I attended a memorial service last week for a colleague and friend who was a progressive activist. He was someone who valued actions above mere rhetoric, and who cared for people with a big heart and who, with straight-forward words (and hugs), told others how much he loved them and valued who they are. He was a remarkable person who acted upon principles of the Christian Gospel without apology but with an apologia that was clear and plain in a simplicity that could not be taken as weakness but as strength. It was one of the only memorials I have ever attended where the several ministers who led prayers, readings and meditations as long-time friends and admirers of the deceased, were visibly moved and emotional over his passing and the life-lessons they had learned from him.
Another memorial/burial service was being conducted in the area at about the same time. It was for a very young man, married with children, who had died of a mass blockage in an artery while just three days into a training course to become a state trooper. His story was prominent in both regular and social media. State flags were ordered flown at half-staff. Traffic was actually closed off in the area of the funeral because of the large crowd expected, including an influx of police representatives from all over the state. It just so happened that the closed streets were on the way to my friend’s memorial service, causing some of us to use a detour, which was not a problem. Let me be clear: I have no argument with the hero’s treatment given this young man from our area, and I sympathize with his young family left behind.
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.... (Act 5.5.17-23)"
What comes to my mind immediately is the slow steady pace of racial bias that creeps in to everyday life in the most insidious manner. It comes in the form of real estate agreements and restrictive bank loans in order to segregate our neighborhoods and our schools. It comes in the petty form of songs sung on a college bus, or chants at a fraternity party or in negative words posted online. It comes to us in the form of a "War on Drugs" which was never waged against drugs, but against certain people.
In other words, "Congress has effectively exempted itself from the Freedom of Information Act which governs executive agencies."
In and of itself, that wording to me does not grant "broad immunity" to Congress. It simply prevents them from being questioned in some other place than in their sessions. Amendment I assuring freedom of the press would seem to have negated the thrust of this particular phrase. Besides, this is vague enough to warrant much discussion. I think it has to be seen in the context of the first phrase, meaning that public authorities are restricted from questioning them "in any other place." As a writer for the Heritage Foundation submitted: "it is clear that activities not directly related to the legislative process are not constitutionally shielded." The 'speech and debate clause' is not a substantial reason for members to be able to exempt themselves from the application of laws that are passed and signed.