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Friday, June 02, 2006
After slipping just a little bit with that proposal to rescind the gas tax, my confidence is fully restored that Gov. Mark Sanford makes decisions with absolutely no regard to their political consequences. Sanford is the “anti-populist” governor. He proved it this week by vetoing the “Crazy Fred” law. That’s not the actual name of the law. It’s the name I gave it a few months ago when I urged the South Carolina legislature not to follow the lead of other states by passing a law to ban Crazy Fred’s funeral protests. Like clockwork, they ignored me and took the opposite course. If you are a crazed zealot, what could be better for you than to have legislatures all over the country determine that you are such a nuisance, they need laws that target you and you alone? Crazy Fred, once so marginalized that only a few sensationalist media folks covered his antics, is now deemed such a threat that dozens of states have passed laws to ban his favorite pastime – protesting at soldiers’ funerals. Sadly, South Carolina followed suit because our lawmakers cannot resist the temptation to exploit emotions for political gain. There is no more sympathetic victim that the grieving family of a fallen hero. Any lawmaker who stands with that family earns easy brownie points. His biggest risk is that he might pull a muscle patting himself on the back. Any politician who fails to go along is the subject of scorn. The politician who volunteered for the latter role is, of course, Governor Sanford. Sanford vetoed the “Crazy Fred” bill, saying, in part that laws should not trample freedoms. He added, “That includes freedoms that cause me or you to say, ‘I disagree and disagree very, very strongly.’” I don’t just disagree with Crazy Fred. I think he’s a genuine loon. I simultaneously despise and pity him. With their actions, legislatures have given him what he craves more than anything and otherwise would never have – legitimacy. Now, lawmakers are castigating Sanford for refusing to go along with their pandering ways. Democrats and Republicans alike blasted the veto as insensitive to military families. I don’t expect grieving families to be able to think clearly enough to grasp the fact that the legislature’s actions give power to Crazy Fred, but I do expect the lawmakers to know it. In fact, I think they do know it. They aren’t stupid. Well, some are, but most are just shameless panderers. They exploit other people’s emotions for their own political benefit. It is an almost irresistible force that beckons all politicians Few can resist it. Sanford remains one of the few. Ralph Bristol
posted by Jack Mercer @ 6/02/2006 08:38:00 AM  
  • At 6/03/2006 01:10:00 PM, Blogger chickenhawk said…

    Hi Jack,
    I just read an article from the Greenville News online concerning this. It seems this was a bitter reaction to the Westboro Baptist Church's "protests," or should I say, "support," for the deaths of our soldiers.
    I cannot tell you how disgusted I was when I listened to some dim-witted buffoon from the Westboro Church on Hannity and Colmes' show trying to justify her and her "church's" actions- her "church" simply being made up of her family members. Sean Hannity summed it up best when he said, "I get it, youre just a nut, thats all there is to it." One of the few times I agreed with him and Alan concurrently.

    I interpret Ralph Bristol's writing here as disagreeing with the legislation bc it empowers these few individuals, and I tend to agree. I dont think legislation is the answer, I dont know what the answer is though. I think these politicians and funeral protestors alike just lack a sense of perspective.
    If you disagree with the war or whatever else, fine, but why use a human being's funeral- the celebration of their life- as a means to make your point?
    At the same time, what does passing a law like this accomplish? I really dont think that's going to keep someone from protesting a soldier's funeral, rather than motivate these "protestors'" movement.

    The fallen soldier didn't start the war and did no wrong by wearing the uniform and following orders. Should that fallen soldier have abandoned the military and his brothers altogether when the order came? It really is a cheap shot to protest at a person's funeral- its also a cop-out to write legislation like this.

    We have a problem bigger than some loons showing up at people's funerals. This legislation wont solve anything. Before I scold Gov Sanford, I would scold the lawmakers who put him in such a precarious position.

    This is just an initial reaction to everything, perhaps there is something more to it that I am not aware of.

  • At 6/06/2006 08:32:00 AM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    Hi CH!

    Good to hear from you!

    I am often disappointed when the solution to every problem is "make a law!". Congress passes more than 200,000 laws a year, thats not even including what states, cities, counties, etc. pass. Of course, government is always in the process of creating its own need by viewing everything as crisis and seeing the need to react to it.

    Oh well, I guess that's what we deserve since the majority of our politicians are lawyers.

    Take care,


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