Why Congress?

Why Congress? Someone asked me: “Why aren’t you running to be  judge? Why are you running for Congress?” I answered: “Because unless Congress does its job the system of checks and balances set up in our Constitution does not work. Congress is the branch of government which is supposed to oversee how all the branches of government are working.” She raised an eyebrow. “What are you saying, Scott?” I looked back at her and asked: “Did you know the legislative branch of government was supposed to be the eyes and ears of the people?” She answered: “No. I thought Congress was supposed to enact laws.” “Yes, enacting laws is one of Congress’ purposes. But an equally important role is to oversee, and where necessary impeach, officials in the other branches of government who are abusing their powers.” She thought about what I said. “Please tell me more.” “A good example, would be oversight of the judicial department. Many believe that we need judicial reform because our courts aren’t working for the people.” Now she was quiet. I could tell she was listening. “Federal courts jurisdiction in most circumstances to decide cases is determined by statute. This means that Congress can and should be playing a much greater role in making sure that the check and balances in our system work. Congress does not, and should not abdicate, all of its authority to the Court to determine how that branch of government functions. A self-regulated judicial department gives judges way more authority than … Continue Reading

HOW “DECORATION DAY” BECAME “MEMORIAL DAY”

HOW “DECORATION DAY” BECAME “MEMORIAL DAY” The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves is an ancient one. Reports and discussions describing the history of Memorial day in the United States suggests it evolved during and after the Civil War. The practice of devoting a day for decorating soldiers’ graves appears to have begun in the South; and was later copied in the North. There was no common agreement with regard to what day the soldiers should be honored. The practice of honoring soldiers killed by their countrymen in the Civil War war was not given a specific name and day until May 5, 1868 when General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for “Decoration Day” to be observed annually and nationwide. The call for local communities in the South and North to agree upon a common day for decorating the graves of all soldiers who died in the Civil War asked people to look beyond the reasons why the soldiers had fought that war in order to commemorate their deaths. “Memorial Day” was first used as a synonym for “Decoration Day” in 1882. But “Decoration Day” was not changed to “Memorial Day” officially  until 1967. Funny, that I do not recall the official name change. 1967 was the year I graduated from high school in Bettendorf, Iowa. The United States was in the midst of the Vietnam War. Maybe the reason I cannot remember is because we, the people, had already changed the name before the government got around to … Continue Reading