By William Lewis
In my last column I referred to Article I, Section 9 of our Constitution which in part states: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
Both former mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg have received Honorary Knighthoods from Queen Elizabeth II. As I pointed out, this does raise constitutional questions. However, I believe that no member of our military high command should be accepting this kind of title from a foreign government. That is true especially of foreign governments that have an active aristocracy. Yet we also have former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger also receiving an Honorary Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth.
A person who holds the highest position in our nation’s military establishment has no business acquiring such a title, considering his position in directing our nation’s defense. Aristocratic titles or awards should not be accepted by our military leaders, considering we never know what our foreign policy position might be years from now.
Hopefully, other American military leaders will not follow Weinberger in accepting an aristocratic award.
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Earlier this year we heard that in June there would be a vote of the New York City Council pertaining to abolishing horse and carriage rides in Central Park.
Central Park was first constructed in the 1850s and horse and carriage use in the park has been a part of the park’s transportation ever since. During the period of time from the 1850s to now, the horses and carriages have been used continuously until they became part of our city’s cultural background.
Hopefully, this practice will continue with good care being given to the horses. Those citizens who are calling for an end to this mode of transportation in Central Park, if they are successful, what will be next? Will some animal rights advocates be calling for the closing down of some zoos in the city? Arguments for their closure could center on calling it cruel to keep animals locked up in an enclosure for people to view. Furthermore, there could be calls for returning animals to their natural habitats. Animals kept in zoos are, for the most part, getting better treatment than similar animals in their natural environment.
It would be unfortunate if a tradition of over 160 years was eliminated. Procedures for the care of these horses could be made stronger. There could be more city inspections of animals’ living facilities. Conflict with vehicular traffic can be worked out as it has in the past. Hopefully, we can keep this tradition of horses and carriages in Central Park.
We always want change for the better but change must also take into account maintaining our past heritage.
Our city has a great history and Central Park is an important part of our city.