Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Why the US Constitution is Moribund

In spite of the fact that the constitution is often cited as the document that separates this nation apart from anywhere else on the planet, the undeniable fact is that the Constitution has been effectively scuttled.

This process has taken awhile to reach the nadir point where we now find ourselves. There are a number of very compelling realities that demonstrate the extent to which the Constitution has been either ignored or discarded outright.

The most telling example, in my judgment, is the clearly stated dictum that only Congress has the power to declare war. The framers of the constitution were strongly motivated to include this in the document from their own experience regarding the excesses of the British monarchy. However, after World War II and following the imposition of the Security State during the administration of Harry Truman, this rule was discarded in favor of using executive power to engage military power to achieve foreign policy goals whenever diplomatic options proved unsuccessful.

The current administration has rapidly accelerated this drift towards an imperial presidency. Nixon attempted to exceed the bounds of his office, but there were, at the time, courageous legislators who saw the danger and effectively thwarted his goals by initiating the impeachment process. That particular kind of courage seems to be woefully lacking in the nation’s capitol today.

Under the administration of George W Bush, ordinary citizens are now subjected to wiretapping without a court order: an activity that is clearly against the law. In addition, it has recently been learned that the government has ready access to the bank records of whomever they choose to investigate. The President now claims the right to revise, interpret and ignore whatever parts of a bill signed into law that he objects to. This is, in my judgment, the most heinous abrogation of the responsibility of the Chief Executive i.e. to enforce the law. This behavior effectively mutes the power of the Legislative body and trashes the will of the people, in whose name the laws are supposedly crafted.

Lacking an assertive opposition to these challenges to the core values of the Constitution, these illegal practices, reminiscent of authoritarian rule, will ultimately supplant the system of checks and balances that have heretofore kept the nation viable.

If this President is allowed to go to term without censure then the future of our government certainly does look bleak; unless, of course, you are a member of the corporate class.

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