Senator Lieberman's Accidental Treason
I just saw the Democracy for America call to write a note to Senator Lieberman.
Their letter said:
“Recently you [Senator Lieberman] said, 'It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander-in-chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril.'“
My incredulous note says:
Dear Senator Lieberman:
The idea that speaking out in a democracy is 'undermining the credibility of the president' is a sad and sinister and chilling idea.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
I am agog that you would even think of undermining dissent at any time in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />America.
Citizens who are thoughtfully convinced that any president is wrong must always speak out or we become totalitarian indeed. I am shocked that you bludgeon your fellow patriots with 'matters of war' as if that were a reason for us to stop thinking and become sheep. For shame.
Sincerely & etc.
I would add here on pogblog that no office has inherent authority in a democracy. We hope a president is wise and honorable. If he is not, we are exquisitely and excruciatingly bound to speak as keenly as the edge of a knife.
It is treason to the central idea of a democracy — no kings, no infallible leaders. That 'matters of war' change the democratic equation is a canard slung around by patronizing and either power-blind or power-drunk weighty persons of self-knighted distinction.
No matter how many people benightedly blather against it, separation of church and state remains quintessential to our national well-being — unless in Summer you are willing to say In Zeus We Trust; Spring, In God We Trust; in Winter In Pan We Trust; In Autumn, In Goddess We Trust; Then the following year In Minerva We Trust; In Buddha We Trust; In Allah We Trust, and so forth.
No matter the 'matters of war' or 'matters of oil companies' hegemony — secrets suck in a democracy. What? we are not adult enough to deal with the truth? 'Executive privilege' is a shaky idea at best for the servant of the people, the president, to hide behind. I can imagine maybe once in a century when it might in great trepidation be invoked. Secrecy is for the creeps in less hopeful systems of government.
Speak out we must. Yes, it's awkward. Docility and obedience would be much more convenient and make for a more norman rockwell and pastel picture of our imaginary idyllic nation. The horror, the horror. Democracy is awkward. Totalitarianism is orderly. Senator Lieberman was deeply treasonous against the essence of democracy to suggest that we noisy and outraged and concerned citizens are bringing 'peril' to our beloved nation when we speak out — our right and our duty.
Typically treason is committed out of the highest though sadly twisted motives. Any citizen who says we should darken our light of reason and concern is direly missing the point of democracy. (Not unlike, by the way, that people willing to go to war are missing the dreadful and radical point of 'Love your enemy.')
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