The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Marion Barry, Dave Catania, and the District of Columbia electorate

Today, have to apologize to those who look to this blog for observations of nation-wide import; I'm dealing with a very local thing. But it actually has national relevance, so read on.

David Catania is gay. Marion Barry is African-American. Both are Council members of the District of Columbia. Catania's sexual orientation, and Barry's race, should not matter. But they do — as was shown in a recent event. The D. C. Council has 12 members — usually 13, but one, Harry Thomas, has resigned over a criminal indictment (which in itself helps to make the point that this post will get around to!) There was a retreat for Council members, at which Catania and Barry got into a shouting match. Barry suggested that Catania was prejudiced against black men, something for which there is absolutely no evidence. (But it seems that many African-American politicians cannot accept that there are groups, such as gay people, who also have been the targets of discrimination. For them, discrimination against African-Americans is an evil that must be stamped out, while discrimination against anyone else is a fiction that doesn't exist. So Barry — as well as many African-American members of the Maryland General Assembly [State legislature], voted against gay marriage when the issue came up before them.) And Catania, who might have been excused for losing his cool, still went, in my opinion, too far, shouting, “F— you, Marion!”

What a dysfunctional legislative body! Yet Marion Barry — who was caught in a crack sting while he was Mayor — gets elected time after time to the Council. And it's not just the current members of the D. C. Council. Shortly after I first came into this area, a Council member named Douglas Moore got upset at a truck driver who parked in an area reserved for Council members, and ended up biting the driver!

Yet the voters of the District keep voting for people like these. And they complain that they do not have the political rights that residents of the 50 States do. Well, when the Senators and Representatives look at the kind of people that D. C. voters elect to office, it does not surprise me that they do not consider the District of Columbia as worthy of giving full and equal political rights to. A voting public that elects people like Thomas, Barry, and Catania, and has elected Moore in the past, has not shown their worthiness.

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