|January 25, 2006|
A Government That Puts Itself Above the Law Puts the People Beneath It!
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
When all the evidence is presented, it will prove to be the case that the primary targets of Bush’s wire tapping, data mining, assorted surveillance programs, and extra-legal intrusions into our persons, affects and privacy, is not Al Qaida, but ordinary Americans who dissent from the policies, objectives, and worldview of this administration. The sheer volume of the information being sought, the surreptitious way it is being pursued, and the breadth of scope of what is being asked for, virtually insure that this is so. And anyone acquainted with the modus operandi of this administration knows there will be abuse, knows that the abrogation of rights will shortly and directly lead to political retribution and destruction of one’s personal and public reputation, threatening their security, their livelihood and their standing in their community. In short, this intrusion into the private conversations, associations, letters and thoughts of ordinary Americans has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with political coercion, suppression, and usurpation of the rights of the individual.
What is more, the Bush apologists in the media and in Congress know this, anticipate this and welcome it because for them it is all about political advantage. Expediency trumps decency and lawfulness. Never mind the potential that in a distant time, the precedents they set will turn against them.
It is time to say it is none of Mr. Bush’s business what I, as a free citizen, living under the presumption of innocence, say or write, whom I choose to associate with, where I travel, or any information about what I think. I’ve read the Constitution and know I am on firm ground when I say these fundamental rights -- expressly protected under the Bill of Rights -- are inviolable.
On the other hand, it is very much my business -- indeed it is the public’s business -- to know what actions, policies, and agendas the administration is pursuing in our name. Yet from day one, long before 9/11, this administration’s obsession with secrecy and disregard for the public’s right to know was apparent for all to see.
Six years of George Bush’s Presidency can be distilled to this simple fact; we have a government that does not trust the very people it is constituted to protect and serve. At the same time, this administration defecates on the tenets of open government, with the classification of information growing exponentially, and encompassing essential public information. Time and again, we are asked to trust an administration that revels in its display of abject disregard for the rule of law and the principles of divided government. In each instance that the incompetence, over reaching, and self-dealing have been exposed, they have been downplayed, marginalized, or dismissed, leaving those who raise legitimate objections to suffer the most vicious slander at the hands of the right-wing media, and harassed by the very same government. This administration positively rubs our noses in it, daring, goading a cowed congress to reign them in, confident that no such thing will happen.
I cannot say what further act of lawlessness it will take before the co-equal branches of government will step into the breach and do their constitutional duty. At present, our nation is lost. We say we have freedom of speech and the right to dissent, but we are implored not to use them, lest curbs must be considered. We say we have freedom of association, as long as those associations do not extend to malcontents, agitators and subversives. And who is to judge which citizens are guilty of dissidence? Why, the very administration which holds itself above scrutiny, above the rule of law!
When a government holds itself above the rule of law, then implicitly it holds the people beneath it! This is the situation we, the United States, find ourselves in. For all the administration’s talk about the war on terror, it is clear that theirs is a war against the American People, against the rule of law, against the principles of divided government. With the emergence of the Unitary Executive theory, they are not even being coy about their unilateral power grab. They are saying, in essence, “We are claiming this power for ourselves no matter what that ‘goddamn piece of paper’ says.” Yeah, Bush actually called the Constitution a “goddamn piece of paper,” not that it’s been widely reported, not that one member of congress raised their voice in outrage, but I digress! The point is, as such this administration is a greater threat to the American Republic than are external terrorists.
Before 9/11, this administration pleaded its exceptionalism, insisting that the rules and traditions that applied to other administrations not apply to them. I wondered then, as I wonder now, why this plea for T-Balling the rules didn’t raise questions of competency from the very beginning. It was basically an admission that the Bushies didn’t have the skills, temperament, or inclination to use the tools established and used to successful effect by their predecessors. They needed a soft pitch from 10 feet off the mound. And when they struck out, failing through their own incompetence, they cried for a do-over again and again.
So rules and laws have come to mean nothing. In the face of an avalanche of evidence that this administration has repeatedly broken dozens of laws on multiple occasions, the media and congressional leaders still seem indifferent, having long ago been co-opted. But has anyone considered what it means to live in a country where there is no longer the rule of law? Why should I, as a private citizen, continue to observe laws our supposed leaders hold in contempt? How long can order be maintained, when the disparity between those with power and those without continues to grow? When the former receives the favor and deference of government, and the latter receive nothing?
This is nothing but a shredding of the social contract by those at the top and those who have a legal obligation to protect and preserve the Constitution. As a result, we are in a constitutional crisis which undermines the bonds between the government and the governed. As Billy Jack once said, "When lawmen break the law, there is no law."
Congress, the courts and the media have a narrow window of opportunity to resume their proper role, restore checks and balances, and bring to justice this rogue administration. If they do not, law and order will cease to exist in the United States. It makes me wonder if anyone currently in power has ever seen an authoritarian state, with a failed economy, and an embittered and resentful populous. Put it all together and you have a recipe for bloodshed and discord, which of course will lead to more and more police action, spiraling downward in a vicious cycle of repression and rebellion. Welcome to Bush’s world. Thank you for your complicity in making it, and don’t be surprised when it bites you in the ass.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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