1 March 2006: America Today

The founders wouldn’t approve

“There is nothing more important for our national government to be doing than protecting us. Period!” Steven Graeber, Clear Creek Courant, February 22, 2006. “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

Holding him accountable, Jefferson impeaches King George III with 27 separate charges. Times have changed, however, and the Age of Accountability seemingly passed. The evidence is quite evident our George the Third lied to the American people in his lead up to invading Iraq and elsewhere and has broken the law. First, it was the lying, then the dying, and of late the spying.

In addition to 2300 US military deaths with thousands wounded, tens of thousands of Iraqi casualties, and Iraq on the brink of religious war, Bush’s policies have resulted in America being despised like never before; American security being out-sourced; China and oil-rich countries owning our debt; America’s “family jewels,” our public lands, being auctioned to the highest bidder; the median American family growing poorer; and Iran, along with North Korea, giving the bird to the world in pursuit of nuclear weapons. These in themselves may not be grounds for impeachment, as the Constitution does not allow for removal of a president based on incompetence and poor policy decisions, but high crimes and misdemeanors are.

Spying on American citizens without getting court approval is arguably the most egregious act. Bush lied to the American people when he stated unequivocally during the 2004 election campaign he was following the law by securing search warrants, as the FISA law requires. While not the first President to lie, his is the more chilling and sinister, for it strikes at the heart of what America is all about. Subscribing to Richard Nixon’s maxim “If a President does it, it cannot be illegal,” he arrogantly asserts he is above the law.

One of the great myths propagated by the Right is how George W. Bush is protecting and saving America. That’s nonsense, of course, as the recent transaction handing over American port security to the United Arab Emirates, a nation with active connections with the same folks who brought down the World Trade Center towers and murdered nearly 3000 Americans, demonstrates. Even if he were the Great Protector, the question would be as to what kind of America is he protecting—One in which a man could hunker down, deluding himself that our Super Power status would guarantee his ultimate security, so he can go about his happy self amassing earthly treasure?

Robert Reich, Clinton’s Labor Secretary, points out that while democracy probably is dependent upon some sort of capitalism—read, free enterprise—capitalism in itself does not depend upon a free citizenry. Witness China today. Call it fascism, crony capitalism, or corporatocracy, there, but for the grace of those who dare speak out, goes America.

When asked what kind of government they brought forth, Ben Franklin responded, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” Libertarians along with the rest of the Right seem to have little interest in preserving the American Republic and defending personal political rights and liberty. While George Bush is correct when he says we face “enemies of freedom” from without, the greater threat to our freedom, nevertheless, comes from within. For if we cannot defend the Republic from the shredders of the Constitution, will it matter?

Lying, dying, spying. To misdirect public attention, the bellicose Right howls about the “liberal press” and demands those insisting on accountability “be hung for treason.” Ben Franklin was likely unaware how prescient he was when he wittingly surmised, “If we do not hang together, we shall assuredly hang separately.” At least we’ll be in good company when they come for us.

Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Moral Equivalence: While Clinton’s “blue dress stain” antics were fodder for late night comedians and a $52 million waste of taxpayer dollars, courtesy of Ken Starr and Radical Republicans, Nixon and McCarthy were threats to the Republic.

Freedom Watch: The State of South Dakota has relegated women to chattel status. In South Dakota, pregnant women essentially have no right to control their bodies. Those seeking an abortion in South Dakota have now been added to the paranoid Right’s list of other noted terrorists, including gays, immigrants, and those of Middle Eastern descent.

“Good Night, and Good Luck”: Edward R. Murrow, in his response to his listeners about Sen. McCarthy, quotes Cassius in “Julius Caesar” when he says, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are the underlings.”

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