No particular incident sparked this diary. It's frankly been a long time coming; however, I was particularly inspired by a piece by Glenn Greenwald the other day, one entitled "Obama's new view of his own war powers." In it, he briefly paraphrases Adams' words from Article 30 of the Massachusetts Constitution: The powers shall be seperated among the branches, he wrote,
to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.
Let's take a look at how that's working out, shall we?
The rule of law: not being held to the tyrannical fancies of some monarch or being subject to the dictates of some demagogue, but being bound by the product of a principled and fair legislative process. Doesn't that just sound great? Granted, the law may have some (big) flaws from time to time, but on the whole, living by the laws passed by our representatives with the ability to appeal to an independent judiciary is a better system than crossing our fingers for a better philosopher-king the next time around.
That's why it's a shame when it doesn't work out like it should. I like the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, and I don't like it when certain people drag it through the muck. I don't like it when certain states try to bar undocumented students from the right to an education or the right to citizenship to their American-born children, in flagrant violation of Supreme-Court-affirmed constitutional principles. I don't like when some legislators think they can nullify federal legislation. I don't like it when lawmakers pass laws in flagrant violation of Roe v. Wade, and I don't like it when my Congress stands up in a sicking defense of bigotry, apparently in complete ignorance of the judicially established executive's non-prosecutorial power.
But it's not just them. I don't like it when Dennis Kucinich and other groups are denied "official visit" status to see Bradley Manning, especially when the law explicitly states that they be permitted to do so.
Quantico Brig Order P1640.1C, paragraph 3.17b:
b. Official: These visits are for the purpose of conducting official government business, either on behalf of the prisoner or in the interest of justice. Visits from lawyers, military officials, civilian officials, or anyone listed as a privileged correspondence in paragraph 3.17f [see below] of this regulation, having official business to conduct are considered official visits and may be authorized by the Commanding Officer to visit at any time during normal working hours.
Privileged Correspondence: All incoming and outgoing correspondence (mail) between a prisoner and the following is privileged and not subject to inspection unless reasonable doubt exists as to the correspondence being bona fide:
a. The President or Vice President of the United States.
b. Members of Congress of the United States.
c. The Attorney General or the United States and Regional Offices of the Attorney General.
d. The Judge Advocate General of each military service or his/her representatives.
e. Prisoners Defense Counsel or any military/civilian attorney of record.
f. Any attorney listed in professional or other directories or an attorney’s representative.
g. Prisoner’s clergyman, when approved by the chaplain.
I don't like when a President and his Secretary of State not only claim power under the law that simply is not there, but admit that they will ignore Congress even if it were to proceed according to the law and pull the plug on our operations in Libya. I don't like it when my government, after swearing to be the most open administration in American history, prosecutes more whistleblowers than any other administration in American history. I don't like when criminal telecoms are given a pass by my government. I don't like in when several lawmakers jump on to a blatantly unconstitutional measure (See the 27th Amendment) to score political points (though I don't mind it at all when they take the legal route.). Overall, I don't like the tacit acceptance of such a decline by the vast majority of our ruling elite.
I don't like it when my government continues down the path of secrecy, deceit, and outright criminality that it promised to change. I like the Law. Don't you?