The problem is not that the Democrats are intimidated. The problem is that the Democrats are part of the problem. The editors of Impeach the President indirectly acknowledge this fact when they report that Congress "looked the other way" when Bush acknowledged that he lied to cover up his felony of illegally spying on U.S. citizens and declared the real criminal to be the NSA official who blew the whistle. Democrats, no less than Republicans, have permitted the Bush regime to violate the separation of powers and the rule of law. A branch of government that no longer defends its power is a branch of government that no longer believes in its power. Just as the Reichstag faded away for Hitler, the U.S. Congress has faded away for the Bush administration.
Claes Ryn is correct when he says a change of mind has occurred. The Constitution and the political system based on it are on the ropes because the players no longer believe in them. They believe in executive power to act forcefully in behalf of "American exceptionalism."
Civil libertarians rely on the judiciary to defend constitutional rights, but the Supreme Court has been compromised by Bush's appointments of Roberts and Alito, men who believe in "energy in the executive." Without support from Congress, the judiciary cannot protect civil liberty. With the passage of the recent detainee and spy bills, Congress has allied itself with the Bush regime against civil liberty.
Beliefs are more important than institutions. Michael Polanyi wrote that if people believed in the principles of Stalinism, democracy would uphold Stalinism. If people believe in American hegemony, they will not complain when barriers to hegemonic actions are removed. If people believe fighting terrorism is more important than civil liberty, they will lose civil liberty.
What America needs to refurbish is its beliefs. Without renewing our beliefs, we cannot renew our civil liberties and hold government accountable.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Posted by Stephen K at 7:25 p.m.