OPINION: SOTU &
Other Gripes: The Legislative Usurped By the Executive, Undermining
So President Bush gave us
another warmed-over same ol', same ol', Tuesday night. Cripes!
When I saw him encouraged to continue his
scam by the applause and shouts of his Republican boosters, saw how
sheltered he was by the careful theatrical staging which didn't allow
for personal expressions printed on tee shirts, I curbed my impulse to smash
the television and began to think about what was supposed to be--the
Executive under the watchful eye of the Legislative, and saw how that
ideal had turned into myth.
My dictionary describes democracy as:
"A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people
and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of
representatives involving periodically held free elections." Remember that
When it was suggested by those few who were still not weaned from the idea of
monarchy, that General Washington become the first American king, he wisely
declined. Thus, an ideal was set in motion. The founding fathers of
this early republic were an elite group of exceptional but imperfect men
which formed to express the will of the people, while at the same time it
was clear that their intention was to guide with great care this potentially
chaotic will. Perhaps some had unexpressed thoughts of Plato's
Republic whereby the best and the brightest would be chosen to rule the less
gifted, the inherent danger, of course, residing in the identity of the mysterious
entity that would do the choosing of these superior
In today's world the ideal theory remains--that we, the great unwashed, are to
choose leadership through a system of free elections. While in reality these
elite, potential electables, are in effect being chosen by a
not-so-mysterious entity: special interests with the deepest
pockets; corporations who can hijack the democratic ideal by funding
campaigns, funding the most powerful lobbies, funding think-tank
intellectual sneaks who don't have to answer to us, who can and
do formulate and express ideas having nothing to do
with the will of the people, but rather concoct policies reflecting so-called national interests,
that tired euphemism for corporate greed--and proceed to advise the
Executive in back room meetings, undermining our democracy while
advising the President to sell this ideal to Islamic fundamentalists who
don't really want it, while at the same time overriding a weak-willed
in the end creating foreign policies which are too often damaging to this
country, not to mention the planet.
As an example, we've had five
years of an oil crusade with lies and mismanagement, lost lives and billions of dollars, all of
it carefully wrapped in religion and the American flag, contrived to satisfy the newly-globalized
brokers of power who appear to have less and less allegiance to we the
people of the United States Of America.
One has to be independently rich to be entirely self-assertive, to be free
of the corruption of corporate payola; but then, one is essentially buying
his or her election. I imagine our lawmakers and their paymasters
would be terrified by the idea of our government prohibiting contributions
while providing a budget for political campaigns with a level playing field, and
especially terrified if every American citizen awoke and came out to vote.
But don't sweat it, big guys, since Joe six-pack won't make the effort
unless he thinks he has a voice in his own country. Which you guys
continue to make sure he doesn't.
And Joe probably doesn't remember that our 18th century fathers of the
Constitution intended the legislature to create laws for the well-ordered
good of the people, and expected the
President to always govern
within the guidelines of these laws. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams
while at risk of being hanged by the English, for espousing independence,
would no doubt puke if they could see this ever-growing reversal and
debasement of the political balance.
One can almost believe our kids are no longer well schooled in history so as
to encourage ignorance of what was, and what could have been,
rather than what is--what Bush and company have been
worsening. Clearly too may American kids are less interested in
honorable ideas than they are in the game of achieving the scores to achieve
the schools, to achieve the money, none of which has anything to do with
learning, while believing that blatant cheating, free of shame, is just
another part of the means
to an end in which morality is not a seriously considered factor, which
shouldn't surprise one, bearing in mind the glaring and ongoing
corruption of our political system, so widely reported in the media which
kids are exposed to. Is this what's called, trickle down?
And then hopefully there will be enough jobs to go around, for these kids,
which leads me to:
As usual the President mentioned education, as he always does, because it
sounds so great, so uplifting, you know, the future of our kids' schooling.
Wants to do something about it, he says. But meanwhile the numbers tell an
50% of graduates in India are
science and math majors.
75% of graduates in Singapore are
science and math majors.
16% of graduates in the
U. S. are science and math majors.
But don't despair. Think about all the great college football and
basketball scholarships that are given to some of our more athletic kids who
dream about the big money. And all those
games featured on the telly selling all those products to you and me. And
maybe one of these kids can actually play in the Super Bowl, for Pete's
But anyway, folks, in the
end we don't have to worry about all that boring science and math crap,
'cause we'll simply outsource our tech and science projects, or bring those
really smart guys over here. So it doesn't really matter. Hell we're
already doing it. Think about all the money our businesses are
saving. It'll trickle down, right?
Yeah. And then, too, Mr. Bush stated he wants a
commission to propose new ideas for you and me to have more "control" over
responsibility for our own health care costs through tax incentives and
savings accounts. Translation: snooker Joe six-pack into assuming more of
the costs so as to retain the tax breaks for the rich, and to pay for his
insane war in Iraq; saving being something of a joke since
almost no one can put aside for anything after paying for gas and the
escalating prices of the daily necessities, even with two job families; with
Bush at the same time telling us the economy is super because productivity
is way up, while not mentioning salaries are stagnating and that people fear
losing their jobs, never mind their pensions; Mr. Bush apparently never
understanding how out of touch he is with the rest of us.
And yes, also during Bush's same ol', same ol', Tuesday night, he said the nation was
addicted to oil. Really? Ex-oil-man crony to Cheney who is crony to
the oil/energy bunch, the bunch who helped devise our energy policy behind
closed doors in the White House, which in effect became our foreign policy?
He said that?
Yep. Said it like he just discovered our nasty habit and stuck it into
his speech to show how smart he was, that he knew that, and to
cleverly make us feel guilty for causing all the current problems. Of
course he failed to mention, his and Cheney's friends at Exxon-Mobil reaped
profits in 2005 of $36.13 billion, the largest profit ever recorded
by an American corporation. But hell, they're our guys, right?
Americans, right? Guys who sent their sons to fight in Iraq for the good of
the oil business. Right? No? Oh.
Part of that amazing oil profit, by the way, was used to pressure our
legislators, used to sabotage efforts to control global warming and to push
for oil drilling in the arctic as well as off our glorious coasts, money
that could have better served our beautiful country by promoting and
developing alternative energy sources which are already available, sources
they've done everything to squelch while giving just enough lip service to
conservation to buck the environmentalists and anesthetize the uniformed,
all of which has been silently applauded by ex-oil-man Bush. Yeah, that guy,
one of our dealers. The guy who just told us that we are addicted to
During Bush's speech, I couldn't help taking note of his new mantra:
"Radical Islam," instead of just terrorism, which I guess hasn't been
working too well for him in the polls, lately. The other version I
heard today was: "Radical Islamic extremism." Yikes! All of which
leads me to wonder if he's seeking to call forth his fellow citizens to join
him and Rummy in a kind of fanatical religious crusade against the other
half of the world, us against them, which makes me very wary, this heating
up of rhetoric as if preparing for another costly invasion.
Or hopefully it's merely another attempt to enhance what he believes is his
strong suit--protector of America against the evil terrorists. You know, like mushroom clouds and orange alerts before the
elections. Or maybe Bush is only trying to justify a 2007 defense
department budget that looks for $439.3 billion, in addition to the $120
billion he needs for the war in Iraq. Maybe it's only that.
Whatever he has in mind, Bush, unlike General Washington, has assumed the
mantle of the monarch, speaking like a man who knows the Legislative has
lost it's will, ignoring the fact that the Constitution does not allow for
the kind of executive privilege which permits him to make it up as he goes
along. He told us in so many words, he is going to use the NSA for
domestic spying without warrants and the 4th Amendment be damned, and I'm
certain he is thinking of the self-assertions of past presidents, for
instance Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Lincoln for
suspending habeas corpus resulting in a loss of due process. Though consider
our nation at war with itself; sedition, hatred, mistrust, the landscape
crawling with spies; the states hosting enormous bloody battles, hard to
imagine today. Americans killing Americans, resulting in 600,000 dead.
And then Roosevelt doing much the same during World war II, placing
thousands of Americans in concentration camps because they happened to be of
Japanese decent; executing Germans without due process when they entered the
country under cover of darkness. Then consider most of the world at
war, a time of great darkness, of holocausts, with millions in the military
and huge numbers of our men fighting in Africa and Europe and
the South Pacific, during which we lost several hundred thousands of them. Add to that
about 60 million dead around the globe. No doubt many of those poor souls had in
mind the apocalypse.
We're worried about Al-Quaeda as much as you, Mr. Bush, and justifiably so.
We hate them as much as you and we worry we may suffer a major attack
once again. And we love our troops as much as you say you do, and
we don't oppose you merely for the sake of opposition, but rather because we
strongly disagree. And we realize there are occasions for pushing the
Executive envelope, such as now, but this is not a monarchy, and there are limits to your
authority which should not be exceeded under cover of executive privilege.
And this is not the Civil War or
World War II, and you're not Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt.