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A Ceiling of Swords

We're being dared to address them - so, let's

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, July 11, 2007.

It’s always annoying and rather scary when deficiencies in government are noted, brayed about, and then forgotten as the world moves on to other things. This, no matter how odious the revealed problem, how important, and how crippling ignoring it can be. You don’t have to go back as far as Damocles’ Sword to find such an issue to use as illustrative example. You need only go back to the Presidential election of 2000.

There were many horrors about particular exercise, but none more important than that the guy with the most votes lost. It’s difficult to pat that into shape as democratic, but it was – if much else was valid, and that’s dubious – at least legal. What made it so was the Electoral College, a device partially set up by the Founding Fathers to accommodate the hysterics of the slave holding South, which wanted slaves to count, but not as a human being because, obviously, if they did the whole theory of slavery was wrong. States were granted electoral votes based upon their population, with slaves being granted a portion of personhood to fluff up Southern electoral power. The electoral college is one of the last vestiges of slavery in the federal government, and should be voided in the days of instant communication. Because since the President and Vice President are the only two offices the entire country votes upon, it should be by the majority’s wishes as a shining example of democracy in action, both to ourselves and the world.

In fact, the not-totally-objective Hillary Clinton, a brand new Senator, suggested just that upon taking her post, but it faded away, as indeed she may have hoped after giving Al Gore her support in what had to have been a really trying time. But it would require a Constitutional amendment, and a lot of work, and whatever her and others’ intentions, it became a non-issue after 9-11. But it did not go away, and sits there.

Today, in Washington, one of this administration’s fetal female fascists took the chair before the Senate Judicial Committee and, although no longer employed by this government, obeyed Rove’s instructions through the White House counsel’s office not to answer certain questions involving the irreparably corrupt Department of Justice. For some reason, an attorney was allowed to sit next to her to assist her performance.

The Bushies are essentially hoping that Congress, controlled by the Democrats, will think impeachment of Bush and/or Cheney too much trouble with only a year and half remaining. They’re hoping they can stonewall and be able to blame either the military, the next administration, or the Democrats in general for the Iraq war’s perceived loss. The Democrats, with weak leadership at present, can’t get a handle on it and we cruise along.

Congress long ago cast away its sword and buckle when it gave the executive branch alone the power to take us into war and fled from oversight responsibilities. So we’re stuck weathering the unctuous and far too young power brokers in the Bush administration as they plead, essentially, incompetence and ignorance as protection against the insinuations of an ongoing coup d'état against representative government. Karl Rove’s former assistant is giving the Senate the finger in her kabuki performance, with the Senate frozen. They fear if they hold anyone in this administration in Contempt of Congress, the executive branch will deny the authority and force a Constitutional crisis unmatched since the Civil War upon us. They wither before that insufferable arrogance. Here we sit with an Attorney General both stupid, lazy, corrupt, and cloying all, yet nobody from either party publicly suggests he should be impeached for grotesque incompetence, and I cannot help but think there are Republicans as or more incensed at the Bushies than the liberals if they could be brought within. The Bushies will claim we’re at war, you see, and it would send the wrong message to the soldiers if we indict or impeach our Commander in Chief. And there it is. The reason we’re still at war with no military goals beyond perpetual occupation.

I understand the need for separation of powers, and I understand the need the executive has to be able to respond and act quickly, but I don’t understand - and never have - the need for there to be no Congressional oversight. When Congress sends a contempt citation to the administration and tells them to jump on it, the response ought to be “How High, Oh My Country?” But Cheney and Bush, at this point solely to protect themselves, will force a Constitutional crisis as their cherished war kills its last victims. Look, the reason Bush commuted Libby’s sentence was so he wouldn’t turn against him. He’s going to be pardoned, you wait.

There is at least an even chance that some justice will come without the crisis, because it would make Nixon look good. But there will be no forgiveness if we allow these multiplying weaknesses in our government to raise their heads again in the future without fixing them now, when the crack is open and the molten hell beneath visible.