No fireworks for President Bush today

July 4, 2006 | By | Reply More

The Bush Administration has viciously attacked the press (e.g., the New York Times) for daring to question some of the Administration’s many abuses of power.  The current scandal reported by the NYT concerns the Bush Administration’s decision to secretly monitor bank records.

Today, however, we celebrate the right of the American people to do far more than criticize their government.  Today, Bush himself undoubtedly waved a flag and admired some fireworks to celebrate, as patriotic, the rights of the people to violently overthrow their government when their government fails them.  In short, the Fourth of July is about recognizing that there is no more fundamental American right than the right of the citizens to violently overthrow their our own government when their government attacks their fundamental rights.  On the Fourth of July, many people even celebrate the Fourth of July by references to God, suggesting that even God approves of revolution to take down unjust governments.

Given this undeniable meaning of Independence Day (what else could it mean), it is ironic that President Bush would criticize the right of the citizens and their free press to do something actually much less threatening to those holding powerful office: the right to investigate and promulgate information about government abuses. 

But this is only one of the many abuses of this Administration.  For others, see here and here and here, three of many extensive lists available on the Internet.

In this context, I found it interesting to review some of the complaints the colonists had against England, straight out of the Declaration of Independence [my commentary regarding analogous Bush transgressions added in brackets]: 

  • HE has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good. [e.g., secret investigations & wiretappings and trashing environmental laws necessary to protect the citizens].
  • HE has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures. [see, e.g., the Medicare vote procedure]
  • HE has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. [Repeated Republican attacks on the judiciary]
  • HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance [blowing the national budget on Halliburton and other expenses allegedly necessary for Homeland Security and national defense].
  • HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to Civil Power. [numerous abuses of the citizens and invasions of privacy related to alleged homeland security and Patriot Act].
  • FOR depriving us in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury [Forcing people onto American territory—Guantanamo—then refusing to bring charges or offer any trial–this is an attack on law-abiding Americans, not just on “foreigners”].
  • FOR transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences [Extraordinary rendition].
  • FOR taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments [Acting unilaterally to violate established law to protect the privacy of the citizens].
  • FOR suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.  [2000 Election Litigation, nullifying Florida state legislative decision]
  • HE has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us [Attempt to pass Constitutional Amendment to invite discriminate against Gays].
  • HE has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burned our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People. [See Bush’s record on the environment].

In sum, given that these above-listed types of abuses from the Declaration of Independence would justify the right of the citizens to violently overthrow their government, these same types of abuses would certainly justify the supporting a newspaper’s aggressive investigation and criticism of the government. 

Any government leader who refuses to recognizes this fundamental right of citizens to support news media’s efforts to investigate the wrongdoing of our own government and to publish those results has no right to wave a flag on this holiest of civil days and no right to admire fireworks.

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Category: American Culture, Law, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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