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Celebrating the First on the Fourth

Wednesday, Jul. 04, 2007 2:23 PM

Happy Independence Day!

231 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was signed, severing ties with the kingdom of Great Britain and the whims of a corrupt and capricious king.

History, sadly, is full of rulers who have felt themselves above the law, or beyond the scrutiny of the common people. President George W. Bush, in commuting the sentence of one Lewis I. "Scooter" Libby, has shown that he regards the law as an inconvenience, and the opinions of a jury, judge, and congressional panel � all of whom determined Libby's 30-month sentence to be appropriate � as irrelevant.

Libby, lest it be forgotten, was convicted on four out of five counts in the Valerie Plame leak investigation. Lying to federal investigators is only one of them � the others include perjury and obstruction of justice, neither of which are things to take lightly.

Where is this innate moral compass you so often profess to own, Mr. Bush? The answer is clear � you don't have one, and you never did. For you, letting friends slide and having important people smooth over any issues with the law were life's lessons, learned when you got a cushy National Guard post, then got 'excused' to work on a political campaign. For extra credit, you had the details of your DUI arrest covered up. People in your administration 'forget' and 'don't know' and lose thousands of e-mails that supposedly have nothing to do with the U.S. attorney firings � yet, if this is so, why are those missives 'lost'?

And then there are the signing statements, the personal testaments of a man who feels he doesn't need to obey the law, or gets to pick and choose which parts he likes. There are flagrant violations of FISA and (as mentioned above), the PRA.

Not to mention the company one keeps ��people who advocate torture, who express their disdain of the Geneva Conventions, who believe that there is no granted right of habeas corpus.

Seemingly forgotten are the phrases, 'rule of law,' and 'responsibility era.'

Yet, undoubtedly, you will be out waving the flag and hiding behind the stars and stripes as you always do. You'll probably throw in a few comments about how we're fighting for freedom against evil, horrible people who are bent on coming to our shores and destroying everything we stand for. You'll link your own reputation to those of the proud men and women fighting abroad in our armed forces. Then, in private, as you did in that one interview � you will doubtless chuckle and amuse yourself at their plight as they return to their third and fourth deployments.

Let us not forget that we did not fight the War of Independence against Muslims, or even terrorists ��we fought to be free of a corrupt and irresponsible leader. This showdown with al-Qaeda bears nothing in common at all to the deliberations and struggles that founded this nation. Only idiots like Glenn Beck and Virgil Goode see the enemy within the halls of Congress.

We fought for the right of habeas corpus and posse comitatus. We fought for the right to privacy, not to be sold cheaply or behind our backs out of fear (or at the whim of tyrants like Dick Cheney, who insist we should have been spying on the domestic front before 9/11).

No, Mr. Bush, only some of America's enemies wear turbans. Others, we apparently elected to office.

"Things would be a lot easier in a dictatorship. As long as I'm the dictator."
-- President-Elect George W. Bush, December, 2000.

(Note: Yup. That's exactly what Bush did.)

If you are playing with fireworks to celebrate our nation's independence, please be careful and use some common sense.

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