There have been previous presidents and administrations whose policies I disliked, but none before has scared the bejesus out me. The vice president, Defense secretary and others have assured us the war on terror will go on for decades, so when Mr. Bush said...
"Anything we do to that end in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law"
…the imperial presidency was openly declared.
The operative word in that quote is anything. What worries me now is what other of our once-guaranteed liberties have already been made null and void in secret, like warrantless wiretapping until its existence was leaked late last year. What I then considered was the wingnut fringe of leftie politics warned, in 2004, that the administration might suspend the election that year by invoking a potential terror attack. I don't believe they are such wingnuts anymore.
In this system of government under which we now live, there is no control on the executive branch. But there is a way - two of them, in fact - assigned to Congress: it can withhold funds from a president and it can impeach a president.
The second, if successful in removing this president from office, as quite a number in the blogosphere are calling for, is not the best idea when you consider who is second in line of succession.
And the first has been ineffective for the past five years because the rubber-stamp Congress is busy enacting laws written by lobbyists for the benefit of global corporations which owe allegiance to no country and hire Congress people at mega-salaries when they leave public office in time to amass fortunes for their extravagant old age. This is not how the founding fathers envisioned Congress to operate.
But there is still one little hitch in this inexorable march toward your and my enslavement to tyranny and penury. Assuming those proliferating electronic voting machines are not all rigged yet, we can throw the bastards out.
There is a Congressional election this year. All 435 Representative seats are up for grabs along with one-third of the Senate. Between now and 7 November, we - each of us in each of our states - can warn those who are running for re-election that we will vote for the other guy, whoever he or she is, if they do not begin today and from this day forward to serve only the public good - and not the imperial president.
[For a useful rendition of the greed, stupidity and failures of our government in the past five years, read this from Stephen Pizzo.]
Last year, during the aftermath of Katrina, I was so enraged that I suspended for a week normal publication on what it’s really like to get older to rail against the government. I offered a solution in one entry which requires that we awaken ourselves from our weariness and do something every day. Please go read it again because we - you and I and every person whose arm we can twist to join us - need to do these things no matter how tired we are. We need to do them today and tomorrow and next day and every day until 7 November no matter how old and tired we feel.
Elder numbers are growing and we have always voted in larger numbers than other people. We can use this numerical advantage to help save our nation.
I believe we are on the brink of national political disaster that only we the people can stop. I have no experience in creating a national movement to take back the federal government, nor do I have the credentials or the personal appeal required.
And so, as a small contribution, I've added this political component to Time Goes By and fervently pray that somewhere, someone with the unassailable stature and character of a Martin Luther King, Jr. will emerge and quickly pull the country together against the enormous force of this presidency which only a strong Congress can thwart now. It is a small hope - I see no one on the horizon who can do this - and so we must each keep trying in every small way we can, and hope it adds up to something larger.
It is no longer just the war in Iraq or treaty nullification or fiscal insanity or intrusion into our private lives or torture or every other outrage. Our democratic way of life is at stake. And Steve Sherlock: I agree with you one hundred percent that none of this matters if global warming is not addressed immediately. But that will not happen until we either change the trajectory of Congress 180 degrees or replace them all. ALL.
In a variety of polls in the past two or three months, majorities of the people of the United States have said that Iraq is a mistake. They also said they want:
- A single-payer (universal) healthcare system
- To raise the minimum wage, which has been stuck for a decade
- To repeal tax cuts for the rich
- To reduce the deficit by cutting Pentagon spending
- To protect the environment whatever it costs
A majority said these things and no one in Washington can hear. The only conclusion a sane person can draw is that the sycophants in Congress support the imperial presidency.
A tiny crack in that sycophancy appeared yesterday when even Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, a consummate Republican, called for a hold to be put on the sale of U.S. port security to a Dubai company after the president flexed his imperial muscles about the controversy:
"[Congress] ought to listen to what I have to say about this," said Mr. Bush. "They'll look at the facts and understand the consequences of what they're going to do. But if they pass a law, I'll deal with it with a veto."
- - Yahoo! News, 21 February 2006
At last, on this one issue, Congress is showing some backbone, but that's not enough and there is still no guarantee that if they succeed in stopping this move they will also override the president's veto. Nor is there any guarantee they will stand up to other, less obvious, insanities.
(By the way, in all the discussionon cable news of outsourcing port security to Dubai or to a close ally like Great Britain, why hasn't the obvious solution of hiring an American company or creating a government agency to do it been explored?)
In his nasty threat to veto any Congressional bill to sink the port security deal, the president is in open defiance of the largest (and bipartisan) public outcry against his administration since the first election. Please email your representative and senators today to keep up the pressure. You can do that here.
During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the Black Panther Party adopted a slogan they used together with a raised-fist salute. We need to resurrect it, for all of us this time and rage against the imperium - and you might want to append it at the end of your letters to Congress: POWER TO THE PEOPLE.