Valley News – Forum, June 27: Trying to circumvent the Constitution
Posted: 6/26/2021 22:00:06 PM
Modified: 06/26/2021 22:00:06
In his June 6 editorial (“Originalism” and the Second Amendment), Randall Balmer toured the barn to explain that it is much easier to seat sympathetic judges and lawmakers than to convince a majority of voters in a substantial majority of States of the infinite wisdom of his ideological compatriots, the amendment process by which the Constitution really “lives” should be bypassed in favor of the interpretation of the hour.
It does not matter whether the express purpose of a legal document is to prevent circumvention of its provisions by means of specious and timely interpretations, or whether its original meaning and intention are the only significant limits to the interpretation of a document other than common sense, something for which those who consider themselves exceptionally wise are not noted.
As for the Second Amendment – which, notwithstanding the specious and self-serving implications to the contrary, recognizes (rather than grants) the inherent right of the “people”, and not of the militia, to bear arms – those who drafted the Constitution would have been aware of the early efforts to advance firearm technology beyond the single-shot muzzle-loading musket, which cannot be said of the telegraph, the telephone, the cinema, the radio, television or the Internet. Does this mean that our First Amendment rights are also ripe for violation? A growing number of so-called liberals profess to believe it.
I was disheartened by how opposition to critical race theory has become a rallying cry for people who apparently do not want our democratic institutions to survive. The crucial issue, in my opinion, is not critical race theory but white supremacy. White supremacy is the belief that white lives are worth more than other lives.
I think it’s important to avoid getting caught up in arguments about critical race theory, just as it’s important to avoid arguing over who’s racist and who isn’t. Nothing is accomplished in this argument, and there will be no effort to seek a common commitment to actions and policies that will allow our democracy to be fairer and all of our citizens to be treated more fairly.
I recently found it useful to re-read A History of the Indigenous Peoples of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. It documents how our nation was founded on the principle of white supremacy and the resulting hatred for indigenous peoples, who were the targets of genocide by many early settlers and political leaders. Anyone who wants to rest comfortably in the narrative of this country colonized by heroic immigrants from Europe should consider the fact that America was founded on the white supremacist belief that it was okay to enslave Africans and exterminate the Native Americans.
How sobering to realize that before the arrival of Europeans there were around 100 million people in this hemisphere. Two hundred years later, the indigenous population of the hemisphere was wiped out – only about 10% of the original population remained. In the part now known as the United States, this ethnic cleansing occurred at the same time as the importation and enslavement of millions of blacks. This was followed by the dehumanizing treatment of Hispanic and Asian immigrants.
So, let’s not get distracted by discussing critical race theory. Let us honestly consider the real history of our nation, which is inextricably linked with white supremacy. Is this what we want to pass on to the next generation? I hope not.
JOHN C. MORRIS
I wince whenever I see prime farmland that has been turned into a solar farm with solar panels covering what was once farmland. I now see a suggestion in the Forum to grow solar panels at the Norwich Farm Creamery (“Turning Norwich Creamery Land into a Solar Farm”, June 15). Please don’t do this, for we need food just as we need energy.
Fortunately, my parents placed conservation easements on my family’s land with the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture and the Upper Valley Land Trust. We could have destroyed that farmland and grown small houses on it, but we didn’t.
My solar panels are on the roof and I get 35% of my electricity from it. With technological changes, I can change them and maybe have more electricity. Time will tell us.
I see many opportunities to install solar panels elsewhere and not destroy the land we grow our food on. There are many “big box” stores and small industrial plants, all with flat roofs, or closed and covered landfills which would all be ideal for solar panels.
Before we convert more farmland to industrial use, we should look at the memorable 1975 again. Valley News photograph, taken along Route 12A in western Lebanon, of the “Golden Arches” on one side of the road and in front of them a farmer on a tractor harvesting maize. This farmland is now an asphalt parking lot that will never produce food again. Does anyone want to eat asphalt?
Treat the precious farmland we have in this valley like the irreplaceable treasure that it is.