by Edgar J. Steele
May 13, 2009
"Posterity -- you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
---John Quincy Adams
"I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time."
--- H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
My name is Edgar J. Steele.
The Constitution of the United States of America is in trouble.
Yeah, so what else is new?
We are in trouble. You, specifically. All of us, in fact.
Oh, you figured that out, did you? What are you doing about it? Oh. Well, then, what are you going to do about it? No? Stick around, then - I have a plan. Or do I?
Cause to Wonder
I like to say that, while everybody knows that the American justice system is broken, you simply have no idea just how broken it really is. I do, because I have been in the belly of that beast for 30 years now. You know how I rant and rave and carry on, after all.
Many openly wonder how it is that I have not yet been disbarred. Frankly, so do I. Not until I finally resign from all my bar affiliations will I be able to tell you some of the stories about judges and lawyers that will make your hair stand on end. Not until then will you know all that I know. Even now, I wonder why it is that what I already publicly have shared has not, in itself, been enough to get you out into the streets with pitchforks, firebrands and lynch ropes in hand.
During my time in the American legal system, I also have had more than my share of brushing up against and doing battle with the American political system. Trust me on this one, too: You simply have no idea just how broken is our political system.
You think that you simply can elect someone new and make a difference? How's that been working out for you, Bunky? Beginning to suspect that Mr. Obama just might be the fire for which we all have leaped out of the frying pan? Why do you keep voting for Republicans or Democrats at any level with other party candidates available?
The Wages of Voting for Evil
What's that? You say your vote for McCain wasn't a total waste? What about your vote for Obama? I voted for Chuck Baldwin in the last Presidential election, candidate of the Constitution Party. Now, that was a vote that wasn't wasted, folks. Think about it. Well, at least not as wasted as it would have been if cast for either McCain or Obama. A vote for the lesser evil still is a vote for evil. As you are about to learn below, Baldwin may not have been the right candidate, either, but I would do it again in a heartbeat, despite my developing concerns about the Constitution Party (also as you are about to learn down below).
How would you vote if you had it to do over again today, knowing that your vote wouldn't make any difference in the outcome? By voting for Baldwin, at least I know I did not help to create the monstrous problems now devouring America.
You think that you can run for office and make a difference? Think again. If you are the sort who could or would make a difference, never will you get anywhere near a meaningful public office. Hell, you likely won't even get anywhere near a ballot position for any office at any level. Too cynical, you say? Do you really think it is possible to be too cynical about American politics?
Repeat after me: Broken. The American system is broken. Irretrievably, irredeemably, irreparably broken. Broken. Here, let me say it again: Broken. Is it beginning to sink in yet?
Well, you might reply: then we need to concentrate on getting a third party into power. Work for its candidates. Vote for them. You know the drill.
Yeah, right. You already forgot what I told you, didn't you? Tell me: just what part of "broken" is it that you do not understand?
Broken Political Parties
Today I am going to tell you about the Constitution Party. I could as easily tell you about any other political party. The lesson is made more easily using the Republican or Democrat parties, but let's make it tough by choosing a party with a platform that I could have written for myself. Even so, the basic plot is the same for every political party, varying only in the number of players involved.
Remember - despite my misgivings and bemoaning the hopelessness of it all, I keep going back into courtrooms, hoping always to eke out a little justice for someone, somehow. I feel the same way about the American political system. Call me nuts. Many do.
Some define insanity as doing the same thing again and again, each time expecting a different result. While I admit that there is more than a little truth to that homily, still I regularly sally forth to do battle with the windmills. Call it a weakness. After all, we must have something to do while awaiting the opportunity for real change.
Let me illustrate my assertion that all political parties are the same by following up with you about last week's message.
Those who follow my writings know that, last week, I ventured into the lion's den by attending a local Constitution Party meeting at which county officers were to be elected. This followed my having received my Constitution Party membership application back in the mail from its state chairman, Paul Venable, with "REJECTED" stamped across its face in giant, red block letters.
Chairman Venable is Black (yes, in Idaho, no less). It appears that his advisors largely are drawn from the same stock that has infiltrated all American political parties, best exemplified by the self-righteous and intolerant denizens of so-called "Human Rights Task Forces" or the ADL or the SPLC or so many other, similar thought-control groups throughout America. They all disapprove of my temerity in daring to discuss things racial, the very thing that Attorney General Eric Holder recently called all of us cowards for failing to do.
Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Maybe I deserve that "Attorney for the Damned" label, after all. So much for equal opportunity, free speech, free association, due process and all the other rights that the Constitution Party claims to be out to protect on our behalf. As you are about to learn, however, there is a great deal more about the Constitution Party that would confound America's founding fathers, particularly.
A Party of Men, Not Law
At last week's meeting, rather than following a tradition adopted years ago by the Taxpayers' Party and continued when it changed its name to the Constitution Party, Mr. Venable chose to follow state law to the letter in conducting the Kootenai County CP officer election. Although state law allows only properly-designated party precinct committeemen to vote in such elections (and just a select, designated few of them to vote at state-level elections and conventions), in the past, anybody who showed up at a meeting, filled out a membership form and paid his or her dues was allowed to vote at any elections during the ensuing meeting. That is why I encouraged local citizens to show up at last week's meeting with membership forms filled out. Mr. Venable did not allow them to vote, of course.
What is particularly ironic about Mr. Venable's insistence upon sticking to the letter of state law is the fact that he headed up a contingent that illegally seized control of the Constitution Party at its June 2006 state convention by busing in a large enough group (thirty is all it took) to block vote out all the existing party officers and vote themselves in. How? They filled out membership forms just before the convention began, then voted as a block.
Yes, yes ... I know. I asked the same question. The answer was, "Well, we always did it that way." The old guard, discouraged and dispirited, packed up and moved on, disbanding the single largest county party affiliate (Bonner County) in Idaho in the process and leaving the fate of the Idaho chapter of the Constitution Party in Mr. Venable's hands, where it has festered ever since.
Over the course of the past year, I finally concluded that things might well deteriorate to the point in America by this time next year where people actually will be willing to listen to what people like I have to say and think that we might have some good ideas for fixing things. Maybe. It's a long shot, I realize, but now is the time to prepare to take advantage of just such an eventuality, should it happen to come about. That is why I began to consider running for Governor in next year's election. The Constitution Party seemed the only possible vehicle for me, aside from an independent bid, and it seemed a perfect fit, since its platform appeared exactly to reflect my personal political philosophy. Appearances can be deceiving, however, as I was about to learn.
Rejected for What, Exactly?
As I explained last week, Paul Venable told me that he will find someone to run against me in the state primary if I persist and actually run for the Constitution Party nomination for Governor of Idaho.
Then came the real insult: the big, red "REJECTED" stamped on my membership form. Last week, readers and listeners (many of whom have voted for and contributed to Constitution Party candidates down through the years at my urging) created a huge uproar at both the state and national levels of the Constitution Party, protesting my treatment at the hands of the Idaho Chairman. Not enough to get him to reverse course, however.
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
At the close of last week's meeting, Mr. Venable threw the floor open and proceeded to answer my pointed questions about membership and why I was rejected. Though he declined to state the reasons for my rejection, Mr. Venable assured everybody present that rejecting my mere request to be deemed a member of the Constitution Party of Idaho was the "unanimous" decision of the Idaho CP Central Committee. I since have learned that Mr. Venable's representation was false, as guaranteed me by the only member of that Central Committee with whom I spoke and who also advised me that he didn't even get to cast a vote.
Mr. Venable also claimed that the Kootenai County membership unanimously was opposed to me. Again, that representation by Mr. Venable was false, as I have been assured by more than one member of the Kootenai County chapter.
Mr. Venable also claimed that the previous chairman of the Kootenai County chapter of the party resigned because I was being considered for the gubernatorial slot. Though that ex-county-chairman, Clay Howard, refused to speak with me directly, he reportedly told a mutual friend of ours that Mr. Venable again was misrepresenting the truth, as he resigned in disgust with the party's state leadership. In other words, he resigned because of Paul Venable, not because of me. He did allow, however, that he was "appalled that (I) was not allowed to become a member" of the party.
"You have no rights!"
Paul Venable also promised immediately to advise me in writing as to the exact reasons for my rejection and the names of those who had rejected me, in response to my demand for such as my right. "You have no rights," nastily exclaimed Mary Rutkowski, present at Mr. Venable's right hand throughout the meeting, thereby clearing up for me the source of the local (and, likely, state-level) discontent with my name. Though I never before had lain eyes upon Ms. Rutkowski, she acted every bit the part of those who police the community for the local "Human Rights Task Force." Trust me when I tell you that I have extensive experience with them and can spot them from a mile away. Mr. Venable's written explanation has not been forthcoming, of course, though I promised to hold any further public statements until it was in my hand or I had to prepare this week's rant and radio show, whichever came first.
Though I had to ask the question five or six times, Paul Venable did finally admit to me that, during his tenure as Chairman, not one single other human being ever had been rejected for membership in the Idaho Constitution Party.
So much for Paul Venable's credibility, leadership and political savvy. My rejection as a member of the Idaho Constitution Party stands, though it clearly is illegal. Running for anything with the Party's blessing is out of the question, too, of course.
Nor have either Chuck Baldwin, the most recent Constitution Party candidate for President, or Jim Clymer, current National Constitution Party Chairman, bothered to return my phone calls or reply to my emails. In addition to the many other unconstitutional actions of its Idaho chairman, it appears that there is no right to appeal available within the Constitution Party.
I have shared the foregoing vignette with you in detail to illustrate my assertion that all American political parties are the same: corrupt, unfair and riddled with their own patronage systems.
But there is more about the Constitution Party that you need to know - things that are not at all apparent until you get into the trenches and interview the players to the degree that I now have gone. And in two of those things, the Constitution Party outdoes even the Republicans and Democrats, despite a platform that seems the very model of Constitutional propriety.
A Ship Run Aground
No, I do not speak about infiltration of the Constitution Party by the politically correct, though its rejection of me (obviously because of my outspokenness on racial issues) and untoward reliance upon the likes of the execrable Mary Rutkowski, not to mention its erection of a Black Chairman in a state with an image of being, at best, a safe harbor for White Separatists, clearly mark the party as firmly in the grasp of the same traitors who now are running America aground.
The Church of America
I am speaking of the Constitution Party's ridiculous infighting and self-destruction over the most subtle and ridiculous of differences and, more importantly, of its clear intent to establish a state religion in direct violation of the single most inviolate of the intentions of America's founding fathers. Yes, you heard me correctly: The Constitution Party seeks to establish a state religion - a Church of America, if you will. Let me explain.
First, because it is so illustrative of my primary contention that the party intends to establish a state religion, let's look at an issue that has fractured and caused endless grief for the Constitution Party for years: abortion. Abortion isn't really much of a divider in any other political party. Pro-Lifers and Pro-Choicers shout back and forth at each other at the conventions, then go out for drinks together afterward.
Are You Pro-Life or Anti-Abortion?
With the Constitution Party, however, it is taken for granted that you must be Pro-Life. Just how pro-life you might be determines whether you even get to be in the party. Several state chapters have "disaffiliated" from the National Party simply over the issue of whether a woman should be allowed an abortion that is necessary in order to save her life. Yep. You heard me right. Hard to believe, I know, but it's a fact.
Here is a snippet ripped from a conversation I had just last night with an official of the Constitution Party: (Me) "So, if your pregnant wife was lying in a coma in a hospital bed, thus unable to speak for herself, and the doctor told you to choose between her or the unborn child, as only one could survive, you would allow her to die?" (Him) "Yes."
Now, I confess to being Pro-Life, or anti-abortion, as I prefer to characterize it. However, I have my limits and they clearly end short of the example I set for the man on the other end of that phone conversation. Most people who think of themselves as Pro-Life, I think, primarily object to abortion for social reasons (e.g., "We can't afford another child.") and never would enforce their beliefs upon another by law. After all, that would be the same thing as now takes place in China, where the government forces women to undergo abortions against their will.
Think about it for a moment: reverse Roe vs. Wade and you have the exact opposite of forced abortion: forced gestation and delivery. I remember full well what America was like before Roe vs. Wade and am here to tell you that some sort of compromise really is necessary between the two extremes. I may be Pro-Life, but that does not mean that I believe you have to be the same way if you honestly support Pro-Choice. There really should be room enough in America for both points of view. After all, that's what the founding fathers had in mind with the different states and with the tenth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution. Not the issue of abortion, of course, which was not an issue at the time due to lack of technology, but the right to live with others who thought as you did and different from those in other states. Thus sprang the Right to Travel and the Right to Free Association, you know.
Logic vs. Faith
Now, I have reached my Pro-Life belief through reflection and logic, not because some guy in a pulpit told me to believe that way. I used to be Pro-Choice, but had my mind changed by those whose opinions I respected and to whose arguments I listened long and hard, then thought about at length.
What's more, I believe that life begins at conception. Abortion in the first trimester is, I believe, every bit as much a killing as abortion in the forty-eighth trimester (which I used to point out to my fifteen-year-old children with a smile on my face). But I never would presume to make another endure a pregnancy and birth (and the consequent life-long attendant complications, commitments and psychoses) because of my belief. After all, I may be wrong. The Constitution Party will admit to no such possibility, however. Abortion is the very litmus paper passed around at all Constitution Party meetings and that is because of the party's religious grounding. Admit it - religion is where Pro-Life beliefs are rooted for most people.
In fact, remember the coup engineered in the 2006 Idaho Constitution Party convention by Paul Venable and others? Reportedly, that occurred because of Idaho's insistence that the National CP office "disaffiliate" the Nevada CP because it insisted upon "radical" exceptions to its Pro-Life platform plank, such as abortion when necessary to save the mother's life. I kid you not.
Whacked-Out, Intolerant Bigots
Idaho's CP gubernatorial candidate in 2006 was a fellow named Marvin Pro-Life Richardson. Look, I couldn't make something like this up, so ridiculous is it upon its face. He actually had his middle name legally changed to "Pro-Life," so that there would be no mistaking his ideology, then threw a fit because the state insisted upon listing him on the ballot simply as "Marvin P. Richardson." Idaho's Constitution Party simply traded one set of whacked-out, intolerant bigots for another, it seems, at that 2006 convention, based upon their treatment of me now.
Thousands Wouldn't Believe You, But I Do
The abortion issue is of paramount importance in the Constitution Party because of the unspoken requirement that its membership be exceptionally Christian, and of a singularly fundamentalist bent, at that. They will deny that abortion is a religious issue: "It's a matter of morality - of ethics." Sure. Right. Thousands wouldn't believe you, but I do. That's why they are so willing to let blood over what would be a minor nuance in the Pro-Life contingent of either the Republican or Democrat parties. There is no question whatsoever of tolerating anybody who actually believes in a woman's right to choose for herself whether or not to have an abortion.
You're still not convinced, are you? Well, then, you explain to me exactly why it is that the Constitution Party's most recent Presidential candidate is a bona-fide, practicing pastor of a thriving Baptist church. What's more, the party's real Pro-Life purists think that even he is a heretic because he isn't as ardently Pro-life as was his predecessor, Michael Peroutka. Go on - 'splain me that.
A Mormon Behind Every Tree
And, while I hate to keep beating up on Paul Venable, current Chairman of the Idaho Constitution Party, it needs to be said that he is a Mormon and that, reportedly, most of those who helped him oust the "old guard" at that 2006 state convention also were Mormons. I don't know how many of those Mormons remain as members or might occupy positions of power in the state party, as statistics like that are not spoken about in polite company. However, the rumor is that the Nevada state chapter, over whose Pro-Life apostasy Idaho's "old guard" had such issues and was, as a result, ousted by Venable and his band of Mormon friends, was and is itself controlled by Mormons.
Oh, and after Paul Venable took over, he was quoted as having stated that he was "here to save the Constitution" for us Idahoans. Of course, that gives rise to the question of who will save the Constitution from Paul Venable. But, something you might not know is that there is a very specific Mormon prophecy (or "revelation," as Mormons like to call them) in which it is predicted that America's constitution will be saved by a particular religion. Guess which religion it is that Mormons believe is to be involved? Guess who sent us Paul Venable from Ohio in the first place?
Mormons do constitute pretty fundamentalist Christian thinking, you know, but I do not know how deeply Mormonism has penetrated the Constitution Party in states other than Nevada and Idaho (and, presumably, Utah, of course). I mention this and the Mormon element to the Idaho coup of 2006 merely to support my thesis that the Constitution Party is bent upon establishing a form of state religion, in fact, if not in actual name. There is, of course, a party platform plank that holds that "there shall be no religious test to hold political office," but that seems to me to be mere window dressing.
Now, fact is that I happen to be Christian enough for the Constitution Party, though I'm not sure I'm proud of the implications of that fact. And how ironic that I happen to subscribe to the very flavor of Pro-Life belief that seems to have propelled the current band of miscreants into the leadership of the Idaho Constitution Party, so I guess I'll pass muster on that test, too. But ... here's where I fall down, of course: I vocally am anti-affirmative action and all of its correlates.
What if Nobody Came to Your Party?
You have to wonder how hardly anybody manages to pass muster with the Constitution Party. Well, here's your answer: hardly anybody does. Witness my experience with them just recently. Think you would pass muster with them?
That, of course, is why the Constitution Party has practically no membership anywhere except in that chapter in California that doesn't even carry its name, yet which it claims only because otherwise the Constitution Party would not be the third-, fourth- or, even, fifth-largest political party in America.
Sigh. So, why do I care, if the Constitution Party really is so inbred, self-defeating and, in a word, seemingly doomed? I'm not sure I do, but I surely do like the published party platform and the general philosophy therein espoused, if not the manner in which it is practiced by those currently in charge of the Constitution Party, both in Idaho and at the national level. Kind of like what I might say about America and her constitution, of course. In fact, just like that.
New America - an idea whose time has come ... or, maybe it should be "the New Constitution Party - an idea whose time has come."
My name is Edgar J. Steele. Thanks for listening. Please visit my web site, www.NickelRant.com, for other messages just like this one.