What's happened to America?
I watched Detroit’s US Representative John Conyers’ 5½-hour long house hearing last week concerning what acts would compose the executive branch’s abuse of power to the point they were impeachable offenses; high crimes and misdemeanors.
This post is not to that topic. This is to a matter that is much more consequential: What’s happened to America?
The same question repeatedly insinuates itself into my conscious whenever I watch any tape of anything involving one of Senator John McCain’s campaign forays: What’s happened to America?
Although it’s a rhetorical question, one I’ll try to address with some contemplation, it’s also one I’d like others to ponder seriously, and offer thoughts on; thoughtful thoughts.
When I refer to America, I am not referring to any of the country’s geographical or topical features. For the most part, they remain fairly much as they were. It’s the spirit of the country that troubles me; the near total absence of a gristly cantankerous in those who like to think of themselves as Americans, but who just don’t seem to any longer have the right stuff, the hard edge stuff that would make them ‘American.’
I just can’t fix it in my darkest imagination that Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, or any of the founders would contemplate for the first part of a second a Pledge of Allegiance as possibly obtaining the first chance of being thought of as American. First and foremost, an American is a pain in the ass to a government. An American asks the most indecorous questions of those who would deign to govern, and demands the most unvarnished of answers. An American is not a subject of the government, an American is the tough boss, and never forgets that. The only pledge those who would govern should ever be able to count on is the promise there’s a good likelihood they may someday be hanging upside-down, strung from a rail, headed out of town.
But today, whisper “terrorist” and folks fall all over themselves, wanting to know which of the liberties and rights, the panoply the founders considered so sacrosanct that they were inviolable as to the slightest diminishment, that the president can now scratch off the list as no longer convenient. Those were the bundled messages conveyed by the GOP members at the hearing. As far as they were concerned, President Bush had done nothing whatsoever constitutionally inapposite through his stalwart efforts “to protect the citizens of the United States against further attacks of terrorism.”
Eliminate habeas corpus? Got it — Check.
Deny congress access to security findings that contradict or that do not support absolutely the position of the executive? Got it — Check.
Tear up the “supreme law of the land” that prohibits the use of torture? Got it — Check.
Intimidate the press so that it’s not as persistent or inquisitive or as criticizing as it could be? Got it — Check.
Quarantine protesters behind chain-link enclosures, eliminating the people’s right to petition their government for a redress of grievances? Got it — Check.
Ignore the need for a warrant before rummaging through the people’s right to be secure in their communications? Got that one too — Check.