Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Executive Privilege

I don't often allow myself to be drawn into politics these days--not in The Buddha Diaries, at least. I tried to cut the Bush albatross from around my neck when I abandoned The Bush Diaries several months ago. I'd had enough of waking up every morning with this president in my bed. I guess I had grown tired of believing that he could listen to what I or anyone else might say, when all evidence pointed to the contrary. For whatever reason--and I've come to suspect some deep, intransigeant psychological disconnection from reality--the man seems completely isolated in the delusional confines of his own mind, to the lasting cost of the world over which he wields such untoward and harmful influence.

I would have hoped that the latest action of this imperious boy-man--the commutation of the prison sentence of his Vice President's former chief of staff--would prove the final straw. It's evidence of a complete contempt for the judicial system and a clear belief that the law applies to everyone except to himself and those he has elevated into his administrative circles. I understand that the action is within his legal authority as president, but it is also breathtakingly arrogant in its dismissal of the judgments of various courts and juries in favor of his own opinion that the sentence is "excessive."

Excessive? For a man who took it upon himself--presumably under orders from his boss, the Vice President of the United States; and from his boss's boss, the President--to reveal the identity of an American undercover intelligence agent as an act of petty revenge against her husband? For a man who lied under oath--presumably to spare his boss, and his boss's boss, the embarrassment of public exposure for the lies they used to lead this country into a wholly unjustified war, at the needless and inestimable cost of human life?

Was there, as I'm sure I'm not alone in suspecting, a bargain from the start? That this Libby would take the fall for his superiors with the understanding that he would be spared the consequences? The president's pretense that a quarter million dollar fine still constitutes "harsh punishment" is rendered absurd by the knowledge that a quarter million dollars is no more than a flea bite for the wealthy backers of this administration who will rush to Libby's aid; and the notion that his career has been somehow irreparably damaged is equally laughable. I imagine that future joblessness is the least of his fears, with friends like Cheney's Halliburton, to name but a single obvious example. No, Libby will not want for gainful employment in the future.

When, finally, is enough enough? When will this country awake to the damage that has been done to its reputation in the world, its military forces, its financial security, its judicial system, the health and welfare of its people--to the very Constitution of which it is so inordinately proud. When will we all recognize that the democracy we blithely preach to others has been subverted in our own country under our very eyes. Democracy, indeed! Under the apparently hypnotic sway of a petty autocrat and his team of hatchet men and sycophants? It seems to me that we sacrificed democracy some time ago on the altar of complacency.

So the question now is whether this tight ball of secrecy that has concealed every preremtory and perhaps even illegal act of this administration will finally begin to unravel. Will those senators and congress people we have elected to represent us finally find the guts to listen to their conscience rather than what they imagine to be political contingency?

I'm afraid I doubt it. We're too far gone down the road of apathy and willful ignorance. I hope I'm wrong. Because it seems to me that we must now ALL take some action to retrieve our national identity and our national honor. We are ALL required to play at least a small part in the recovery of democracy, if it is to be saved from the ideologues who have have seized it from us. This little piece, put out to the world, is a part of my part. I'm also planning to make my voice heard to the White House, as well as to my representatives in Congress.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It may not be wise to judge Bush as singular in his "deep, intransigeant psychological disconnection from reality--the man seems completely isolated in the delusional confines of his own mind...." There are many out there who think he's keeping the good ol' U.S.A. on track and as right as he is righteous. Scary, but true.

Cardozo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cardozo said...

This time, I'm neither shocked, nor particularly upset at the President's actions in commuting Libby's sentence.

What draws my ire (aside from the actual leaking of Plame's identity) is the existence of the presidential pardon itself.

Giving the pardon power to the President actually puts him/her in the extraordinarily difficult position of allowing a friend to serve time. What would any of us do if we had the power to commute the sentence of a close confidant or a loved one, for example?

Granted, however, it does seem extra hypocritical for a GOP president to suddenly be talking about excessive sentencing. I wonder if Bush supports California's Three Strikes law, which sentences people to LIFE in prison for non-violent offenses?