Monday, April 16, 2007

Learning the disastrous lesson of 2000

The focus on the Justice Department's troubles seems to be shining a light on an administration wish to suppress voter turnout. TPM is rapidly becoming a daily must read, and one post from 04/12 is one of the best blog articles I have ever seen. That post demonstrates how the drive by the Justice Department to prosecute so called voter fraud has resulted in many seemingly innocent people landing prison terms, while not really serving to prove widespread voter fraud in spite of their best efforts. By innocent, I mean people who are not guilty of knowingly breaking an election law, but have been caught up due to an innocent mistake which prior to the push by the Justice Department on voter fraud would not have resulted in further legalism than a letter to the offender.

I think it is instructive to step back even further and consider this administrations overall approach to once unshakable constitutional rights, from the very beginning.

This President was installed after having lost the popular vote by over 1/2 million votes, with the Supreme Court stopping the recount in Florida. From even before being sworn into office, the anti democratic, authoritarian seeds we see blooming in this administration were planted. The lesson of 2000 was that the system could be gamed in order to get your way, and concern for fundamental constitutional principles like one person one vote was a sure way to lose. What we see with the Justice Departments current drive to suppress votes across the nation is the logical fruition of installing President Bush because of vote suppression in Florida in 2000.

The attacks on 09/11 2001 have been used to further erode constitutional rights. There really is no more succinct a way to express this than the famous quote by Republicans arguing to give the President more unconstitutional powers... to paraphrase: "You don't have any constitutional rights if you are dead". The perfect response to this is 'give me liberty or give me death'... a clarion call which has rung true through out this nations history. That is until the abomination which is the Bush administration took unheard of liberties with our liberties by turning us into a bunch of sniveling cowards! The security of a dictatorship is not what America is about, but it is implicit in the warning of death abrogating civil liberties. Death will come to every single human being on the face of this earth. The liberties here-to-fore given to American Citizens, we believe, were given to all mankind inherently. Those rights still make us singularly American. The rights of the constitution have applied to only a small percentage of mankind, and this administration is making that small percentage even smaller.

Terrorism was also used to justify the disappearance of American citizens. If the President determines that someone is an enemy combatant, that person can "legally" be simply disappeared. This is not hyperbole, or an exercise in fanciful thinking. This nightmare has actually happened to American citizens. Not only that, but that citizen was driven to insanity by the brutal treatment visited upon him by our government, in what can only be termed cruel and unusual punishment for a crime which he was not even charged with at the time he was brutalized.

So I look back on that first liberty taken with our basic democratic rights and feel a bit angry still. The lesson of 2000 was learned all to well, and this nation is still paying for it. To be honest, I'm not sure this nation can recover from the set back. We can't very well start from scratch without a horrible cataclysm. But how do we recover these rights which have been surrendered?

What I have described (and this is all well known, there is no controversy regarding these violations) to this point is only a small portion of the truly devastating damage done the constitution by this administration. This in the name of conservatism no less!

Sorry folks... The only solution I have isn't going to happen. I think George Bush and his cronies should be impeached, and then tried for their various crimes. If found guilty they ought to face the full force of the law, and there should not be pardons given. I think this is the only possible way that future leaders will learn a constructive lesson from this disaster. Otherwise, if Bush and the gang is allowed to simply fade away with nothing less than low poll numbers to send him along, there really is no lesson there.

But there was a lesson from the very first time the Bushies saw fit to chip away at a fundamental right. They got their way and got away with it in 2000, and they have learned that lesson all too well.

You know, sometimes I read something I've bashed out a couple hours after posting it... and I think what a convoluted twisted piece of dung! Well such is the case with this post.

But the point remains! Despite the horrible writing and convoluted pointmaking... the initial act which led to the Bush adminisration was a horrible harbinger of things to come.
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