Separation of powers. Rule of law. Checks and balances. These may seem to us moderns to be little more than a set of dry, legal precepts that we had to memorize in high-school history class but need not concern us now. After all, the founders (bless their wigged heads!) established these principles for us back in 17-something-or-other, so we don’t really have to worry about them in 2007. Think again. These are not merely arcane phrases of constitutional law, but the very keystones of our democracy, essential to sustaining our ideal of being a self-governing people, free of tyrants who would govern us on their own whim. The founders knew about tyranny. The monarch of the time, King George III, routinely denied colonists basic liberties, spied on them and entered their homes at will, seized their property, jailed anyone he wanted without charges, rounded up and killed dissidents, and generally ruled with an iron fist. He was both the law and above the law, operating on the twin doctrines of “the divine rule of kings” and “the king can do no wrong.”
If this sounds familiar, it should. While talk of a modern day “King George” may seem insulting and simplistic to some, there are those of us who fear the creeping onset of exactly that. When one leader has so mastered the politics of fear that he can manipulate an entire nation, and through them their elected representatives, turning them into mindless, spineless sheep…is there really anything left to save.
Call me naive, but I’ve always believed in the IDEA of American. OK, so sometimes the execution sucked and the premise was trampled, but eventually things got put right. It may have taken an election cycle to do it, but eventually Americans reclaimed their government for themselves. Now I fear that the latest cabal of opportunistic sycophants and thugs in the White House may have finally managed to turn representative democracy on it’s head…and we’ve stood by mutely, sheep-like, as it’s happened before our very eyes.
Even worse, our elected representatives, especially Democrats, have become so frightened of being portrayed as “soft on terror”- whatever the Hell THAT means- that they’ve ceded their independence and their votes to agenda of The Worst President EVER © .
So much for having the courage of your convictions….