I keep stumbling into arguments about something lately and I’m starting to feel so far down the rabbit hole of surreality that I’m wondering if I can get out. I’m hoping you guys can help me.
Can someone tell me, please, when we voted on, or otherwise agreed as a nation, to ignore the central, singular importance of the rule of law?
Can any of you tell me when the threats of divisiveness, extreme partisanship, rancor, recrimination, or hell, even political failure, became paramount over upholding the Constitution?
And while you’re at it, explain to me also how the United States of America became some huge shark, one that will drown, die, and sink downward into darkness the second it stops moving forward? Explain to me why we can’t afford to stop? Stop and focus and take the time and effort to do what the law says must be done when those in power have betrayed the public trust?
Explain it to me, and then look back into the events, external and internal, of your own life and tell me when you decided that you, as a citizen in a larger group of citizens, began to believe that it was a good thing, an advisable, comfortable course of action, to ignore these things, to forget the Constitution, to assume things would work out fine for you and me and those who will live in America after you and I are gone. Was it one singular event that convinced you? Or did you just let it fade from your consciousness over time? Was it an act of determination or one of resignation? Are you proud of it? Do you think about it all?
Because I have to tell you, a fair number of people I know, that I trust even, have looked me in the eye and told me it was okay with them, that it was advisable even, for Bush and Cheney to get away with their crimes. That the country couldn’t stand it, that there aren’t any politicians that we can trust enough to do the job right, that the Democrats might fail, might lose their hard-won advantage, that bigger problems are happening now, that we should let it go because it was all in the past. Enough people have had that argument with me that I’m assuming some portion of you guys feel that way too.
Feel that way despitethis.
Because a lot of seemingly good, decent folks believe these things, I assume there are some good reasons for doing so. I guess, given enough time and argument, I might come to understand, if not agree with, some of them. Someday maybe, but today, right now, I do not get it. I do not understand.
I understandThomas Tamm:
And we learned that the only way that we can be kept safe is for the government to break our laws? I just disagree with that. I think that we are stronger and better as a nation when we follow the Constitution, when we follow the statutes, and when we follow the rule of law.
I understandGlenn Greenwald:
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 lynch pin of everything we have.
I understandBarbara Jordan:
I join in thanking you for giving the junior members of this committee the glorious opportunity of
sharing the pain of this inquiry. Mr. Chairman, you are a strong man and it has not been easy but we
have tried as best we can to give you as much assistance as possible.
Earlier today, we heard the beginning of the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, “We,
the people.” It is a very eloquent beginning. But when the document was completed on the seventeenth
of September 1787 I was not included in that “We, the people.” I felt somehow for many years that George
Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake. But through the process of amendment,
interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in “We, the people.”
Today, I am an inquisitor; I believe hyperbole would not be fictional and would not overstate the
solemnness that I feel right now. My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total.
I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction
of the Constitution.
If you believe differently, tell me why. Try and help me understand it, please.