A letter written by Katrina Evenhouse (“Democrats, not Republicans, are the extremists,” The Daily News, Dec. 22) has stayed with me — not because it was unusual but because it succinctly captured where we are politically in the United States.

The specifics of her letter concerned Democrats’ complaints when the Build Back Better Act failed, parents’ protests to school boards of a “fringe social theory” and the violence during the summer 2020 protests.

Madison Searle lives in Galveston.

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Ron Shelby

Well written.

Ed Buckner

Well said, Madison Searle. We all--and I do include myself and some of my fellow progressives--do need to work more carefully toward finding common ground, as well as a greater ability to look past differences we may have with our neighbors and see the important things we have in common.

Bailey Jones

[thumbup]

Carlos Ponce

Notice Madison Searle omits Kamala from his litany of Democrats he claims opposed the violence. She helped fund their release from jail.

Notice the Democrats he does list doesn't consider those who did bad at the Capitol on January 6 the "fringe". They paint all Republicans with the same brush.

Normal people call that HYPOCRISY.

Margaret Jimenez

[thumbup][thumbup] Thank you. Substantive and exceptionally well-written. And kind.

Donn Searle

Re: "The only condition for the rules was that they be tethered to a written constitution and several basic rights..."

__There are fundamental (and oft-overkooked) facts that Madison Searle et al, do not mention concerning our USC:

The "Several basic rights" -the first ten amendments, were NOT a part of our original Constitution. Why? Because this transformational document on governance was written as a treatise on the powers & limitations of the federal government. The task set before these visionaries was to overcome the inherent weakness of the Articles of Confederation, without ceding too much authority from state sovereignity. They did that, magnificently -in the process, crafting their document in plain language that anyone with an eighth grade education could understand: 8TH-Century CITIZENS. (Lest anyone doubt what that education of the day entailed, try completing the 1881 Salinas, Kansas graduation exam: EIGHTH GRADE. Today's average college grad would in my opinion, fail this all-essay/problem-solving test. I have a copy).

__Our Bill of Rights was written as a compromise to a group of legislators who felt that individual guarantees needed to be included, for good measure. The reliance on God-given rights, as mentioned in that inflamatory document we call the Declaration of Independence, wasn't sufficient for these men. Absent their Bill of Rights, they would have voted as a bloc, to reject the USC, and we would have ended up with a botched, heavily-edited Articles of Confederation.

__What our Constitutional Republic absolutely demands, is an EDUCATED citizenry. No other form of government requires this. Tyrannical governments get along just fine with ignorant, compliant subjects. Today's Millennials and the emergent "Gen-X" voters are woefully ignorant, concerning the USC, because it stopped being taught in high school. What they HAVE been taught, is that it is either irrevelent in the 21ST-Century, or that it is a "living, breathing document", subject to meanings du jour. It is neither! It was as if cast in stone: It means today, what it meant in Ben Franklin's time, and it is timeless. Wise old Ben knew long before we were born, the risk to our Republic, should its citizens ever cease to understand for THEMSELVES, their Constitution:

"A Republic -if you can keep it!"

Paula Flinn

“Gen-X" voters are woefully ignorant, concerning the USC, because it stopped being taught in high school. What they HAVE been taught, is that it is either ‘irrevelent’ in the 21ST-Century, or that it is a "living, breathing document", subject to meanings du jour. It is neither! It was as if cast in stone: It means today, what it meant in Ben Franklin's time, and it is timeless.“

Maybe it wasn’t taught in your high school, but it is taught in the high school at which I taught. Taught and tested in Government and U.S. History classes.

Conservative Supreme Court Justices are currently in the majority. Their interpretation(s) of the USC and the laws in question, are, and will be, most important in the years to come.

To say that the Constitution means today what it meant back then is fundamentally flawed because many Amendments have been added since Ben’s time. It is “timeless” only as a framework for deciding what to preserve and what to change.

The Voting Rights of the whole citizenry now are being challenged. Certain people are making it more difficult for citizens to vote. Be outraged about that! Certain people are trying to threaten our Democracy as well as our Republic form of Government.

Donn Searle

Ms. Flinn:

Thank you for responding to my rebuttal to Madison Searle.

Concerning your comments: " Maybe it [USC] wasn’t taught in your high school, but it is taught in the high school at which I taught. Taught and tested in Government and U.S. History classes."

It's been a long time since I last set foot in Springfield, Missouri's Central High (1952), but in that day, Civics was required of all Seniors. That class taught both the U.S. Constitution and Missouri's Constitution. A passing grade on both was required fort graduation. Civics, or some variation, like your Government/U.AS. History alternative, WAS common, just as was the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of class. That these traditions have by and large disappeared from public school classrooms, is easily verifiable.

Your comment indicates that you are no longer teaching. That's unfortunate. Had you indicated that you were still in the profession, I would have posed an interesting experiment: Let me send you a copy of the 1881 Salinas, Kansas EIGHTH-grade graduation exam for your high school students willing to take the test -(it is long; in the day, the test was administered in separate, one-hour sessions). Would have been interesting to see how today's high school students compared with their great-great parents.

Your assertion: " To say that the Constitution means today what it meant back then is fundamentally flawed because many Amendments have been added since Ben’s time. It is “timeless” only as a framework for deciding what to preserve and what to change."

The "flaws" are by and large, found in only a few of the amendments, but more commonly, contemporary INTERPRETATIONS never intended by the framers, are the problem. An example of the former: Amendment 17, abolishing the appointment of U.S. Senators by the state legislatures. Now, senators are directly elected by popular vote in each state, just as are representatives. Moreover, anyone from states outside of Texas, for example, can contribute to the campaign of a Texas senator. That was never the intent of the visionary gentlemen who sought to BALANCE government. It is no accident that many of those who emigrate from fiscally-failed states (like Illinois), bring with them, the idea that Texas should have a state income tax. Illinois and other income-taxed states, are hopelessly in debt. Texas maintains a "rainy day" fund for emergencies, that's well over one-BILLION dollars. The framers correctly placed the election of senators as a STATE function -both as a brake on the U.S. House and to preserve the authority of the bodies that ENABLED the writing of our Constitution. While the Articles of Confederation were too weak for federal governance by a nation emerging on the world stage, the framers were also wary of giving the federal government too much power. So they crafted a Constitution balancing State and Federal authority. Today, we can see how that balance has shifted from the framers' intent: The federal government HAS encroached on issues that properly belong to the states -where government is closer to the citizens.

An indication where government officials have mis-used the USC can be found in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, of the USC: Commonly known as the Commerce Clause, its wording is written principally to restrict states from imposing restrictive tariffs on goods in transit between the states. Yet, during the Obama administration, when the proponents of "Obama Care" were looking for approval by the Supreme Court, their bill was submitted for ratification under the Commerce Clause. The Affordable Care Act has nothing whatsoever to do with restricting commerce between states. SCOTUS correctly said "No" and Obama Care was re-submitted as a federal tax. (Despite the President's prior public assertions that it was not a tax).

It is your last paragraph that is particularly instructive of the divide between conservatives and liberals today:

" Conservative Supreme Court Justices are currently in the majority. Their interpretation(s) of the USC and the laws in question, are, and will be, most important in the years to come.

The Voting Rights of the whole citizenry now are being challenged. Certain people are making it more difficult for citizens to vote. Be outraged about that! Certain people are trying to threaten our Democracy as well as our Republic form of Government."

For the greater part of our history, the Supreme Court HAS leaned to conservative interpretation. That's what they are empowered to do: CONSERVE. When FDR couldn't get the all the legislation he wanted passed, he tried to "pack" the Court with liberals. That ISN'T what Franklin et al had in mind for governing the nation. The judiciary is a SEPARATE branch of government; not an extension of the legislative branch.

Your assertion that our voting rights are being challenged is pure hogwash! Everywhere we turn, personal identification is required. Welfare? ID comes first. Drivers license? The same. On & on in contemporary life. Are such requirements unreasonable? Is it therefore unreasonable that a citizen -CITIZEN, prove identity, by showing a drivers license, utility bill, insurance card, passport or other ID before casting his or her vote? That is NOT, I submit, "making it more difficult for citizens to vote."

The idea among several contemporary government officials that ANYBODY should be able to vote -(as can be found in California, for example), is a recipe for ending this Republic . Those who so-advocate, well know that! Nations are determined by , language and culture. The United States is by far, the friendliest nation to immigration. But there must be controls in place. It requires time for new arrivals to assimilate. A nation is defined by more than its geographical boundaries. Language, culture and a certain shared religious heritage are the "glue" that defines and binds us. The "threat" to which Ms. Flinn refers, arises entirely from the left. They are those who, convinced that we are all "citizens of the world", would gladly see this Republic come to an end. The late C. Brock Chisholm, former Director of the United Nations World Health Organization, spoke for the majority of them:

“To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism, and religious dogmas.”

Paula Flinn

I am nearly 80 years old, and was still substitute teaching at Ball High School in 2020, when everyone went home for Spring Break. Then, we were told not to return. I do miss teaching and working with today’s youth very much.

I have seen that difficult 1881 Eighth Grade Salinas, Kansas Test that you mentioned. Even Seniors in 1952 or 1959, when I graduated, would be hard-pressed to receive a passing grade on it. Instead, one gentleman who was Head of the Department taught Government for a number of years, and he gave a 100 question final exam that one had to pass in order to graduate. Most questions were not easy unless you attended everyday, took notes, studied, and learned.

As far as the USC goes, I do not believe the Judiciary is an extension of Congress, as you stated. The Third Branch is able to interpret the USC as in the recent case of letting money and donations to candidates be viewed as “people.” It is, then, more difficult for a candidate with less money to travel or buy TV time in order to compete with one who has many large donors. One more instance where the playing field is not level.

You mistakenly assumed my argument against making it more difficult to vote was my being against providing a valid ID, which is not so. My disagreement is with opening election polls late in the day and closing them early. Also, long lines at certain precincts that force people to stand out in the weather for a long time. Prohibiting passing out bottles of water when people are standing in the long lines. And, even moving certain precincts at the last minute without several days of public notice. These things have happened in southern states to deter minority voting of legal citizens. If it were up to some people, there would be no mail-in ballots for elderly or handicapped people. Ex-Pats in other countries would have their absentee ballots conveniently “lost” or dismissed. Making it difficult for every registered voter to vote should not be the goal. It should not even cross anyone’s mind, much less be a strategy or plan. It doesn’t take a genius to know that this occurs.

I’m not stating that ANYBODY should be allowed to vote. Certainly, only legal citizens of a certain age should be allowed to vote. I would not say anyone that I know “would gladly see this Republic come to an end.” That’s hogwash! No one wants that. Neither do we want to see Democracy come to an end. We do not want a “World Government.” We are happy being our own Democratic Republic. To assume anything else is “going off the deep end.” I reject your assumptions and accusations.

Carlos Ponce

Paula sounds like a 1960's JFK Democrat. Your party has changed.

Gary Scoggin

So has yours. Even more than hers.

Carlos Ponce

If you don't like what the Constitution states then amend it.

Donn Searle

Ms. Flinn wrote: "As far as the USC goes, I do not believe the Judiciary is an extension of Congress, as you stated." WHAT I ACTUALLY WROTE: "The judiciary is a SEPARATE branch of government; not an extension of the legislative branch."

__The late S.I. Hayakawa, a former noted professor of English, whose textbook ("Language in Thought and Action" was a standard in freshman College English), wrote of "logic-tight compartments" that we are all prone to adopt, if not on the lookout against it. How a longtime English teacher like Ms. Flinn could mistake what I clearly wrote, is an example of that compartmentalization. In MY experience, most of my progressive friends have a tendency to rely on FEELING, rather than fact. Not that my conservative friends are immune: More than a few arm-chair quarterbacks have written of the "need" to exercise their "Second Amendment right" to take up arms and "form a well-regulated militia". These latent knuckle-draggers, who will NEVER arise from their chair, don't know that ONLY an elected sheriff can form a militia. That the framers left the organizing militias to sheriffs, for the very purpose of preventing hot-headed citizens from taking up arms! "Shall not be infringed" NEVER meant "anybody can own and brandish a weapon."

__Ms. Flinn taught for many years. She isn't that much younger than me. My wife taught school for 32 years. In my dotage, I find more and more, my thoughts returning to a few people who had the most influence on my life: TEACHERS!

Yet, we cannot disregard what has happened to U.S. education, once the federal government and the N.E.A. achieved dominance:

"The U.S. ranks 14th in the world in the percentage of 25-34 year-olds with higher education (42%). have an upper secondary education are just 29% -- one of the lowest levels among OECD countries. enrollment rate.

One of the most-reviewed studies regarding education around the world involved 470,000 fifteen-year-old students. Each student was administered tests in math, science, and reading similar to the SAT or ACT exams (standardized tests used for college admissions in the U.S.) These exam scores were later compiled to determine each country's average score for each of the three subjects. Based on this study, China received the highest scores, followed by Korea, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and the Netherlands.

__The U.S. education system is mediocre compared to the rest of the world, according to an international ranking of OECD countries. ... Not much has changed since 2000, when the U.S. scored along the OECD average in every subject: This year, the U.S. scores below average in math and ranks 17th among the 34 OECD countries."

-[DEC 2013 Report]

Emilio Nicolas

"It was as if cast in stone: It means today, what it meant in Ben Franklin's time, and it is timeless." The fact that the Constitution provides for its amendment is one sign that you are mistaken. The fact that it contains glaring omissions, such as what body had the last word in interpreting it is another indication you are wrong. And the fact that it leaves terms such as "due process" in need of interpretation is yet another indication of how wrong you are.

Donn Searle

To Emilio-

Re: "The fact that the Constitution provides for its amendment is one sign that you are mistaken."

__The fact that the document provided for TWO amendment processes when it was written, and DOES SO TODAY, is proof that I am not mistaken. It means today, EXACTLY what it meant on 21 June 1788, when the last state -New Hampshire, ratified the document.

Re: "The fact that it contains glaring omissions, such as what body had the last word in interpreting it is another indication you are wrong."

__Wise up, Sir. No "glaring omissions". As for the body that has "the last word", that too, is spelled out: It is the United States Supreme Court. I learned that seventy years ago, in high school civics.

Re: "t leaves terms such as 'due process' in need of interpretation.

__Permit me to be of help. Due Process isn't a complicated concept. It IS simply the conduct of legal proceedings according to established rules and principles. Ever see the inside of an attorney's office? Those books on the shelves behind his desk: Proceedings of record from court cases where due process was applied.

__And one more, to illustrate what I wrote in response to Paula Flinn-

21 FEB 2022

A pair of Vermont towns are ready for their first local elections where foreign nationals will be allowed to vote, even offering ballots in foreign languages.

Montpelier, the state’s capital, and Winooski, located just outside of Burlington, are set to hold local elections where, for the first time, foreign nationals will be able to vote. In Montpelier, city officials said one foreign national has registered to vote while about eight foreign nationals have registered in Winooski.

-John Binder, Breitbart News

Donn M Searle

Emilio Nicolas

To Donn: Wrong again. In the first instance, you deflect from the substance of the constitution, which does indeed change, to the mechanism for changing it. Yes, the mechanism is the same, but the substance is not "set in stone".

In the second instance, you cannot find that the Supreme Court has the last word on interpretation of the Constitution because it isn't there. In this case you either go back to high school civics or go beyond it to find the case of Marbury v. Madison in which Chief Justice Marshal contrived a case to be brought before him so he could rule against the Jefferson administration. Jefferson accepted the ruling, thereby establishing a tradition by which the Supreme Court, not the President, had the last word.

In the third instance, you make my point for me. Due Process is not defined in the Constitution. It is given meaning in the many court rulings found in the law books which you have "seen" but not read (I read many in law school). Simply put, "Due Process" is "the process due you" as defined by case law and which has evolved over time ... not by the Constitution and it is in force by virtue of the president set in Marbury v. Madison, not by the Constitution itself.

You add a fourth bit in referencing the Vermont voter registration. Without arguing the merits of such, you should know that the Constitution does not prohibit voting by non-citizens in local and state elections. That prohibition is enacted by the States. Arkansas was the last state to prohibit such voting in 1929. Vermont apparently has not.

For more information, you should read beyond Brietbart "News".

Norman Pappous

Here's a thought... You want to done down the political rhetoric? Then your side can start by applying the rule of law equally and without political bias. #FBICorruption #Hunter #SoutherBorder #ConcernedParents #CCPVirusMandates

Jim Forsythe

The rule of law is applied equally, unless the results are not what you wanted.

Madison Searle

Dear Mr. Pappous -- As one who's frequently used words impulsively, I agree with you that all of us -- left, right, & unmappable -- win when we turn down the rhetorical heat. (Also, I wonder if I'm the 1st writer to be taken to task in comments by his own father? [grin])

Donn Searle

Perhaps an occasional "taking to task" is an ongoing responsibility of fatherhood, where required. Some would posit that fathers are of value, beyond being progenitors of sons & daughters. Our 16TH President did NOT say:

"Four score and seven years ago our sons brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation...."

George Laiacona

“Gobble-Gobble “ we can see where Carlos is still infuriated over the idea that a truthful comment has been denigrating the Republican Party. Fortunately there are still American Patriots that still rennet the traitor Republicans that tried to destroy our democracy on January 6th. “Gobble-Gobble “.

Carlos Ponce

Well, we know who the TURKEY is.[innocent]

Donn Searle

To Emilio Nicolas:

__While admittedly no brighter than your average bear, I DO recognize a lawyer's penchant for deflection. You indicate that because the USC provides for amendment, it is therefore NOT "set in stone", as I claimed. Those articles, amendment procedures included, ARE the evidence to which I alluded. The PROCESS remains as originally written. Perhaps we are splitting hairs here. But not here:

__Your response concerning my remarks on "due process", had nothing to do with any assertion on my part that the term was defined by the USC. And as a lawyer, you of course, know that.

__Your remark "For more information, you should read beyond Brietbart [sic] 'News'" is another example of incorrect assumption on your part. Or were you simply being "snarky"?. Would my rematk have been more truthful, had I quoted Jim Patrick, in "Law Enforcement Today"?-

"Two Vermont cities pass ordinance following illegal immigrants to vote in local elections."

__What to me is evidence of a growing insanity, is current progressive doctrine. I won't presume to characterize which view you hold. But I will take this opportunity to apprise you of my reading habits:

__In truth, I rarely read Breitbart News. I happen to be more conservative in outlook, than most, but firmly believing that one should "keep his friends close; his adversaries closer", My reading of liberal publications is predominant.

__Speaking of reading, at age 88, I have a known backlog of un-read books and an unknown amount of time left in which to read them. I will leave the last word to you.

__Which I WILL read, without responding.

Emilio Nicolas

To Donn: I have made no "deflection". That is the term I used regarding your earlier response. You are simply following the silly course of attempting to turn around a terms used by you opponent, then stubbornly sticking to your guns thinking it makes you right. In fact, you are digging a deeper hole:

"Set in stone" means exactly that and no more. You double down on use of that term. Imagine Moses coming down the mountain proclaiming "these are the "Commandments", they are literally set in stone, "but you can change them anytime you want!" They will no longer meet the same thing, but the original versions, which mean nothing after you change them, will still be "set in stone". I suspect he would get a few laughs.

Due Process is NOT defined in the USC, certainly not the one you claim is "set in stone". It isn't even mentioned there. It is first mentioned in the 5th Amendment and again in the 14th amendment (proving the original was not "set in stone"): both merely say you shall not be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." OK, so where is the term defined? Why has its meaning changed so often? It is defined in two centuries of case law in, piece by piece, and incorporates things the founders never imagined. Like it or not, "due process" evolves with time and is obviously not "set in stone" no matter what meaning you choose to ascribe to that term. If you still disagree, please grace these pages with a citation in the USC of the definition.

Finally, reiterating your opinion of the Vermont voting issue does not change my factual assertion that the USC, or any court cases since, remove the right of any state to determine who votes in local and state elections. As evidence I point to the fact that, yes, even you have the right to vote in those matters. Whether you agree or disagree with another state's citizenry is merely an opinion, not fact.

As for your reading habits, you may want to seek some non-partisan "facts" rather than be guided in your selections solely by your subjective "feelings". If, however, you "feel" that anything that disagrees with your "feelings" is "liberal", "progressive", "socialist", "fascist", or otherwise wrong, then you may just keep on digging.

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