Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gun control and the presidential candidates

Gun control is at times a hot subject in politics, but it is taking a back seat in this Presidential race.  Obama has not taken a direct and strong stand on the issue and Romney has stated that he is a strong supporter of gun rights.  But, the issue has not risen to the top even when we had a couple of big events that have come up in the last few months.

There is no doubt that the Constitution has guaranteed the right for individuals to own and carry guns.  That is true if you believe the document insured that right in a limited way through regulate state militias, or, in the most extreme unlimited way of packing heat anytime, anywhere.  A reading of the Federalist Papers and the documents collected on the debates of the Constitution do not provide any more clarity.  But, one thing is for sure, guns were a part of the frontier life of individuals at the time of the signing of the Constitution.

But, there is another thing for sure.  The Second Amendment, or any of the other amendments for that matter, where not intended to be absolute.  There are reasonable and narrow limits on all the other rights, why should the most volatile of the rights be absolute? 

The Constitution was established for many reasons, but one of the most pressing at the time was that the Articles of Confederation were not working and was not protecting people.  The leadership at the time gathered together in an effort to fix the Articles of Confederation.  But, they found it was best to create a new government.  In the new document that outlined the process of making laws, the Constitution, there were no rights guaranteed.  It was felt that if the government went too far in restricting rights to provide for the safety of the community, the elected officials would be voted out of office and the restrictions would be drawn back.  (This is the reason many at the time believed that voting was more important than all the other rights that could be listed on a piece of paper.) This process created a balance between the freedoms that individuals can practice and the responsibility of the government to protect people.

But, there is a Bill of Rights and all the amendments that have followed over the last two and half centuries.  Also, many rights that are not numerated in the amendments have been carved out to protect an individual’s rights.  These rights, numerated and un-numerated, were added to the Constitution as a base line to guide the legislature, executive and judicial branches not as a proverbial line in the sand. 

There is no argument that can be made, based on the above, that means the ownership, use and possession of guns cannot be limited as long as there is a clear and present danger if action is not taken. 

As stated in the opening, Obama has not taken a direct and strong stand on gun control and Romney made statements in support of gun rights.  Obama having not made a clear statement about his position on gun rights, at the very least, suggests he is in support of reasonable gun control.  Romney, having made his clear statement about the issue, suggests that he is not for reasonable control of guns. 

The Responsible Community supports reasonable gun controls.  The current president, Barack Obama, receives the Responsible Community’s endorsement on this hot issue.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review of the candidates

Let’s take the next two weeks to review the candidates for President and their parties. 

As a basis, this blog is about individuals and communities.  So, the list of issues that we would compare and contrast the candidates about would be those issues that most impact individuals and the communities they live in.  A review of the blog subjects and the positions taken will provide the basis for the conclusions.

Perhaps the first issue is the candidate’s party affiliation.  It was decided to judge the candidates and their party because it is very clear in America today that the parties have taken more control of the debate on issues.  There was a time in American when those holding office in local, state and national positions were independent in their views and did not always support the party they were affiliated with.  As proof of this and with recognition of the passing of someone that crossed the aisle many times, it is important to mention the recent passing of Arlen Spector, the longtime senator from Pennsylvania.  While Republican in party he was an independent in thinking. Using his own conscience to help him decide on issues and not what the party supporters dictated.

Whoever is president, if the president’s party shares power with him, it is the party that will dictate the position on the issues and how they are addressed.  (I say him here because, unfortunately, it is only men who are running for office.) 

As I have discussed before, it is not likely that Romney will be able to stand up to the powers that support the Republican Party.  That doesn’t mean the leadership; it means those that drive the support and the money behind the party.  If the positions he has taken in the past are any indication, he is a moderate leaning to the right.  He was at one time pro-abortion; he did author the health care law in Massachusetts and did support reasonable control over guns in that state.  But, since he began running for president, he has said himself he is an arch conservative.  If Romney was a stronger man, he would have pulled his party into the middle where most of the voters in America are.  But, instead, he took the money and support of those that hold extreme views on the right.  Now, he is stuck and must continue to support his party’s extremist.

As for Obama, if he wins the election, he will be a lame duck president.  Obama will not need to watch the polls for his own good because he is unable to run again.  Knowing this, the powers of the Democratic Party will do everything they can to have him work on their behalf.  As is with Romney, Obama is a moderate but leaning to the left.  He did preside over the enactment of the health care law, is pro-abortion but has done nothing to restrict guns and other civil rights.  The leadership and supporters of the Democratic Party are left leaning.  Obama will be pulled in that direction. 

After considering the above arguments on both sides, it is believed that both Romney and Obama will be under control of their individual parties more than they should be.  Both candidates receive a pass.