"I can't wait `til '08!"
Again and again I hear that exclamation from friends, from my wife, on TV, from the blogosphere. But what if The Decider decides he's not going to leave as he is legally obligated to do? What if he decides, for the sake of national security, that he must remain President?
Dictator - n. a ruler who is unconstrained by law.
From an April 30, 2006 report in The Boston Globe:
"President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution."
According to law professor Phillip Cooper in the same Globe article:
"There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."
From San Jose Mercury News:
"Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their government," Bush said in his executive order on classified information. "Nevertheless, throughout our history, the national defense has required certain information be maintained in confidence in order to protect our citizens."
From Newsweek, July 19, 2004:
"American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned."
I could go on. There are plenty more facts and examples regarding the Bush administration's centralization of authority, secretive practices, manipulation through fear, crimes and lies. These points are not debatable. There's a new story virtually every day.
In the last five years, our government has been cited repeatedly for violating international law. We torture people. We "disappear" people. We invade countries that have not attacked or even provoked us. We commit war crimes. We spy on our own citizens. We read, see and hear propaganda paid for and planted in American media by the Administration. And literally right now, today, in the U.S. Congress, our representatives are considering the merits of building walls, thousands of miles long, on each of our borders.
How different is the United States today from previous dictatorships and fascist regimes? Even Iraq had presidential elections before we invaded. Elections alone don't make a democracy or a republic. Particularly when they're rigged.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might just be a duck. So, why is everyone quick to assume that Bush will leave in 2008? What's going to make him? Laws? Professional ethics? Morals?
The $64,000 question is how much further those in power will go to get even more power.
The $100,000 question is whether democracy even exists today in America, much less in 2008.
At times like these, I find it helpful to rely on facts, so let's go back to the dictionary and compare the definitions of "dictatorship," "fascism" and democratic "republic," the original system of American government. The one spelled out in the United States Constitution.
Dictatorship - n. a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition, etc.)
Fascism - n. a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
Republic - n. a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.
Do you feel like you have supreme power over the government? Why did the Administration use terror to manipulate American voters leading up to Election Day, 2004? Are you certain that you will be entitled to vote in 2008? Do you feel as though your representatives represent the best interests of American citizens? Does your government govern according to law?
I, for one, can't tell what kind of government we have now. Or what it's becoming. But I can guaranty one thing. It's not what Jefferson intended. And, unless we take our country back, we'll never again see a government for the people, by the people, of the people.