One Disturbed Texan

You really have to admire Steve Stockman’s enthusiasm even though you might want to question his knowledge of American history and the Constitution. Steve is a recently elected Republican member of the House of Representatives from the great state of Texas — you remember Texas? It wanted to secede from the Union after Barack Obama was reelected to the Presidency. The White House was required to respond to the petition and they said “No.” Pity! In any event now Steve wants to impeach the President because he has suggested that he might want to evoke executive privilege to curb violence in this country.

The story begins with Steve’s rant against the president’s outrageous suggestion:

“I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment,” Stockman pledged. “The president’s actions are an existential threat to this nation. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is what has kept this nation free and secure for over 200 years. The very purpose of the Second Amendment is to stop the government from disallowing people the means to defend themselves against tyranny. Any proposal to abuse executive power and infringe upon gun rights must be repelled with the stiffest legislative force possible.”

Let’s take this slowly, pausing for breath — which is a pause Mr. Stockman apparently forgot to take. The President’s actions are said to be an “existential threat to this nation.” What, precisely, does that mean? It sounds like it might have come from Sartre or one of the other beat thinkers in the 1950s, but I doubt that Steve ever read those folks. He apparently hasn’t read his history either. In any event, I gather Steve thinks the country is endangered by the President’s threat to evoke executive privilege. He must be unaware that whatever steps President Obama takes to curb the violence in this country will be very small indeed, since it will require legislation to take giant steps and the Congress is the legislative body in this country — and not likely to do much of anything about gun control.

It’s not at all clear from what history I have read that the Second Amendment — which was adopted in 1791, fifteen years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted and almost ten years after the end of the revolutionary war — has been instrumental in “keeping this nation free for nearly 200 years.” I would have thought it was the Army, Navy, and Marines that did that, fighting wars on foreign soil with the loss of thousands of American lives, and not the militia at home with their muskets as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

It is true that the Founders were concerned about tyranny, but they saw that danger coming from across the pond, not from the head of our government here on this continent. And it is not clear how this president, or any president for that matter, could become a tyrant given the checks and balances that have been written into the Constitution. In fact, if you look at the list of nineteen things the president might do to curb violence in this country after the massacre at Sandy Hook, they seem fairly innocuous — and largely ineffective I dare say. And the President hasn’t even said he would take any of those steps. Steve seems to be overreacting.

One of the few steps the NRA and its Republican supporters are in favor of in the way of reducing violence in this country is better mental health coverage. This is an excellent idea and it is certainly something that people like Representative Stockman will want to take advantage of at their earliest convenience.

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17 thoughts on “One Disturbed Texan

  1. A have been looking into the history behind the 2nd Amendment recently and have discovered a very uncomfortable connection between the amendment and slavery. Specifically, the language of the amendment is, supposedly, geared towards protecting the right of individual state slavery patrols, or militias, to bear arms in the rounding up of runaway slaves and to put down slave rebellions. One specific change that was made in the wording of this amendment was to change the word “State” to “state.” The capitalized version was understood to mean the great state, the entire country. The lower case version was understood to mean individual states. The original wording of the amendment put the power to regulate the militias in the hands of the State, the federal government. The version ratified puts the power to regulate in the hands of the state, meaning each individual state was to maintain and regulate its own militia. Now, this was a Southern issue, not a Northern one, since no Northern state was forming slave militias to quell rebellions or hunt down runaways. This was happening only in the South. The legislators from the Southern states were afraid the federal government would, at some point, end the practice of slave militias simply by confiscating the guns being used in those militias. In order to prevent this from happening, the wording was changed from “State” to “state.” So, part of the reason, perhaps the main reason, for the existence of the 2nd Amendment has more to do with slavery and has far less to do with protecting the nation from invasions by the foreign hordes. I am providing a link for you and for any of your regular blog readers to look into this smarmy detail of American history.

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/13890-the-second-amendment-was-ratified-to-preserve-slavery

    • My version of the Second Amendment has the word “State” capitalized. The Bill of Rights was a concern to many of the colonists, not just the ones in the South. It was needed to get unanimous adoption of the Constitution.

  2. We oughta’ let Texas go. After all, Texas gets more federal tax money from the rest of us than we get from it!

    • Great article! I especially liked this quote from Stockman: “Mr. President, there’s still time for you to get in line. But if you continue to fulfill the duties of President of the United States that are expressly permitted in the Constitution, you are playing with fire.” Does the man know what he is saying? The Founders are rolling over in their graves.

  3. I also watched Ted Cruz interviewed on PBS Newshour and he drank the tea the Tea Party is serving and will be one more uncollaborative, unyielding extremist in Congress. We need to shine spotlights on inane comments like those of Mr. Stockman. We also need the saner people in Texas to stop shaking their heads at the inane actions like the war on science, the rewriting of textbooks, etc. and speak out. I loved that Obama quoted Ronald Reagan today on the need to ban assault weapons. St. Ronnie could not get elected in today’s GOP, but they remember the Reagan Legend which is greater than the man every was. As you know, we all crave civil discourse, yet we need to ask people like Mr. Stockman to get real with his comments or keep them to himself. It is almost criminal to wind certain segments of his audience up, with vitriolic comments that should be lampooned. Some people believe this BS. Thanks Hugh. BTG

  4. Mr. Stockman was the subject of a national editorial picked up in my paper today. Apparently, this is not his first rodeo. Thanks for your post. BTG

  5. As a Northerner displaced as a Texan for the past 30 years, I can honestly say that since we’ve had Perry and now Abbott as governors, everything’s pretty much gone to hell in a hand basket. Oh wait, and Bush. OMG. I feel lucky that I live in Houston, which is a tad progressive, but we sure have been electing some crazy people in the past 20 years. And Ted Cruz? Don’t even get me started.

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