Saturday, January 31, 2009

Keys to the Kingdom

It seems we have a determined group of citizens in this country hell bent on making the presidency a divine right institution. As I wrote earlier Bush has issued what is known under European legal circles as a Carte Blance. The one that comes to mind is in Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers. MiLady De Winter asks Caridinal Richelieu for a Carte Blance. He writes a note: By my order and for the good of the state, the bearer has done what has been done. Richelieu
Isn't that what Bush has just done with his executive orders exempting his denizens from being compelled to testify before congress? Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Meirs, Gonzales, the list is almost endless of people who treated the Constitution as just a worthless piece of paper. None need answer for their crimes because the president is above the law. And if we were ruled under Napoleonic Code that might hold up.
But I just finished a unit in world history for my regular high school sophomores. We just compared the American Bill of Rights with the English Bill of Rights. Know what struck my sophomores. The idea that the executive under common law being above the law is illegal.
Here's what King William IV and Mary II agreed to in order to be sovereign of England:

That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;

This placed the King under the law in 1689. That is how far back these people want to turn the clock back.

Here's the delimma for Obama. They have been exempted from testfying by executive order. In the paper today it stated that the judge on the issue is waiting to see if the current president is going to uphold that order. Put yourself in his shoes, you've just been handed the keys to the whitehouse and more power than any previous executive ever had upon taking office. Do you curtail that power or defend it?
If he reverses that order the Republicans will scream like stuck pigs that this is political retribution, and that when they get into power they will retaliate in like kind.
There's tremendous pressure right now to bury the past eight years of warrantless wiretaps, holding citizens without charge for years, abducting people fom foreign countries, setting up a special prison and special courts (again denied under the English Bill of Rights), targeting members of the Democratic party and rogue Republicans with malicious prosecution while giving a wink and a nod to loyal Republicans that have committed serious crimes, authorizing, condoning and ordering torture.
I'm sorry you can't take a boys will be boys attitude on these issues. There needs to be a clear precedent set that anyone, no matter how high, that commits these crimes will be punished.
Rove is being investigated on election tampering in 2004, specifically the problems in Ohio, his connection to the Seligman prosection in Alabama, and that's the tip of the iceberg.
As Shakespeare says in Henry IV Part I "Heavy is the head that wears a crown."
For Obama the weight of office is starting to get very heavy

No comments: