Life, Liberty,…

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Above is Section One of the 14th Amendment (source).  Pretty cool stuff.  I think so because it protects the rights of ALL American citizens, and does not make any exclusions based off of any character trait, lifestyle choice, skin color, religion practiced or not practiced.  Nope, not a single exclusion.  As citizens of this country, we all have the same rights.

Which brings me to the decision that new Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made regarding his state’s ban on gay marriage and the fact that it is a violation of the Constitution (article).  I applaud his decision to fight the ban and bring the Commonwealth into the 21st century and into compliance with the United States Constitution.

As some commenters in the article linked to above have pointed out, marriage is a civil right, and thus not subject to being voted on by any electorate, and also is subject to adherence to the Constitution.  Since we are not a theocracy, arguments pointing to a religious definition of marriage really do not stand up too well; Iran is a theocracy, so they can go ahead and define marriage how they want, but here in America, that is not the case.  Pretty simple if you ask me.

Do They Want A Medal?

The “fiscal cliff” has been averted.  For now.  All it took was an unmovable deadline.  Spectacular.  Does Congress want a medal or something?

While they did the bare minimum, Congress did finally pass legislation to avoid the “fiscal cliff” yesterday.  It’s about time.  Up against the fact that the new Congress starts this week, they had to do something, I guess.  Maybe they could have done what they have been doing best:  nothing.

Let’s not pop the cork on the celebratory champagne because a deal was reached.  Let’s be honest about it.  The deal that was reached was nothing more than a band-aid.  Yes, tax rates will go up on incomes over $400,000 ($450,000 for families), but spending was not addressed at all.  Shocker.

Instead of tackling the spending issue, it was kicked to the new Congress to deal with in March.  How nice of them.  Republicans now think they have leverage to shoot for the stars in the next round of negotiations, which will focus on the debt ceiling.  As the party that lays claim to strict interpretation of the Constitution, they omit the 14th Amendment when it comes to the debt ceiling.  In case you are not familiar with the 14th Amendment as it relates to the debt ceiling, keep reading:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.  (Section 4 of the 14th Amendment)

Since the public debt is that which has already be incurred, under the 14th Amendment, we, as a country, are required to pay it.  It is not something that can be messed with or held hostage to get your way.  I don’t know how it is that they cannot understand that fact.  If they were serious about debt reduction, they would address future spending while paying down what has already been spent.  You and I cannot just decide that we are not going to pay our mortgage or credit card debt because it was incurred in the past as a way to address our current and future budgets.  Life does not work that way.

I am not going to hold my breath that the new Congress will be much more productive than the previous one.  If they accomplish even the most modest of tasks, they will be, but that is not likely.  It is likely to be more of the same.