Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Protect Democracy, Hold Politicians Accountable

In one of the most wrongheaded columns I've seen in a while, John Hawkins argues that holding the Bush administrations feet to the fire for their possibly unlawful actions somehow amounts to "fascism" and "witch hunts", would create a partisan firestorm or hatred, and endangers Democracy. Really. You have to read some of this stuff to believe it. Take this gem:

"In other words, this has nothing to do with anyone, including the President, being "above the law." We're not talking about perjury, bribery, corruption, a Nixonian break-in, or some other real crime."

Nahhhhh, we're just talking about getting the country involved in a war based on disinformation that resulted in over 4,000 American soldiers dead, and hundreds of thousands dead in tangental damage, as well as drowning the country in trillions of dollars in debt. It's not something important or anything.

I think the Republicans are starting to come unhinged. Just go peruse Townhall and check out the comments on nearly any article there. You won't believe what you're reading. The liberals are coming, and they are going to steal your guns, abort your babies, take your kids and turn them into socialist atheist faggots, steal your money and give it to lazy Mexicans. We might as well give the country back to the Indians.

So I won't bother with Hawkins' article point by point. It's just one bit of MSU after another, with Hawkins taking the fundamental issue at hand - whether or not some members of the Bush administration are guilty of crimes - presuming it is clearly settled in his favor, and then rambling along that red herring lane. Shrilly. Amazingly shrilly.

But I digress. Hawkins and his ilk have it exactly backwards, and they have for a long time. Criticizing our politicians, and holding them accountable for what they do (you're supposed to be the party of personal responsibility remember?), is the most patriotic thing we can do. THAT is what protects democracy - holding those given power responsible for what they do with it. Otherwise they will simply do what they will. Absolute power doesn't corrupt absolutely, it is unchecked power that does. Withholding criticism and charges for crimes doesn't protect democracy, it protects politicians! Too many people blur that distinction.

Of course it is entirely predictable that people like Hawkins would be saying these things right now. It's all about partisanship with him, which is why he speaks as though all political events are decided by ideology rather than the evidence. Like the Intelligent Designers with whom he allies himself, he projects his own faults onto others, not the least of which is an inability to conceive of an objective analysis of data. All is ideology to him: Democrats bringing charges against a Republican is partisanship, per se.

If that is your attitude, I would say you don't believe in democracy, because in the real world, that is the only way it works. We the voters elect our politicians, we give them the keys to the car, and we have to hold them responsible for what they do with it, and punish them when they crash it. The only power we have over them is to vote against them when they run again for office, and have them investigated by other politicians when they don't. If you don't like that, you don't want a representative government. You want a king, or a dictator. Is there a difference that matters? Those with power need to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us, not a lower one.

So bring the charges against any and all politicians when the evidence warrants it, and let the crucible of the courts burn away irrelevancies until we are left with a pure product, the truth, or at least the best estimate we can hope for. We are a nation of law, not people, so hold our elected people to the laws. What's the downside? That the next generation of politicians will also have their feet held to the fire? This hurts who exactly, besides politicians that is?

Grow some balls Democrats, and congressmen in general. Prosecute Bush, and anyone in his administration, to the fullest extent of the law, and do the same to Obama, and the president after him, for as long as this nation exists. It is the most important thing to do to insure that existence.

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