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FEB. 9, 2019
EDITORIALS
 

EDITORIALS

Love is Responsibility; There’s No Separating the Two

The month of love is here. Valentine’s day is just a few weeks away and lovers are already preparing for the special day. High on the list of things to do: order flowers, make reservations to a restaurant, buy chocolates or jewelry.

The creative romantic might choose to bare his soul, write and recite a poem to his wife. Maybe at the very spot that they met for a first time.

The adventurous romantic (with a half-way decent voice) might choose to sing a song for his significant other. Thousands of extra points if he dares to do it in public. Or, maybe recreate a love scene like in “The Mirror Has Two Faces” when Barbara Streisand and Nick Nolte proclaim their love for each other on a public street then hire a professional to sing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma aria like in the movie as you move in for a wet kiss.

Love is responsibility

The sentimental expression of Valentine’s day – whatever it might be grand or simple – is a nice thoughtful showing that makes a significant other feel special. That is the point and certainly a part of love.

But in real life love is far from what’s portrayed in the movies. It’s definitely not perfect. It’s not always wanting to be right. It’s not insisting you have your way all the time.

And some might say it’s not even a feeling.

A professor of philosophy gave a poignant and apt definition: “Love is responsibility.” Responsibility in that action is far more meaningful than words or feelings.

We demonstrate love to our romantic partners by being responsible in showing fidelity, showing interest by listening and giving attention. We show responsibility by committing to work on our relationships through all the changes.

We demonstrate love to our children by being providers and many times sacrificing our own interests for their benefit. Sometimes, it could mean taking on extra work hours to be able to tuck aside more money for our children’s education.

We show love and responsibility for our elderly parents by caring for them as they’ve done for us when we needed their care. There’s nothing more frightening than an elderly who feels alone when he is not able to care for himself.

We show love for our property when we are on the freeway and realize we’re uncertain if we turned off the stove. We do the responsible thing, drive back home to check.

One of the greatest myths is that love is simply a feeling, something that quickens our heart, makes us feel excited and alive for someone. That kind of love is best explained by biology when the brain floods euphoria-inducing chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine. That is passion, not love.

Love and responsibility as one inseparable “action” is meaningful because it is the foundation of building something that lasts. Feelings fade

It’s said that love is more like a verb, not a noun, because it requires adaptation.

Love is arguably everywhere and also not necessarily directed at individuals.

Putting love in politics

A well-known local and soon-to-be better known politician on the national level has made love as a central theme to approaching politics. She has recently adopted a slogan to “Lead with Love.”

Who this politician is at this stage is not as important to mention than her message that what the country needs is more leadership with love. She is exactly correct.

Politics has become a turn off, rife with all things negative: skepticism, anger, betrayal, bigotry.

It has become this way in large part because governance lacks action. It lacks love with responsibility.

When politicians choose to adopt policies that benefit special interests over people, how is this showing love and responsibility? Yet, it happens over and over again.

2019 is the start of presidential campaigning when major candidates begin to set the tone and agenda for the country leading into election year. What better way is there than to get the nation loving – love as a motivation to get things done, and not fear.

Valentine’s Day

The day of love is a wonderful tradition. Imagine how much more wonderful it would be if we took that one day and expanded it to the rest of the year and lifetime. Love like there’s no tomorrow, as the saying goes. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

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Support PACT, A Federal Anti-Animal Cruelty Act

Laws have always been the codified values of the community. History shows most often there is a painfully slow lag time to get laws passed that match the majority’s values at any given time. In part, because it’s difficult to reach a majority consensus on what’s deemed significant enough to be codified. In other situations, there is a clear consensus we can all agree on that something should become law, but politicians for some reason or another have just failed to get the wheels spinning.

The perfect example: finally, lawmakers are at the cusp of getting the nation’s first-ever federal animal anti-cruelty statue passed.

Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, S. 654 of 2019

Recently, the U.S. Senate passed the PACT, a first-ever general federal cruelty bill that prohibits extreme acts of animal cruelty and strengthens federal protections for animals. People who engage in acts of violence towards animals, such as burning, drowning, suffocating, or impaling would face imprisonment and a fine. The PACT Act would impose up to a 7-year prison sentence for those who knowingly create, advertise, distribute, or sell “animal crush videos.” These are videos that are being circulated showing the torture and killing of animals. The measure also makes bestiality a federal crime.

PACT was able to pass the Senate through bipartisan efforts, led by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa) and Richard Blumental (D-Conn). It goes to the House for action and already has bipartisan support with 262 cosponsors. Only a few bills in the Congress have this level of bipartisan support. The House version of the bill is introduced by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla).

Sen. Blumenthal said: “This bipartisan measure finally prohibits a heinous, inhumane practice – stating emphatically once and for all that there is no place in a civilized society for the maiming and torturing of animals. Thanks to the long overdue action of the Senate, the barbaric individuals who commit these crimes will no longer walk free. I call on the House to pass this important legislation immediately.”

Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a member of the Animal Protection Caucus, said: I am deeply concerned about the welfare of domesticated and wild animals, and I am committed to ensuring that we fulfill our obligations to protect them from indignity, pain and suffering. There is never an excuse for the mistreatment or abuse towards animals, and it is our responsibility to ensure that all animals are approached with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

PACT has received endorsements from more than 200 law enforcement agencies and animal rights groups.

Importance of having a federal statute

It’s long overdue that a federal statue will help to strengthen animal abuse felonies in states. There are animal abuse laws in all 50 states but penalties and punishment vary from class 1 misdemeanor to class 6 felony. Some states have laws against dogfighting, cockfighting, and other organized animal cruelty. Some states only apply anti-cruelty laws involving cruelty to companion animals. Some states only apply felony charges to subsequent offenses.

In the state of Hawaii, there is a first-degree animal cruelty offense with the possibility of prosecution as a felony; and there is a second-degree misdemeanor offense.

A first-degree offense constitutes that the offender intentionally and knowingly tortures, mutilates, or poisons any animal resulting in serious bodily injury or death. A second-degree misdemeanor is when an offender intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly tortures, torments, starves, deprives an animal of necessary sustenance. The difference between the two is level of harm done unto the animal.

PACT, being a federal law, will help to close any loopholes that exist when interstate animal cruelty laws are broken. Under legislation currently before the US Congress, federal jurisdiction will extend to certain heinous and unspeakable acts of animal abuse. With a possible penalty up to 7 years imprisonment for violators, PACT sends a very strong message to abusers that cruelty will not be tolerated.

In animal crush videos, it’s often difficult to determine the location where animal cruelty takes place so states have had problems prosecuting such cases. PACT will change that because crush video crimes will fall under federal jurisdiction.

It will also be easier to prosecute crimes that take place in puppy mills where some breeders have been found to drown, burn, and kill unwanted puppies they can’t sell.

Exceptions to PACT include normal veterinary or husbandry practices, hunting, trapping, fishing, predator or pest control, medical or scientific research, actions to protect human life or property from serious threat.

Let Congress know you support PACT

At a time when Congress is deadlocked on so many issues, the passage of PACT is much welcomed. To ensure that Congress successfully walks that last mile to finally get PACT passed, it’s important that Americans contact their congressional representatives.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “It’s past due for the federal government to enact a strong anti-cruelty law, to complement the state laws against malicious mistreatment of animals. We know that there is a correlation between vicious cruelty to animals and violence against humans.”

No animal deserves to be subjected to abuse.

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