Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Champion of Equality & Justice

Martin Luther King, Jr. stated it more eloquently than anyone: "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.".  Let's spend his holiday reflecting on those powerful sentiments and how we can fulfill that promissory note.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chief Justice Roberts' Statement on Shooting Death of Judge John Roll

United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts released the following statement on the murder of Judge Roll:

“The violence in Arizona today has senselessly taken five lives and inflicted tragic loss on dedicated public servants and their families. We in the judiciary have suffered the terrible loss of one of our own. Chief Judge John Roll was a wise jurist who selflessly served Arizona and the nation with great distinction, as attorney and judge, for more than 35 years. I express my deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his children, as well as the other victims and their families. Chief Judge Roll’s death is a somber reminder of the importance of the rule of law and the sacrifices of those who work to secure it.”

I concur.

Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”

Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Liberty Depends on Us

"Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss liberty."  Patrick Henry (1788).

James Madison put it another way - if men were angels, there would be no need for government - but since men are not angels, they need a government - but who is to watch the government?  We must.

The simple reality is that human history clearly bears out that, as Lord Acton stated, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  That is why we have a government of laws - established under a written Constitution - with certain protections for everyone - including tremendous checks on the power of the government.  Still, that is not enough.  The people must always guard their liberties, or the protections in the Constitution will be meaningless.  Americans, stay on guard - if you want to be free.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Need for Courage

In response to a corrupt plan to protect the Virginia speaker of the house for making personal loans with public money, Patrick Henry (then a brand new legislator) harked:   “What, sir? It is proposed then to reclaim the spendthrift from his dissipation and extravagance by filling his pockets with money?”  Henry has a great deal to teach us.

In particular, at the time, Henry's questioning was an affront to the elites of Virginia.  The speaker had made loans from the public treasury to his political allies in the House.  When losses mounted, they decided to create a public loan office to bail out the speaker.  Most would simply have looked the other way, but Henry would have none of it.

His effort failed, but Henry's bold questioning of the top political and social leader of his state not only gained Henry great allies, but it established his reputation as a courageous leader who put the public good first.  Later, Henry would would be the first to challenge the Stamp Act (i.e., taxation without representation), which eventually led to the American Revolution.

This is the leadership we need today.