talking about. The lowest turnout in the past 50 years was 49.5% in 1996. It's the "midterm" elections where the turnout it so low. The highest in the past 50 years was 47.3% (1962) (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html)!
I agree that everyone should vote. I agree so strongly, in fact, that I think you should lose your citizenship if you fail to vote in any two consecutive federal elections! Citizenship is a responsibility, not a right. If you are irresponsible enuf not to participate in our representative process, then I don't think you have the right to call yourself and American!
I LOVE the Shakespeare quote, and agree completely. Whatever is going to happen, the electorate will be responsible...and that's scary!!
I totally agree! My point, however, is that there never will be election finance reform because we are asking the "wolves to regulate the hen house!"
Instituting term limits wouldn't require Congress to do anything. Perhaps even the THREAT of term limits might push them to agree to some type of election financing reform!!
Thanx for your letter. Unlike some of the other correspondents here, I think it is important to consider ALL perspectives on issues. Sometimes, it is possible to be "too close" to an issue to see it clearly, the whole "forest and trees" problem. I think we can benefit from the point of view of those on the outside looking in. In the end, we all inhabit the same Earth!!
According to GunPolicy.org, Canada ranks #12 among nations in terms of gun ownership per 100 people. Various sources list the number of firearms per 100 people as around 30. In the US, the rate is around 90 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/gun-homicides-ownership/table/). According to http://www.cdnshootingsports.org/, Canadians own nearly as many rifles as Americans. There are a LOT of guns in Canada!!
However, Canadian gun violence is almost non-existent. Between 1999 and 2009, the highest number of homicides by gun in Canada was 223 in 2005. In that same year, there were 12,352 gun homicides in the US (http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/compareyears/194/number_of_gun_homicides).
It seems to me that although gun ownership in Canada is not that different from the US, the probability of someone being killed by a gun in Canada is MUCH lower. Although gun control in Canada is also much more restrictive than in the US, I think the low gun homicide rate is more the result of other cultural differences; most Canadians simply would not even THINK to shoot someone!! It is nearly as abhorrent as the thought of cannibalism. In general, Canadians just don't see using a gun as a means of resolving a dispute. By inference, it may be true that Canadians have more respect for human life than Americans.
Canadians love their guns just as much as Americans. I lived in Canada for five (5) years, and many of my friends were hunters or recreational shooters. I never knew any, however, that felt they needed weapons to protect them from either their fellow citizens or their government. I attribute this "absence of paranoia" to a confidence in the ability of people to resolve their differences in peaceful ways, such as thru compromise. In this regard, I find Canadians much more rational than we "continentals." :)
I'm glad you enjoyed Steamboat, Richard. Encourage all your friends to visit!!
The above should have been addressed to Joe, not Travis. Sorry!
Very well said! The constitutional argument is nothing more or less than a way for either "side" to dodge the true issue. As to the nature of the real concern, it could be a paranoid delusion about a day when our democratically elected government and its volunteer military all will decide to "crack down" on us unruly citizens. Or it could be simply that some people feel we'd be safer if everyone is armed to the teeth. Or it might be that some simply object to any type of control by others in their lives.
Whatever the case, arguing the Constitution is a useless waste of time for this issue. As we have seen in our history, the Constitution sometimes has been interpreted first one way and then the other! Our Supreme Court - especially in modern times - seems as inconsistent as our laws themselves. If a ruling goes one way now, what's to keep it from being changed in the future? A more logical, effective, and permanent way to resolve this issue would be thru compromise; let's find a way where both sides "win" at least a part of what they want.
Simply arguing that "I'm right and your wrong" about the Constitution brings to mind two cavemen hitting each other over the head with clubs until one can't take it anymore. Is this the way we want to resolve our differences?
Again, thanx for your insights!
Although well stated, you arguments continue to be a great example of "bait and switch." Your response beings with a statement about freedom, and then you move directly to the 2nd Amendment. The right to be free is not even close to the same thing as being free to do anything you want. Our innate right to freedom does not logically equate to an innate right to own assault rifles with 30-round magazines.
Finally, when you assert facts, such as your statements about gun control laws in Cambodia, China, and Germany, you need to support them. Simply stating something doesn't make it true. Also, neither Po; Pt, Mao, or Hitler were democratically elected as dictator of their countries, so eve if your assertion is true, it is not a relevant comparison.
What do you think about finding a set of compromises on this issue? Why does one perspective have to be 100% right or 100% wrong?
Thanx for the well-considered and well-written comments.
Unfortunately, it seems to me that the facts are not currently or ever going to be the essence of this debate. Even "facts" are disputable!
This has become an emotional issue. One "side" yells at the other, and the other "side" yells back. It reminds me of a squabble between young children!
This is very complex, and involves much more than gun laws. There is a relatively small group, represented by those such as Tom (above), for whom this is an issue that involves a larger "conspiracy" to control our society. There are those who find justification for their position in religious beliefs. This debate is a reflection of how disjointed and selfish our society has become. We find it difficult to consider the whole, emphasizing individual desires and needs instead.
We have always been an "individualistic" society. The people who first came to the New World left Europe partly because of restrictions on their freedoms as individuals. Today, we probably represent the MOST individualistic society on Earth! Individual freedoms, however, often come at the "expense" of the society as a whole. Contrast our approach with societies like Japan, or even Scandinavia, where accomplishments that benefit the "whole" are valued more highly than those benefiting the individual.
This is especially true in the West, which was settled by people who found even the "new order" of American freedom too "confining." It is no accident that passions for individual rights are high in our region.
I think the facts are very important, but I don't think they ultimately will be persuasive.
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