copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert
In March 2008, as Americans pay homage to the thousands of soldiers and civilians lost in five years of battle we discover that the Administration and the elite allied with earlier Executive Branches are more contemptuous of the citizenry than we ever thought possible.
In a interview with ABC News reporter, Martha Radditz, Vice President Cheney declared the Iraq war a stunning achievement, Arguably, the most powerful Vice President in American history stated, “On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.” Perhaps, somewhat startled by the assessment Journalist Radditz observed; “Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.” The Vice President, Cheney, curtly, replied, “So?”
Martha Radditz, with a notable inflection inquired, “You don’t care what the American people think?”
Dick Cheney content with his current tour of the Middle East offered his retort, “You can’t be blown off course by polls.” Indeed, the people they were elected to represent have never influenced this Administration.
A similar contemptuous statement for the citizens of America was heard from a prominent ally of a former President, Bill Clinton, and his aspirant wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Bill Richardson, a man who served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations and Energy Secretary during the Clinton administration, announced his support for Barack Obama, Democratic Presidential hopeful, and the man deemed the Former First Lady’s rival.
After New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, a public spokesperson, but still an individual who speaks for himself, as by law, he is allowed to do, offered his endorsement to potential President Barack Obama, James Carville criticized the statesman. Former lead strategist for the Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign, and animated, ardent consultant for the Hillary Clinton crusade, Carville proclaimed.
“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic.”
The reference to the Holy Week was stark and said much about what those in high places think of people who dare to defy them. Governor Richardson telephoned the New York Senator, and Presidential candidate Clinton the day prior to the formal announcement. He wanted to inform her of his decision. When asked of the tone and tenor, Richardson recalled, “It was cordial, but a little heated.” The scorn Richardson experienced this weeks seems characteristic of what occurs when we the people exert our power. For too long, Americans have not stood up to those who are supposed to represent us. Now, legislators, lawmakers, congresspersons, candidates, Presidents, and pundits think they can tell us what to think, say, and do . . . and we let them.
The Founding Fathers established that in this country, we, the people would be the power. We, the common folk, would be free to elect government officials that we believe would best represent our interests. Bureaucrats would work for the commonweal. In a democracy, such as the United States, the administration represents the average citizen. In this territory, we are a nation of equals. Each individual is able to choose for him or herself who they wish to endorse for President. We, the people need not be loyal to a legacy or a dynasty. Yet, those who serve us may be unaware of the principles they promise to uphold. The President of the United States of America is required to recite.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
George W. Bush has demonstrated that his skills do not save the original charter from harm. After the President placed his signature on statements that allow he and his cohorts to violate laws on more than 800 Bills, finally, a report called this action into question.
Bush signings called effort to expand power
Report sees broad strategy
By Charlie Savage
October 5, 2006
Washington — President Bush’s frequent use of signing statements to assert that he has the power to disobey newly enacted laws is “an integral part” of his “comprehensive strategy to strengthen and expand executive power” at the expense of the legislative branch, according to a report by the non partisan Congressional Research Service.
In a 27-page report written for lawmakers, the research service said the Bush administration is using signing statements as a means to slowly condition Congress into accepting the White House’s broad conception of presidential power, which includes a presidential right to ignore laws he believes are unconstitutional.
Sadly, Americans did nothing. We, the people accept that the President of the United States is powerful. Perhaps, he, or she has absolute power. Certainly, the people have given our Commander-In-Chief privileges beyond those bequeathed by the Constitution. Without active censure and legally enforced constitutional constraints, citizens, and Congress, give the Executive Branch free reign.
We, the people have also provided the Vice President with a free pass. The Vice President was not required to pledge a specific allegiance before he entered into his prominent position. Richard B. Cheney needed only to avow that he would defend the Constitution, now perhaps permanently altered. Indeed, the office of Vice President is no longer recognizable.
Dick Cheney, who has wielded extraordinary executive power as he transformed the image of the vice presidency, is asserting that his office is not actually part of the executive branch.
The President also asserts that he [Cheney] need not comply with orders intended for the officials within the Executive Branch of the United States government.
Our forefathers did not imagine that the American people would sit silently by as a President transformed his power. The signers of the Constitution made provisions to avoid such an abuse of power. Yet, when the American people prefer apathy, absolute power can corrupt absolutely. Perchance, that is the paradox. What do we do when the people forget they are the power. Government is of, by, and for us.
Apparently, we sit idly by and watch our country crumble. The common folk resign themselves and claim we can do nothing. It is too late. We are too little. It may not be much longer. If life goes on as it has, the people may be but a speck of dust. In Iraq, we see what occurs when American leaders decide what is best for average people in one country or another. What for one official is a “major success” is death and bitter survival for millions more.
In the small world of a Baghdad bureau, monstrous losses
By Liz Sly
March 16, 2008
I asked a close Iraqi colleague, Nadeem Majeed, to write down a list of the people he knows who have died in the five years since the Iraq war began. It took a long time. And as Nadeem tapped away on the computer, unknown to us, another name was being added to the list.?? A friend, Nassir Jassem Akkam, 38, was among the 68 people killed in the recent suicide bombing of a busy shopping street nearby, one of the bloodiest attacks in Baghdad in a while. Akkam had slipped back to Baghdad for a quick visit after fleeing to Syria with his wife and 1-year-old son. When he died, he had in his pocket a ticket to travel the following day.?? Akkam became No. 44 on Nadeem’s list.
Let us reflect on the number of persons we, personally know, friends and family in our lives who have passed in the last few years. How many were brutally killed, slaughtered in the streets, innocent of any crime, yet, assassinated merely because they are citizens. While we honored those we loved, who passed, as humans, people of worth, many of our representatives and their minions barely acknowledged a life was lost. Is this the country you dear reader, want, or is this what our fore fathers intended?.
Perhaps the time is now. Americans, we, the average people must take our country back. Censure is essential. If we do not impeach those who “lead” us with a discernable show of disdain, if we elect elitist who disrespect our decisions, then our fate will be our failure.
Sources of Scorn and Sadness . . .
- Cheney on America’s Opposition to the War: “So?” Mother Jones. March 22, 2008
- Dick Cheney Calls Iraq War a ‘Major Success.’ ABC News. March 19, 2008
- Presidential Oath of Office. The Library of Congress.
- Vice President’s Swearing-in Ceremony. Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration.
- Full List of Signing statements Corresponding Congressional Enactments.
- Bush signings called effort to expand power, Report sees broad strategy. By Charlie Savage. Boston Globe. October 5, 2006
- pdf Bush signings called effort to expand power, Report sees broad strategy. By Charlie Savage. Boston Globe. October 5, 2006
- Cheney asserts he’s part of the legislative branch, Will not follow executive order. By Julia Malone. Boston Globe. Cox Newspapers. June 22, 2007
- The Cheese Stands Alone, By Dana Milbank. Washington Post. Tuesday, June 26, 2007; Page A02
- Bush Claims Oversight Exemption Too, By Josh Meyer. Los Angeles Times. Common Dreams. June 23, 2007
- First a Tense Talk With Clinton, Then Richardson Backs Obama, By Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeeny. The New York Times. March 22, 2008
- pdf First a Tense Talk With Clinton, Then Richardson Backs Obama, By Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeeny. The New York Times. March 22, 2008
- Heroines – the daily life of Iraq’s war widows. Reuters. March 7, 2008
- Missing persons, In the small world of a Baghdad bureau, monstrous losses, By Liz Sly. Chicago Tribune. March 16, 2008
- pdf Missing persons, In the small world of a Baghdad bureau, monstrous losses, By Liz Sly. Chicago Tribune. March 16, 2008