As if all the damage done by the Bushies wasn't outrage enough, it appears that it would be just too much—too divisive, too negative, too unpleasant, too ineffectual—to hold them accountable. I'm hearing things like "They'll never do any time" and "Nothing will really come of it."
The vortex of this lack of political will is none other than the Democrats in Congress, the Bushies' so-called opposition. Fearing political fallout, afraid that many will see them as complicit in Bush's crimes, they would prefer that we just go blithely on, as if the nation and the Constitution hadn't just been given a huge eight-year-long collective kick in the gut. It's been said before: "Bush's fecklessness is not an excuse for Democratic dereliction of duty."
Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general, Eric Holder, told the American Constitution Society in June that "we owe the American people a reckoning." So here I am, arms folded, tapping my foot, cocking my eyebrow. Well? How about it?
I have read that Obama wants to "let sleeping dogs lie." Shouting here: THESE DOGS ARE NOT SLEEPING!!! They are savaging the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Under what circumstances could that possibly be OK?
In spite of the walloping Republicans took in November, Obama apparently feels he needs their support in order to accomplish his admittedly ambitious agenda. Fine. You're a very persuasive leader, Mr. Obama. Convince the Republicans in Congress that holding the Bush Administration accountable is the absolute best thing we can do, not as a measure of political expediency, but as a measure of restoring our very identity as a nation. Isn't upholding the Constitution something we can all agree on?
Shouldn't Republicans be as angry as the rest of us—if not more so? Isn't it Bush's fault that they took such a trouncing in November? They're still doing everything they can to put distance between themselves and Bush (witness Senator Bob Corker thumbing his nose at Bush during the auto bailout hearings). Wouldn't agreeing to the establishment of an independent investigation of the administration's crimes be an excellent way to distance themselves from Bush?
This is not just one issue among many. Yes, there are many, many pressing issues confronting us. But if we cannot uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law, then we may as well just throw in the towel. This is ground zero, the foundation, the core of our being. Without it, we are not ourselves, we are not the United States of America. We are a third-rate autocracy, a powerful global thug.
Moreover, if we just let this slide, we are complicit in the crimes of the Bush administration. Our silence will condemn us, and not only us but our children and the founders of our country. Is this what they fought and died for? So that we could sit back and relax while the Constitution is flushed down the toilet by the Despot-in-Chief?
The point is not to get revenge, or to get a conviction or two, or even to drag what has been hidden (some of it well, some of it not at all) out into the light. The point is that we have a duty to stand up for what's right and good and true. The outcome is not ours to determine. We must take a stand, regardless of the odds against us or the likely result.
Here's an idea: Let's all rally around our beleaguered Constitution—all of us—and work together to repair the damage that has been done. Once we're done with this project, we can resume our partisan bickering. But can't we all agree, finally, on how precious and fundamental the Rule of Law is? This administration has treated not only the American people, but the Constitution of the United States, with utter contempt. They have shredded it, trampled it, spit on it, ground it under their heel. Such heinous transgressions cannot, must not, go unanswered.
Here, gentle reader, are some ways you can take your stand.
The folks at Democrats.com are very concerned about this issue. They have a petition, which you can add your name to here. Then ask your friends to do the same.
Bob Fertik at Democrats.com has also submitted a question to Change.gov, which he'd like you and your friends to vote for:
"Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor—ideally Patrick Fitzgerald—to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?"
—Bob Fertik, New York City
At the end of the first round [of voting] on December 15, our Special Prosecutor question was #6, but Obama's team only answered the first five, including one on the legalization of marijuana [pretty sure the answer was a resounding "NO"].
The second round began on 12/30 and ends at midnight on 12/31. [That's tonight, folks!] Once again, marijuana legalization is #1. We need your help to make our Special Prosecutor question #1!
- Sign in at http://change.gov/openforquestions
- Search for "Fitzgerald"
- This will display several similar questions, so look carefully for "Bob Fertik"
- Look right for the check box, mouse over it so it goes from white to dark, then click to cast your vote
When you all gather around the bubbly this evening, waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square, make voting at Change.gov one of your year-end festivities.
Change.org is also asking you to vote on the issues that are of most importance to you. "The top 10 rated ideas will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, as the 'Top 10 Ideas for America.' We will then launch a national campaign behind each idea and mobilize the collective energy of the millions of members of Change.org, MySpace, and partner organizations to ensure that each winning idea gets the full consideration of the Obama Administration and Members of Congress."
Please vote here for "Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration" at Change.org. That round of voting will also end tonight. A second round will end on Thursday, January 15, so make sure to check back and vote again before then.
Finally, write to your representatives in Congress and to local newspapers about how desperate the need is for action on this. Talk to your friends. Pester your parents. Stop strangers on the street. It's really that important.