Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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September 14, 2012

Sullivan’s Salvos 9/18/12 In this edition: *Rights Versus Privileges *The Last Two Presidents *Chicago Teachers *Windows and Mirrors *Under a Cider Moon *Did You Know? *Rights Versus Privileges I had a very interesting Facebook conversation with some Republicans recently. I found the discussion fascinating, and it actually offered me some real insights into the differences in the ways many Democrats and Republicans view the world. For starters, a former Republican candidate for the US Senate told me, and I quote, “Voting is a privilege, not a right.” I find this somewhat comical, given his supposed reverence for the US Constitution. The right to vote is ubiquitous within the Constitution. Voting is first mentioned in Article I, Section II, and references to voting exist in scores of places throughout the document. That does not even count the 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 24th Amendments, each of which specifically addresses voting rights. The reason my GOP friends are claiming that voting is a privilege and not a right is because they are actively involved in attempting to prohibit millions of Americans from exercising that right. They are doing everything they can to purge voter roles, limit voting hours and methods, limit voter registration, and to force eligible voters to produce IDs many voters do not have. They are ATTACKING the most basic of rights of their fellow citizens! They would love to pretend that voting is a privilege. It is a RIGHT! Back to the actual Constitution: the Judiciary has better defined all of our Constitutional rights; in many cases, these interpretations have limited rights. In other cases, rights have been expanded. Most rights have been limited, in one way or another. For example, while voting is a right, that right is not extended to people under age 18. The right was formerly denied to debtors, women, and people of color. Just because a right is limited does not mean it ceases being a right. The First Amendment is limited; for example, slander and libel are illegal. Private Bradley Manning is being charged with exposing state secrets; his First Amendment protections have been overruled. Other rights have been similarly limited. Yet we still enjoy broad First Amendment protections. This gets to my point in terms of differing worldviews. It seems to me that many Republicans see the world as very black and white, while many Democrats view the world as full of gray areas. Take the Second Amendment. I have a good friend who loves to hunt. While I don’t hunt, I certainly respect his right to do so. As a matter of fact, I’m glad he does it, because it helps to control wildlife populations that are no longer controlled naturally. So both of us honor his Second Amendment right to bear arms. The difference is, he feels there should be NO restrictions, EVER upon that right. I brought up a few outlandish examples: should kindergartners be allowed to bring guns to school? Should prisoners be allowed to have guns while in prison? Does every American have a right to a nuclear warhead? Yes, these examples are extreme. BUT HE SAID YES! My buddy literally said, “I support the Second Amendment – no exceptions.” Even after I reiterated my list, he stuck to his guns. (A bad pun, I know!) I believe the right to bear arms is a right; the courts have established this. I also believe that there are reasonable restrictions that can be applied to that right. That doesn’t mean it ceases being a right. It is not now a “privilege”. It simply means there are some gray areas. My friend does not deal well with gray areas. He likes right and wrong, good and bad, Hawkeye and Cyclone. Unfortunately, the world is more complicated than that. People are more complicated than that. We cannot negotiate when people are absolutely entrenched in positions that allow for no compromise. We cannot govern. We cannot live. Our rights are important. I wish my GOP friends would treat voting rights with the reverence they confer upon gun rights. Meanwhile, I hope all of us open our hearts and minds to the shades of gray that exist in our lives. *The Last Two Presidents Did you notice the interesting difference between speakers at the Republican and Democratic Party Conventions? The last President from the Democratic Party got the second most prestigious speaking slot, behind only the current President. The last President from the Republican Party did not even attend their convention. I think that speaks VOLUMES as to which set of policies are going to better serve this country! *Chicago Teachers I support the Chicago teachers in their strike. Rahm Emanuel is a vile, evil man, and the people of Chicago can expect more disappointments as his term as Mayor continues. Democrats (including the President) would do well to quit pretending this guy is a Democrat. Have you noticed how things began going better in the Obama White House after Emanuel departed? It is no coincidence. *Windows and Mirrors 25 images on fabric make up the collection, Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan - each depicting an aspect of the impact of the Afghan war on the civilian population caught in crossfire. The exhibit will be available throughout the month of September at the Coralville Public Library during regular library hours. I had the opportunity to see this exhibit, and I can attest that it is powerful. Please check it out! More importantly, Windows and Mirrors is but one of MANY Peace events taking place in September. Johnson County is lucky to be home to Peace Iowa. The name says it all – Iowans working for Peace! For more info on Windows and Mirrors, the September events, or Peace Iowa, see: *Under a Cider Moon The Johnson County Heritage Trust is holding its 6th annual Under A Cider Moon – Celebration of Autumn on Friday, October 19 at 5:30 pm. The event will be held at Celebration Barn, 2501 Sugar Bottom Road NE near Solon. It features both silent and live auctions, music by Guy Drollinger, and local wine, beer, cider, and hors d’oeuvres. The cost is $50 per person, $30 of that tax deductible. Reservations are required, and space is limited to the first 200 people! Deadline for registering is October 1 – call 338-7030 to RSVP. *DID YOU KNOW? The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed discriminatory practices designed to keep minorities from voting. Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website- "Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents. These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned. If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line. If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line. As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you! ---Rod


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