I decided not to post this weekend because I was terribly busy fending off my very, very Republican family. My cousin came across the letter in the paper and sent a response to my questions to my grandmother who in turn forwarded that onto me. It gave me quite a laugh, I have to say. Then, when I called my grandmother to thank her for sending me this, and so on, and then she told me that she also sent it to every other member of the family. My first thoughts, “Oh. Shit.” When I say that out of 7 uncles & 8 aunts, 35 (or so) 1st & 2nd cousins, more than enough 3rd, 4th & 5th cousins, I am one of three Liberals in my entire family. I am not kidding. I’m also the only one in the family who has a tattoo. I’m the only one (only female, I should say) in the family who didn’t get married at 19 (except for my mother, the other black sheep). I tell you what, being part of a very large Roman Catholic/Italian family has many benefits, but god forbid you’re considered a black sheep by all except for one or two NOT EVEN CLOSELY RELATED relatives.

That’s besides the point. I could complain about my family all day and all night if you gave me the chance, but through all their faults and political choosing, they are still my family. There, now if one of them finds this, they can’t get pissed.

Anyway, my cousin Carmine had some very interesting, although overly standardized Republican, answers to my ten questions. His answers are in italics.

Mr. President, given the infamous bond between Texas and the death penalty, and the fact that you were once the governor of Texas, how do you feel now that most states are doing away with the death penalty? Also, how do you feel about America being the last so-called civilized country that has yet to abolish the death penalty?

I don’t agree with the death penalty. But we need to find ways to stop the criminal from taking away every liberty we have. Because of violent crimes we live in fear, have many restrictions placed on our personal, everyday life.

Although Carmine makes an excellent point, why should we live in fear of every off chance that we might get mugged or raped or murdered? Why fear something that may not ever happen? That’s like being afraid of lightening striking you dead in the face, but what are the odds of that? A million to one. Unfortunately, terrible things happen that we cannot control. It’s a fact of life. Does killing another human being justify their crime? Taking a life for a life is a little outdated these days. Instead of the death penalty, send them to jail for life without parole. They’ll never get out and enjoy the wonderful earth that god has made. Plus I personally believe that the electric chair, lethal injection, and the gas chamber are means of cruel and unusual punishment. Thus, I believe the death penalty is unconstitutional.

What is your definition of the phrase separation of church and state? Doesn’t the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives negate the separation of church and state (the government should have no control over a person’s undeniable right to freedom of religion) by giving money to faith-based organizations?

The separation of Church and state was part of the constitution to prevent the government from instituting a wide sweeping mandate of religion on the people of this country (much like what had been done in England). The definition of the separation of Church and state is one that has been overused in so many cases that the true meaning of what the framers meant for our country has been blurred significantly. The funding of the programs in the faith based initiative is a realization by the government that in order for our government to do their job effectively they must utilize outside resources. For example, not every program that the government is responsible for is run at the grass root level by the government,. For example, here in our county, many government programs are operated by entitles like Trio County Community action, a non-profit group which runs facilities programs (etc) that receives grants from the government . However the data has shown that faith-based programs have had a significant effect on the areas of concern (aid to the poor, counseling for those in need, etc) examples of this would be Catholic Social Services, many protestant and African American church groups, Salvation Army,as well as many other faiths.

Again, Carmine is making an excellent point, however, the separation of church and state is a very simple thing. It’s definition is as clear as the phrase itself “separation of church and state”. The government should have no control over the peoples’ choices of religion. And vice-versa, as many seem to forget, the church will have no hand in the government. Religion these days has turned more into a blind faith and a “belief because you have to and not because you want to”. After my time served in private (primarily Catholic) schooling I learned that the line between church and state is significantly blurred. I have found that instead of teaching individuality and the persuit of one’s own belief and opinion is absolutely wrong. I was once told by a teacher “You’re in private school, your opinions is as meaningless here as it will be in the outside world”. Is that a positive influence? Is that how the church plans to keep it’s parishioners? It’s parishioner’s children (and so one and so forth)? Now, the reason this teacher said this to me is because of an essay I wrote on how Bush was relying too much on blind faith rather than clearly thinking about the aftershock of September 11th. For my school, flaming the right is as bad as a death threat on a student. The Christian right (and I’m not trying to offend anyone’s personal beliefs here) has so severely blurred the lines between church and state that it’s effects will damage the future of this nation. It’s aftershock will cause a societal revert to the time where religion was mandated by the government. Bush has done nothing in his office but rip the Constitution to shreds since he was handed his position on a silver platter (much like everything else in his life, especially the coveted Barbara Bush Scholarship … gee, wonder how he got that one?).

Do you have a response to the American journalists [and bloggers alike] who have said, because of the upcoming Senate hearings on allegations of illegal wiretapping, that you are this generation’s Nixon?

The similarities to other wiretapping in the case of Nixon are in name only. The method and the purpose are totally different. Nixon and his team were wrong were what they did and they paid the price for that. Other wiretaps have been executed by various administrations, most notable Robert F. Kenned during JFK’s team wiretapped Martin Luther King and his now departed wife Coretta Scott king. It is interesting to note that Jimmy Crater brought this up during her funeral (in very bad taste, I might add) and yet it was his democratic predecessor JFK who wiretapped the civil rights leader not a Republican as Carter tried to infer… Should we know if an terrorist-connected person residing or visiting in the US is able to converse with terrorist or terrorist organization outside the US?

No matter the circumstance, wiretapping is illegal. ILLEGAL. If it’s illegal, it’s unjustifiable. Not to mention that again, it’s another example of Bush shredding the Constitution to bits (metaphorically speaking, of course). As for JFK, RFK, and Carter (he wasn’t a very smart man and isn’t to this day, but he still had that silly southern charm that somehow captivated a nation, but I suppose is also the reason he wasn’t elected a second term), it’s still unjustifiable. Just because two assassinated men did it, doesn’t mean it was right. Plus, the comparison is seriously outdated as was the general consensus at the time of JFK and RFK that “black people were to be feared”. Now we know better (even though some people are still living in the 50s) and should realize that skin color should never matter. The wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr and Coretta Scott King was a matter of race. MLK brought forth a worthy revolution that I believe did such wonders for the American people.

What is the current relationship between your office and the Fox Broadcasting Company?

I would say the current relationship is that just as many of the other news organizations favor a more liberal viewpoint, Fox Broadcasting favors a more conservative in theme terms balanced view point. To say that any news organization is unbiased is shortsighted. As an example watch George Stefanopolis reports on ABC and then watch the same new report on Fox and or other channels The Fox example stands out because most of the mainstream media tends to slant more toward the liberal rather than conservative view point.. That’s why there are many channels on the cable system. Watch them all and draw your own conclusions.

I didn’t know it was shortsighted to think that possibly money changed hands at some point (as is most often the case) when every single news channel declared Gore the winner in 2000 except for Fox News. Despite the fact that Gore had one popular vote. If I remember correctly from even my most basic History lesson, the electoral college was formed because during the time when our country was still only a few years old, most citizens could not read or write, thus voting was a befuddlement for most. So, men (and no women as they were the “devil” at one point just is as everything different than the considered “norm”) were appointed to go from colony to colony campaigning for the right man for Presidency. The electoral college depended on popular vote and were chosen to represent it. The electoral college failed in 2000 when it decided that money was better spent on a President’s son rather than a man that probably would have done a better job in handling all the disarray that our country is in now with Bush at the head.