Abusing Their Position

I’ve been meaning to write about this but have found myself busier than usual and I’m not even at the San Diego Comics Con.

A few days ago, I was incensed to see that Congress was attempting to limit the scope of the Federal judiciary system. The House of Representatives voted 260-167 to prevent Federal Courts from considering challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Pledge was first introduced in 1892 when Francis Bellamy, a private citizen, drafted it to use while Chairman of the State Superintendents of Education, a part of the National Education Association. The original wording was, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The Pledge caught on and spread. In 1923, the first alteration occurred at the National Flag Conference when “my flag” became – over Bellamy’s objections — “the flag of the United States of America.”

Then, in 1954, at the height of Cold War hysteria when we’d do anything to prove we were worthier creatures than the godless Communists, the Knights of Columbus massed a huge campaign to add the word “under God”.

I’ve always found the addition of those words troublesome because they weren’t added for anything other than political reasons. To some, the words meant the pledge had become a public prayer.

The challenge currently before the Courts rankles the country’s conservatives because people dare to think differently. People dare to express individual thought or choose to express their affection or disgust with the leadership of this country by acts such as the burning of the American Flag.

The Conservatives whine about “activist judges” when those every judges rule regularly on how the laws passed at the local, state and federal level embrace or embarrass the Constitution. 50 years ago, conservatives no doubt complained bitterly when “activist judges” struck down segregation, integrated the schools or upheld a woman’s right to choose.

And when the conservatives get riled up, they go on the warpath and try to dictate to the rest of us how to live and think. The Conservative Right Wing has such a hold over the Republican Party that the vote this week went pretty much along part lines. A similar bill in the Senate has wisely never even made it out of committee.

The Founding Fathers created the system to ensure checks and balances between the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches and I am deeply offended one is trying to enact laws to inhibit the other from doing its duty. When one branch exceeds it charter, such as the Executive branch’s warrantless searches, that’s one thing. When a court is told what cases it can and cannot hear, that’s something else entirely.

It’s something we need to be vigilant about and make certain that those in favor of laws that restrict our freedoms in favor of a specific ideology be exposed, criticized and hopefully, drummed out of office.

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