Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Purposes of Government

The preamble of the US constitution states clearly the purpose of the federal government and we all need to remember that it covers more than one thing.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Form a more perfect union - At the time the articles of confederation was not working well so the object was to make a more perfect national government. Not a perfect but more perfect. I think we are continuing to work on that idea as we are not perfect yet.

Establish Justice - One of the objectives of the federal government is to provide a level playing field through equal justice for all our citizens.

Insure domestic tranquility - Keeping the peace between citizens is never easy and that is usually been left up to the states and local governments but there have been times when those failed and federal troops had to be sent in to keep the peace.

Provide for the common defense - Some people focus on this provision as the main focus of the federal government and it is important to keep us safe from outside threats.

Promote the general welfare - Some people focus on the "general welfare" as the main effort of our government and this too is important but not more important than all the others.

Secure the blessings of Liberty - Individual liberty is an important part that is often over looked. We have the liberty to make our own choices as long as we do not obstruct the free choice of another. My right ends where the other persons nose begins is the old motto for personal liberty.

All of these proposes for the federal government are equally important and often have to be balanced one with the others. While our "Union" is still not perfect it is the best in the world. Let us keep working to prefect it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Our Anxious Thoughts

Anxious thoughts and a worried mind create troubles of their own. We live in some fast paced times that can cause turbulence in our daily living. Physicians and psychologists tell us that stress is one of the leading causes of illness. Anxiety is rampant in our society. With all the political double talk and the wars and tropical storms and tornado out breaks coming one after the other, is there any wonder we are anxious? There is stress in school, at home and in the work place. I even find that there is sometimes stress in church of all places.

In the Gospel of Luke chapter twelve, Jesus teaches us not to worry about our lives. Now Jesus is not encouraging sloth or living in a shiftless, reckless way. More to the point he is saying do your best and trust in God to take care of the rest. For some of us this is hard to do, if we didn't have anything to worry about, we would worry about not having anything to worry about. Life is way too short to worry about mistakes of the past so that we get bogged down and never move forward. We can learn from our mistakes and then move on to a better life.

Jesus says to fill your soul with great care, seek first the Kingdom of God and all the things that once filled you with worry and oppressed your soul will seem small and petty and of no great concern. Seeking first the Kingdom of God in your life puts everything else in perspective. Read Luke twelve and open your mind to trust in God and feel the love of God in your life. Seek first the will of God for your life and set aside the anxiety over past mistakes and focus on the powerful possibilities for the future. What ever we are right now is just that no more and no less. What ever we are right now is God’s starting place for what we will become.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rebel Flag?

Growing up in Lamesa, Texas I do not remember ever seeing a confederate battle flag flying anywhere.

The first time I remember seeing someone display the rebel flag was in the navy. A radioman from Georgia had them sewn in the lining of his uniform. They were hidden from view until he rolled up his cuff. He was at once a very patriotic American who would willingly die in the service of the United States of America if we went into battle. He was also a true son of Georgia who railed at Sherman's march to the sea as though it happened yesterday. This walking contradiction could not see the irony.

Today I understand the feelings of some people who distrust the federal government and feel the need to rebel in some visible way. The banner of the defeated army of northern Virginia becomes the way to do that. It is a statement of free speech to display that flag and express anger. Individual citizens have that constitutionally guaranteed civil right to display any flag they desire. In our homes we also have the right to display religious symbols as well.

As a mayor I know that there is a big difference between what an individual can do and what a government can rightly do. A government must represent all its citizens equally and not favor one over the other. Doing what is right and fair is not always easy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Supreme Court Rulings

Over the years our US Supreme Court has ruled on laws constitutionally in ways that upset me. The first was Roe v Wade and I still don't like it. I understand it better but it has taken me a long time though to deal with it internally.

Contrary to many opinions the court does not make laws, though it may seem that way, it rules on a law that is contested by citizens. Is the law as it is being used constitutionally correct? While that is all they do their opinions can make a lot of changes in what we do.

Only congress can propose a law. Both houses have to approve it and the president must sign it for the proposal to become law. If the president vetoes that law then both houses must over rule it with a two-thirds majority or it does not become a law. Their laws are not always good laws and some are ruled unconstitutional. It is a messy way to do government but it is a good one with lots of checks and balances.

The nine justices seldom all agree so many rulings are 5 to 4 decisions with descents published. Sorting out the constitutionally of a law is a tricky thing which is why we have an odd number of justices on the court. Either way they go people get angry and want to do away with the court but then we would really have a mess.

I pray for our Supreme Court every day it is in session as they need a lot of wisdom to decide on any case.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

At Odds With Myself

I have some core political beliefs that guide me but at times I am at odds with myself over their application. Some times two of my beliefs are at odds with each other and I need to work out my thoughts on the greater good between them. It is an ongoing struggle with life and living in this republic where there are a lot of differing opinions challenging our choices.

I believe that all levels of government should provide the best possible governance for the least possible tax. All government budgets must balance spending and revenue. Debt should only be incurred in war or great national emergency and then only with a prescribed pay off time. Elected officials should serve their office as an act of service and not as a career. Term limits should be imposed by voters but we often re-elect the same people over and over. As a small city mayor I struggle with all of this as I enjoy being mayor and think about serving another term and argue with my self about my term limit.

No matter which government level is in action we are all here to serve our people in a responsible way. We would like to do everything all but we can not do everything for everyone. We will please some and displease others when we weigh taxes and service to our continuances in office. To provide more service we must raise more revenue and to reduce revenue we must reduce services. Our government is by the people, for the people and sometimes in spite of the people.

National, state and local governments affect people’s lives in a variety of ways and it is not easy to balance our ways and means but we must. I pray every day for all of our elected officials even the ones with whom disagree. Join me in prayer.