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Metaphorical Bulletin! Stone Falls From Supreme Court Facade

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ACTUAL AP NEWS ITEM (from New York Times website):
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- A basketball-sized piece of marble molding fell from the facade over the entrance to the Supreme Court Monday"The chunk of Vermont marble was part of the dentil molding that serves as a frame for nine sculptural figures completed in 1935. The piece that fell was over the figure of Authority, near the peak of the building's pediment, and to the right of the figure of Liberty, who has the scales of justice on her lap."

How often does the world deal us so fine a metaphor. It's almost enough to make one believe in signs. As signs go, this one works a lot better metaphorically than the ones that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell truck out to bolster their agenda.

For the structures of justice in America are indeed deteriorating right before our eyes. (Torture, secret camps, the attempt to get around habeus corpus and due process, redistribution from the have-nots to the haves.) This destruction does originate from the region of Authority- for evil forces are governing from behind America's seats of greatest authority. And this degradation of authority is indeed a threat to the cherished figure of Liberty.

So let us look at this metaphor as a sign""an image to help crystallize our understanding of just what is at stake in this struggle. Will this revered structure, built to maintain the rule of law in the name of justice, be allowed to continue disintegrating, because Americans will allows Authority to feed its lust for power at the expense of our nation's sacred values? Or will we rouse ourselves to reconstitute authority in this country, taking power away from these evil forces and putting good people into positions of power?

Power should be given to people who love what the Supreme Court building is supposed to stand for. Truly righteous people-like that special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, who recently inspired so many of us with a mere news conference that reminded us of what we're missing in George Bush's America. We were inspired to see a man happily restraining himself out of deference to the rules of the system of justice because he saw those rules as wise and just. And that's why his operation did not leak, and why he allowed himself only to speak as the rules allow.

We should be ruled by people who will devote themselves to rebuilding the structures of justice which have been visibly deteriorating.

Consider the contrast between Patrick Fitzgerald and Karl Rove. Both hardworking and brilliant men.
One of them serves the good. The other is willing to do anything -no matter how despicable- to vanquish enemies and to gain power.

One is willing-in those matters where he has assumed responsibility- to subordinate his individual satisfaction to serve the greater good. The other recognizes no greater good than the satisfaction of his own worst impulses""the willingness to smear the reputations of good people, to fabricate a false image of goodness in George W. Bush, to foment conflict and division--all to satisfy a lust for power.

For these rulers, it's all about power. And, as justice is all about providing an antidote for the abuses of power, it comes naturally for them to dismantle the structures of justice.

The stone falling from the hallowed Supreme Court building gives us an occasion to look at the spirit that is ruling us and, seeing through their false righteousness, strip from these rulers all their authority.

Power is something that they may possess whether we will it or not. But authority is something that must be granted. It's ours to give or to withhold.
Our job is to work toward a public consensus that declares: These men deserve NO authority. None.

Perhaps, with this Congress, it will be impossible to impeach this president. But it is within the capability of the American people to strip him of his authority. President or not, he is a disgrace and he has disgraced us.

Disgrace should be the solvent of his authority. And that of others, too --for such a presidency as this wouldn't have been possible were it not for the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson and Newt Gingrich who prepared the way for this reign of darkness.

They are the Joe McCarthys of our time- the people who assume a posture of false righteousness to do the very opposite of righteousness. That's what Joe McCarthy did, employing despicable and self-aggrandizing means to wage in the name of the security of the nation a campaign of fear-mongering and character assassination""a campaign that America eventually came to see as a disgrace. ("Have you no decency, sir?") The man slunk off into the corners and drank himself to death.

Our job now is to bring down upon these rulers a well-deserved disgrace to shear away their authority, until they too slink away. Before more chunks fall off our cherished national structures.
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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