July Letters to Jim: The Supreme Court, Guns, elections, just VOTE
Well, the end of June sure brought on a shit show of issues to rile up the nation. Just wait until the heat kicks in, the AC is not working, and tempers really flare up. It’s enough to make me want to leave the country for the next couple of months. All I have to offer the masses is a little fan mail. I suggest reading it while enjoying your favorite beverage or four.
Have you been watching the congressional hearings about the events of January 6, 2021? Have you any new thoughts to add to what has unfolded? If Trump has not committed any crime, then what constitutes one? Riveted
I have yet to sit through any of the meetings. What I have done is read about the days’ meetings and have been impressed just how deep the congressional investigation has dug. No one can say this group rushed to any conclusions. They have taken their time and have gone to great lengths to ensure the evidence they have presented has been supported by testimony from key figures, many of whom sat in meetings, took notes, and have had the courage to stand up to the former president and his people.
I still think what is more interesting is what is happening behind the scenes, especially in the justice department. Have they been quietly digging deeper and finding even more evidence that will result in the arrest of Trump or are they trying to avoid the pressure that would come from putting him on trial? Imagine if they arrest him and end up failing to convict him? They may prefer to just let the congressional committee damn Trump enough that he is finished politically.
As for the evidence that has come forward, I am not that surprised by it and I am especially not surprised to see the level of involvement Trump had in all of it. For once, he is in a fight where he is unable to control how things unfold and for a control freak like him, that must be infuriating.
Keep one other thing in mind, while all of this is going on, there is another fight taking shape for who the next GOP presidential candidate is. If you lean to the right but do not want Trump, just know there are several potential candidates who are now emboldened to let out their far right thinking to make it seem acceptable. Ron DeSantis is the most likely person to inherit the GOP mantle currently. If he succeeds, keep in mind he has had no problem letting his far-right way of thinking become the norm of political action in Florida.
Now that the Supreme Court has overturned a woman’s right to abortion, how will this affect the nation? Is the court justified with their ruling? If so, why has it always been upheld by the court in the past?
Like you, I am saddened by the decision, but not surprised. This is the result of a court stacked with conservative justices, one of which, Thomas, who have wanted to do this since they landed their gigs on the bench. Thomas is not going to stop with abortion. He has already publicly stated he wants to go after gay marriage and other right-wing issues. He feels emboldened to speak out more of late and seems to be wanting to encourage more far right appeals to the court.
In the end, Thomas and the other four who voted with him have only shown the current makeup of the court is politically driven and seem determined to use their advantage as much as possible. Their biggest goal must be undoing voter laws that will make voting more difficult for left leaning minority voters so as to endure a Republican being elected to the White House and a conservative majority in both houses.
If this continues, President Biden will regret not stacking the court while he had both houses of congress to support him. Come fall, he will likely see the loss of at least one of the houses which will make stacking the court and adding more liberal judges to the bench impossible.
If you are a centrist or left leaning voter, you have plenty of reasons now to get up and vote this fall. If we sit back and continue to just take this sort of undoing of American rights, we are saying we surrender to the far right and can expect to live in a much different country than we do now.
You stated recently the new bipartisan gun deal will do nothing to curb gun violence. Why is this?
Guns Scare Me
Guns scare me too and this new legislation will make sure we remain scared. The reason for this is it does nothing to change the culture of gun ownership or decrease the access to semi-automatic weapons. This new legislation is placing money into making schools safer and allows people to bring to attention those who might be nuts. What it doesn’t do is decrease the number of guns already in the hands of others.
It’s saying it is against the law to be crazy but not against the law to own an AK-47. It says our government will make schools safer, something they have yet to do since Columbine, but it is still okay to own guns and not keep them locked up. It says it is okay to turn in your neighbor who you think is batshit crazy just because he looks at you and owns a gun but does nothing to curb our cultural thirst for all things violent.
If you want to curb gun violence, you must start by ridding guns from the entertainment industry. This means our love of TV shows, films, and video games that use a gun in any form. If gun use never enters the minds of our children, it is much less likely they become gun owners. If you think that is BS, look at similar studies involving cigarettes or drinking. If kids are not exposed to it in the home, they are far less likely to use either as adults.
It means the end of gratuitous violence as a means of entertainment as well. It means placing a social stigma on gun owners much like we place on cigarette smokers. Yes, you will still have those holdouts who will begrudgingly stick to their guns (pun intended), but over time, they become looked upon as sad examples of people who fail to care about the health and wellbeing of others.
It means charging massive prices for anyone who wants to purchase ammunition. It means requiring similar annual registration fees, just as we charge for cars.
Change will not happen overnight. Our gun violence problem has taken decades to grow into a full-blown cancer so to expect instant change, especially with the current makeup of the Supreme Court, is too much. However, with the new gun legislation set to go into effect, do not expect to see any drop in gun violence in this country.
What passed was nothing more than both parties putting on a show for the public to make them think they accomplished significant change when in fact, they failed to address the real problems of gun violence.
Is there anything you can pass onto younger voters to take with them about the importance of what to consider when you vote?
It’s easy to fall into the belief that voting doesn’t make a difference. We become cynical over the entire political process and figure most politicians are dirty and our vote doesn’t matter. To that regard, I would keep a few things in mind.
On a national level, you need to always keep an eye on the Supreme Court. Change often happens in big waves on the court. It is not unusual for one or two presidents to not get to add more than one justice to the court and then suddenly along comes one who adds three. In this case, it was Trump and the people he added made a decades long difference. Think of the court’s ability to affect change to major issues like reproductive rights, marriage laws, and even campaign contributions. Then ask yourself what will a liberal majority do differently than a conservative one and whose decisions are more in line with my beliefs? The laws passed by congress mean nothing until they come before the Supreme Court. Our rights mean nothing until a court rules on them. Knowing who sits on the bench and how a court is likely to rule on an issue is more important than those who make laws.
The other thing to keep in mind is local politics matter and do not fall into the trap of thinking they don’t. They may not grab the headlines that national politics grab, but they often have a bigger effect on your day-to-day life than you imagine.
If you had the power to make one major cultural change, what would it be? I have a bet with my spouse that it would involve getting rid of guns. Am I right?
You lose the bet.
I believe it is possible to maintain responsible gun ownership in this nation, but to do so would require some significant changes that I made mention to previously.
If I could make a major change to our culture, it would be ridding it of almost all forms of social media. Most of it is pointless, narcissistic, false, and designed to track our behaviors so advertisers can sell us more products. It ends up enslaving us to a limited perspective on the world by relying on algorithms to feed our minds with only things we find agreeable. It results in stupid spats, endless postings of photos we do not need to see and makes us judge ourselves on the number of likes we receive.
Keep in mind, social media is different from the internet. In the 60’s we had the internet too, only it was called Encyclopedia Britannica or the Public Library. It was for accessing information meant mostly for research purposes and not for finding dirt on other people.
Instant messaging and email are also not social media. They are ways of writing back and forth to friends, just as we used to do with writing letters, only much faster and cheaper. Text messaging and cell phones are also not social media. They are just ways of talking to one another.
However, sites like Facebook that rely on your private information to track your purchasing interests are not necessary. Twitter, tiktok, and all the many other forms where people go on just to either draw attention to themselves or stir up trouble in a public forum are nothing more than ways to poison our minds.
While I admit to being on Facebook, I would be fine if it were shut down completely I would be more than happy if it were replaced with an ad free format that we subscribed to for a fee to post our stupid cat videos, or in my case, promote my articles, and be done with all the algorithms and user tracking.
I am wondering where you stand on the idea of stacking the Supreme Court to secure the freedoms the current conservative court looks to do away with. Isn’t this necessary if we are to hold onto the freedoms we hold so dearly?
While I have mentioned Democrats have blown their chance to stack the court among other things while holding on to the other two branches of government, I am not a fan of the idea of stacking the court. The court leans farther right today because of the failures of the Democratic Party and the voters for not seeing the importance of considering the court when voting for president.
Democrats are not willing to get as dirty as republicans when it comes to the game of politics. How else do you explain the way democrats did nothing but lay down while Obama was unable to fill a court opening that was filled by Trump? They could have offered up a moderate who leaned a little right but who had no religious based political agenda and forced republicans to accept their offering. That person likely would have sided against ending Roe v Wade and abortion rights would still be secured. Instead, They allowed Trump to place three judges on the court who will be there for decades.
All of this was discussed and debated in 2016 when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton so thanks to our voting, we now get to see women no longer decide what they get to do with their bodies. We are also likely to see the end of gay marriage, easier voting access, and most anything else the left cherishes. What won’t be denied are guns.
Like it or not, voters put us in this position, and we now are left with Clarence Thomas, and not Chief Justice Roberts, in charge of the Supreme Court. If Thomas were not black and married to a white woman, you can bet interracial marriages would also come under legal attack.
Yes, it may take stacking the court to undo this threat, but I do not see Joe Biden being the president who does this. Also, once it is stacked, it just becomes a matter of time before other presidents, some who are very conservative, stack the court and legally do away with what we call democracy in America.
I hate summer because there is so much pressure for me to shave every area on my body. At what age should I just throw in the towel and stop all this grooming? Why is our culture so hung up on body hair?
Our culture is hung up on body hair. My theory is it is all designed to make more products for consumers to buy. Worse, we make them feel bad about themselves if they choose to not shave. Shaving creams, razors, after shaves, lotions, and trimmers for your own personal look. If that’s too much for you, then body waxing is an option although painful from what I am told. There is even laser hair removal if you have the desire.
As for you, you do not mention if you are male or female. Women, you have more pressure to trim up because guys just don’t want to look at hairy women, especially at the beach. Take it from me, no man wants to see a woman wearing a thong or skimpy bikini while sporting a hairy underside.
However, guys need to be mindful and remember no woman wants to see a man looking more like an ape while sunning themself. If your back and front look like a shag carpet, do us all a favor and cover up. Better yet, remain home.
I have my own hair problem. With my summer tan, my arm and chest hair are now white and stand out. I haven’t got time to deal with it because I have an even worse hair issue. My ears seem to grow hair faster than I can mow it. Can I spray Nair in my ears to rid myself of my hair or will that just make me harder of hearing than I already am?
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.