Certain Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for rising to the bait yet again. At a time when most Americans have apparently realized that the White House and Congress are doing very little for national security or the economy, but are instead breaking the law of the land to enrich themselves on a scale never before seen in this country – not even during the Gilded Age – the Republicans have brought out those tired old gags of constitutional amendments to ban things nobody does anyway, and the Democrats have responded predictably.
I would have liked to see nary a liberal / leftist / centrist debate these ideas. Truly, I would have. If the Republicans really feel we need a Constitutional amendment to prevent flag-burning, bringing down the number of annual flag-burnings from none to zero, let them do it. (Of course they’d have to be careful how they wrote it because when we refer to “flag-burning” we mean the public, non-respectful kind. Flags are supposed to be destroyed by burning when they become tattered or faded. I can see a cottage industry in flag destruction starting up in China, Mexico, and Canada.)
Likewise, since there are only a handful of states that allow gay marriages, and those states are working to end them, a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages is not a priority for me. Let the Republicans have their fun.
The reason for these amendments is not because they care deeply about these issues. If they really cared enough to change the Constitution, they would have acted years ago. It’s really a way to get Democrats and liberals into that wonderful position they are so often in, that is, looking as though they are all a bunch of pro-gay, pro-flag-burning hippies. Then the Republicans can look like the law and order party.
Let’s look at the two parties for a moment.
George Bush claims in his little law-signing-notes to be exempt from nearly every law passed by Congress; and he neatly exempted himself and his followers from the Geneva Convention as well as American anti-domestic-spying laws. Likewise, he “won” two elections through clear fraud which has been documented, complete with confessions run on BBC television by the people involved in vote miscounts, voter roll tampering, and other such illegal activities. (And that’s not to mention those lovely electronic voting machines that are so easily tampered with.) Then we have the easy case of treason for outing an entire CIA operation, just to punish a single Congressman. Then we have breaking into Democratic Congressional computers and monitoring Democrats’ e-mail correspondence without a court order. We could probably dig up a lot more dirt but you get the idea.
Oh, and then there’s also the creation of lots and lots and lots of terrorists through the mis-handling of the war in Iraq. Saudi Arabian terrorists (the leader was trained and funded by the CIA, for what it’s worth) attacked the US; in response, we attacked … Iraq, which had absolutely no link to 9/11 or Al-Quaeda. First we did a nice widespread bombing attack which wiped out essential services throughout the country, killing thousands of civilians, then started a program of torture-on-suspicion which Saddam Hussein would have been proud of. Generals protested and continue to protest, but they have to resign first, and then the news media ignores them as has-beens. Intelligence people protest. Antiterrorism experts protest. The problem is that the bad publicity and bad experiences (like death) cause more terrorists to spring up and paint a huge target on our face, one which would not exist had we entered as liberators (without quite so many bombing runs) and quickly left, or had we run the occupation as we did in Afghanistan, or for that matter in Italy and Germany after World War II. While building the largest, most irresponsible deficit in the history of the country, giving tax cuts to themselves and other people who did not need them, these people completely ignored domestic security, leaving chemical and nuclear plants, not to mention borders and incoming cargo shipments, largely as they were – and even restoring airplane security rules back so that you can carry serious weaponry onto planes.
Now let’s look at those rotten hippy liberals in the Democratic party. They’ve pushed for stronger border protection, inspection of all incoming sea cargo, deficit reduction, an end to the war in order to re-balance the budget (remember Clinton’s surplus?), more cops on the beat, and the rule of law to be applied to the White House. What’s more, they’d be investigating all those cost overruns, no-bid contracts, buddy-system contracts, and other causes of the Iraq war’s great expenses, except that the Republicans have not allowed them to hold meetings or issue subpoenas.
So by all means, let the more radical Republicans toss out Constitutional amendments left and right. But the real Republicans – not the neocons, but the real conservatives – can I think be depended on to reject such immature nonsense. (Unfortunately they have shown they cannot be relied on to prevent massive budget deficits, expansion of government power, setting the presidency above the law, or excessive corruption, but that’s another story, and one reason I am sorely disappointed in a group I’d normally be voting for.) And the Democrats should simply step aside and ignore it, keeping debate focused where it should be – not on side issues but on the real question of whether the United States will survive as an economically viable democracy. Four more years of the same leaders may well make that impossible – we cannot stand the continuing deficits, nor can we stand the increasing loss of our rights and our leaders’ setting themselves above the law.