Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MoveOn: Restore the Rule of Law

I wrote a few days ago in my Facebook notes about the importance of holding the Bush administration accountable for the various ways it broke the law. There is nothing more important facing our country in this moment; all our other crises pale in comparison--yes, even the rapidly downward-spiraling economy. Because a thriving economy can't offset the horror of living in a dictatorship.

Besides vigilantly upholding and safeguarding the rule of law, we have no other means of protecting ourselves from tyranny, and tyranny is more imminent than many may imagine. (For a truly terrifying account of just how imminent, check out The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf.)

I think Obama is unlikely to break the law or disregard the Constitution in any of the ways Bush has done. I believe Obama values the rule of law and intends to uphold and defend the Constitution. But I get the feeling there is very little political will on the part of Obama or the Democrats in Congress to investigate and prosecute the crimes committed by the Bush administration. And I believe that it's critically important that we do so.

Sooo.... that means it's up to us, the general rabble, to effect a groundswell demand that the Bush administration be held accountable. In thinking about how we could possibly do this, my first thought was to write letters: to our representatives, to President-Elect Obama, to newspapers. Still, it's a very tall order to create a noisy enough clamor to get Congress and the new president to act on something so difficult when we're in the middle of so many other national crises (Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, etc. etc.). All well and good. Letters do help, and I will be writing mine and posting them here.

But this morning I got an e-mail from MoveOn.org asking about what is the most important goal MoveOn should focus on right now. When I saw that timely query, I thought "hmmm... how to create a groundswell..." No matter what you think about MoveOn, you have to admit the organization has a lot of members and a fair amount of political clout.

There are lots and lots of important issues that MoveOn could focus on, but many of them will get plenty of attention with or without MoveOn's support: health care, the economy, closing Gitmo, ending the occupation of Iraq. But holding the Bush administration accountable won't happen if we leave Obama and the Dems to their own devices. So that's why I think MoveOn should focus on that, because without the clamor of the rabble (i.e., us), it just isn't going to happen.

So I'm asking you to go to MoveOn and add your voice to mine about the importance of focusing on restoring the rule of law. Here's the link: http://pol.moveon.org/2009/agenda/submit.html?id=15255-2716881-l6stWtx&t=3. Here's what I'd like you to enter:

1. MoveOn's top goal in 2009? (10 words max)

Restoring the Rule of Law; prosecuting Bush administration crimes
2. Category
Accountability for Bush
3. You can add your own explanation for why you think MoveOn should focus on the issue you chose. I quoted myself, and you can feel free to quote me too if you like:

If we don't hold the the Bush administration accountable, there's absolutely nothing that will prevent future leaders from believing that they also are above the law. It's an invitation to tyranny. If we're really against torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless surveillance, the undoing of habeas corpus, the establishment of the "unitary executive" (read: king), then we must act. If we don't, it will be clear to the world, to our children, and to our future leaders that we really don't have the courage of our convictions when it comes to the rule of law, we really don't care if they chew up our rights and civil liberties and spit them out. We absolutely cannot afford to let this slide. Nothing less than the future of freedom is at stake.

If you do add your vote to mine on MoveOn's site, would you please post a comment here letting us know that you did? Thanks! Let's get this groundswell going!

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