An Open Letter to Senator Charles Schumer

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To the honorable Senator Schumer,

Hello sir!  It is unlikely that you know who I am, although I have written to you before and even once had the pleasure of working with your daughter.  But I hope you will take a moment to hear what I have to say.

Like many other of your constituents, I wrote to you asking that you vote against the confirmation of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General of the United States.  You chose instead to support his confirmation, which led directly to his being appointed to the office.  You did so saying to us that he was not “my ideal choice,” but that you were “confident that this nominee would enforce a law that bans waterboarding.”  

Of course, you and I were both gravely disappointed this past week.  At that time, it was made clear to Congress, by Attorney General Mukasey and other top officials, that the federal government has waterboarded prisoners in the past, that it will not prosecute those who did so due to legal arguments made by the Office of Legal Counsel, that those legal arguments are so secret that Congress cannot even be permitted to review them in closed session, and even that the President retains the right to order prisoners waterboarded in the future, and that this is still legal according to the Justice Department under certain circumstances despite the passage of laws prohibiting it in 2005 and 2006, and that we the people and you the legislature have no right to review the legal arguments supporting that either.

In response to these statements, you who had previously responded to the doubts of myself and others by proclaiming your confidence in Mukasey, stated that “I am not surprised by your testimony, but I am disappointed.”.  And you are certainly not alone in that sentiment.

Like most New Yorkers and most Americans, it is my deep hope that this banana republic sort of government will depart in a year with the administration of President George W. Bush.  But like any student of history, I know that this is not the case automatically.  I know that another deadlocked general election might go to the Supreme Court, that another President might face a threat which it is believed can be mitigated by torture, and that another Justice Department can be staffed by lawyers without law and men without principle.  Which is why these battles over judges and cabinet posts are so important; nothing is more a foundation of both our law and our sense of ourselves as a moral and decent nation as the assumption that our government, of which you are a part, will not use methods that shock the conscience, particularly in secret, to interrogate those accused of violations of the laws of our nation and of war.  Without that foundation, the American people are ruled by its government for no better reason than because they are large and mighty.

King George III learned just how tolerant the American people are of such reasoning.

You are and continue to be a good Senator for the Democratic party and for the state of New York.  I write these things to you not to rebuke you for not listening to me and others in the past, but because I know that we have a long future ahead of continuing to work together at the labor of governing our nation.  I urge you to work more closely with us, your constituents, and to allow for greater and freer exchange of ideas between us.  Together, we are inevitably smarter and wiser than any of us are capable of being alone.

Neither we the people or you, Mr. Senator, are powerful enough to resist the disappointment of people like Attorney General Mukasey nor injustice in the halls which bear her name alone.  Let our mutual disappointment in the events of the present help us bring about a future where we make a better future by working more closely with one another.  Let us not forget the depths to which we have been brought, and make it our mission to find the way up together.

Sincerely,

9 comments

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    • Jay Elias on February 11, 2008 at 4:20 am
      Author

    …I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

  1. Seriously, he earned it last week.  I know it won’t happen, or even be attempted, but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend it isn’t warranted.

    • Turkana on February 11, 2008 at 11:40 am

    mukasey made clear his belief in the unitary executive, at his confirmation hearings. what he says here applies, across the board.

    • documel on February 11, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    So much shit flies around all the time with Bushco, I lose my memory behind my outrage.  Didn’t Mukasey also refuse to enforce the Congressional subpoenas?  Isn’t that impeachable?  Isn’t that even worse than secret torture because it has the potential to hide everything done by the executive branch–not just torture?  I betcha Bush has an enemies list–sound familiar–and we’ll never know because they don’t have to testify.

    Instead of learning what not to do from the Nixon fiasco, they learned how to hide shit better.  Schumer was good, very good, before he became a tool.  He exceded his level of competence–the Peter Principle–when he rose in the ranks.  That the constitution has lost him, shows how deep the Democratic cancer has spread.  We need less cranium and more spine–less responsibility and more outrage.  In Brooklyn, this is called spunk–Schumer is now minus the “s”-punk.

    • Nordic on February 11, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    The deal was made and he voted accordingly.

    Schumer simply doesn’t give a crap about the Constitution or Human Rights.

    Schumer is a low-life scumbag and should be dealt with accordingly.

    • pfiore8 on February 11, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    i’m not sure Schumer ought to be accorded any benefit of the doubt at this point… i mean, his statement in reaction to Mukasey’s testimony is an indictment of him, isn’t it? what am i missing here.

    “I am not surprised by your testimony, but I am disappointed.”

    i say this::: no more nice words, small gestures, and bullshit results.

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