Summer of silliness and discontent
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, September 10, 2015


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 hilarious 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 still there.

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 killing cops.

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.

Europe’s immigration 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 leaves office.

Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is a weekly Salem News columnist.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

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