The War on Liberty

Taking Aim at Lady Liberty

As the 2010 Midterm Elections loom, it is appropriate to examine what the Republicans have done to destroy our country. It is easy to dismiss such questions with answers of “they’re all the same” but they’re not, and the facts demonstrate this for any and all who have an interest in evidence over the diktat of ideology.

For eight years, the Bush administration plundered the American people, violated the Constitution, and tarnished our image abroad with egregious breaches of international law. America came close to becoming a rogue state, a brand of American exceptionalism so extreme that it seemed America was above the laws that bound the rest of the civilized world together. Grievous harm was done, some of it likely irreparable.

While the Obama administration has reversed some of these policies, it has embraced others; as totalitarianism creeps closer, democracy is pushed back. Those who hold power do not relinquish it once gained, and the Executive has become dangerously powerful, throwing the delicate system of checks and balances all out of kilter. As Paul Starr wrote in The American Prospect in 2006, “The real danger today is the loaded weapon that Bush and his defenders are willing to put in the hands of all future presidents.” Tyranny is the logical end-place should the powers of the Executive not be checked.

This is not the first time the Constitution has come under attack. Starr goes on to observe that,

Repeatedly through our history, the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution have been threatened in war by an overreacting government and then reaffirmed in peace by calmer leadership. The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, the suppression of free speech during and after World War I, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, McCarthyism, and the wiretapping of Vietnam-era dissenters — all of these came to be seen, once fears subsided, as violations of our freedoms and embarrassments to our heritage.

Bush is largely responsible for creating an “imperial presidency”; by claiming “”Unitary Executive” power, he announced to the world – and was unchallenged by a cowed Congress – that the law was what he said it was. He may have never said that the Constitution was just a “goddamn piece of paper” but his every action confirmed that this was his attitude toward the document that creates and binds this nation together.

But the Constitution, if America is to survive in any form recognizable to the Founders, must be more than a mere set of guidelines or suggestions. It is a living, flexible document, but it cannot be twisted like a pretzel. Like anything else, it will shatter if enough stress is applied.

The attack on America from within was persistent and ruthless: John Conyers (D-MI) is on record (2005) as stating that the Bush administrations violations of law were “not only serious, but widespread.” And in 2005, Bush was far from done with America. The Bush administration violated six amendments and the writ of habeas corpus and only Congress may legally suspend habeas corpus. By 2006 the Boston Globe was able to report that Bush had “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.”

Essentially, Bush played Pompey, using a national emergency to vest within himself dictatorial powers. The Roman Republic did not survive Pompey for Pompey made Caesar possible and Caesar killed the Republic. Each blow against the Constitution weakens the structure. But the Constitution does not make the president king, though it grants him enough power that today, that even if he restrains his impulses, he is the most powerful person on earth. Congress too has a Constitutional role, as does the Supreme Court. If either of these abrogates their powers, if they do not function as intended, liberty comes under attack.

The Republicans have come dangerously close to asserting the divine right of kings. Bush claimed to be appointed not by the American people but by God. Other Republican politicians and pundits claim that only Christians are fit (or should be legally allowed) to hold public office, and Article VI section 3 is repeatedly violated in word if not in deed when these Republicans pretend that there is a religious test for public office. America has become the New Rome and the president chosen by God. If this is true, then the Republican Party is indeed God’s Own Party and only they have a legitimate claim to power, resulting today in the idea that the Democrats – and Obama – are usurpers and the Republican leadership is a government in exile.

This is as preposterous as it is dangerous, and Americans must wake up and recognize this – and resist. The Republicans continue to utilize the weapon of fear embraced by the Bush administration. Do as we say, or America will be destroyed, is their message. Turn your back on God and he will turn his back on you. In truth, if we do what they say, America will be destroyed – utterly – because the Republican path is the road to ruin, a headlong rush toward the Rubicon and a mortal blow to the Constitution.

The Republican leadership of 2010 offers America nothing Bush did not already offer in 2001. President Obama has repeatedly warned that their message is the same message that got us into trouble in the first place and he is not wrong. The championing of States Rights invokes the specter of the Confederacy, and racism the dark shadow of slavery, and the appeal to “Second Amendment remedies” is nothing short of a promise of treason. Do it our way, or we will overthrow the government; if we can’t have America, there will be no America. That is their message. That is their promise.

They say they want to take America back, but folks, the America they claim to represent never existed, not in the minds of the Founding Fathers and not in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Neither the President nor Congress, nor the Supreme Court has defended the Constitution. This leaves liberty just one defender: the American people.

Liberty stands for human rights and freedoms. It was appreciation of America’s embrace of liberty that brought Lady Liberty to these shores. If we won’t defend her now, we might as well send her back, because we will have proven ourselves unworthy of her.

10 Replies to “The War on Liberty”

  1. Hraf, an incredible post and one that is truly needed in the American dialog today.

    no matter which party you root for, you cannot deny that Bush broke the law many many times. And as you point out once a president is not punished for doing that it is open to the next president to do the same thing. It is also open to the next president or following presidents to close the loopholes that allowed a president to break the law. And that is something that is not being done. President Obama has done absolutely nothing concerning habeas corpus nor will he deny the powers that Bush took upon himself. this worries me greatly because I can only assume that it will be the standard path in the future as its president stretches the boundaries of his power and we live under totalitarianism.
    Secondly, and I will just throw this out because I think it’s an not so extreme possibility. Several times you mentioned God and the presidency. I firmly believe it is the intention of the Republican Party or certain individuals within that party that we end up with a president who acts as King who is supported by “the church”. There is little doubt in my mind that they want to take us back to the early days of England when the King and the church ruled the country. I will just throw this in, but we know that Glenn Beck’s 100 year plan allows that the church will dispense all social services. How convenient that would be to a “King” at a future date. I believe that a representative Congress will become less and less a part of our nation. The only conflict of this I see is corporate America, the King and the church all fighting for power.

    I know this sounds like a conspiracy but I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch as an extension of your post. Of course I’m using the term King loosely to represent the president in future years

  2. Thank you! I don’t think your theory is far out there at all, Shiva. Isn’t that the avowed purpose of “the Family”? I don’t think these people have been particularly secretive about their purposes and objectives so I’m not sure it’s even a “conspiracy” when they’re being so open! It is truly a frightening situation and the whole “government in exile” narrative suits those purposes nicely. Americans have to realize they are facing a much greater choice these next two election cycles than they have ever faced before. Our fate is in the balance more so than at any time since Washington declined to be crowned.

  3. Wow. You really summed up the Bush years here and all that is at stake. I wish we could have rational debate re ideology with the Right but that is not happening. They’ve driven off the cliff into madness. I’d like a 6 party or more system, but until that happens, so long as the Republicans are power-mad corporatists hawking a theocracy and racism, I’m 100 percent against them.

    If and when they clean out their party of the radical extremists, then we need to restore balance and bring back the concept of debate, for no party should have too much power for too long. However, we can at least comfort ourselves that no Democrat could be organized enough or sound bite happy enough to sell a dictatorship to the people.

    You did a great job with this.

  4. It truly is sad that everyone, Democrats and Republicans , have forgotten that is country was built, forged, and transpired by the grace of God. In the early years of developing this great nation, thanks was given to God for leading us into a united states. The freedom of religion was based on worshiping God not something designed by the royalty of England. So “twisting the constitution like a pretzel “is exactly what everyone wants to do. You are asking , no demanding that God be taken out of everything. We don’t need him. So now we have slipped into listening to comments posted by a confessed modern heathen. Religion is not out for power. God just wants you to know He loves you. God waits and you reject Him. Wow could you imagine the possibilities if all turn our faces back to the creator. This nation would once again thrive in love and be showered with blessings.

  5. “…it is appropriate to examine what the Republicans have done to destroy our country.”

    Hraffy, you ARE daffy!! This is fun.

    Hraffy, go into the bowels of D.C. and see the results of over 45 years of liberal entitlement programs. Tens of thousands of fatherless welafer thugs, welfare super-breeders, illegals and their anchor babies are living for free, subsidized by taxpayers.

    Would you do that for us??

  6. Absolutely not true Randy. I admit that we have a huge American Christian population, but thats the ONLY fact about Christianity. First of all, the first people to move here were in fact Christians. They were in exile from Europe where their extremely strict ways of living were akin to that of Muslims of today, in that the civilized world thought of them as uninvolved and their ways just conflicted with the ways of life of others – suppose you can think of it as the Muslim women who wear their head and face coverings not be allowed in public places in France today, those women and their families would have to move elsewhere so they could be “accepted”.

    That being said, you can either conciser Christians, Catholics, Puritans and Quakers as the “Founding Fathers” or you can conciser the likes of George Washington, John Adams and all those that fought to free us from Britain rule and those that signed the Declaration of Independence as the founding fathers, but if you chose the later; you have to know that many of them were non-practicing Christians or Deists (such as myself).

    Deism is akin to Christianity in that we both believe in God, but thats where the similarities end. We believe (in general) that god created earth and breathed life into it, then moved on to build other worlds or do whatever it is supreme beings do (probably created other worlds with life), which is to say not stand around and wish for his creations to waste the gift he gave praying to him on bended knee, etc. Only those cursed with arrogance would and we believe that God is above that. Please don’t take that personally though, That’s just a general statement. Please read the writings of Thomas Paine, “The Age of Reason” for a real look into our “feelings” towards other religions – most of us feel its you’re choice and none of our business. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were 2 other well known believers in Deism.

    If you conciser George the founding father you should know that in the treaty of Tripoli, Signed by George Washington himself and approved by the United States Congress, it says and I quote:

    The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion”

    Here is another great quote from another great american, I believe he may even be a republican *wink*

    Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourself with the chains of bondage, and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genious of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tryant who rises among you.” Abraham Lincoln, Speech at Edwardsville, IL, 1858.

    The Religious Right needs to be careful, they are about to trample their own founding fathers teachings with there self centered extremism and shit eating grin, bright eyed Americanism of an American that never even existed in the first place, To be completely honest, it kind of seems to me to be the American that would have existed had the South actually won the Civil War, which as I recall, isn’t how it happened and for good reason.

    More great american quotes regarding the freedom of religion can be found here:

    On a personal note, I use to be a Christian. I went to Assembly of God church almost all my life and there were many great people there who even though it was a strict church, they had open minds and were very tolerant of others beliefs, which is something that todays Christians seem to be lacking in many circles (not meaning to name Christians in general or even as a majority). In any case, I look back now and even though I don’t wholly believe in the bible (my belief being, it’s was written by 2000 year old men with personal and idealogical agendas, etc..) I recall something from Revelations that mentions that in the end, there would be a second coming of Christ and there would also be an Anti-Christ who would be followed by the masses as if he himself were the true Christ, meanwhile the true Christ would be one of us and only the few would follow and believe. Now thinking back on that, I think what if the so called Anti-Christ wasn’t a person so much as a group of people – people who claimed to be the morally sound (not the word I was looking for!). Then I think of all the crap happening around the world in the Christian communities. Anti-gay pastors coming out as Gay, Celebate priests are having sex with children, Republican leaders who claim to be “Honest, Hardworking, Red-blooded Americans, with the perfect Christian Family” end up being evil as hell, swindling money, having sex with hookers or worse and all sorts of evils. Then we have all these radical Christians with so much hatred and intolerance for others that are different; when Jesus himself [I thought] taught pacifism and tolerance to his followers & true believers – You know, like “Turn the other cheek” and “Love thy neighbor”, etc..

    WWJD? Not bash gays, Not bash Muslims, Not bash anyone who is different or has different beliefs than you. That’s WWJD!

    Just a though! :P

  7. Well, first of all; I think many confuse the whole Conservative and Liberal thing a bit too much – they start to make it an US vs THEM thing when in reality there are Social Liberals and Fiscal Liberals, There is Social Conservatives and Fiscal Conservatives. You can be both Liberal and Conservative at the same time. Take me for instance, I’m a Fiscally Conservative; Social Liberal. I believe in human rights, I believe in equality for all, even gay Americans and at the same time I believe in reining in spending when spending isn’t necessary.

    Second thing I have a beef with is this whole Liberals are responsible for all the spending, well it is true that social liberal democrats do in fact spend more; but only following a supposedly fiscally conservative president has ran the country into the ground and money needs to be spent to fix the huge ass train wreck they left behind. Time and time again its happened. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and even now with President Obama in office. All 3 had to raise taxes to cover the spending that was required to fix the huge mess that the so called fiscally conservatives left behind. Now I’m a fiscal conservative but I’m more moderate leaning I guess because when common sense dictates that spending is necessary, we should spend – like right now; we don’t have a choice and once we spend all the money that George failed to spend (think of it as maintenance costs on your car; you can forgo them for long periods but eventually it catches up with you and costs you more, same thing here!) and fix all the things that George destroyed (no comment!), then we’ll be back on track. Next step is to start saving money and trimming the fat; but only after the major problems get fixed.

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