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Binding Principles

Posted by Rick · June 3rd, 2004 · 21 Comments

Abi, over at Sunpig, has a talent I don’t see much of these days — well, yes, she is an intelligent and critical thinker, but that’s not what I meant — she practices bookbinding, by hand, as a hobby.

I can’t claim to be any kind of knowledgeable about bookbinding. Probably anything I know about it, I read on her website. Being married to Bunny, I do know a thing or two about beauty, though. And I can tell you that Abi’s works are beautiful.

One of her new ideas was to create a leatherbound edition of the Constitution of the United States. Abi plans to send it as a present to the man who I personally think could use it the most: George W. Bush, President of the United States. She’s sent one, along with a letter that you can read here.

Abi just “posted the book” (that’s how they say “mailed it” in that other English dialect across the sea) Tuesday, but she wasn’t concerned that a public announcement would spoil the surprise as she doubts the President is one of her regular blog visitors. If the Fresno Sheriff’s Department is reading mine, please don’t spoil the surprise (besides, you’ll blow your cover [no pun intended]).

Anyway, it’s definitely worth a look. Bravo, Abi!

Categories: Constitutional Issues


21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nick meyer // Jun 3, 2004 at 11:13 am

    I have a problem with this. I do understand that Abi is a U.S. citizen. Having said that and without knowing her I personnally feel that she has given up the right to question our Presidents policies and agendas. Correct me if i am wrong but voluntarily staying out of the country for almost 11 years, again in my opinion, voids the right to speak out on issues pertaining to America. I hope I am not stepping out of line with this or upsetting anyone but I do feel very strongly about this without any political preference involved.

  • 2 nick meyer // Jun 3, 2004 at 11:21 am

    I must apoligize to you Abi for not validating your talent and skills at what you do. It is very beautiful and I am sure heart felt. I hope my comments do not upset you but you are a big girl and I am sure have handled much worse than me.

  • 3 Rick // Jun 3, 2004 at 12:49 pm

    I’m not sure I understand why even a non-American wouldn’t be able to comment upon our President’s policies, especially as pertains to the rest of the world, or to the example, we, the country that claims to be the light of the world as pertains to freedom, set regarding civil rights.

    However, I’m particularly unclear why a United States citizen, merely because she fell in love and married someone who lives in another country, is not allowed to be concerned about the direction her country is moving and to express her views regarding that.

    However, if we want to say that questioning policies and agendas is a bad thing, then I suppose that fits. After all, our current President insists that there ought to be limits to freedom, as well. He’s told those — such as Head Start teachers — who would try to argue against some of his policies that they are to keep their mouths shut. And, of course, gNat here famously told us that we should keep our mouths shut about contradicting the President and/or other Conservatives. (His exact words were “STFU”.)

    If censorship is a good thing, then I suppose it doesn’t really matter which nail you hang your censorship hat on; any excuse for telling someone they have no right to comment is fine.

  • 4 nick meyer // Jun 3, 2004 at 1:46 pm

    That is the beauty of America and the freedoms we as citizens have come to enjoy. I never said she “DID NOT” have the right to be concerned or voice her opinion, I said “In my opinion” she gave up the right to speak out on issues pertaining to America. Again, that is the beauty here. We are all entitled to our opinions and have the right to voice them. No matter what I personnally feel or vocalize.

  • 5 abi // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:03 pm


    Despite not being physically located in the United States, I am still an American. Many of our laws apply to me even while I’m abroad. I still vote, file tax returns, etc. And I don’t vote in the UK, not even in local elections.

    And as an American abroad, I represent our country (unofficially, of course). People ask me questions about the US, tell me what they feel about it, describe the visits they’ve had to our country. I get to defend us, explain us, try to convey the vision that makes us a nation.

    Also, my children are American citizens. In addition to trying to build an America that represents what I was raised to believe in (for instance, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights), in addition to exporting and explaining our nation to the world, I’m also trying to help America be the kind of place my children will want to live in.

    So tell me, Nick, just to even the scales. What, apart from geography, entitles you to comment on our electoral process? Will the result affect you? It will affect me. Are you visibly, conspicuously and consciously American every day of your life? I certainly am, the more so for living abroad. Will the outcome of the election affect your children? It will mine.

    It’s true that living abroad has changed me, given me some different perspectives on our political process. But is that a bad thing? Can we not learn from other countries, take what’s good of their attitudes and more consciously reject what’s bad? I have learned here that politics need not be uncivil; must we abandon that lesson because it isn’t the way we do things in the US right now?

    I’m glad you like the book.

  • 6 Rick // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:11 pm

    I guess I fail to see the difference between stating that someone has given up the right to speak and saying that they should not speak. Maybe it means they can speak, but no one should listen?

    Prefacing something with “in my opinion” doesn’t negate the statement. It simply indicates that, whatever else you may be saying, you’re intelligent enough to indicate that maybe you’re the only one saying it, or, possibly, that you’re throwing your hat into a particular ring; i.e., sort of casting a vote for a particular viewpoint.

    “In my opinion, ________ is a no-good stinking this-or-that” would not soften the insult or change its meaning. Neither does it seem that adding “in my opinion” (or, as you really said, “I personally feel”) to the phrase “given up the right to question” alters this so that it does not count as an attempt to negate her right to question.

    At least, Nick, that’s my opinion. 😉

  • 7 abi // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:17 pm


    I don’t think Nick was trying to censor me because I disagree with President Bush. I certainly didn’t take it that way. I can see his position – it’s not obvious how someone not directly affected by his domestic policy should be entitled to criticize. I hope I have addressed that issue.

    It’s possible that he would not have leveled this at me if I had sent the President a fan letter, but that’s not the same thing. Criticism, as a general thing, is harder to take than praise, and fewer people are welcome to administer it as a result.

    I do think that even non-citizens have the right to question and criticize policies that affect them (I reckon the Iraqis certainly have the right to comment, for instance). Even the British are affected by the upcoming election; must they be silent?

    However, the President does not represent these people, and may take their comments with less weight than he should take mine.

  • 8 Rick // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:22 pm

    I know Nick personally and I know he’s not a mean guy and I doubt he would say anything like “STFU, Abi!” I don’t intend to indicate otherwise.

    That said and Abi’s comment notwithstanding, I still don’t see the difference between saying someone has given up a right to do a particular thing and saying that they should not do that particular thing.

    What, exactly, would it mean to tell someone they’ve given up the right to speak a particular way if it did not mean that they should not speak a particular way?

  • 9 nick meyer // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:24 pm

    Ouch. I was not aware, (because it is none of my business,) that you voted, filed tax returns etc… which makes me look totally ignorant and arrogant. Please accept my apology and be aware that quite often my wife finds me with my foot in my mouth. And of course the outcome of the election will affect my beautiful children as well as yours. We need to keep Mr. Bush so we can remain safe and confident . I am very scared and afraid of what will happen if we elect Jane Fonda’s friend.

  • 10 Rick // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:28 pm

    Now I know why you work so hard to keep them footsies clean! 😉

    Seriously, I feel compelled to say because of some of the nastiness that has invaded this blog in the past, that my comments/questions on this topic should be taken for exactly what they are: comments and questions on this topic.

    And not attacks upon Nick (or his feet).

  • 11 nick meyer // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:31 pm

    As well I hope that my remarks are not taken as attacks on anyone or their beliefs or feelings. That is just what they are, remarks regarding my opinions.

  • 12 Mark // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:35 pm


    I can understand your fear, to some degree. I mean, the voters (including the ones in Florida, according to the Consortium Report) picked a Democrat last time. And look at how we’ve gone downhill since then!!

  • 13 Rick // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:37 pm

    Not to be dense, but I didn’t get that.

    Man…I’m feeling dumb today.

  • 14 abi // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:41 pm


    It takes a big man to apologize. I appreciate the courage you’ve shown in doing so.

    I confess, I am more scared of what happens if we keep Mr. Bush in office, eroding our Constitution and bulldozing his way through a world that once was on our side.

    But more than electing one man or another, what we need to do is to end the venom and fury that poisons these debates. That frightens me more than the election of any one man. What America really needs is neither extreme, neither polarity, but consensus and compromise. Republicans who listen to Democrats, Democrats who listen to Republicans. We need statesmen and citizens, not party politicians and commentators.

    As someone living abroad, let me tell you something. Nat and Mark have more in common, politically, than either of them does with my British husband. I just wish they could see that the energy they and millions like them spend in endless backbiting could actually be used for the good of the nation.

    For an example, ask Rick, or see how much less original writing he’s done on the blog since he’s started trying to address Nat’s points, with more care for accuracy and truthfulness than Nat himself has.

  • 15 Mark // Jun 3, 2004 at 2:50 pm


  • 16 nick meyer // Jun 3, 2004 at 3:03 pm

    Come on Rick!! You can’t see where this is going. Another rib from the nay sayers about how Bush stole the election from a rightly elected Gore.

  • 17 Rick // Jun 3, 2004 at 3:26 pm

    Oh. Okay. I guess I’m in the group of people who thinks Bush may have illegitimately been put into office, but who doesn’t think we’ll really ever know for sure.

    And I figure the coup — if there was one — has been widely accepted, so the thing to do is hope there aren’t enough Diebold and other Republican-owned voting machines out there to override the vituperative hate-spewing venomous anger that will drive so many Democrats to the polls in the next election. (Sorry. gNat asked me to fill in for him while he’s on vacation.) 😉

  • 18 Mark // Jun 3, 2004 at 4:37 pm


    Lighten up, my friend. I was simply pointing out a few facts (painful to Republicans, I know) in an effort to poke a little fun at you. I didn’t call you a name nor did I make a professional diagnosis as to your mental or physical state.

    Some good-natured ribbing back and forth is healthy.

    Go ahead, tease me about the peace and prosperity that Democrats bring when they are in office, Nick. It’ll kill me!

  • 19 nick meyer // Jun 3, 2004 at 5:41 pm

    Abi, I do agree we need to start working together as Americans towards a common goal and not Democrats vs. Republicans on separate agendas. Mark , did you take offense because I told Rick the nay sayers were ribbing again? Everything I post I try to do with a sense of loyalty to the subject and with no malice intended and no offense directed towards anyone.( After my initial attempts at posting. I did start off pretty defensive but have now tried to stick to the issues.) Must I keep apologizing. SORRY

  • 20 Rick // Jun 3, 2004 at 5:57 pm

    No, you must not keep apologizing.

    Just as a reminder for folks (for me, too), the written word, whether via email, posting here, or in any other forum, is not always the best at communicating emotional states (e.g., teasing and playful banter) amongst people who don’t know one another well.

    We should keep that in mind, wear our thicker skins and query one another when something seems off to us.

    After being hammered for weeks with someone calling us “vituperative,” “hate-filled,” and so on, people might be a little more sensitive, as well, and quicker to think there’s a personal attack.

    I’m not sure where gNat is, but I don’t mind his absence at all. Maybe now we’ll be able to actually discuss the issues (and I can get back to regular blog entries).


  • 21 Mark // Jun 3, 2004 at 8:48 pm

    No apology is necessary, Nick.

    I’m glad that you’re back posting again.

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