Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/21: An Old Treaty, A Bad Dad, Clothes For Seductive Kids, Chris Wallace Trades The Pot For The Kettle, And New York Being New York

I feel like Dean established the standard for this holiday standard, written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne (“Gypsy,” “Funny Girl”) in July 1945. World War II inspired so many Christmas and holiday songs, notably “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

1. Meeting the terms of a still valid 19th Century treaty seems like an ethical imperative, no? Kim Teehee was selected as the Cherokee people’s first nonvoting U.S. House delegate two years ago; now all that is needed is for the U.S. to make good on a deal it struck with the Cherokee Nation in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, signed by President Andrew Jackson and ratified by the Senate, promising the tribe a non-voting House delegate. There are apparently some details to work out, among them how to respond when other tribes quite reasonably insist that they also deserve this limited representation in Congress, similar to the what D.C. has. One would think that 180 years is enough time for the complexities to be resolved, especially since the Cherokee Nation’s price for the promise of a non-voting House member was The Trail of Tears, when the tribe was forced to move out of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee to what is now Oklahoma, with more than 4,000 Cherokees dying along the way. There are an estimated 400,000 Cherokees today.

Why has it taken so long for this to become an issue? Well, as for the U.S., it conveniently “forgot” until historians re-discovered the terms of the treaty 50 years ago. The Cherokees hadn’t pressed the U.S. on meeting its treaty obligations because, as the principle chief of Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin Jr. explains, they had other priorities. “Asserting every detail of that treaty was not on their minds,” he says. “It was surviving.”

2. Meanwhile, as we mull giving 400,000 Native American citizens a voice in Congress, New York City has awarded the right to vote to 800,000 non-citizens. This makes New York City the largest city in the country to allow non-citizens (legal ones) to vote in local elections, a really bad idea that cheapens the vote as well as the value of citizenship. Non-citizens can now do almost anything a citizen can do in New York City and similarly misguided locales. Why become a citizen? Why learn the language? Why adopt the U.S. culture and values? Listening to clips of City Council members debating the new law was enlightening….regarding the quality of thought that municipal politicians bring to their duties. One member argued that the provision would help motivate more citizens to vote in order to counter the will of non-citizen voters. On that basis, NYC should allow 10-year-olds to vote.

To be fair, the kids couldn’t possibly elect a worse mayor than Bill de Blasio, who thinks the measure may be illegal.

For once, he may be right. N.Y. Constitution. art. II, § 1 provides that “Every citizen shall be entitled to vote at every election for all officers elected by the people and upon all questions submitted to the vote of the people provided that such citizen is eighteen years of age or over and shall have been a resident of this state, and of the county, city, or village for thirty days next preceding an election.” New York state election law, meanwhile, limits voting rights “in any election” to US citizens. Then there is Section 23(2)(e) of New York’s Municipal Home Rule Law, along with § 38 of New York City’s charter, which provides that a local law must be a ballot referendum if it “[a]bolishes an elective office, or changes the method of … electing … an elective officer, or changes the term of an elective office, or reduces the salary of an elective officer during his term of office.”

But if there is one thing Democratic Party elected officials have proven over the last five years or more, constitutions and laws are just obstacles to be surmounted in pursuit of “the greater good.”

3. Now THAT’S an unethical father! In Joliet, Illinois, drunk-as-a-skunk driver Christopher Hernandez crashed into three cars over the weekend near a local mall. He then dumped off his seriously injured 10-year-old son at a nearby store and fled the scene. At least he didn’t leave the bleeding boy in the car. Police officers eventually captured Dad, who is charged with four counts of aggravated DUI, DUI, endangering the life or health of a child, failure to remain at the scene of a personal injury accident and obstructing justice. He probably won’t be getting that tie he wanted for Christmas, but then with those cool tats

runaway dad

…a tie might be superfluous.

4. Chris Wallace Ethics? The Fox News anchor is, of course, being cheered by journalists for his “integrity” because he suddenly announced that he will leave evil Fox News. Based on the usual “anonymous sources,” it is believed that Wallace is disturbed at the network’s recent hard right turn, epitomized by commentator Tucker Carlson’s ascension in the ratings and in influence at Fox. This praise for Wallace might have some validity if Wallace were not fleeing to CNN, which makes Fox News look unbiased and ethical by comparison, especially lately.

5. The perfect attire for the sexually precocious pre-teen in your life! London’s John Lewis, a fashion retailer, decided that it would be cool to name a line of party dresses designed for girls aged 3 to 11 “Lollita.” Apparently nobody in the decision chain had read (or even heard about) Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel “Lolita,” which explores the sexual abuse arising from a middle-aged professor’s obsession with an alluring 12-year-old girl—or, more likely I suppose, they had heard about it, and have an appalling dearth of taste. In addition to that, the store’s marketing staff can’t spell. Fortunately the implications of the new clothing were rapidly communicated to the store by the more literate, and “Lollita” is no more.

8 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/21: An Old Treaty, A Bad Dad, Clothes For Seductive Kids, Chris Wallace Trades The Pot For The Kettle, And New York Being New York

  1. In Joliet, Illinois, drunk-as-a-skunk driver Christopher Hernandez crashed into three cars over the weekend near a local mall. He then dumped off his seriously injured 10-year-old son at a nearby store and fled the scene. At least he didn’t leave the bleeding boy in the car. Police officers eventually captured Dad, who is charged with four counts of aggravated DUI, DUI, endangering the life or health of a child, failure to remain at the scene of a personal injury accident and obstructing justice. He probably won’t be getting that tie he wanted for Christmas, but then with those cool tats

    This reminds me of what David Frum recently tweeted

    Maybe hospitals should serve drunk drivers injured in crashes they caused after the unvaccinated. .

    • David Frum is one of those people who thinks he smart but really just had a decent echo chamber. I rarely see anything intelligent come out of him. Seriously, there are so many problems with number 4 I think a middle schooler could deconstruct it.

      What if there’s a mix up in the system? What if the person can’t speak to you? What if the problem isn’t covid because COVID looks like so many other things?

      That’s just off the top of my head.

  2. #3: Also looks like a probable pit bull owner. (Hang on while I go for the popcorn). 😉

    On a serious note,
    #4: Posts from the right on Wallace’s move seem to be very heavily along the lines of “Who cares?” and “As good a place as any for his career to die”.

  3. I recognise this makes me uncultured, but when I hear “Lollita” in the context of clothing, I think of the lolita fashion subculture in Japan way before I think of allusions to literature.
    Given lolita fashion is a thing in its own right, I’m surprised (and disappointed) John Lewis felt the need to pull the product.

    • Here’s where the new difficulty bloggers have with WordPress in using a poll raises its warty head: How many in the West think “Japan fashion” when they hear or read “Lolita” rather than Sue Lyon, Humbert Humbert, Stanley Kubrick and Nabokov? I, for one, never heard of the Nippon connection.

  4. 1) But wait! Don’t the Cherokee already have a representative in Congress?

    And Senator Elizabeth Warren is even a voting member of the Senate, so that’s the cherry on top!

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