( – promoted by buhdydharma )
The dualistic mind is enjoying the on-going debate between “purity trolls” and “sell-outs.” And most people on both sides of the issue appear to be quite certain of their stance. Feeling somewhat queasy from the shaky ground under me, I’ve been looking in vain for the solid ground others seem to have found. All I see is a Sophie’s Choice: which one do you choose to kill–the Constitution of the United States or any chance of participation in the process? I don’t know. But I’m here to urge people to accept that we have a tough decision which cries out for meaningful, respectful debate. And during this debate, may we keep in mind the most important political question we face–what action gives us the best chance of rescuing the constitution from imminent demise.
(This interesting diary, having already plunged off the rec list, stimulated my reaction here.)
To paraphrase, all I need to know about our current political dangers I learned from George Washington’s Farewell Address. I once claimed that Washington had come out for Obama on the basis of Obama’s understanding of the importance of unity. I’m here to report that Washington’s support has recently weakened. See, he’s worried that Obama doesn’t understand that the basis of our all-important unity is the constitution.
What unites us politically? Some like to say we’re a Christian nation. That answer makes me feel bad for my Buddhist neighbors. Without examining it (or much of anything else), some think it’s our common culture, which is to say television. Well, that would explain a lot,
The American Psychological Association Help Center reveals that children’s TV programming alone contains about 20 violent acts an hour.
but I can’t help feeling that television is not quite enough. Some think it’s our hatred of everything French, but that’s mostly just for fun. WWWS (What would Washington say)?
Well, after agreeing with Obama on the importance of unity:
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize.
he goes on to specify the source of our political unity:
Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.
then he makes clear that protecting the constitution trumps unity:
Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts.
Do you think the FISA surrender would give George pause?
One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown.
I have recently decided that many of our representatives are traitors. I use this word carefully, not for effect and without venom. I use it because I think the definition of a traitor is someone who fails to protect the constitution of the United States from domestic enemies. Or at least someone whose sworn primary duty is to defend the constitution of the United States. If you don’t believe the Bush executive branch is a domestic enemy of the constitution, we’ll have to start another discussion another time. If you have reached the obvious conclusion that they are a domestic enemy, then the legislative branch is burdened with a special sworn duty, in addition to the patriotic duty of every American, to protect the constitution against these enemies. In my thinking, failing to do so would make them traitors. Of course I’m not blind to the pragmatic difficulties: if everyone in the government is a traitor, who will enforce the law?
So to repeat, I fail to understand how anyone can feel certain of a course of action in these challenging times. A difficult question is before us.
If, as I believe, the current executive is making a complete shambles of the constitution, then the current executive is, without hyperbole, a domestic enemy. If Congress fails to honor their oaths and protect the constitution against this enemy domestic then, strictly speaking, they are traitors to the document which is the essential protector of our freedoms.
If, otoh, too many Congresspersons are complicit in the dismantling of the rule of law, resistance becomes token and futile. Vote for Nader? What exactly would that accomplish?
a) vote for Obama in order to keep the imperial presidency more benign but don’t stand up for the constitution, or
b)vote for neither Obama nor McCain in order to stand up for the constitution while wasting your vote.
This is a real question worthy of rational debate.
[On GOS, commenters broke free of the dualistic mind with the following options.]
Update 1: Bubbanomics has offered option c) in the comments. I add it here to make this diary more complete:
well, in looking for nuance…
may one consider an option (c)?
Vote for Obama (who is CLEARLY preferable to McCain) and fight like mad starting 2009 Jan 21?
In my experience progress is very slow and occurs in small steps, while loss is fast and occurs in large steps. No one seems to have the patience for progress.
With the following clarification re not waiting until 2009 to fight the fight:
well, what I meant but did not say
is that one has to fight for the constitution with all of the congresscritters (Obama included). The fight beginning 2009 Jan 21 is with President Obama.
Update 2: option (d) from MakeChessNotWar
There is a 4th option: Vote for Obama but give him no support, devoting your available resources to electing progressive members of Congress. That’s the path I’ve chosen.
Since Obama isn’t going to deliver what we need, it is essential to elect people who will fight for what we need.
Update 3: lgcmp blows the lid off the lettering system. There are several possibilities:
Going all out to defend the constitution
could encompass a lot of things. Demonstrations. Armed revolt. Quitting my job to become a full-time activist.
But I don’t see failing to vote for the lesser of two evils as any kind of defense against ANYTHING. Honestly, what would it accomplish? It doesn’t even effectively send a message, since the reason for a non-action is imponderable, unprovable, and rightly ignored.
To which I will add, it’s one thing to speak theoretically about doing all these things, but it’s another step to acknowledge that voting for Obama is not nearly enough.