Eighty years is the rule
Will 2022 be a year “we, the people” see the reordering of our relationship with our national government? America tends to see a reworking of the relationship between the federal government and the people about every 80 years or so.
Start with the founding of our government with the ratification of the federal Constitution in the 1780s. We have been legally separate from Britain for several years, and things are a mess. There is a need for a stronger national government.
The risk: a strong federal government will invade the rights of the people. The solution: give the federal government limited powers. After the Constitution is ratified more protection for individual rights is secured through the ratification of the Bill of Rights. This constitutional order is affirmed through the ratification votes of the states adopting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
About 80 years later, we find ourselves in the Civil War era. The Civil War Amendments to the Constitution enact a national ban on slavery and mandate states follow “due process” and “equal protection of the laws.” The constitutional changes are so dramatic that this time period is sometimes called “the second founding.”
The risk: states will invade the rights of newly freed slaves. The solution: amend the Constitution to limit state power. The change in the constitutional order is affirmed by the states’ ratification of the new amendments.
About 80 years later, we find ourselves around the time of the Great Depression.
The risk: economic conditions are causing hardship for millions. The solution: federal government involvement in the economy through regulations and spending programs. Initially the Supreme Court strikes down some aspects of New Deal legislation, but eventually allows the federal government to get away with it – and so do the people, by continuing to vote in FDR and New Deal legislators.
About 80 years later, we find ourselves — well, about now.
The risk: a disease called COVID-19. The solution: mandates. The Supreme Court has said one federal mandate could go forward and one could not. What will “we, the people” say at the polls in November?
Sorry, Miss Coons
I’d like to offer a long-delayed, public apology and thank you to Miss Florabelle Coons.
When my mother’s health went into a steep decline some years ago, I spent a lot of time in the little town where I grew up, much of it in doctor’s waiting rooms. I fell into the habit of asking people approximately my age whether they remembered Miss Florabelle Coons. Every single one remembered; some still shivered with fear.
Miss Florabelle, the county public health nurse, terrorized local kids by giving them shots. With big, dull needles that were still sterilized and reused, nothing like the barely-feel-them needles used today for vaccinations. We only showed up at Miss Florabelle’s office because our parents forced us, and because we needed proof of vaccination to visit the local swimming pool during the sweltering, non-air-conditioned Mississippi summer.
We children blamed, feared, and resented Miss Florabelle. We didn’t realize that she was not the problem — dreadful diseases were the problem. Miss Florabelle was the solution.
There’s a lot of that kind of thinking around today, much of it politically motivated, blaming the person who’s working to fix the problem rather than blaming whatever caused the problem.
President Joe Biden, who inherited a raging mess from the previous guy, gets blamed for not immediately eliminating COVID-19, while not inconveniencing anyone in any way. The far right froths at its collective mouth with hatred of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases. Enormous anger is directed at Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for trying to keep her constituents alive and well. Certain politicians are working to “rein in executive power,” putting common-sense health care protections at the mercy of political grandstanding.
Worst of all hospital workers, who have moved into territory far beyond exhaustion, are vilified and yelled at by anti-vaxxer covid-19 patients they’re caring for. Far-right whackos are advocating violence against nurses and doctors.
They’re all blaming the problem on the people who are working toward a solution. Our excuse was that we were elementary school kids and didn’t have a lick of common sense. What’s today’s excuse?
Laura F. Sanchez
It is snowing, and I had been working in the yard, trying to ensure that my animals were taken care of. I had to run to Dollar General for something. I saw a lady come out; her cart was rolling away from her car. I offered to help.
She gave me a dollar because I looked homeless. I tried to explain to her that I was just attempting to help, but she was adamant that the money was all that I was after.
If this is what society is coming to, what is next? Is it no longer OK to attempt to help someone? Why are people so quick to judge?
I drove away more frustrated than ever. The money was left on a dumpster in Los Lunas.
I really hope she feels better about herself. I, am still feeling insulted.
Shop local. Spend local.
However, when we had to leave our home due to a sewage problem, we could not rent a motel room in Belen because we were locals.
To rent a motel room in Los Lunas, we had to put down a $100 deposit because we were “local.” That makes it difficult to spend local.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.