Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Celebrating Small Things

Later this week I’ll be concluding the three-part series on family and what happens when it is devalued by society. Today I’m mentioning a couple of other little things worth celebrating. 

I started this blog March 4th, so yesterday marked four months, a third of a year. (I didn’t mention it yesterday, because celebrating America’s independence was enough for one day.) If you haven’t gone back that far, maybe it would be good to repeat a little introductory info. 

I am Spherical Model. That is not my shape (although there is more resemblance than I would like). Spherical Model, rather, is an alternative to the “left/right” paradigm. This blog is commentary related to the website www.sphericalmodel.com. It would be a good idea for readers to go to the website first, to understand the way Spherical Model looks at things. The postings here will support the Spherical Model way of relating to political, economic, or social spheres, or to their interrelationships…. 

There are a lot of bloggers and columnists out there saying good things, getting at the truth, and helping to educate me. I’m not likely to be the first or most insightful, so I’m hoping my contribution will be an organizing factor. 

In my segment on the social sphere, I define civilization in a specific way. I love and value this civilization. I’m hoping that what I say here will contribute to helping people identify and choose a civilized life and culture. 

Today is blog post 82. I try to write every weekday, plus the occasional Saturday. I appreciate comments and feedback, and I very much appreciate readers. Thank you for taking your time here. I will try to make it worth your while. 

Small Victory in Texas
Mike Merola: photo by Cody Duty, Chronicle
A number of people I know are residents of a homeowners association in northwest Houston, where they have been working tirelessly on this issue. There is a man living there, a veteran Marine, who some time ago put up a 20-foot flagpole in his backyard, where he respectfully flies the US flag and the Marine flag. The HOA there decided, for reasons that simply elude me but seem to be common among these little fiefdoms, that his flag could not be flown without reducing the home values in the neighborhood. Really! There was no such rule against flying a flag in a back yard, so they made a rule, refused to grandfather him in, and started charging him $200 a day in fines every day until he took the flag down. He refused. They sued him for the fines and added in their court costs, amounting in total to well over $20,000. 

The Texas legislature took up the issue and passed a bill preventing HOAs from disallowing people from flying US flags on their own property. But then it was up to a judge to decide whether the bill could retroactively protect this veteran. The court date was coming up this week. But the story in the Houston Chronicle yesterday let us know that, in time for the 4th of July, the case was settled. The veteran doesn’t have to pay any fines or court costs. He will be allowed to fly his flag as long as he abides by future rules of the HOA; these are expected to require him to move the pole from near his back fence to closer to his house, which is fine with him. So it all ends well. 

More Good in Houston
While we’re celebrating the success of people standing up for freedom in Houston, I’d like to mention a celebration that happened yesterday at the Houston National Cemetery. Sometime last week an overzealous bureaucrat, Arleen Ocasio, directed that no one during ceremonies at the cemetery could invoke God or Jesus in any way—couldn’t pray, couldn’t say “God bless” to people mourning deaths of loved ones—even family mourners would have to submit their scripts to her for approval.  

So, in a display of nonviolent protest that might have pleased Ghandi, hundreds turned out at the cemetery for 4th of July celebrations to invoke the name of God as much as they chose. I’m proud of my friends from the group Not On This Watch who attended. 

News reports say that leather-clad bikers stood alongside Tea Party moms in this moment of solidarity. And a number of local elected officials stood there with their constituents. Some of the demonstrator signs are amusing: “Thank God Ocasio and Obama don’t write the Constitution. Just wish they would READ it!!!” 

A lawsuit has been filed against Ocasio and other US Veterans Affairs officials for this clearly unconstitutional prohibition of basic freedom. According to the First Amendment, the federal government shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Prohibiting prayer and religious expression during interment ceremonies is certainly a violation. I’m proud of these who, like William Travis at the Alamo, stepped over the line in the sand and said, “You can’t take our freedoms without a fight.”  

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