Friday, December 5, 2008

What is perception and what is reality?

Perception of things is sometimes false.

The two photos above (both author photos) are an example of this.

This blog's header photo is of Sawtooth Ridge, a recognizable feature along Montana's Rocky Mountain Front.  If you have driven from Glacier Park to Yellowstone Park, or the reverse, along the east slope of the Rockies, then you have seen this chunk of limestone overthrust.  The photo directly above is Granite Peak, the highest point in Montana.

Perspective makes Sawtooth Ridge's 8175 feet seem much more impressive than Granite Peak's 12,799.  The two main differences are:  one, the photo of Sawtooth Ridge is taken from an elevation of less than 4300 feet and Granite Peak's is from about 11,500 feet, and two, Sawtooth Ridge can be seen from a U.S. highway, while Granite Peak can only be seen after hiking 12 miles at elevations above 10,000 feet.
Perception not only affects how we view physical features, it also distorts things that are not as concrete, such as, politics and relations in our government.

Article I of the United States Constitution established the Legislature.
Article I consists of nine long sections.

Article II established the Executive Branch.
Article II consists of four rather short sections.

There is a reason for that.  The power of the people and the people's representatives comes first.  The executive was established to check the legislature and give a single face to the new republic.  Most actions of the president must be approved by the legislature--notably the Senate.

People have lost track of those relations.  Hoopla and fanfare of presidential politics have drawn attention from what is important--the legislature, to what is secondary--the president.  This is good for politics and bad for the United States.

Today, the perception is that our new president will take our guns--or worse.

A result of that is people flocking to gun stores for arms and ammunition since Barack Obama won the presidency.  See article from Chicago Tribune.  

There is a belief that Obama has the power to register and confiscate people's guns.  He has no such power.  While voters were concerned with the presidential race, the incumbent senators and congressmen slipped back into their former posts with little notice.  In Montana, incumbent Senator Max Baucus, who was rated "A+" by the National Rifle Association, reclaimed his seat.  Montanans had forgotten both high school civics lessons and recent history.  Civics lessons and reading the Constitution would have told us that the people's representative, like Baucus, are the only ones who can pass laws--such as gun bans.  Recent history tells us that Baucus voted for the Brady Bill during the last Democratic presidential term--Bill Clinton.  (How did Baucus get an "A+" from the NRA with that stain on his shirt?_

Baucus isn't the only remaining Senator or Congressman who voted for the Brady Bill.

If voting against gun rights is bad, then why are the anti-gun politicians still there?

My final question is,  "Are all those people who are buying guns and ammunition sending letters and emails to their senators and congressmen who may vote for or against gun rights?"  It is a given that the anti-gun groups and individuals are.

The perception is that guns are necessary and letters to Congress are worthless.

The reality is that the right to free speech is the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the right to bear arms is the Second Amendment.

Lets put things back in their proper order.

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