Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bring out the Subpoenas

Speaking justice to power

Dear Mr President:

I have to ask, although I'm sure you won't tell... why the continued secrecy if you haven't broken any laws? You say - and warn that this is the best deal you will make - that you will allow your minions to speak only in a secret, un-taped meeting, and only before the Judiciary Committee, and only if they don't have to take an oath. The American people be damned... right sir?

“We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants,” the president told reporters in a brief and hastily convened appearance in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.

We have no reason to love Alberto Gonzales - he has systematically attacked our rule of law and has been dismantling our Bill of Rights ever since you took office. I'm sure you know this, sir.

You accuse the Senate Judiciary Committee of conducting a partisan witch hunt as they attempt to investigate the obviously partisan firings of well reviewed prosecutors in the middle of their terms - on the basis of their loyalty to you, and only you. At least one prosecutor was in the middle of a high profile case of Republican corruption. I can see why this was distasteful to you.

This is an issue of law sir - not of partisanship. I know that this may be an alien concept to you. Law... not partisanship. As an Independent - not a Democrat - I must protest your obsession with all things partisan. I, for one, would like to know what is going on. What about country, sir? What about America? What about truth, law and justice? This is not the United States of Republican... not yet.

Scott Lilly, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, wrote:

It is clear that of the four administrations that controlled the executive branch of government during the past quarter-century, only the current administration has held the view that U.S. Attorney can or should be removed absent serious cause. In no instance is there any indication of a removal because a U.S. attorney failed to meet certain political criteria, such as prosecuting cases that were considered too sensitive to partisan issues or failing to prosecute cases that would be helpful from a partisan perspective.

The innovative philosophy of the current Bush administration with respect to the service of U.S. Attorneys is worthy of the attention it is now receiving. Those eight forced resignations threaten the very basis of our justice system-to quote the words written above the pillars on the west front of the Supreme Court, "Equal Justice Under Law."

Really sir - do you expect anyone to believe any testimony not given under oath? Do you expect us to believe, that this time - out of the blue - no one will lie to us, and justice will be served?

When was the last time anyone in your administration actually told the truth? You lied about the war, you lied about domestic spying... you lied about the levees, about torture, and the Patriot act. And you lied about these prosecutor firings when you said they were not 'politically motivated' (the emails have already shown that they indeed were.) No wonder you don't want Rove and Miers to be sworn in. As long as they are never under oath, they can lie their way right out of everything. Business as usual - right Mr President?

But what am I saying... if you have your way, we'll never hear a word of this 'oath-free' testimony anyway. You'd like to cut the American people completely out of this process, keep the entire thing a secret from us. 'For the Senate Judiciary ears only'. Mr President... where's the love?

As I recall, you loved us once... but that was when you courted our votes. As soon as you assumed the throne, you systematically undermined our Constitutional protections, hacked away at our Federal programs by cutting education (all children left behind) and Medicare, slashed all manner of other Federal programs for the poor and middle class while giving tax breaks to the richest of the rich, and putting corporate cronies in charge of all our watchdog agencies. You kicked us in the teeth.

It really is all about loyalty with you, isn't it sir? By the time you were sworn in, in 2001, we had already broken your holiest of cardinal rules. The majority of the American people did not vote for you. As we had already proven our disloyalty, you saw no need to serve and protect our rights as citizens or obey our rule of law. And thus, your vendetta against the American people began in earnest.

You are right, of course - we were disloyal. To you. But never to our Constitution. Never to our country. So why are you spying on us without any court orders? Is it any wonder we now believe that 'we' have been your real enemy all along? The proof is in the pudding, sir.

Absolutely - by your standards - we should be sacked, not your loyal sidekick Alberto Gonzales. And yet... it is not so easy to sack the citizens of the United States of America. In reality sir, you report to us. As Mr Lincoln so eloquently put it, "The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." Did no one mention that to you when you were sworn in?

Congress represents the people, as stated in the Constitution (no wonder you've been trying to dismantle it.) The Senate Judiciary is working on our behalf when they investigate these partisan firings - they aren't doing this for their own, Democratic revenge or entertainment. And as their employers, we demand our own oversight in this process. We demand a public record. We have the right to know that no one in your administration is lying this time. This means they must testify under oath, and on the record. I'm sorry sir - I am afraid we must insist on this. Because you see, fool us once... shame on you...

Democracies are a real drag, aren't they sir? Its a wonder you keep trying to install one in Iraq - what you really want (both here and there) is a dictatorship. You have told us, time and time again, that you don't care what we think about your war, your decisions, your ethics or your choices of minions. You also don't care what we think about our rule of law. You forget one very important point, Mr. President: our democracy is built upon this rule of law. We will fight to keep it, sir.

By the way - this strange new activity you are seeing in the Senate? This sir is called oversight. I know it has been so long since any of us have seen it, that we're all shocked and awed. In your formerly, Republican-controlled Senate, everything you wanted was handed to you on a platter - when you bothered to consult with them at all. I'm sure that is how you think the Senate should operate - at the (what is that phrase? At the 'pleasure of the President?')

We respectfully insist that this time, sir, everyone will be serving at our pleasure. Oversight belongs to the people, sir. Yes - the great unwashed... the 95% to whom you didn't give tax breaks, the 95% you have been watching with distrust, spying on and lying to.

This gig is up. We're fed up with the lies, the corruption and your administration's blatant distain for the law. We want the truth. No president is above the law. Just ask Richard Nixon.

Respectfully yours,

Citizen Maire

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