Connect The Dots

            Great deal of pain coming out of Arizona in the past weeks. The media put a positive spin on as much of it as they could, while keeping the contested parts as an “also ran” reportage. Other events of the time were quickly overshadowed by either being relegated to “local” news worthiness, or not reported at all. It was a good time to go unnoticed. Here in Ohio, a new governor was sworn in. He is all gung ho to create jobs and make money for the state, after which we can all have a “nice fistfight”. First off he instituted yet another government office whose mandate is to devise ways of eliminating the state’s Medicaid obligations. That immediately created jobs with the promise of more money. Another proposal is to consolidate the various offices of mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities into one office, one service. Why didn’t he also include the state’s agencies for arts or tourism in this single entity? Then again, it is only understandable that he wouldn’t include any offices of transportation, sport or gaming commissions since we don’t like to associate anyone involved with those as also being disabled, addicted or mentally ill (projected gambling casinos will only generate jobs and revenue for the state). Likewise for agriculture, business or commerce. Nope, these folks all contribute to jobs and revenue, unlike the state’s primarily expenditure involvement with physical and mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities (OK, corrections was not included because he intends to privatize it. Got me there.).

            Tucson’s tears prompted some to not “retreat, but reload” with regard to gun restriction, regulation, and gun related violence. After all, if the constitution specifically spells out a given right, how else could it be interpreted? Some wacko is to blame, a deranged, substance abusing sicko. Associations with those lawfully exercising their Constitutional rights are simply wrong, misplaced; guns and abortion, both legal but not the same

            Recently, at two separate speaking events, Reagan Supreme Court appointee Antonin Scalia claims that the constitution does not protect women against discrimination (one of those news events that went unnoticed). The argument turns on the word “person”, the definition of which is determined socially (see Ranciere’s community of sense in previous posts). OK, according to our longest serving justice, it must be specifically spelled out in legislation, like the right to bear arms (“b-e-a-r” as opposed to “b-a-r-e”). Close to 10% of Americans, being or having been incarcerated, are eliminated from the constitutional “sense” of the term “person”. Rights under US law are considered comparable to a grocery bag of goodies. Some staples are not necessarily included, which occurs when there has been a public transgression resulting in a criminal record. This also underlies the current imbroglio regarding what constitutes marriage in most states. Given Scalia’s carefully deliberated statements, both in thought and execution (Would he do it any other way?), and the actualities of a socially constructed “sense” as to who gets a full bag of groceries and who doesn’t, some citizens of the US of A may one day discover they are not quite a “person”. Many more will feel this is not only appropriate, but constitutionally sanctioned.

            The current consensus is that modifications, or establishment of gun laws are not a practical solution to the grievance posed by the Tucson transgression (along with Columbine, Virginia Tech, ad nauseam). Yet, something will be done. Legislation will not leave this incident unaddressed (since it involved one of their own, a legislator). Our esteemed Supreme Court Justice, along with Ohio’s newly elected Governor, may be indicating the future direction and determination of just such legislation. The common denominator of the Governor’s consolidation effort is that the services involved, provided by the social entity of the state, are unproductive; by their very nature undesirable economically. The constitutionality of legally determining “person[age]”, espoused by our longest serving Justice, allows for this avenue of restricting and regulating behavior without diminishing clearly defined private property rights (the framers of our constitution were unfamiliar with the terms “mental health”, “substance abuse”, and “developmental disability”). Precedent has been set with the public’s unquestioning embrace of laws restricting sex offenders. Sadly enough, this all brings to mind Europe in the 1930’s with its definitions of persons and undesirables.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Connect The Dots”

  1. scottsinope Says:

    Sorry, I’m a little slow today- are you suggesting that our society should NOT separate those who refuse to follow the laws of society? Are you saying it is wrong to take away rights from murderous rapists? Is this your position? Are you of the thought that addiction- which is a Mayo Clinic and universally recognized mental disorder should not be associated with mental disorders? Similarly, that addiction and mental disorders- that according to US Social Security rules on disability benefits- and are classified as a disability should not be associated a disabilities? You think placing them together is akin to lumping together the gaming board and the arts and tourism board with the board of public and mental health? Please clarify.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: