June 27, 2006 by lonbud
A Game Of Inches
The U.S. Senate came within one vote Monday of embroiling the entire nation in a pointless debate over the symbolism and sanctity of the American flag. By the count of 66 – 34, a constitutional amendment vesting Congress with the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States failed to gain the two thirds majority required for passage and submission to the states for ratification.
For a crowd who’s always going on about “strict construction” and the “intent of the founders,” Republicans sure seem dissatisfied with the Constitution as written.
The so-called “flag burning amendment” is yet more proof of the Republican party’s elevation of form over substance, coming on the heels of its failed promotion of a constitutional amendment to define “marriage” as a union possible only between a man and a woman.
The past five and a half years in Washington have seen the Congress opt continuously for legislation that fails to address the real desires of the American public or meet the country’s real needs for security and leadership.
Polls have consistently shown the public’s major concerns in recent years to be the war on terrorism, the economy, health care, energy prices, and immigration (not necessarily, or always, in that order). For a longer term perspective on Americans’ perceptions of their most important problems, look here.
The Bush administration and the Republican controlled House and Senate have given the country a war they conned many into supporting based on “intelligence” they knew to be suspect at best, and false in many respects. They committed the country’s armed forces to a war they said could be fought on the cheap, whose monthly tab is currently running over $9.5 Billion, and has risen steadily in each year since its inception. Yet, we are constantly turning the corner and our enemies are in their last throes.
The Bush administration and the Republican controlled House and Senate have engineered an economy that has expanded and brought greater prosperity to its wealthiest participants, while contracting and paying the vast majority of its participants less. The Congress recently refused to increase the Federal minimum wage above $5.15 per hour, the level at which it has remained since 1997. If the minimum wage from 1968 had been merely adjusted for inflation, it would stand today at $9.09.
The Bush administration and the Republican controlled House and Senate sold America sham Medicare reform lesgislation in 2003 that fails to provide adequate health care for millions of Americans, threatens the long-term fiscal health of the nation, and guarantees unconscionable enrichment of the already obscenely wealthy pharmeceutical industry for decades to come.
The Bush administration and the Republican controlled House and Senate have presided over a 200% rise in the price of unleaded gasoline, a 120% rise in the price of heating oil, and an over 300% rise in the price of crude oil since 2001. The President proposed, and the Congress awarded, in energy legislation passed last year, over $2 Billion in tax breaks and incentives to the nation’s major oil companies.
Immigration is the only major area of concern to Americans on which the Administration and Republican leaders in Congress have failed to unite in finding a method for ignoring the needs of the many in favor of the interests of a few.
But yes, let us busy ourselves with considerations of whether the flag needs protection under the constitution, that we may neglect to question the felonious violation of privacy rights already enshrined there. Let us argue the question of whether affairs of the heart may be legislated, that we may fail to notice when the President signs legislation he has no intention to be bound by.
And by all means, let us leave the conduct and reconciliations of our electoral affairs to the proverbial man behind the curtain, for we have well and truly entered the Land of Oz.
Now, where are those Lollipop Kids I’ve heard so much about?