Saturday, September 1, 2007

Equal Under the Law

"Equality under the law" has been on my mind since a couple Thursdays ago when I heard Governor and DNC Chairman Howard Dean give a brilliant keynote address to tribal leaders, tribal members and Campaign Camp attendees. His emphasis on that simple phrase has me thinking of the power and vision of the founders of this nation, the power and vision to invoke the law as the guarantor and protector of each individual's right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That is a basic tenet of the Democratic Party - that every citizen of this country is equal under the law, a law that has evolved to include civil rights for African Americans, Native Americans and other ethnic minorities, voting rights for women, the right for couples of different races to marry, and slowly we will, as a society, come to accept that gay and lesbian citizens have the right to marry. This evolution of our system of laws serves as a testament to to the agility and adaptability of the foundation laid in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The tripartite system of government further ensures that the country will be able to grow and change to include a more complete and fuller union of all people who live in this land. The system of checks and balances that the founders set in motion operates to guarantee that our laws will be able to evolve to become more inclusive. That is so long as one branch of the government doesn't attempt to subvert the laws that in theory apply across the boards to all people. The fact that the current administration has usurped power and thumbed it's nose at the law doesn't diminish the value of the laws that have been thwarted. Rather it points up an important difference between the Republicans who have held the executive branch since it's dubious election "victory" back in 2000 and the Democratic Party whose record of upholding the rights of all Americans is far superior to the GOP. In short, the Democratic Party believes completely in "equality under the law," whereas the Republican Party believes that some citizens are more equal than others.

Numerous examples illustrate the significant differences between the Democratic Party and the GOP. For instance, the president's commutation of I "Scooter" Libby provides a blatant example of the current administration's belief that it and its members are above the law. This has been a hallmark of the current administration - from the vice president's confusing and highly suspect claim that he is neither fish nor fowl, that he answers to no subpoena, can claim executive privilege whenever it suits him, and again thumbs his nose at any suggestion that he be held accountable for any of his actions taken in our name, with our money, and on our behalf. There is also the obscenity that the poor of this country are bearing a disproportionally high burden in an illegal and immoral war in Iraq that is making Cheney and his cronies wealthier, while the Bush administration's policies add insult to injury by perpetuating the farce that has become the centerpiece of America's failed foreign policy/folly.

"Equal under the law" is not just a catch phrase, rather it is a fundamental precept of our country. The Bush administration has worked with much vigor to undermine this elemental principle in our nation. From firing Federal Attorneys who refused to prosecute dubious cases of "voter fraud" while turning a blind eye to true voter intimidation tactics that were undertaken to keep minority voters from voting or to make sure that even if they managed to vote that their votes would not be counted. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has languished over the last seven years while good career attorneys left the DoJ in droves, because of the politicization of the Department. See Bush Justice is a National Disgrace, by John S. Koppel, that appeared in the Denver Post on July 5, 2007.

These are reasons why I am a proud member of the Democratic Party. I am a true yellow-dog Democrat. I am ready and willing to support whoever earns the nomination from the Democratic Party in Denver next August. I will always work my tail off to fight for the rights of each and every human being on this planet to live in a society that is free and where justice ensures that a modicum of basic decency is afforded to every person, just because he/she is alive and therefore deserves respect as a fellow human being. Viva democracy. Long live the Democratic Party!

Here's an interesting essay on liberalism by Todd Gitlin that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education: The New Liberal Agenda


Anonymous said...

you're back!!! And up to your usual.

mfhadley said...

Sweet Anonymous,
When did I ever leave you?