Monday, April 20, 2020

The Bill of Rights and the Loss of Freedoms

The right of assembly is closely linked to its more famous companion in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: freedom of speech. Both rights have been at the heart of controversies for much of our country’s history, from picketing strikers in the 1930's to civil rights sit-ins in the 1960's, from KKK rallies in the 1920's to white supremacist marches in the 2010's. But the right to gather with others isn’t limited to political protests. It can also include simply hanging out with friends in public—or, as the U.S. Supreme Court put it, the “freedom to loiter for innocent purposes” (Chicago v. Morales, 527 U.S. 41 (1999)).

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which regulate an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

When the first stay at home orders were issued and public places were closed along with social gathering places, I was uneasy. Many thoughts ran through my mind. The most important was a sense of violation of my rights as an individual to come and go freely in this democracy in which I live and to put my own limits on the coming and going based on assessment of risk. As the virus spread and hospitals and care facilities were overwhelmed, I started to understand the need to put aside my rights in order to help keep the health care facilities from being overwhelmed. To keep the hospitals functioning, however, has meant great sacrifice by the engine that runs this nation's economy and is the source of most of the jobs - small businesses. Those who serve the tourist and travel industry have also been greatly affected. I am one of those people since I operate an air b&b in Charlotte. When business declined, I was grateful that I had enough in reserves to pay my mortgage and take care of the overhead until the crisis passed, and I complied with all the restrictions, even though I disagreed with them. When Congress acted to "oil the economy" until the crisis had passed, I was encouraged that maybe when the crisis passed, our country would be better and stronger and less divided. I am now extremely upset at the political divide that is happening that is causing many fear ridden people to lose their common sense and actually applaud those who are threatening the right of people to protest-the basis for maintaining a free society.

Small businesses are suffering and despite the influx of money through the Paycheck Protection Program owners are seeing the writing on the wall. They need the government to open now if they are going to survive. What good is saving lives if there is no life to go back to when Governors decide they will allow businesses to reopen? At least Henry McMaster (Governor of South Carolina) has a little sense. He knows where most of the state's economy is grounded - Myrtle Beach. The owners of retail stores along the Beach have said they have survived hurricanes but this threat may shut them down entirely. When people are suffering due to the activities of the government it is their Constitutional right to protest and petition the government for redress. I am concerned about the activities of some who disagree with them being lauded as reasonable. Yelling and screaming and attempts to shut down the protest are not laudable and can lead to violence in this heightened atmosphere. It seems those who form the basis of our economy are at the breaking point and they should be listened to as much as the health care professionals who were protesting the lack of Personal Protective Equipment and life saving items such as ventilators. I am compassionate and understand the anger of some people who have been working so hard to save lives but lashing out against others who are also strained and threatened with bankruptcy is not the way to go about it and those who praise this type of behavior are showing their ignorance and compassion for other's points of view. Justifying the behavior of those who violate someone else's civil rights only lead us down the path of loss of freedom for everyone. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Davy Crockett Puckett and the Election of Andrew Jackson  This history has been incorporated into a chapter of my book "A Place to Call Home."

Chapter V – Davy Crocket Puckett – Kentucky Woodsman and Pioneer
This chapter is narrated by a colorful character from my family tree – Davy Crockett Puckett. There are few records about him other than a birth and death date as well as a marriage date about 1830 that produced 12 children. One of these children was James Harris Puckett, my great grandfather. The Puckett name is prolific in the rural counties of Hart, Hardin and Grayson in Kentucky and this man just might be the “grandfather of them all.”    
Davy Crockett’s  name and date of birth put him in that category of descendants of the Kentucky woodsmen who followed Daniel Boone through the Cumberland Gap and fought their way into Kentucky by joining with Old Hickory in the Indian Wars of the early 19th Century.  Davy Crockett Puckett tells about his English ancestors who were indentured servants that came to the New World to flee poverty, chaos and persecution resulting from the Reformation.
 Davy Crockett was an adult during the election of Andrew Jackson – the hero known as Old Hickory. Many of my male ancestors have the name "Andrew Jackson." Davy Crockett tells stories of his ancestors fighting with Old Hickory in the Indian Campaigns of the early 19th Century and joining with Andrew Jackson, the hero of the War of 1812, at the Battle of New Orleans, which ironically was fought after the War was over. This War was the end of any Indian threat east of the Mississippi River. 
 As an adult in 1828, Davy tells of his support for the “common man’s” President (Andrew Jackson) elected in 1828 and the story of their takeover of the White House on Inauguration Day.  Once elected, Jackson became the advocate for the common man and founded the Democratic Party. After  his election President Jackson kept his campaign promise of opportunity for the common man. One of the things he did was to make land and opportunity available for them by sending the remaining Indians out of the country along the Trail of Tears in 1832.  Chapter V ends with the birth of my great grandfather, James Harris Puckett, in 1829.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Wisdom to Know the Difference #3

The last line of the Serenity Prayer asks for the "wisdom to know the difference" - between the things I can change and the things I can't. Here are some inspirational quotes that have helped guide me. May they guide you.

"One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this , life, and one that many
persons never learn, is to see the divine, the celestial, the pure in the common,
near at hand - to see that heaven lies about us in this world. " John Burroughs

"For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth
commeth knowledge and understanding. He layeth  up sound
wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly." Proverbs 2:6-7

When God lights the soul with wisdom, it floods the faculties, and that man (woman)
knows more than ever could be taught him (her)." Meister Eckhart
"Give me the widsom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before
this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? And God said
to Solomon,  because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked for riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life: but has asked wisdom and knowledge
for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: Wisdom and knowledge is granted thee."  2 Chronicles 1:10-12.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Where I Find Courage to Change the Things I Can #2

Today's blog is on finding courage. Once again I turn to the Bible and other inspirational books and poets.

"I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am
instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Philippians 4:12-13;

Low I kneel through the night again,
Hear my prayer, if my prayer be right!
Take for thy token my proud heart broken (Humility).
God, guide my arm! I go back into the fight!  Anonymous

(Faith) "For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37

"I do not ask to walk smooth paths
Nor bear an easy load.
I pray for Strength and Fortitude 
To climb the rock-strewn road.
Give me such courage I can scale
The hardest peaks alone,
And transform every stumbling block
Into a stepping stone."  Gail Brook Burket

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall
renew their Strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run,
and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint."  Isaiah 40:31

"For I am persuaded, that neither death,
nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor powers, nor things present, nor
things to come, Nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us from the Love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus ." Romans 8:38-39

"Lord, let me give and sing and sow
  And do my best, though I
In years to come may never know
   What soul was helped thereby.

Content to feel that thou canst bless
  All things however small
To someone's lasting happiness
  So Lord accept my all."  Prudence Tasker Olsen

"I have glorified thee on earth: I
have finished the work which thou
gavest me to do. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest
me out of the world: thine they were,
and thou gavest them to me; and they have kept thy word. I pray for them: I
pray not for the world, but for them
which thou hast given me; for they are thine." John 17:4,6,9

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Serenity in the Serenity Prayer #1

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." Serenity is the first part of the prayer and as the prayer implies serenity comes from acceptance of what is happening. There is no judgement as to good or bad - it just is. In this first blog I will be sharing some poems and verses that contain thoughts that have helped me find my path to serenity. I hope you find this inspirational as well.

"Therefore being justified by Faith, we have peace with our God thorough our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by Faith into this Grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the Hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2.

"I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know: God answers prayer.
I know not if the blessing is sought
Will come in just the guise I thought.
I leave my prayer to Him alone
Whose will is wiser than my own."  Eliza M. Hickok
"This is the day which the Lord hath
made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24
"Take therefore no thought for the
morrow: for the morrow shall take
thought for the things of itself."  Matthew 6:34

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; so
shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily
thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and
 He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust
also in Him; and he shall bring it to pass." Psalms 37: 3-5

"And the peace of God, which passeth
all understanding, shall keep your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

"Let us learn to be content with what we have.
Let us rid of our false estimates, set up all the higher ideals -
  a quiet home,
  vines of our own planting,
  a few books full of the inspiration of genius,
  a few friends worthy of being loved
  and able to love in return,
  a hundred innocent pleasures that bring no pain or remorse,
  a devotion to the right that will never swerve,
  a simple Christianity empty of all bigotry, full of trust and hope and love -
and to such philosophy this world will give up all the joy it has."   David Swing

"Now the God of Hope fill you with all
joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in Hope,
through the power of the Holy Ghost."  Romans  15:13

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom
which cannot be moved, let us have Grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and Godly fear." Hebrews 12:28

"Let the words of my mouth,
and the Meditation of my Heart, be acceptable
in thy sight, O, Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalms 19:14



Saturday, January 11, 2020

An Iranian Woman Exiled After the Revolution in 1978 Tells Her Story

I read this book when I was doing research for New Pangaea and this story is a must read for anyone truly desiring to know the true story of Iran instead of western propaganda and fake news.

“A lesson about the value of personal freedom and what happens to a nation when its people are denied the right to direct their own destiny. This is a book Americans should read.” —Washington Post

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

House Made of Dawn by M. Scott Momaday

Momaday brings the story of a war veteran suffering from PTSD to life in this Pulitzer Prize winning novel. As the story unfolds the reader catches the truth about how the indigenous people in this country have been treated by the American military to fight their wars and then return to reservations to be forgotten and die.