By Sheila Samples
The gutters are clogged with the dead
The ones who couldn’t join in
The others refusing to sing
The ones who are losing their voice
The ones who’ve forgotten the tune.
Excerpt “God Bless America,” Harold Pinter, January 2003
Preceeding generations had every reason to believe those following them would step into the breach and continue the vigil over this nation’s Constitutional freedoms and, if necessary, fight to preserve them. They believed, like George Washington warned — “Government is a “force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” And they remembered, from generation to generation. Unfortunately, those following our generation will have no such luxury.
We blew it.
We forgot to remember when history goes around, it inevitably comes back around. We forgot to remember that the U.S. Constitution is the beating heart of the United States and, from its inception, was designed to protect the freedoms and liberties of “we the people.” However, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia maintains that the Constitution is a “dead” document, and says he “cringes” when it is referred to as “living.” Vice President Dick Cheney, the duck-hunting buddy Scalia unconstitutionally installed in the White House in the 2000 election coup must agree, since he refuses to abide by even one of its strictures.
Nobody is more adept at forgetting to remember than Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, or “Fredo,” as Bush calls him. Remember Fredo — Michael Corleone’s dumb-as-dirt, totally controlled brother in the “Godfather” series? The nickname is a perfect fit for Gonzales, who cannot recall what he had for breakfast this morning. The one thing he knows for certain — the Constitution is “an outdated document” — quaint and old-fashioned, but of no use in Fredo’s world of abuse and torture and trickle-down fascism.
And President George Bush, who flies into a rage when he feels his will — his God-given right to rule — is being tested, holds this living document of American liberty in utmost contempt. In Dec. 2005, when Bush was determined to renew and expand the destructive USA Patriot Act, an aide reminded him that invasion into citizens’ private lives underminded the Constitution. Bush immediately exploded — “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” he screamed, “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper.”
Right then. At that moment, Bush should have been removed from office. Can anyone make the case that Bush deserved to remain at the helm of this nation for even 10 seconds after spewing such treasonous hate and filth? Lest we forget, not once, but twice, Bush stood before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, his hand on the Bible, and parroted, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Lest we forget, that 35-word oath is required of all elected presidents,and can be found in Article II, Section I, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
The Constitution is so vital for keeping this republic on track that those who work for the government — all three branches — to include the vice president, each member of both houses of Congress, unelected Supreme Court justices, and military personnel must take similar oaths. Supporting the Constitution — defending it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic — is literally their job description. All else is political folly.
Surely Americans must know that a crisis without precedent is underway in this country. The first target in the Straussian neocon’s war of terror was the Constitution and, by extension, the American people. We are hurtling headlong into tyranny and, as Harold Pinter so aptly put it — those whom we elected to protect both us and the Constitution have either lost their voices or seem to have forgotten the tune.
It’s all politics all the time. Those on the right champion the suppression of free speech and assembly. Those on the left are equally to blame; complicit in their silence, although they know Bush’s war is but another “option on the table” to keep the populace cowering in irrational fear for political gain. Neither side seems willing to admit there’s a big difference, both legal and ethical, between asking citizens to die for their country — and demanding they “kill” for their country…
Bush’s “reign” since 9-11 has been one bad-tempered tantrum after another. Bush has executed the office of the president every single day over the past six years, just as he promised — faithfully, relentlessly. As we stare dazedly over the blood-sodden landscapes of two continents, we remember — too late — the only thing Bush ever did in his entire life with any enthusiasm was “execute.”
It’s time for Americans to actually read the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA Patriot Act) Act of 2001 (preceeding generations recognize this as the “Enabling Act”), and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which completes the loop of oppression, revokes the right to habeas corpus not only for detainees, but for anyone Bush or Fredo labels an “enemy combatant,” including legal US citizens. This destructive act places the “Commander Guy” at the helm of the executive panthean where he is bound only by his imagination when it comes to detaining, torturing and murdering other human beings.
Continued compliance with such venal madness is no longer an option on the people’s table. Elected officials must do more than jerk the Constitution out of their pockets and wave it in the faces of their opponents as they rip off some really neat sound bytes and posture for the media. Perhaps if they actually read the Constitution, they would discover what they forgot to remember — they have no choice but to impeach the entire cabal for their absolute despotism, illegal actions, lies, and filthy war crimes.
It’s in their job description.
And then we should revive the Declaration of Independence so we can get on with restoring this once great republic to its former grandeur — an ethical and political entity that derives its powers from the consent of the governed.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org