Thursday, December 18, 2008

Picture it ...

Paris 1814*:


What you have is a two-tiered system of justice where ordinary Americans are subjected to the most merciless criminal justice system in the world. They break the law. The full weight of the criminal justice system comes crashing down upon them. But our political class, the same elites who have imposed that incredibly harsh framework on ordinary Americans, have essentially exempted themselves and the leaders of that political class from the law.

They have license to break the law. That's what we're deciding now as we say George Bush and his top advisors shouldn't be investigated let alone prosecuted for the laws that we know that they've broken. And I can't think of anything more damaging to our country because the rule of law is the lynchpin of everything we have.


Maybe a second American revolution is what's needed? When you have a group of 'untouchables' who can perpetrate crimes in our name without fear of punishment, you have what amounts to a monarchy.

It's the reason Cheney can come on the TV and basically admit he authorized and condoned war crimes, and do it unrepentantly, and leave the studio a free man, we no longer have the America we used to know.

When Bush can come on the TV and say "so what" when the point was made that al-Qaeda wasn't operating in Iraq before we invaded under false pretenses, we have a government that no longer cares for the lives of Americans.

When we have an opposition party who takes prosecutions "off the table" before the first investigation is begun, you know something is seriously wrong with the system that values the Rule of Law above all else.

Maybe the whole bunch should be rounded up and taken away (read what you will into that) - they're all complicit in creating an 'elite class' for whom crime and punishment have no meaning, for whom laws are merely speed bumps on their way to furthering their self-interest.

At the very least, there should be term limits for those in Congress. Politics should be a calling, not a career, not a chance to become a feudal lord, making decisions for his serfs without thought for their lives or well-being. The American political system is not even a shadow of its former self, the Constitution now "merely a piece of paper" for those in power, but used as a club to keep the proles in line.

The election last month proved the American people have had enough. The sad thing is, we've elected a party (our only choice) that neither has the will, or the stomach, to uphold the law. While, hopefully, they won't be as blatant in their lawbreaking, the fact they are letting Bush/Cheney walk makes them merely the flip side of the same coin.

I'll believe in the American system again when those in the leadership stand up and say "we will not abide lawbreaking by anyone" and takes action to back it up. Until then, get off my back about retiring in Europe. When the rich and politically connected begin to pay for their crimes, I'll begin to have faith in my country again. We're supposed to have voted for change but I get the sinking feeling we voted for business as usual.

*Thanks to Virgo for the Moyers link.