Labor Day behind us, I’ll
try to sum up the summer of our discontent.
Beginning locally with the
silly stuff before moving on to life and death issues: Went to the
Marblehead Community Store for Labor Day cookout food, forgot to
take my cloth bags. Had to put peaches and crackers in huge
flattened dead tree.
Though I’d been
stockpiling for a year, I’m almost out of plastic bags to put my
leftover cat food and kitty litter in since the Marblehead ban went
into effect last spring. Look out Massachusetts: the busybodies
aren’t content with just annoying shoppers in a few communities;
they want to make the plastic ban statewide. Reminds me of part of a
George Carlin routine:
“The planet has been
through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes,
plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots,
magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles — hundreds of
thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and
meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion,
cosmic rays, recurring ice ages ... And we think some plastic bags
and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?”
He then goes on to
theorize that the reason human beings were created was to use oil to
make plastic for the Earth, which likes plastic.
I was still laughing at
that theory when late Sunday night, I got a Facebook posting of two
dogs: one a black lab with a sign “Black Labs Matter” and the other
a yellow lab with a sign “All Labs Matter.”
There has been a Black
Labs Matter group encouraging black lab adoptions. Someone who
wanted to make fun of the Black Lives Matter group insisting we’re
not allowed to say “All lives matter,” added the yellow lab with his
“All labs matter” sign.
Finding this hilarious, I
posted the two dogs on my Facebook page. It seemed especially
appropriate for the weekend: I wished everyone who agrees with the
yellow lab a Happy Lab(or) Day.
The next morning it was
gone from my Facebook page — and I learned, from others’ pages too.
Hmmm. Who could be offended by a yellow lab?
I am tired of “offended by
free speech,” whether mine, yours or Rover’s. What happened to the
First Amendment? Anyhow, I put the dogs back and so far they are
This reminds me of a
favorite quote from E.B. White: “A despot doesn’t fear eloquent
writers preaching freedom — he fears a drunken poet may crack a joke
that will take hold.”
Another variation of this
is the Donald Trump campaign. After being initially appalled, I
finally got it: Trump is the antithesis of politically correct, the
anti-PC candidate. For those of us who think that political
correctness is one of the reasons our republic is falling apart, his
candidacy is a welcome and essential attack on it. Not sure what
happens next — best case scenario, all the other Republicans also
refuse to be politically correct, while, I would hope, refusing to
pander during the primary season to the religious right.
First September test of
the latter: candidates’ response to the Kentucky county clerk who on
religious grounds refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses
to gay couples, and then, oddly, to anyone at all. Since she was
elected, not appointed, she can’t be fired, and she won’t resign.
She was jailed for refusing to honor a court order that she do the
job for which the taxpayers (including gays) pay her, and was just
released because her deputies are now issuing licenses.
Another favorite quote:
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who, as a justice of the Supreme
Judicial Court of Massachusetts, wrote “A policeman may have a
constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional
right to be a policeman.”
Again I ask: What happened
to the First Amendment? When did some public officials and
candidates decide they should impose their religious opinions on the
rest of society? So far, supporting the county clerk: Jindal,
Walker, Ted Cruz, “unequivocally,” Huckabee. I suspect the first
three are just pandering, but Huckabee does seem to want the U.S. to
become his little theocracy.
Trump, Fiorina, and Kasich
want the clerk to do her job or resign. I can’t determine the
position of Jeb or Rubio. Rand Paul of Kentucky didn’t think she
should have been jailed. As her senator, he should give her a copy
of the federal Constitution, which does give equal protection under
the law. Gay marriage is the law: Everyone get over it and let’s
move on to serious things.
I have solutions to the
above crazy stuff. Ridicule liberals and religious-right
conservatives who won’t mind their own business (All labs matter!)
Jail anyone in Black Lives Matter who is seen inciting to riot or
Can’t mention the summer without mentioning the
stock market. I’m no expert: just planning to watch my DVD of “Too
Big to Fail” again soon.
My ongoing solution to the
ongoing illegal immigration issue: No, the United States can’t allow
everyone who wants to come here to cross our border and settle in,
collecting taxpayer benefits. But at least we are working on
solutions about illegal immigrants from the Western Hemisphere, who
share some of our culture and can assimilate if they want.
problem is beyond horrible. Now we see the meaning, and impact, of
the phrase “failed state,” as Syria’s Muslims leave their homes and
try to occupy the European welfare states — not to mention
overrunning the little Greek island of Lesbos. Some Europeans demand
that we take some of them.
As we did with some
Vietnamese and Cambodians, we should accept Iraqis and Afghans who
worked with us when we were waging war in their countries. But as
with Hispanics, we can’t take in all the persecuted and
poverty-stricken people in the world, nor can Europe.
The solution is what our
Founding Fathers saw, from their knowledge of the horrible state of
much of the world they knew: Create a country that will set an
example for other countries’ citizens to aspire to create for
themselves. But this won’t happen while Obama is president. I
predict we’ll have several more seasons of our discontent before he
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is a weekly Salem