2006-07-14 / Columnists

The Progressive

Summertime Thoughts
By John Paul Culotta


When the weather is hazy, hot, and humid, it is time to consider the enjoyments of life. A summertime cinema excursion, ice cream, a day at the beach, a family vacation make us whole after the cold hard business of life.

It is easy for all of us to forget the concerns and problems that face us as a people. Americans deserve a say in their daily lives. Instead our elected officials and business leaders use smoke and mirrors to confuse us from our real needs and concerns. As we enjoy this summer, we should not forget there will be an important election this fall.

Our nation is blessed with a federal system of government. Our Constitution is considered one of the best cornerstones of government around the world.

We have a system that allows our local state government to decide the issues of family organization, inheritance, and medical treatment. Conservatives may be correct when they claim the courts have overstepped their bounds in deciding these issues for the entire nation. Abortion rights, many believe is the parvenu of each state.

Family organization or marriage is usually the parvenu of the states.

Constitutional amendments to limit the power of our states are dangerous precedents. Americans understand that the Bush administration's proposal to define marriage in our constitution is a cheap political ploy. Our constitution has only been amended in the past to increase the rights of Americans. If any amendment is needed-it is an amendment to abolish the electoral system in electing a president. It should be noted that political chicanery and subterfuge will not resolve the issues of military disasters abroad, poor terrorism prevention planning, high energy costs, our inadequate response to a natural disaster, a dysfunctional health care delivery system, and the widening gap between the economic groups that exist in our nation.

It is noteworthy that the only time an amendment restricted American rights was the great experiment of prohibition. It caused enormous problems for our nation and resulted in another amendment to terminate the experiment.

This spring the media informed us that more Americans voted for the American Idol candidates than in any nationwide election. Many comment that Americans do not value their right to vote.

In 2000, the Supreme Court made it clear the American electorate does not have a constitutional right to vote for president-only for electors their state legislatures selected. When Americans go to work, their rights to free expression are sometimes grossly restricted. Many see the new Supreme Court decision regarding government whistleblowers as a benefit to corrupt and closed government. Americans need to have a say in their workplaces, school policies, and safeguards from unnecessary government intrusion into their electronic communication. In this city the Department of Education makes policy without active participation of the parents. PTAs are generally fund-raising vehicles to give principals discretionary funds. Workplaces do not operate as envisioned by business management gurus. Democratic practices rarely exist and most employees fell weak and alienated. Profit maximization for the few in the short run is believed to be success rather than building a long-term permanent economy for all.

During the summer all of us drive more. Please remember to drive safely. I have seen the suffering that car crashes cause families. We should also lobby local officials for better designs of our road, streets, and highways. Safe, cheap and more efficient mass transport is a way to reduce congestion and alleviate the accident rate.

President Carter is doing yeoman work through his Peace Center. Many of us rate the man as a poor administrator when he was president. Despite this his commitment to peace, justice, and the democratic process is noteworthy. He is truly a national treasure.

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