Wednesday, July 04, 2007

some are wonderin' If this land's still made for you and me

In light of Scooter Libby's Lovely Parting Gift™ the other day, and especially since today was Independance Day, some words from long ago ought to be considered.

There's this book:

And on page 498, some guy named Madison says this:

Just for background, here's Wikipedia on the Philadelphia Convention of 1787:
The Philadelphia Convention (now also known as the Constitutional Convention, the Federal Convention, or the "Grand Convention at Philadelphia") took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787, to address problems in The United States of America following independence from Great Britain. Although it was purportedly intended only to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention of many of the Convention's proponents, chief among them James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, was from the outset to create a new government rather than "fix" the existing one. It was not since The Annapolis Conference that the states had seriously considered the situation of the Articles of Confederation. The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the convention. The result of the Convention was the United States Constitution. The Convention is one of the central events in the history of the United States.

It's clear from this, and many other entries, that the framers were leery of the power of the Executive, and carefully crafted the Constitution so power would be shared equally by the three branches in a symbolic but vitally important game of rock, paper, scissors.

The whole thing can be torqued out of balance by concentration of power, as has happened the last 6 years, with the Far Right in this country running all 3 branches. Collusion and greed, ideology and hubris, all add up to the state the country is in now.

The Mission Statement for the founding of the country had already addressed this point tangentially as it laid out grounds for the Revolution (Sailer made these points below, but they can't be stressed enough):

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

. . . He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

. . . He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

. . . He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

. . . He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

. . . For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

. . . For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

. . . He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

. . . He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Indeed. This wasn't a Non-Binding Resolution. This was like Luther's 95 Theses nailed to the metaphorical church door; a statement of profound faith and firmness, a global challenge. It lead to an ugly, bloody war, with one good result: no longer were the nascent United States ruled by a King.

Does this apply to today's United States? I think so, and so do many others. Does the road lead to another Revolutionary War? I truly hope not. In either case, George XLIII's days are numbered.