Monday, July 02, 2012

Summer, Summer, Summer

The rest of the country is trapped in either sweltering heat or the dry, oven-like fumes of desert infernos. Here, it's breezy and cool, unless you want to travel a little ways to remind you of what you're missing. I'm staying, at least until the end of the month.

Most people will, at some point in their lives, experience other people whose use of "the truth" is, ah, flexible. It occurred to me last week that current events give us a way to discern such folks. If you hear someone say "Well, I'm not surprised at all" over the Supreme Court's decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), or that they (these local experts) knew all along that Justice Roberts was some kind of closet liberal, then I can guarantee that this person is no stranger to lying. I had no idea of either the court's voting breakdown or that Roberts would be the one to break ranks with the Court's hard right justices. For those of you scoring at home, this means that all three branches of our constitutional system have given some kind of approval to ACA. Be prepared, too, for GOP whining at a new volume level as the election approaches.

There was a memorial service last week for the late Rodney King. Sure, it was easier for King to be a forgiving person when he got a large settlement from the LAPD, officers of which almost separated King from his own brain tissue following a traffic stop twenty years ago. Still, he didn't seem to be an aggressive or vengeful person. But he was no angel, either, and was acquainted with substance abuse. He was probably on his way to a sad and ignominious end, except for the fact that his beating was taped by a resident of the neighborhood. The Senior President Bush described the beating as "disgusting", but the offending officers were acquitted of criminal charges. This gave rise to rioting in Los Angeles, and a good deal of damage. King himself seemed baffled by it all, but managed to utter a few words which somehow became memorable - "Can't we all get along?" It's a reasonable question which still deserves an answer.    

I've never before had access to the BYU channel, but a change in our local lineup has brought it into our homes as of last week. I'm not yet prepared to render judgement on all the programming, but I did discover a show which seems to be pretty original. The host, a burly, long-haired, bearded guy on a huge Harley, leads the viewers around the country to important sites in American history, explaining in civil but unornamented language just what happened, with a word or two on why it was important. There are no professors, no authors, and little illustration from the time being discussed. Last Saturday, the slippery slope that led eventually to our nation's Civil War was discussed. There were the acts of Congress which seemed to allow slavery while restricting its geopraphic area, the Dred Scott decision, the publishing of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and John Brown's failure to inspire a slave revolt - all in half an hour. I think I see what they're trying to do - find a new audience for the heretofore unpopular study of history. And I hope they do.


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