Letters for Monday — December 26, 2005

• Open debate is secret to real democracy

• “Laus deo” — how politically incorrect

• Disheartened by Case votes


Open debate is secret to real democracy

If our nation is to survive in the troubling and changing future, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must survive in a meaningful form that controls government and protects us all from its excesses.

I would dare to remind all who do not believe this to read the Soviet constitution that existed in the days of the Cold War. It read like a nation that supported and was controlled by the rights of the people. Yet we all know how meaningless those words were.

I believe that the United States is in a war for survival. However, the war on terror is but one facet of that war. It is possible that we could win the war on terror and lose what we have left of our democratic nation, and thus lose the Battle.

We must re-learn that the secret to survival and the secret to being a strong and real democracy is to preserve and foster free and open debate on all topics even the ones you or I personally detest, and, to preserve and protect and be guided by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Thomas Paine said it right back in his time when people’s lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor were at risk by the words they uttered. Today it is our turn to be guided by his words, for these are indeed the times that try men’s souls.

  • Scott Robeson
    Hanalei

“Laus deo” — how politically incorrect

A little history lesson you may enjoy:

One detail that is not mentioned in DC, there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument. With all the uproar about removing the Ten Commandments, etc. … This is worth a moment or two of your time. On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, are displayed two words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn’t care less. Once you know Laus Deo’s history, you might want to share this with everyone you know. But these words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America.

Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world. So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, they say: “Praise be to God”

Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public. It took 25 years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo … “Praise be to God!”

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north, the Jefferson Memorial to the south, the Capitol to the east, and the Lincoln Memorial to the west. A cross you ask? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross. Separation of church and state was not, is not, in the Constitution. How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice. Praise be to God!

Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings, the memorial stones share a message. On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore; on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6.

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848, deposited within it were many items, including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy “One Nation, Under God.”

I am awed by Washington’s prayer for America. Have you never read it? “Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally, that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Laus Deo!

When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation’s capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look.

Merry Christ mass, oops, I mean Happy Holidays.

  • Billy Whelan
    Kapa’a

Disheartened by Case votes

I was heartened to read Mr. Triglia’s letter to The Garden Island referencing Representative Case and Case’s “emulation of President Bush as of late.” I see I am not the only dissatisfied with Representative Case’s voting record.

As it happens, I had an opportunity to speak with Representative Case on the radio Monday, 12/19/05 (AM 570). I, too, was disappointed with his vote to support the Patriot Act, and with his vote in support of the bankruptcy bill (which was pretty much written by the credit-card companies and/or banks). Social programs such as Medicaid, aide to children, Pell Grants, veterans benefits, etc., (are) all negatively impacted in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy, and to support an unjust war in Iraq. A person can hardly afford the co-payment for medical coverage if they are lucky enough to have medical coverage.

I asked Representative Case why he does not run as a Republican the next time, since he votes the Bush administration’s way a lot, that is to say, not in support of the poor or working class. He said he votes issues, not party line. The truth is he probably could not be elected as a Republican. Representative Case may have Patsy Mink’s seat, but he doesn’t have her heart or her conscience.

  • Sherry Lynn French
    Kapa’a
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