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May 12, 2006

DimWittery Alert: Crushing Dissent Is The Highest Form Of Patriotism

As the half-vast editorial staff have oft been reminded by our Lefty Brethren in Christ, the Founding Fathers would have taken a dim view of the current administration Bu$hReich. We are constantly amazed by the prescience of the Founders, who apparently had the foresight to come down squarely on the side of James Risen's disclosure of the classified warrantless wiretapping program.

After all, how many times have we been reminded by national heroes like John Forgainst Kerry that Thomas Jefferson himself held dissent to be the highest form of patriotism? And who can forget Ben Franklin's warning that “Those who would give up Liberty, to purchase Safety, deserve neither”?

Fortunately, in these dark times we can rely on our New England towns (the crucibles of democracy) to ensure that dissenting voices are not overwhelmed by heavy hand of Government:

Anti-Bush Petition Submitted: Hanover Residents Seek to Put Impeachment Before Voters (Jessica T. Lee, 4/04/06, Valley News)
Residents yesterday handed in two petitions for Town Meeting, each signed by well more than 100 residents, calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and for a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Twenty-five signatures are required to petition an article to Town Meeting.

The first resolution was the impeachment one. The gentleman proposing it argued that the President and Vice President are violating the separation of powers and the Constitution by not seeking FISA warrants for spying. Friend Dennis Goodman, who'd put his UN background to good use and thwarted these nutbags last time, made the procedural argument that a meeting of 200 people was about to put the town of 7500 on record as backing a measure more extreme than even Bernie Sanders thinks warranted and that perhaps this wasn't the best forum for hashing out national security law. The general response was that in trying to silence them he showed how we were slipping into dictatorship --I kid you not--and that by failing to speak now we'd have lost the chance when we were renditioned to concentration camps (again, I'm not joking).

I tried the substantive angle and noted that under the separation of powers the executive is tasked to make war and has never been considered subject to court oversight of that power in past wars. Moreover, since Congress explicitly authorized the Administration to wage war against the terrorists, it had certainly ceded whatever powers it might theoretically have. Mr. Goodman noted that at Powerline just today (a blog of Dartmouth alums) they'd written about how FDR followed the exact same standards on separation of powers and domestic surveillance as President Bush

So Mr. Goodman also asked to offer an amendment to the resolution reflecting this fact, but the Moderator said none were allowed. The impeachment resolution proceeded to pass by something like 120 votes to forty.

The next measure on Iraq withdrawal went similarly. The fellow who introduced it though suggested that the withdrawal be via a collaborative effort in Congress and said that since we were morally responsible for the current state of Iraq we'd not be able to cut and run. This time when Mr Goodman offered an amendment that would state that the withdrawal should come at the request of the duly elected Iraqi government the Moderator accepted the possibility of amending the resolution, to great protest from the mob. So I pointed out that the adoption of the prior resolution had, therefore, been illegitimate since we were refused the chance to amend it. She responded that since we'd already voted that was too bad. I asked if we didn't risk sinking into a dictatorship if we didn't follow the proper democratic process and noted how inappropriate it was to eschew democracy in the midst of what these partisans assured us was a last ditch defense of democracy.

At any rate, the old fella carefully explained to his assembled minions that this was the same trick they'd fallen for last time and that if they allowed Mr. Goodman's amendment it would destroy the entire resolution.

So, I interjected that... if we truly want to be collaborative and not cut and run on the Iraqis it seems awfully strange to argue that language that calls for us to withdraw at their request destroys the intent and spirit of the original resolution. That amendment, however, was quickly voted down and then the resolution passed.

Meanwhile, in the shadows, the Mighty Trembled:

Through a window in the antechamber Rove saw a fleet of 1986 Saab sedans enter the parking lot, rust patched with bumper stickers. He shuffled into the meeting room and adjusted The Patriot Maker, a small lapel pin in the image of the American flag. Then he swiftly tore it from his jacket and stuffed it in his pocket, remembering that he was in Hanover and that all week the flagpole in front of Town Hall had been flying the French flag. The elders entered and called the meeting to order. It was to be a secret meeting, and what follows I have from the highest sources from inside the council of elders. For hours Karl Rove strove with valor to convince Hanover to vote against impeaching the president and ending the war, explaining the importance of oil and of money and blood. He sung of his friends in the defense industry, and of their tragic lack of plasma television sets. He explained that the Jewish man who signs his and President Bush’s paycheck would be very angry with them if the war ended. He was attended by two little girls—sacrificial offerings. The arch of the council told Rove that Hanover residents do not believe in detroying little girls in order to continue prosecuting wars of imperialist aggression. Rove flinched, shook his head. Then he sunk back into his chair and wiped his brow. “I guess that’s where you and I differ, sir,” he said quietly. And the vote was taken, and the deed was done.

Direct democracy at its finest.

Posted by Cassandra at May 12, 2006 07:33 AM

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