To the editor,

Today’s political discourse on FOX is not without its innocent charms and amusements. Bravo! Lately, we hear more and more about the efficacy of prayer (To make God aware of concerning thang-here-on-Earth? To implore Him?). And, more importantly, to remind its devotees about our inviolate, constitutional rights, as Americans. “Don’t tread on us! During the pandemic!”

Without an overlay of my know-nothing philosophical or political musings, I’ll simply come right to the pouring-out of my unadorned soup du jour. By recounting a news story of yore.

A gent, incarcerated in New York, petitioned a court that he be allowed to exercise – to exercise freely -- his guaranteed, constitutional right of religious practice, which must take place in a small chapel, just outside of San Francisco, where he got his metaphysical workouts, as a kid. Every Sunday. You see, he noted that the Constitution guarantees that.

OK, OK, I apologize. I understand that you’re all at least as insightful as I, so I’ll end my tale forthwith. But continue.

When I taught philosophy, I once mused aloud in class – for what it was worth -- that I could not think of a single, absolute, foundational right that we Americans enjoy, that is “guaranteed by the Constitution.” (Dear Reader, can you think of one, in earnest? After due reflection? If so, might you please inform us of your candidate?)

(An aside. Long ago, I served as a delegate to the Wisconsin State Republican convention. When I arrived, I was given a lengthy copy of the updated Wisconsin Republican Platform. On page 2 (re: “the anti-abortion” plank), I read that all (human) life is sacred – a view with considerable cache, as I’ve long believed. And on the very next page (re: “the capital punishment” plank), I read a strong statement in defense of capital punishment. Which I also believe has much cache. To paraphrase Emerson, I pride myself as having an expansive mind of foolish consistency. And, so, I then-and-there drove home, away from that Wonderland, as quickly as I had arrived, lest I might become even more confused.)

Anyway, speaking of cache, here’s a profoundly important observation that I’ve not heard recently: “The Constitution is not a mutually-agreed-upon suicide pact!” But breathes there a flesh-and-blood Republican – other than Mitt Romney, who “leads the league” in reasonableness, rationality and commonsense -- who might explain, by means of examples, to strictly-toilet-trained others of his understood political ilk, what that “suicide-pact” dictum might mean? And why its gist is important?

By the way, not to criticize President Trump, who’s doing an excellent job of thinning his herd, by defending Americans’ constitutional right of free assembly. As we kids did 70 years ago, during outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and polio. If I recall rightly, everyone was then welcome into our homes, when our family members became infected. Yes, if I remember rightly. But, maybe not. Memory fades. Jus cain’t recall exactly how that worked.

Dick Behling

Cottage Grove

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