Thursday, July 16, 2009

What a Colossal Waste of Time

Hey, have you heard that we are in the midst of an economic downturn, something like the worst recession in the collective memory? I think I heard that somewhere. Did you know that the American health care system it teetering on the verge of collapse? There seems to be some data out there that pointing in that direction. Were you aware that we are facing environmental challenges registering at the "catastrophic for humanity on a world-wide level" level? Seems to me I read about that somewhere.

So what are our legislators working on?

Well, I'll tell ya.

They actually wasted our public time and resources on this steaming heap of bullshit:


Agreed to July 10, 2009

One Hundred Eleventh Congress of the United States of America

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the sixth day of January, two thousand and nine

Concurrent Resolution

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),


(a) Engraving Required- The Architect of the Capitol shall engrave the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the National Motto of ‘In God we trust’ in the Capitol Visitor Center, in accordance with the engraving plan described in subsection (b).

(b) Engraving Plan- The engraving plan described in this subsection is a plan setting forth the design and location of the engraving required under subsection (a) which is prepared by the Architect of the Capitol and approved by the Committee on House Administration of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate.

Attest: Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Attest: Secretary of the Senate.

And the vote?

Passed by the House, July 9, 2009: Aye 410, Nay 8, Present/Not Voting 14
Minnesota delegation:
AyeMN-1Walz, Timothy [D]
AyeMN-2Kline, John [R]
AyeMN-3Paulsen, Erik [R]
AyeMN-4McCollum, Betty [D]
AyeMN-5Ellison, Keith [D]
AyeMN-6Bachmann, Michele [R]
AyeMN-7Peterson, Collin [D]
AyeMN-8Oberstar, James [D]

The Senate: 7/10/2009: Received in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment by Unanimous Consent. (consideration: CR S7372)

I do believe that some of my Minnesota Congresspeople are going to be hearing from me. I am certainly not shocked about the republicans, least of all Ms. Bachmann, but I am heartily disappointed in Mr. Walz, Ms. McCollum (she's mine), Mr. Ellison, Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Oberstar.

What difference does it make? Why do I care? What does it really change in my life? Well, as a nonbeliever, it pushes me further out of public discourse. It contributes to the culture of sanctimonious, hyper-religiosity and to the rewriting of history we have been enduring in America during this round of evangelical madness. It actually carves in stone the false notion that this is a "Christian Nation" that was founded on "Christian Values."

I was not alive when this happened:

A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957. US Treasury Fact Sheet

Neither was I around when "under God" was added to the pledge in 1954. I doubt we are going to get rid of either any time soon, even though we seem to have had this pesky little thing

Article the third [Amendment I]
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

around for even longer.

Oh, and this:

Treaty of Tripoli, 1797
Article 11:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.[27]

Congressional moves like H Con Res 131, "under god," and "In God We Trust" are official actions, taken by the government, that sanction religious beliefs. They are a waste of time, mere political posturing, they place Christianity above all other religions, and they leave out a whole population of Americans checking the atheist, agnostic, nonbelieving, spiritual, and "other" boxes.

Until we stop only putting our patriotism into abstract symbols of nationhood and our trust into deities instead of into our fellow citizens, we will be mired in the same "country first" mentality that plays to politics and not to people. We have real problems, and spending public money to chip arcane and irrelevant words into a visitor center wall will get us no where. Apparently, some section of the American population thinks that America is in a godless tailspin into depravity, and this is a congressman's idea of how to slow it down. I have no idea, but are these not the same people who get their collective feathers all a-ruffle if the government so much as sniffs around their property lines, screaming about privacy? But they are all-too-happy to allow the government into the most private places, as long as it is their own cherished beliefs that the government is supporting or endorsing.

I understand that these are official United States words being carved into official United States walls, but wasn't it bad enough that they were made official in the first place? It's a step in the wrong direction. Mr. Ellison was given loads of heat for taking his oath of office on a Koran. Thomas Jefferson's Koran. He voted "yes." Even if they want to say, well, it doesn't say "in Yahweh we trust," we all know that they certainly don't mean "Allah," and it's a load of bunk to suggest that "God" is somehow all-inclusive, especially in America in 2009.

Wait until Thor finds out.

We could use a good thunderstorm.

No comments: