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Friday, August 22, 2008

Mission Accomplished, Mr. President.

I can honestly say that I am amazed by President Bush's accomplishments while in office. He has managed to utterly bankrupt this country and destroy the foundation of the liberties we once enjoyed. It took this nation over 220 years to achieve what it had when President Bush took office, through the hard work of generations of our people, through the infusion of new blood through immigration, and through our own sorrow and hard-earned wisdom at the mistakes we and our ancestors made. 220+ years of hard work and hard-won respect, and Mr. Bush, you have managed to undo most of it in less than eight. If this was your goal, I say "Mission accomplished."

During conventions, instead of the rowdy, but necessary, protests of yesteryear, we have designated "protest zones" with permits and scheduling, in violation of the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Does this remind you of a nation we've mocked for that very thing during these Olympics?

The Second Amendment is safe, apparently because the government sees no need to fear a dumbed-down and lazy populace. The Third Amendment is equally safe because it's much simpler and safer to just build military bases than to quarter our troops in others' homes.

President Bush, you, your cronies, and your enablers on both sides of the aisle have raped the Fourth Amendment through the passage of the Patriot Act and your further actions that ignored the unconstitutional latitude given by the FISA courts, and further by your extensive use of "extraordinary rendition", which you proved was not "extraordinary" at all except in the damage it did to this nation. If some pencil-pushing wonk decides that something is in the interest of "national security", who needs courts? Has that not been Mr. Bush's attitude?

Sadly, that was one of the less damaging stops in your trip through the Bill of Rights. Look what you did to the Fifth Amendment. Of course, I'm referring to Guantanimo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and other atrocities committed in your name and at your behest. I must admit this overlaps heavily with the Eighth Amendment, which specifically prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment", but since that aspect has been discussed at length elsewhere, I'll focus on the Fifth Amendment implications for the most part. Through the use of water-boarding and other torture methods, you have ordered our troops and contractors with the government to be witnesses against themselves, even if their testimony is false, then deprived them of liberty, property, and in some cases, their lives as a result of said torture, without ever seeing a judge, without their case ever getting near a courtroom.

This brings me to my point about the Sixth Amendment, though for expediency, I will also combine this with the Eighth Amendment. It is these three amendments, the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth, you have attacked most effectively and eviscerated most completely, and for that, I am torn between congratulating you and weeping for the generations to come. That previous statement is only half true, because this is no accomplishment worthy of being lauded. This is a betrayal of those who came before, and those who are yet to come. I cite the Sixth Amendment because of your procedure for "special tribunals" for "enemy combatants", regardless of their citizenship, even if they be Americans. I cite your willful ignorance and abrogation of the right of "habeas corpus", which has been part of the legal tradition of this nation and the English common laws upon which much of this Constitution was based since the Magna Carta was imposed on the similarly inept and pettily cruel King John of England in 1215. For the Eighth Amendment, I cite your administration's infliction of cruel and unusual punishments on innocent people by your "terrorist watch list", again, overlapping with the entire text of the Sixth Amendment, including but not limited to the right of the accused to face their accusers. As a result of this terrorist watch list, we have an Iraq War combat veteran, Erich Scherfen; CNN reporter Dave Griffin; and a third grader (AN EIGHT YEAR OLD!!!) by the name of James Robinson; as well as what may be over one million others, are being punished, without the ability to clear their names of crimes they never committed nor even INTENDED to commit. I could continue at length about other abuses related to your abuse of just these three amendments, but I don't have a year to devote to this topic.

I must admit my coverage of the Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments will not have the gravitas of the work above, but having set on this course, I must make a good faith effort to complete it. Through the updated FISA bill, the telecommunications companies are absolved of any fiscal responsibility for their complicity in the abuse of our rights, denying the right of litigants to have their lawsuits heard before a jury. Of the major telecommunications companies, only Qwest was brave enough to defend the rights of their customers, and I find it an odd coincidence that their CEO, rather than those of AT&T and Verizon, who was indicted. The Ninth and Tenth are depressingly easy to cover. With the abuse and neglect of the rights specifically afforded to the states and the people in the other eight amendments, why should the government worry about those without specific protections? When a nation becomes a police state in everything but name, what is left?

A marginally sane preacher once infamously said, "God DAMN America." Based on the evidence, I can only wonder why He would bother. After all, haven't we done an excellent job of damning ourselves? The people of this nation should be mad as HELL at what has happened over the last eight years. We should be marching in the streets in peaceful protest. We should be DEMANDING that our Congress impeach this stain on our nation or risk losing their own seats of power. We should be DEMANDING that our government abide by its obligation to protect and defend our rights, instead of abridging them. We should be DEMANDING that our nation use force only in its own defense, instead of waging wars of acquisition. Instead, as a nation, we're all too busy choosing to eat unhealthy amounts and types of food at McDonald's, allowing ourselves to be brainwashed by Fox News, and enriching this nation's enemies by shopping at Wal-Mart, and just going about with the tedium of life (if you're lucky enough to have that opportunity). In that sense, we've deserved every bit of what we've gotten... but the generations yet unborn don't. Why have we forgotten about them, about the children of today and those yet to come? Why have we betrayed them so utterly? Will they forgive us? SHOULD they forgive us? Is it proper and right that we forgive ourselves? These questions haunt me.

Mr. Bush, I wish you a long life filled with good health, because I want you to be in full control of your faculties when you appear as a defendant at The Hague for the war crimes and other human rights abuses YOU ordered or allowed to occur unchecked. For the good of this nation, and the good of this world, you must face the justice you have demanded of others of your ilk. Although you had help, you have succeeded in proving that the experiment that was America was an utter failure. Perhaps, after you and your enablers are out of power, we will be able to regain what we so carelessly and foolishly gave away. Or at least, the optimist in me hopes we may redeem our collective soul. That said, I have no idea how I was even able to hear the faint whispers of my hope over the cries of this nation's victims. Their blood is on our hands: Yours for ordering their suffering, and ours for allowing it to happen. May God forgive us all.

In closing, I quote Leo Rosten: "I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong." It is long, long past time for this nation to be strong, or risk losing what very little honor we have left.

The song is "Anarchy" by Skazi, an Israeli soft psytrance electro-punk duo. Enjoy.


1138 said...

I thought you might like to know that I've linked to your Blog from mine.
No fanfare, just a link.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Thanks. I've come to the realization that, if I'm going to be angry sometimes, the least I can do is be angry about things that really matter. I'm an adult. It's past time for me to act like one. :)