Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Hard Option

The American Revolution means different things to different people, but it’s reasonable to believe that it started small, as a minority of people who got sick of continuing the old way of things. I mention this, because it shows the arrogance and false logic of Justice Kennedy’s excuses in the Roper v. Simmons atrocity he delivered yesterday, complicit with four other elitist judges. It’s a fair assumption that none of these worthies has spent more than a few minutes in the general population in the past decade, to so disparage the rights of juries, states, and to so naively frame the threat posed by juvenile murderers in particular. Enough of that, except to say that I fully expect these charlatans to have a hard time of it, when they stand to account for this decision before the Almighty.

American History was never meant to be complicated nor overly technical. Any competent high school student understands the process - The Executive Branch (President) directs actions and proposes budgets and treaties and appointments; The Legislative Branch (Congress) enacts laws and ratifies treaties and amendments to the Constitution, and the Judiciary (Courts) insure that the laws are in compliance with the U.S. Constitution. The notion that any of these branches may take on a powers beyond those specifically apportioned by the Constitution, is treasonous by definition. In the past, Presidents have been impeached (A Johnson, Clinton) and censured (Jackson) for such arrogance, and Congressmen have gone to jail (J Traficant) for crossing the lines the way these Justices have done with apparent impunity. It’s clear enough to many Americans, that the time for reform of American Government is well overdue.

I have been looking at the major political events in my lifetime, and one thing which strikes me over and over again, is the way that accomplishments are short-lived; it’s as if a reformer accomplishes one good measure, then loses interest in the movement, allowing for corruption and a shallow routine to take the place of genuine reform. Consider the Property Tax revolt in California which led to the passage of “Prop 13”; that was a clear message, yet Legislators are still wrestling with the balance between fiscal responsibility and playing santa claus with endless social programs. On the Federal level, the problem has simply become a recurring obscenity; one can scarcely imagine the founding fathers setting up a government intended to regulate nearly every aspect of our lives, to put up laws by men who are almost never accessible, much less answerable, to the people governed, and to pass taxes which never end and which are based on a code which even the IRS admits no one person is likely to be able to fully understand.

I was born in 1960, which saw the contentious election of, arguably, the last sane Democrat to occupy the Oval Office. The Democrats brave enough to lead America in the Second World War, however, were not resolved to keep our promises to Vietnam and Cambodia. The Republicans who were wise enough to back Ronald Reagan when he faced down the Soviets, were not tough enough to stand behind George H.W. Bush when the Democrats lied their way back into the White House. The Democrats would stand neither for the wisdom of the Contract With America, nor would they fully embrace Bill Clinton. And now, with the success of George W. Bush’s policies in War and the Economy proven to the satisfaction of most reasonable people, and no end of nations eager for the chance to govern themselves, the Republicans recoil from the hard work of meeting the challenges W has presented them. The Republicans have a clear majority in both houses of Congress. The question is, will they have the resolve to do as they have promised, and reform the Courts, Taxes, Social Security, Foreign Policy, and Medicare, or were those just election-year promises?

More than a month ago, I sent out a questionnaire to every member of the Senate and House of Representatives. The response, so far, was pathetically underwhelming. My own Senators have not responded at all, nor has my Congressman. That silence, I realize, speaks to the method of their routine, but it also confirms that it is time that we stopped knocking politely on the door, and began to kick the thing, hard. Whether you are Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican or Libertarian or anything else, it is obvious that our leaders have become complacent cows, munching on the pastures they have known for years. When the Supreme Court ignores the basic rights of a jury to mete out an appropriate sentence, or when the Senate Majority Leader equivocates on an absolute need, or puts critical needs on a back burner, or Republican Leaders play games with promises made in the election, it is time to answer in no uncertain terms. I would counsel the Republican Leaders, to show your stripes. If you are Republican, then stick with President Bush, and stop playing games. If you are Leaders, then take the challenge up and pass what has been promised. I may be Republican, but I and other blogs will hold you accountable. Do not dare to think that promises are enough, or that you get a pass for playing the part of the Conservative. The President could have been speaking to you, when he warned the world: ”You’re either with us, or against us.”

Pick a side. We’re watching.

No comments: