Is anyone paying attention?
One of the many visionary bumperstickers that came out of the first “election” of George W. Bush said, “thanks for not paying attention.” We all told ourselves it couldn’t happen again. But, of course, it did. Back on that dark morning after the second-term “election,” Teresa Nielsen Hayden sighed, “225 years is a pretty good run for a republic, historically speaking.”
It’s hard to imagine that we have any intentional Bush voters reading this site, but if we do, I just have to ask: are you all still feeling pretty good about that pick? Sure, you were aiming for a safe and secure theocracy, and you got megalomaniacal dictators disguised as theocrats for the purposes of getting out the Christian vote, but it’s all good, right? Just so long as gays can’t marry, we destroy the UN, and get rid of some of the peskier provisions of the Constitution.
To politically-comatose Americans: Can we interrupt the important nightly schedule of reality TV programming to point out that a constitutional crisis is developing? Here’s some “reality” for you: Your chances of getting on “Survivor” or “The Apprentice” are now infinitely smaller than your chances of having your telephone conversations tapped, and your private mail opened. (Heck, even that political affiliation you’re so proud of has been monitored… By the IRS.) Hey, it’s kind of like living in an all-new reality spy show, isn’t it?
Yes, yes, I know that politically-comatose Americans aren’t reading blogs like this, and I’m just preaching to the choir. (But I’m a preacher’s kid, afterall. And a preacher’s niece, for that matter.) Michael Reagan thinks Americans support what the president is doing. (Warning: Don’t click this next link if you don’t wish to contribute “hits” to a frothing lunatic like Michael Reagan, but you might enjoy it for sheer entertainment value.) He cites a poll showing that 64% are in favor of intercepting calls between terrorist suspects and people living in the US.
How do we say this?… “Duh.” Yes, I’m in favor of that, too. And there are perfectly adequate legal procedures for obtaining permission to do that, lickety-split! The president himself said so:
Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
I am not, however, in favor of illegally wiretapping US citizens. Do you suppose the results would have turned out differently if the pollsters had asked a relevant question?
OK, perhaps I need to take a walk or meditate or something. In any event, I can’t do better than to steer you to these two important pieces from TomDispatch, so I urge you to read them: A Cult of Presidential Power and What Year Is This Anyway?
(P.S. Pat Robertson, determined to continuing broadcasting his spiraling dementia, informs us that God struck down Sharon, just as God struck down Rabin, for “dividing God’s land.”)