Personal and Positive Campaigning Work Print
Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 02:20

A couple of notes now that the election is over:

Positive campaigning works: See Elesha Gayman's win.

Negative campaigning fails: See Mike Whalen's loss.

We hear bitter complaints about phone calls and people coming to our doors to encourage us to consider their candidates. It's called democracy. Volunteers who care about our country on both sides of the political spectrum spend hours calling and door-knocking to inform you - the voters - about their candidates. We should be thanking them - not treating them rudely and disrespectfully.

There is honor in a person-to person effort to encourage people to vote. Robo-calls do not work. Negative commercials are a pox on our democracy. So work with local clergy and citizen groups over the next two years to get our new leaders to pay attention to the real issues and to commit to inform us and leave the negative bashing behind. And turn off that TV and read solid sources on the issues that matter to you.

 

Cathy Bolkcom

LeClaire, Iowa

 

Congress Has a Duty to the Constitution
 

With the mid-term election over and the presidential campaign about to begin, the people should continue their interest in the political arena.

We should make contact with the new members of Congress before they become settled in their political ways.

We should remind them that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are not political. They cannot become liberal or conservative; they are either pro-Constitution or anti-Constitution, pro-Bill of Rights or anti-Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights contains the rights reserved to the people. They are the laws given to man, by God, at the time of creation for his direction and his protection. To violate these rights is an act against God.

The general court of Virginia said: "Now all acts of legislature apparently contrary to natural right and justice, are, in our laws, and must be in the nature of things, considered as void. The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth. A legislature must not obstruct our obedience to Him from whose punishments they cannot protect us. All human constitutions which contradict His laws, we are in conscience bound to disobey."

It has often been repeated that "no one is above the law." The U.S. Supreme Court said: "Judges who would willfully discriminate on the ground of race or otherwise would willfully deprive the citizen of his constitutional rights must take account of 18 USC 242." That section provides: "Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any inhabitant of any state ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such inhabitant being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishments of citizens, shall be fined...or imprisoned. ...

"Whatever may be the case with respect to civil liability generally, or civil liability for willful corruption, we have never held that the performance of the duties of judicial, legislative, or executive officers, requires or contemplates the immunization of otherwise criminal deprivations of constitutional rights. On the contrary, the judicially fashioned doctrine of official immunity does not reach ‘so far as to immunize criminal conduct proscribed by an act of Congress.'" (O'Shea V. Littleton)

We should encourage these new members of Congress to learn of the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871. These were acts enacted following the Civil War. They require that violators of these acts be arrested and prosecuted at the expense of the United States.

We should, also, ask them to inquire as to whether we have a constitutional grand jury, one that complies with the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I am not an attorney. My belief is that the grand jury is a part of the judiciary. However, when performing its traditional duties, it is like a fourth branch of the government in that it is independent of the other three. The limit of the court's supervisory authority is to empanel it, to advise it of its duties, and to ensure that what it does is lawful. I believe that every citizen has a right to appear before the grand jury to ask it to investigate a violation of the law as a part of their right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Members of Congress can learn of constitutional and civil rights issues and the intent of the laws by requesting information from the Congressional Research Service.

We should seek answers from the presidential candidates.

 

Richard M. Boalhey

Rock Island


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