Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

I've heard the word "impeachment" a lot since yesterday.

After last year's election, I wrote about impeachment. I made the following erroneous prediction:

Bush just got his ass checked by the populace which gave us a Congress that will further check Bush's ass. And being the lap dogs to power that they are, the press will finally do a better job of helping to check Bush. What happened Tuesday was just as much a political solution to an un-Constitutional situation as impeachment, and one that is a lot less divisive and time consuming than investigations and impeachment.

What I failed to appreciate at the time was just how deep and how far the corruption had spread, just how far out of touch with Americans and our values and principles the powerful elite had gotten. And also how twisted all our public institutions had become, particularly the press.

Our system needs an overhauling, from top to bottom. But as fucked up as healthcare, labor, economic, environmental, energy, public health and safety issues are, the biggest fuck up has been the press, which is why, when I think of it, I say a silent "Thank you" to Al Gore for helping to bring us the Information Superhighway.

Smart dictators know that he who controls the information controls the world. That's why five corporations own nearly all of the major media outlets; why the Fairness Doctrine was done away with; why the 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed (forget all the phony scandals, this one and NAFTA are the scandals Clinton should be pilloried for). That's why, despite market demands, 91% of radio programming in the U.S. is conservative. And not just conservative, but ultra-conservative. And not just ultra-conservative, but virulent, lying, and horrible. Our nation's systems are so fucked up because a twisted media helped convince people that black = white, up = down and that private healthcare works well for everyone.

Much is made of a poll that showed many newsrooms are filled with people who donate to Democrats or consider themselves liberal. Besides being not true, those people don't get to air or write just whatever strikes their fancy in the manner that they choose. They have to please editors who have to please managers who have to please owners who have historically been overwhelmingly conservative. And the media has been so worked-over to believe it is liberally biased that they bend over backwards to make themselves appear balanced to people who skew hard-Right; which means they have to help propagate (or at least not challenge) Rightwing lies, since that is what Rightwingers think is the truth.

And yet ...

Despite all the crowing and false Clinton analogies by the conservative radio hate-talkers and the Beltway Pundits and "reporters" who owe their million-dollar careers to their corporate, Bush-worshipping overlords and want to continue sipping cocktails with the people they're supposed to be covering; despite the imbalance between someone telling an outright lie from the Right to someone missing the point from the center-Right that passes for balanced debate on television, more than 2/3 of those polled said Bush was wrong to let Libby off the hook.

Despite a public penchant for stupid TV shows, we're apparently still not dummies.

The American public knew it was bullshit when Clinton was impeached for lying about a private matter after all the other scandals he'd been accused of had been shown to be lies; the American public knew it was bullshit when a spoiled heiress got to go home from jail because her tummy ached; and the American public knows it's bullshit that a man convicted in Federal Court for lying to cover up potential treason was commuted by the very people he helped to cover for.

My prediction about the impeachment of Bush was false because I had faith still that, with all the checks and balances and separation of powers we've got that Something would have to intervene to stop the flagrant abuses we've been subjected to, and that Something was the overwhelming might of public opinion and the electorate working its will in the Halls of Power.

But this arrogant bunch thinks it's got everything locked up. From elections (various methods of disenfranchisement including vote caging, computerized voting with no paper trails which are monitored by conservatives) to the courts (which they ignore when it's convenient) to the wimpy Congress (whose laws are ignored when they're inconvenient) to the novel interpretations of what the Executive Branch is. They act as if there are no checks, balances or separation of powers, as if public opinion is nothing.

And the sad thing is, after everything we've been subjected to -- renditioning, suspension of Habeas Corpus, illegal wiretapping, torture, illegal wars, breaches of national security, pillaging and raping of the Commons, disenfranchisement of voters, abuse of the military -- if nothing is done about any of the Bush Administration's flagrant abuses, then they're fucking right.

Anyone can do anything they're allowed to get away with.

It's fine and good to talk about Rule of Law, American Principles, the Constitution. But it's all pixie dust, a great big pile of nothing without the people with the will to enforce it.

"A Republic, if you can keep it," Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying when asked whether the United States is a Republic or a Monarchy.

Well, our Republic, with all the associated freedoms and equalities that entails and that we've worked hard to create, is under attack by the very people we've charged with safeguarding it. That Little Rebellion is long overdue.

Like I said, we're still not dummies, and I've heard the "I" word a lot more, even from people who were hesitant before.

In other words, everybody hop on board the impeachment train, 'cause it's about to leave the station.

... And don't forget to watch "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" tonight. His Special Comment will be a call for the President and VP to resign. As if!

Image swiped in good piratical
fashion from Cap'n Dyke, who
got it from Blue Gal

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