Saturday, January 21, 2006

Finito, Alito!

Robert Parry is the conscience of our nation. He's consistently got his eye on the most important ball. Tonight, his post opens with this clarion call:
With the fate of the U.S. Constitution in the balance, it’s hard to believe there’s no senator prepared to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whose theories on the “unitary executive” could spell the end of the American democratic Republic.
The Democrats are worried about appearing obstructionist. They'd rather play nice than protect our republic! I've never been so disillusioned with my own party as I am right now. They don't get it. They don't see what's at stake. I suspect a few do, but aren't bold enough to speak the truth.

As Parry writes,
A meeting of the Democratic caucus on Jan. 18 to discuss Alito drew only about two dozen senators out of a total of 45. The caucus consensus reportedly was to cast a “strategic” – or a symbolic – vote against Alito so they could say “we-told-you-so” when he makes bad rulings in the future. [See NYT, Jan.19, 2006]

But it’s unclear why voters would want to reward Democrats for making only a meaningless gesture against Alito, rather than fighting hard to keep him off the court. An extended battle also would give them a chance to make their case about why they see Alito as a threat to the U.S. Constitution.

A filibuster could give voters time, too, to learn what Alito and Bush have in mind for the country under the theory of the “unitary executive.” If after a tough fight the Democrats lose, they could then say they did their best and the voters would know what was at stake.
Losing, however, might not be the end result. A swing in public opinion is certainly possible if even one senator takes the floor to wage an old-fashioned, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” filibuster in defense of the most fundamental principles of the American democratic experiment.

A filibuster could touch a public nerve if it concentrates on protecting the Founding Fathers’ framework of checks and balances, the Bill of Rights, and the rule of law – all designed specifically to prevent an abusive Executive from gaining dictatorial powers.

Secondarily, the filibuster could explain to the American people the need for courage in the face of danger, especially at a time when some political leaders are exploiting fear to stampede the public into trading freedom for security.
So what can we do? We need to hit the phones and not let up. Call your senators and tell them they represent YOU, and YOU want them to filibuster.

I keep wondering, where is Howard Dean? Where is his bluntness now? We've never needed it more!

My last hope resides in Senator Boxer. She said she would be willing to filibuster if she felt Alito would overturn Roe v. Wade. I think he's set to overturn something far more important than that - the constitution itself. He's made no secret of his feeling that the president should have more authority. But as Al Gore said so appropriately last week, our founding fathers took great pains to ensure our country was governed by the laws, not men.

How dare the Democrats sit back and watch our Democracy disappear into the sunset?

I have done all I can. I've called my Senators and written them. I've talked to everyone I know about this. Have you done all you could?

We have been in a slow-motion coup since 1963. Carter and Clinton slowed the progress, but did not reverse it. The coup is nearly complete. Now it's up to us. We do get the government we deserve. If you don't want to live under a covert (and someday, overt) dictatorship, speak now, while you still can.

If ever there was a time to filibuster, it is now. There's never been more at stake. Filibuster yourself on your blogs. Truly, there is no issue bigger than preserving our democracy. Two things threaten that- Alito, and Electronic Voting. All other issues are a distant second after those two. If our court starts changing the laws of the land, our Republic is lost. If our vote no longer matters, the Republic is lost.

I think it was H.G. Wells who said "History is a race between education and castrophe." Education is losing.

Please do all you can. We have only each other in this.


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