JUDO IN THE STICKS, Y’ALL

Hi. For years y’all have run a blurb about our free U.S. Judo Association classes in Judo and other martial arts at the Oaks in Goose Creek. But I just got my hands on a copy and could not find that. Did you forget? That mention, our only advertisement, would bring in a handful of students each year. Because we teach free of charge and have no budget/money for advertising, we are nonprofit and thus cannot afford to pay for publicity. We appreciate what you have done for us.

In the recent City Paper is a neat article about martial arts in the area (“Hi-Ya!”, Cover Story, Oct. 18). Because the writer did not read the City Paper blurb about our club or maybe thought that free equals worthless, we were not mentioned at all. We have more Judo activity than any other club in South Carolina. Unlike other clubs, we don’t charge for instruction. Yes, one must join the U.S. Judo Assn. ($40 a year), as in other clubs, plus become a member of the Oaks to get in the facility, but that is only $20 a month, no contracts, and a great deal. They don’t pay us/me, so we are volunteers and exceptionally qualified. Please phone (553-6702) or e-mail me at ronaldallancharles@comcast.net if I may be of further service.

Yours in service to Judo and Jujitsu,

Ronald Allan Charles
Goose Creek 

[Editor’s note: Due to space constraints, we are unable to run the entire Community Billboard each week and have to cut certain sections. Dr. Charles’ class, which was cut from last week’s paper for this reason, is listed under “Recreation” and is viewable 24/7 on the City Paper’s website (www.charlestoncitypaper.com).]

DEMOCRACY VS. MOB RULE

In Michael Graham’s Oct. 18 Usual Suspects column, Graham makes the usual mistakes, attacking a straw man and ignoring the real issues of a controversial topic. To be fair, I still haven’t decided whether he does this because he is really that stupid, or if he simply thinks his readers are.

Throughout this article on the gay marriage ban, Graham takes it for granted that “democracy” means that the majority can pass any law they want. He suggests that to deny this is to deny people the right to self-governance.

Of course, this is not true and one does not have to be a liberal judge from Massachusetts to agree. For example, John Ashcroft seemed to think that California could not pass a law legalizing marijuana for medical use. Also, the NRA believes that laws restricting the use of guns cannot be passed even with the support of a majority of the voters. Or has this country gone so far to the right now that Ashcroft and the NRA are considered liberal as well?

The fact is, in this well-thought-out democracy, there are limitations on what the government can do and on what laws can be passed, regardless of the popular support for those laws. Briefly put, neither government nor law can take away a person’s right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” unless the person has broken a law, and laws cannot be made arbitrarily simply to punish unpopular people. In particular, laws can only be made to restrict the rights of an individual when their exercise of those rights would harm another individual or society at large.

I would argue that not only would allowing same sex marriages not do any harm, it would actually benefit society just as heterosexual marriages do … but, then, we’re not having that discussion, are we? Because Graham completely sidesteps the whole thing and essentially accuses those who disagree with him of being traitors for their belief that the majority is not free to make any law they want.

So, let’s get a MAJORITY of voters in the city to support a law to throw Graham in jail and make it a crime for any local periodical to publish anything he says or writes. Do we need a good reason? According to Graham, apparently not. So, let’s do this just as a test of our democratic powers and see whether Graham really stands by what he claims to believe … or whether he demonstrates his own “anti-democratic” tendencies by correctly pointing out that this would not be a valid law even if every voter in the state supported it.

Alex Kasman
Mount Pleasant