Ten years ago, President Bill Clinton announced that the era of big government was over. Marvin Parks didn't buy it.
As a state legislator and as a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat held by Vic Snyder, Parks has continued to advance the rights of government over the rights of the individual. He not only champions a constitutional amendment to prevent people from entering gay marriages and civil unions (the government decides who can make commitments to whom), he favors laws banning sodomy and wants such laws enforced (the government crashes the bedroom). He is a longtime proponent of allowing the long arm of government into the womb, sponsoring legislation to deny women dominion over their own bodies.
In the most recent session of the legislature, Parks supported a bill removing jurors' authority to punish wrongdoers in civil actions and transferring it to the government. Anywhere that people think and act for themselves, there is Marvin Parks, trying to put a stop to it.
Snyder, on the other hand, trusts his fellow Americans and defends them against the heavy hand of government. When Big Government tries to force organized prayer into the public schools, Snyder resists. When it seeks to deprive the people of their rights of free speech, he fights back.
So far, the people are still allowed to elect their congressmen, if not their president. This is very much to Snyder's advantage.
The author of a letter to the editor of the daily paper was more than commonly confused. "Those most willing to support him [President Bush] are social conservatives," she wrote, "because Bush has shown a willingness to oppose the culture of death." Tell it to a bunch of dead Texans. As governor of the Lone Star State, Bush presided over 152 executions. He was the deadliest governor in American history. Arkansas's famous hanging judge, Isaac Parker, had only about half as many notches in his rope.
Now if the writer had said that Bush was opposed to any culture that threatened the death of George W. Bush, she would have been bang on target. Unlike John Kerry, who plunged recklessly into harm's way in defense of his country, Bush avoided combat in his generation's war. Not given to heavy thinking as a rule, he devoted his fullest power of concentration to the effort, helped immeasurably by a rich and influential daddy. Bush and his party and pundits who also stayed clear of Vietnam are now selling the idea that the male cheerleader who slickered his way past a war is more of a manly ideal than a decorated combat veteran. Purchasers of this quaint notion are those who believe with Bush that wars, like taxes and executions, should be reserved for the non-rich and the non-white.
We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.