04 October 2007

Rampant Lawlessness threatens our Republic

Greenwald today is in fine fettle. Unfortunately, what he has to say makes me fear more than ever for the future of our republic. Gentle Reader, if you don't see this, I fear that you, like many others in our society as Glenn mentions, are being willfully blind. Read the NYTimes article he links too in the first paragraph, and then tell me it doesn't concern you.

I say, we simply cannot afford to allow the rule of law to die in our country, and if we do, we will pay a very, very high price-- namely that our nation will have ceased all semblance of being a free society. Once that line is definitively crossed, it will be very hard, if not impossible, to bring it back. Our constitution is gravely ill, and if we don't take some action to save it, it will become little more than a shell.

Wake up, folks, this is not exaggeration. If future presidents are permitted to subscribe to the Bush/Cheney theory that they can violate any and all law "in the defense" of the country, in secret , and to act accordingly, then we will cease to be a republic and will become a nation with a form of government all to common in the world, authoritarian government effectively by executive decree. If you'd like an example, another nation has rushed even more headlong in that direction just recently, and it should stand as a stark warning to us. I refer, of course, to the rise of Putin's dicatatorship in Russia. What is happening here is not so very different, and the end result could easily be much the same thing.

In the past, our system has been self-correcting. Maybe this will prove true again. So I hope and pray. But what has made our system self-correcting in the past is that the people have become sufficiently disturbed by what they've seen that they've demanded reform and the removal of lawbreakers from office. I don't see that happening in this 21st Century America, where most people don't even vote.

Think about it. The legislative branch is about to meekly vote for $200 billion more to fund a war that 69% of the population wants to end as soon as it can be done logistically. $200 billion that isn't even in the budget, which is a joke, since our national debt is stratospheric and owned to an alarming degree by foreign governments. What kind of representative government continues, year after year, to enact and reinforce policies that more than two thirds of the population oppose? And continues to mortgage the future of our country's prosperity, without so much as a by your leave?

The legislative branch is effectively disconnected from accountability to the people. As for the executive, I think the case is so clear it doesn't even need to be argued. The people have next to no say in the policies of the executive. Just how can this be described as representative government? This is the way it already is. Take away, as is already well underway, the constitutional protections which allow us to at least find out about, and sometimes, at least, to restrain the secret torture, detention, surveillance of Americans, denial right of trial, habeas corpus, representation of counsel, as this administration has done, and what you are left with is not the constitutional republic our founders conceived, at all. I'm sorry, but it just isn't.

Can the First Amendment long stand in such circumstances? Do you really think so? And to anyone who still thinks, but it's just the terrorists, not ordinary folks, I say, come on. Think, please. Think about what Lutheran anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller famously said: "In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew; And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

It's time for us, as Americans, to speak up, and to say, no more will we tolerate the subversion of our constitution by our own government. It's past time.

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