Article by Gary Kent

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Experience is a great teacher. A better alternative has not been found.

Making mistakes comes with making the attempt. Those who never try fail only because they fail to try.

Someone who has been a governor’s spouse, First Lady of the United States for eight years, a United States Senator and Secretary of State has learned from a variety of relevant experiences. Working with others is in her comfort zone.

The people Hillary Clinton served with as a hard-working United States Senator approved her nomination as Secretary of State by a vote of 96-2. The man she fought for the democratic nomination for President in 2008 nominated her.

Her husband’s transgressions are not hers. She is often faulted for standing with him. I firmly believe she would be faulted had she not stood with him. Regardless of what she does, it is interpreted as “political.” To understand such things, it is important to remember that Bill Clinton committed the unpardonable sin of winning the Presidential election in 1992. She is guilty by association.

The fact that Hillary Clinton is treated “differently” is inescapable.

Consider that what might be called a “system failure” cost the lives of 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. Another “system failure” cost the lives of 5,000 Americans, and counting, in 2003. The foreign policy inexperience of George W. Bush certainly contributed mightily to these deaths. Call it what you will, a failure to adhere to the advice of every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cost the lives of 264 United States Marines in 1983. A decided lack of familiarity with the Middle East certainly contributed to that avoidable tragedy. As I recall, there were virtually no official questions asked about these events, much less millions being spent on Congressional inquiries and hearings.

Rationalize the double standard as you will, a Secretary of State has been investigated and pummeled unmercifully for what arguably may have been nothing more than a system failure that cost the lives of 4 Americans while she was Secretary of State. Republicans in a position to know have admitted her treatment was meant to destroy her chances of ever becoming President.

I do not support Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. I support her because she is, more than any other person running, the candidate most ready to be President on Day 1. Unlike nearly all of her potential opponents in November, it won’t be necessary for her to be brought “up to speed” on foreign affairs in particular.

Even in a year when all the conventional wisdom is being questioned, there is still no substitute for experience.

Second Amendment and Gun Control

Article by Gary Kent

Republicans have been adept at using the Second Amendment and gun control to manipulate their base. The pipedream that the S.A.F.E. Act might be repealed has been a useful smokescreen for incompetent politicians for four years. The gun control “slippery slope” idea is another notion that may not pass the smell test. What does it say about the “slippery slope” that the assault weapons ban was allowed to lapse?

A cursory look at the Second Amendment might suggest it gives “the people” the right to keep and bear arms. “Arms,” not muskets. How are “arms” defined today? Are we to believe there should be no limit to the “arms” we may keep and bear? Would devotees of an expansive reading of Amendment 2 argue it gives all individuals the right to possess “arms” such as grenade launchers and Stinger missiles?

Amendment 2 states this right “shall not be infringed.” But the background checks supported by the vast majority of those polled are an infringement of the right to keep and bear arms! What part of the words “shall not be infringed” do the many N.R.A. members who favor background checks not understand?

Is having and driving a car a “right?” Cars are potentially deadly weapons. They and the drivers who drive them can kill people. How many of us question registration, licensing, vehicle use taxes and car insurance? Most don’t question any of those restrictions. Few would argue that, at some point, judges shouldn’t be allowed to revoke the right/privilege to drive.

One of the biggest myths used by some ostensibly sincere defenders of the right to keep and bear arms to mislead voters is the goofy notion that “democrats” want to take our guns away. There may be some who do, but I do not know any of them personally. After all, democrats are Americans. We know our history. We share American traditions. We revere what the Constitution actually says. Consequently, we respect the role firearms have played in our national existence. We know the utility of firearms for hunting and self-preservation. Just as many republicans, we know their capacity to inflict damage and suffering must be respected and, within reason, guarded against. Just as cars, guns require responsible users.

The idea that “democrats” want to take our guns away is baseless, period. It is fiction perpetuated by those seeking to use the issue for political gain.

The Constitution is often selectively cited to further one’s political agenda. Baloney aside, it was written because the folly of out of control states’ rights was threatening to destroy a new nation. Contrary to what many choose to believe, the Constitution was meant to greatly increase federal power while affording protection and a greatly reduced role for the states.

Those who know the Constitution certainly are aware of the 10th Amendment. As I recall it, powers not granted the federal government, nor prohibited the states, belong to the states and the people respectively.

People who know the Constitution are also aware of loose construction. It wasn’t dreamed up by big government bureaucrats or activist Supreme Court judges. It cannot be stated emphatically enough that loose construction was anticipated by the Constitution’s authors and built into the document that it might better stand the test of time.

People who hang their hats on the 10th Amendment should carefully read Articles 1-7. Gun rights advocates should note, as well, that even if Amendment 2 had nothing to do with the right of individual, ordinary people—versus those who are part of a “well-regulated militia”—to keep and bear arms, to this democrat, Amendment 9 certainly has to be viewed as protecting such a right. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that gun ownership was protected by the Ninth Amendment, even though, just as with innumerable other rights, gun ownership is not mentioned specifically. That is the beauty of loose construction. Without it, the Ninth Amendment is just one part of the Constitution that would have no meaning. It would not be there if there was no reason for including it.