The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's not King George who's Mad

It's the rest of us.

I haven't written anything on this spying issue, partly because others - including, for once, one of my elected representatives - are saying much of what needs to be said, but mostly because it's freaking me out. I mean, I've known Bush doesn't "get" democracy for a long time, ever since his quote to Woodward: "I do not need to explain why I say things. — That's the interesting thing about being the President. — Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." As our greatest poet of Democracy put it, "the genius of the United States is [...] always most in the common people. Their manners, speech, [...] the President’s taking off his hat to them, not they to him...." 35 (75?) years of imperial presidency has, it seems, quashed that understanding in most Americans. To quote Whitman again, "[T]he citizen is always the head and ideal, and President [... is an] agent for pay."

But this seems like it could be enough to wake the sleepy American populace to the fact that something is, indeed, happening here. And what it is is pretty goddam clear. We have a president who doesn't think he needs to tip his hat to citizens, Senators, or the law itself. I mean, the DC police would, literally, be justified in taking this self-confessed lawbreaker into custody.

But, all too soon, the standard apparatus of apologia and obfuscation has reared its ugly head, and I'm not sure anything will come of it. And if the President - any President - can stand up and claim that he can break any law on his own recognizance, and nothing comes of it.... Well, I really don't think we can claim to have the constitutional democracy we like to think we do. And that scares the hell out of me.


Blogger KCB said...

It is frightening that ordinary people have let it get to this point, but I think they've had a lot of help from big-money interests (Diebold, anyone?) and politicians who think they can ride this out only to find that it's worse than they expected.

I also submit that our society offers a lot of training from an early age in groupthink and acquiesence to authority regardless of its merit. Which is now coming around to bite us in the tail. Time to impeach.

4:19 PM


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