Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Memorandum

To: Dubya
From: A Concerned Citizen

Dear Mr. President:

I know you aren't a big one for book larnin', but as someone who is, and who's been trained professionally in the legal system -- not to mention my prestigious poly sci degree, har, har -- I feel compelled to write to you to share my perspective.

You see, I've been watching your recent comments about your "terrorism" programs, and as an attorney, I've grown deeply concerned about some of the rules you are asking -- no, badgering -- Congress to enact. You are stubbornly insisting that Congress enact legislation that would allow our government to do things that, quite frankly, I find shocking and disturbing: allow US interrogators to coerce information from defendants (is that a nice way to say "torture"?) and use coerced confessions in prosecutions, and try defendants without allowing them or their lawyers to see what the evidence is against them.

There are so many reasons why this is wrong, but to give you a sense for how truly appalling this is, imagine one day you are sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom and federal marshals wake you up and carry you to jail. You are held indefinitely and not given a chance to go to court to learn what you're being accused of. (Drunken driving? Treason? Cocaine possession? Lying under oath?) You are subject to torture and coercion by interrogators. In response to this torture, you confess to anything and everything, including things you didn't do and know nothing about. You are then taken to court and tried on mystery charges, and found guilty -- and sentenced to death or the rest of your life in prison -- without even knowing what proof the government has against you.

Scary, innit?

But just as troubling to me is how you are handling these terrorism "initiatives." You just don't seem to understand the way our government works, the division of powers among the three branches of government and their respective duties. You see, Mr. President, your job is as the Executive. You aren't empowered to make laws or to interpret them: merely to carry them out, and, I might add, you swore on the Bible, the book you claim is Holy, that you would "to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." That pesky Constitution that limits your powers to carrying out the laws, not enacting them or giving them legal interpretation.

That means it's the job of Congress to make the laws, not you. Did you get that? Congress doesn't have to answer to you; in fact, the whole notion of separation of powers means that the Constitution vests in Congress the right to thumb their nose at you if a majority of them thinks that's right.

It's the job of judges, the federal judiciary, to interpret the laws, not you. Got it? You can't sign a law into effect, doodling in the margins or plugging in some bullshit preamble that says "I don't care what you say; this is how I'm going to interpret this law." Not your job.

So when I hear you bullying Congress to pass the laws that you say you need, threatening them with dire consequences -- "we're saving lives," you say, as if anyone, anywhere in this country wants to see fellow citizens die at the hands of terrorists -- I get really ticked off. Congress doesn't have to do what you say, and in fact it's their job not to. I believe it's their sacred duty not to, when the legislation you request would blatantly violate our Constitution. Not to mention some of the international treaties that we've signed.

(By the way, I'm getting awfully sick of the "people will die if you don't do exactly what I tell you" business. For your information, people have already died -- thousands of them -- to establish the Constitution and Bill of Rights (including the right to a trial without secret evidence). It's called the Revolutionary War. I guess you were drunk absent that day in school. Plus, with your track record -- nonexistent WMDs, misleading claims that Iraq was involved in 9/11, Abu Ghraib, an Iraq in civil war and Afghanistan on the verge of slipping away, Iran and North Korea nuking up -- you'll have to forgive me if I don't feel like trusting you.)

Please don't dismiss what I say as partisan, or "liberal" or "Democrat." There are plenty of Republicans who are equally concerned about these issues, who think any benefit we might get from your plan isn't worth the cost to our Constitution and our values.

I guess that's all for now. Thanks for listening. I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again.

18 comments:

Janice in GA said...

Preach it, sister! Say it loud, and I'll say Amen with you!

mindy said...

Go get 'em!!! I think this makes you my hero today.

Mel said...

Think he'll actually read it? Oh wait, I forgot he doesn't read.

Think they've got a cell at "Gitmo" (I really, really hate that abbreviation) with your name on it yet?

Kathy Merrick said...

What I find maybe even scarier than listening to El Presidente (aside here-let me confess that I cannot listen to him speak for long without my mind's wandering far far away) today is reading that just because the price of gasoline dropped a few meager zlotys recently (what did he have to do with that, I ask) his latest approval poll ratings have soared.

Where oh where are we headed?
Down what scary looney dark forest-like path?

Anonymous said...

Hayl YES.

(First comment - hi! Figured there was no time like the present, as you've just voiced my very frustrations.)

I wonder if he even realizes what the foundations of our country ARE. Secret evidence? Bull. Bull, bull, bull. Did you send this to him? I wrote a couple of letters earlier today, to companies whose business practices I really don't appreciate, but I suspect that I should probably write to the Presidential ***hat before anything else! Thanks for the reminder.

(dadgum it - can't make Blogger login work. Ah, well -- Shana in Missouri)

Carol said...

Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I thought it was awfully coincidental that gas prices spiked so high for no real reason this summer, but now, with the election less than 2 months away, and the very real benefits petroleum conglomerates get from a Republican administration, gas prices are inching down.

Bridget said...

Remember when John McCain dropped out of the Presidential race, and everyone said,'Well there goes the Republican Party's chance - like George Bush would ever be elected ..."

I could go on about Du[m]bya, but won't. However, I must thank you for this post, as it says what needs to be said.

Barb Brown said...

Oh I don't know. I mean he's commissioning a study on building a fence between us Canuks and you guys...you must have seen Canadian Bacon and know how dangerous we are. (I hope my irony font worked here) Does he have any idea how long the border is?
I don't live in your country so don't feel qualified to comment on political issues there, but I will say Georgie boy scares the crap out of me.
Barb B.

Whitney said...

(delurking...I've been reading your blog for quite awhile but have been too shy to comment)

Thank you! You've pretty much encapsulated the conversation my husband and I were having in the car on the way home from work today. He was telling me about the episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (forgive the geekiness, we are indeed trekkies) that he saw today...it was probably about 10 years old, but yet so very, very timely. In it, one of the crew members is arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and tried using secret evidence by a hostile, militaristic alien race. I remember seeing the episode as a kid, and never once thought I would ever be witnessing my own President trying to coerce Congress into enacting legislation to allow him to do these very things. It feels like I'm watching some awful movie...but it's real. I just can't believe it, and yet there it is. Amazing how much things have changed in the 6 years since I graduated from high school. I don't like this new world I'm growing up in.

Anonymous said...

If an atheist can say, "Amen..." I guess the problem is that so many of us are saying what you're saying, but he's not listening.

Jude (obscureknitty, if Blogger wold let me sign in)

jill said...

Shoot, yeah.

I have the feeling (all too often these days) like we've slipped sideways into a crack in the universe where the language I and those I have common cause with is only about 90% congruent with the language of many around me. In that 10% lies things like "coerced testimony" and other terms.

It's terribly frightening. And infuriating.

(On a lighter note, did my first Black Bunny order last eve - I was the one snabbling up the roving. Looking forward to its arrival).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for again articulating what is so very wrong with #43. Thank you also for scaring the living crap out of me--what does the future hold for us and our children given this kind of misguided "leadership?"

--Maureen

Lisa said...

Amen, Carol! Thank you for putting so eloquently what we are thinking. I've sent a link to this posting to many like-minded friends, both Democrat and Republican.

Anonymous said...

shout it out loud:

"we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!"

I read the article (kathy's comment and your answer) yesterday. what are these assholes thinking? then spouse reminded me, 9/11 just passed and dum-dum has been in the news lately bloviating (about nothing, as usual). are people's attention spans THAT short that they have forgotten everything that the feds have taken away in the past 6 years?

damn! this ain't your grandmother's america any more.

anne marie in philly

brewerburns said...

Thank you.

Bev in TN said...

My thanks as well. Even I and GW can understand this post; too bad that I am in total agreement and powerless, while GW appears to be totally senseless and all powerful (sigh).

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I read the news and wonder if I'm still living in the same country I grew up in. Two more years of this BS? And when someone made the motion to impeach, they were ridiculed! I never thought I'd find myself longing for the days of hearing about Clinton and Lewinsky.

Kathy said...

They have probably taken note and there is now a file started on you in some office in a basement here in dc, probably in that building where they stored the arc after indiana jones picked in up during wwii :-) I totally agree with all of the above, and your letter. I too find it difficult/painful to listen to him, and the man clearly has no clue that there is more to this country, this planet than him and his friends, or that he is the greatest danger to this country (talk about home grown terrorists).