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Letter: A Craving for False Security

To the Editor:

I’m gaining an ever-increasing appreciation of the sentiment expressed by Dorothy Parker when she asked, “What fresh hell is this?” A sitting U.S. president (his veep, too) has informed us that the Second Amendment enshrines the rights to hunt and to target-shoot, which is like saying that the First Amendment enshrines the rights to do crossword puzzles and to play Scrabble. Someone who considers the Bill of Rights to be concerned with recreational pursuits is actually deemed by our society to be competent to teach constitutional law and make Supreme Court appointments.

Now “the smartest man ever to occupy the Oval Office” has given an inaugural speech in which he stated that the provisions of the Constitution deemed inconvenient or old-fashioned may be ignored because “times have changed,” apparently being completely unaware of the amendment process. Or maybe he just forgot. The Constitution addresses human nature and the nature of power, which don’t change with the times, and the notion that it may be interpreted however best advances a given agenda reveals an utter disrespect for the rule of law, a fact that was completely lost on his audience and the media.

This administration seems intent on pandering to those in the grip of an infantile craving for the absolute last degree of (perceived) safety at any cost as a means of enhancing its own power. (“Never let a crisis go to waste!”) It implies by its cynical use of children that the need for government action is so obvious that a child can see it while obscuring the greater likelihood that a child can see it because it’s childish.

History and common sense tell us that only people who are feared by politicians and other criminals will be respected by them, and no amount of whining to the contrary is ever going to change that fact. But, as Benjamin Franklin said, while experience is a dear teacher, fools will have no other; and given his statement about those who would trade liberty for security, I have little doubt that the culture nurtured by this administration and its lackeys in the media would make him as sick as it makes me.

Anthony Stimson