Monday, August 22, 2005

The Right to Dissent and to Demand Accountability

It has been more than two weeks since we last published an essay. Even with so many of us working together, real life has a tendency to get in the way. We apologize for our tardiness. Our newest essay discussing Point #5, of the "Ten Characteristics of A True US Patriot", and entitled "Do Unto Others: Common Sense in Action" will be ready for publishing later this week, and we are already working on Point #6.

In the meantime we would like to present the following piece, which relates directly to the ongoing episode in Crawford. This article was originally posted at TPM Cafe.

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This week, we as a nation watch as one citizen travels to see the President and demand an audience. Many are angered, even outraged, at the avoidance of this woman by the man currently holding what is, arguably, the most powerful office in the world. Many more citizens fly to her aid, both physically and spiritually, as she is blatantly ignored for demanding an explanation.

If one looks at this from a distant perspective, it would appear that the citizen is attempting to engage the leader in an accounting of his decisions and actions that have led to the loss of her son. This is, of course, both her right and duty. And his responsibility, as a leader, is to address her.

Our latest essay, "Holding America to Her Principles", specifically addresses the issue of accountability, and the role that citizens play by enforcing their right to demand it. It is one of the cornerstones upon which our nation has been built. True US Patriots have a right and a duty to dissent, holding their leaders accountable for the actions and decisions occurring under their watch. It is one of the unofficial checks and balances, and it is solely in the hands of the people to employ in order to preserve freedom.
"Dissent is the mark of freedom." - Jacob Bronowski
We have heard that, as of Thursday [August 9], when the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense both appear to meet with the President, Cindy Sheehan will be arrested as a threat to national security.

We have yet to see any indication of a threat to national security by this woman. Many others appear to agree. So, what legal right does anyone have to deny this woman her freedom?

"Stripped of ethical rationalizations and philosophical pretensions, a crime is anything that a group in power chooses to prohibit." – Freda Adler

Simply having the power to make the laws does not empower one to abuse the founding tenets of freedom. Misuse and misapplication of the laws in order to shield a political figure – however powerful – from a citizen who is adhering to her Constitutional right to demand accountability by her President is nothing short of criminal. It is most certainly unconstitutional. One would expect that if a person shall be intentionally, unconstitutionally jailed then the writ of habeas corpus would be suspended. Have we engaged in another Civil War somewhere, and have all our Civil Courts have been forcibly closed down to permit such a measure?

Or does something darker still loom ahead of us? Have we lost our liberties, or our rights to exercise them?

"It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives. " – Dorothy Thompson
The past few years have shown a very disturbing trend, where “free speech zones” have been designated to keep dissent out of the public eye. We have watched the gradual erosion and marginalization of our right, our role, as the ones to whom the leaders must be ultimately accountable. And for the most part, we have not noticed or been moved to reject attempts to minimize the importance of accountability to the public.

"None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free."
– Goethe
Our system of government has been described as one "of the People, by the People, and for the People". The current trend toward the unprecedented expansion of powers concentrated in the hands of the Executive Branch threatens to tear the very fabric of that basic belief asunder.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men
are almost always bad men.
" – Lord Acton
Our current leader won his path to power on the claim of “moral values”. The unspoken assumption made when this term is used is the presumption of accountability, sprinkled with a touch of wisdom. Wouldn’t it be prudent, then, for such a leader to show compassion and speak with a citizen who has made the extraordinary effort to speak with him? Or have the words of Lord Acton begun to ring true?

To all our fellow citizens, we ask you to support this True US Patriot, and help her in her effort to exercise that which is both her right and duty: ask the President for real answers, and hold him accountable for his actions.

UPDATE: As we all know, Ms. Sheehan was not arrested on charges of being a threat to national security or for any other reason, and while she has temporarily left her vigil to be with her mother, who suffered a stroke, she will be returning to Camp Casey soon. Meanwhile, the number of supporters continues to grow...

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