My friend Bernie says he's not only tired of making excuses for Democrats, he's sick and tired of it. "We've worked our backsides off since 9-11 getting people in office with the courage to derail Bush and Cheney's Constitutional death train," Bernie wailed. "We had our feet on the ground, our eyes on the prize, our noses to the grindstone, our backs to the wall, our shoulders to the wheel --" he paused, mentally clicking off body parts.
"Your head in the clouds?" I suggested helpfully.
"Yeah. That too," Bernie said. "We believed them when they said they wanted to end the war. They promised to stop the torture, the slaughter of innocents, the killing and maiming of our own citizens. Just give us the power, they said, and we'll put a stop to Bush and Cheney's killing spree -- we'll jerk a knot in Gonzales' tail, stop the illegal spying on Americans -- restore our battered Constitution. They promised to impeach the treasonous warmongers, and we believed them. Well," Bernie said, "we were wrong. We gave them the power -- and they betrayed us."
Senator Chuck Schumer candidly admitted that getting elected and getting along were his top priorities regardless of what the people expected. He told the Wall Street Journal that "75% of this election was about the people's opinion of the president," but added, "...If we are seen as just blocking the president, it will not serve us well in 2008."
Others, like Rep. Charlie Rangel can't see the point in challenging Bush since he threatens to veto anything that is not what he wants. Rangel said, "We don't want really a fight with the president. What we want to do is to prove we can govern for the next two years..." And Rep. John Dingell, who's been around longer than anybody, agrees, saying the Democrats will "do what makes good sense, while not getting into any extreme positions on any matter."
The corrupt political cabal before whom Democrats and Republicans grovel is evil, disgusting, and dangerous. But even more so are their lame excuses for allowing Bush to strip the other two branches of government of their powers and to rule via signing statements and Executive Orders. We believed his lies, they say. We don't want to be blamed for opposing him if there's another attack on the "homeland." We can't speak out...we can't take a stand for democracy lest we be accused of aiding the enemy...please don't hurt us...
I can only hope that Dante was right when he said, "The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." The silence of the Democratic lambs has been deafening since Constitutional traitors on the Supreme Court intervened in the 2000 election to strike the first blow against democracy. Since that time, the erosion of personal privacy and the alarming increase in citizen-control laws has been achieved by this administration under cover of fighting a senseless, baseless, illegal "war on terrorism."
And Bush grows bolder with each victory. He's determined to have no restraints placed upon him in any area. Immediately upon ramming through the USA Patriot Act just six weeks after 9-11, the administration went on a spree of sweeping up and detaining thousands of citizens without charges and no access to counsel. This act was, and continues to be, the greatest threat to American liberties in our history. It is buoyed by Bush's Military Commissions Act of 2006, or "no consequences torture bill," giving himself the empirical right to torture anyone he views as a "terror suspect."
Perhaps this act is one reason Democrats remain so subservient. Right up front, in Section 948a(2), Bush has the empirical right to decide who is a "lawful enemy combatant." If you are a "member of the regular forces of a State party engaged in hostilities against the United States," or even a "member of a volunteer corps or organized resistance movement and you wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance," Bush has the power to decide you are not only hostile but are an enemy combatant.
Bush IS the United States -- a government of Bush, by Bush and for Bush. He has seized the power to "grant" or "take away" basic inalienable rights of American citizens. "I will decide who serves in my government," Bush recently told a member of the media questioning him about calls for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. Does it not follow, then, that those coming out against the war, those not supporting the troops by insisting they come home, or those calling for impeachment would be engaged in hostilities against the United States? Isn't that right, Mrs. Pelosi -- Mr. Conyers?
Is it any wonder that legislators on both sides of the aisle recoil and beat a fast retreat when they look up and see Bush, caught up in the wild influences of his own idiotic imagination, running at them with a lighted firecracker in each hand? Is anyone surprised that Bush so easily got them to agree to his Protect America Act of 2007, which allows the continued secret collection of Americans' phone calls and e-mails with no oversight...no checks...no balances?
It is madness to stand upon the precipice of a Constitutional crisis and even consider for one moment plunging into the abyss by giving Bush additional time to spy on Americans, to torture and kill innocents abroad, and to abandon an exhausted and ill-equipped military on the killing fields of a nation embroiled in the spiraling violence of civil war.
When party loyalty gets so screwed up it is based on a commitment to -- obsession with -- opposing ideologies neither of which, in all its twisted glory, concerns itself with doing what is right for the people in this nation, it's time to take a break from that loyalty. John F. Kennedy was right when he said, "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer."
We still have a Constitution. And we have a choice, perhaps the last one we are free to make. We can either use it -- or lose it.