Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Republic If You Can Keep It

We’re rapidly approaching the endgame now. The situation is like Watergate in many respects—except that the crimes which have been committed by the Administration are far more grave and troubling, and the White House’s resolve to make a doormat out of our Constitution and traditions is absolute. At the peak of Watergate, Barry Goldwater made the trip to the White House, with the backing of other key Senate Republicans, to tell Nixon it was time to pack it and leave. The loss of Barry Goldwater is acutely felt right now, because there is no one of his stature, autonomy and resolve left in the Senate G.O.P. And even if there were, would Bush listen? No, in that respect, Bush is still less of a leader than Nixon. The question at this point is up to Congress, the Courts, and the people: will we permit our system to be transformed from a representative democracy into something far more authoritarian? In a sense, that transformation has already occurred, even while a facade of something different remains.

As Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention, on September 18, 1787, a certain Mrs. Powel shouted out to him: “Well, doctor, what have we got?,” and Franklin responded: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Like many of the Founding Fathers, he was intensely concerned that the democratic institutions they were crafting would deteriorate over time. In particular, they were concerned—and talked ceaselessly during the convention about the risk that, under pressures and exigencies of war, a tyrant would collapse their system into something closer to the monarchy that they had just defeated. Over the intervening 220 years, the republic has maintained itself, though not without close calls. And today, while we face what may be the gravest challenge in the nation’s history, our media will serve up the next chapter in the life of Paris Hilton.

Please read the rest. We are the frog in the slowly boiling pot of water. To me, what is even more disturbing than the way the administration is violating the constitution, is the response to this affront against our nation's laws and system of government by politicians, the people, and the press.

The administration is very powerful, but not all powerful. Our quiet acceptance, with maybe a snarky remark about our civil liberties, and legal foundations being treated like fiction is what generates the ability for the Bush/Cheney crowd to do this to us, in our name.