This might initially seem an innocent enough statement but a look at the meaning of the statement reveals a truly repulsive an reprehensible example of liberal deception and political preposterousness.
By its very definition, an appropriations bill is a legislative act proposing to authorize the expenditure of public funds for a specified purpose, “a specified purpose”. The term is also not one that can be interpreted as a tool for sweeping legislative action on multiple, unrelated fronts. But with a total lack of responsibility and decency Congress followed through with a process that was amended by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy on July 15th of this year. The amendment (S.AMDT.1511) added a hate crimes provision that became part of a bill which was meant for the specific defined purpose of authorizing financial appropriations for military construction, military personnel, military activities of the Department of Defense, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy for fiscal year 2010.
Hate crimes legislation and the cost of an effective national defense are in no way, shape or form, related issues. That indisputable fact makes one wonder why and how the twain meet.
Dealt with separately, the DOD appropriations had enough of its own controversial aspects. Most notable were the budgeting questions that led to hard fought alterations of programs developing alternative engines for an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and a possibly negligent scrapping of the F-22 fighter program. So sensitive were these two aspects of the appropriations process that President Obama promised a veto of the bill if the F-22 was not scrapped and if the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program was seriously disrupted. But perhaps the most sensitive aspect of defense department appropriations process is the fact that it funds THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION !!!!!
That small fact warrants serious consideration by serious and responsible people. It is a process that, if tampered with, will result in a vulnerability to the United States that can reap devastating results too difficult to repair or reverse in a time and fashion that keeps us safe. Given the importance of the issue, how does the Democrat majority deal with it? They throw the issue of hate crimes legislation into it.
Hate crimes alone is a divisive issue. The very nature of a bill that places the lives of some over the lives of others warrants much debate of its own. For a group of responsible federal legislators to conclude that one similar act of violence should be addressed with less severity than another similar act of violence based upon who and why they were committed is nothing but government sanctioned discrimination. At the heart of hate crimes measures are an attempt to not simply create penalties for violence but to legislate peoples attitudes and even their thoughts. The extent to which hate crimes initiatives are created offer the potential for future enforcement of laws that will criminalize words and thoughts in an acute contradiction of the First Amendment.
There is no excuse for violence. It is intolerable in all its forms and for all its reasons. Hate and bigotry are personal perceptions that are bred by ignorance and intolerance but they are not combated by somehow claiming that the murder of one person because you hate their religion, orientation, gender, color, accent or maybe even their politics, is any less heinous than the murder of another person for any other reason. Why should someone who kills a homosexual because of their orientation be punished with any less severity than someone who kills a homosexual for their money? Why should the killer of a married mother of two receive a softer sentence because someone killed her for her car, than someone who killed her because she was a lesbian?
With the exception of extenuating circumstances of murder committed by accident, unintended or contributory negligence, or in self defense, the government should not be asserting greater emphasis on the prosecution of or penalties on crimes committed against one group of people or for the particular reasons they were committed. To legislate different penalties for similar crimes based on why and who they are committed against is not the commissioning of proper judicial conduct. Such laws take the blindfold of justice off of Justitia herself.
If one were to take the time to debate this issue properly, the mounting legal, moral and ethical arguments that demonstrate hate crimes legislation to be in and of themself a discriminatory practice are endless and I am sure the passions of those who support such discriminatory policies meant to prevent discrimination against others have their endless cases for hate crimes legislation. Which is exactly why this measure never should have been made a provision thrown into a defense spending bill. It has nothing to do with defense appropriations. To slip this distinctly separate issue into a bill that it has no relationship with was genuinely despicable and it denies the proper individual attention that bothe issues deserve.
With hate crimes legislation being such a divisive issue, clearly it was made a part of the defense issue in an attempt to avoid it being dealt with based on its own merits, which if it were, it would hardly receive the same support that a bill providing money for the defense of our nation would. However, for some, for the first time ever in their legislative careers, they actually did vote against the defense appropriations bill and they did so because hate crimes legislation was made a part of the it. Indiana Congressman Mike Pence was among those who fell into this category. After declaring “ that the defense bill was being used as a vehicle for liberal social policies wholly unrelated to our country’s national security”, Pence delivered a passionate speech on the House floor opposing the Democrats’ attachment of the hate crimes bill to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.
In it he states that the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 is “an important piece of legislation” of which “its essential elements” will ultimately provide our troops with the “critical resources they need to accomplish their mission.” The Congressman added “However, the Majority in this Congress has cynically included hate crimes provisions in this legislation that threaten the very freedoms of speech and religion that draw our soldiers into the uniform of this nation.” In its entirety Rep. Spence laid out a compelling case against both the actions of the Democrats and their misguided drive for hate crimes.” For the full text of the speech, click here
The Democrat majorities manipulated the system so that those who did support proper funding of the Department Defense had to also support hate crimes legislation. Conversely, the only way that they could have opposed hate crimes legislation would have been to oppose the funding of the Defense Department. Such politics should be criminal in and of itself. It is absolutely insincere and shameful. Rest assured that Democrats are not alone in this practice of adding unrelated measures to varied legislation designed to address something other than what is added to it. Republicans do the same thing and the practice, as deplorable as it is, is commonplace. That is why I have long since called for an overhaul of the legislative proposal process, a process which through committee and the amendment procedures, would deny unrelated spending measures and issues from being attached to each other.
Be it Republicans or Democrats, the practice of tagging issues or spending measures that are irrelevant to the intended focus and origins of a bill is wrong. Such disingenuous conduct is not for those of honor and with dignity. In this case, it was the Democrat majorities who have proven themselves to be dishonorable and without dignity.
The question now becomes who has not only the dignity and honor to put an end to the practice of creating legislative riders but who has the courage and power to do so. Based on the prime example of making hate crimes a rider on legislation effecting national security, President Obama could veto the FY 2010 appropriations bills and make it clear that if you want hate crimes legislation passed, lets do so on its own merits, not on the basis of treachery and deceit.
For some reason though, I doubt our President has the dignity and courage to do that.