We are a few short weeks away from the anniversary of the US Consitution and you can bet that there will be much flag-waving hoopla and ironically, for the past few years has been "officially led" by Lynne Cheney who happens to be married to the one man who can boast that he violated two Articles of the Constitution at the same time.
Lately, I have been thinking a bit about the Constitution, and more specifically the preamble (thanks to the good folks at Schoolhouse Rock. And for those who know the words to the Preamble, you probably can share in my sadness of how every single word of the Preamble to one of the most important documents ever drafted has been repeatedly violated in every conceivable way by the war criminals and thieves that have run roughshod all over this once (and hopefully future) great country of ours.
For those who haven't clicked on the link above, or for those who don't know the powerful words of the Preamble, I have copied them below:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Back in 1987, I was in the 11th grade. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Constitution, my high school offered an elective class that a few of my friends and I took. It was part history, part journalism and part, well, fun. Not only did I get 3 credits for taking the class, but we also got to hang out with some of the cuter freshman and sophomore girls whose lockers were near the classroom. The end result of this class was to create a video where 5 of my friends and I were "journalists", each representing a part of the Preamble (mine was "promote justice"), where we got to "interview" some of the founders through a time travel link and talk about how each of our parts of the Preamble have held up over the years. There was video inserted with our voice over, as well as commentary and interviews.
Looking back, it was much cooler than we thought it was at the time....And reading the Preamble today, I think - what a great sentence, even if it may be a bit of a run-on sentence (that was for you grammarians out there). Powerful. Simple. All encompassing. And it held up pretty nicely for just under 215 of the close to 220 years since it was written.
Since this could be the longest diary ever written if I give more than one or two examples for each of the seven parts of the Preamble, I'll try to be brief.
We the People of the United States
A recent poll from pollingreport.com goes into detail about how little We the People are being represented by this Congress. Take the following:
"Do you feel Congress is currently working on issues that are important to most Americans?"
Yes: 40%, No:53%, Unsure:7%
"Compared to recent Congresses, would you say THIS Congress has accomplished more, accomplished less, or accomplished about the same amount?"
More 7%, Less 41%, Same 47%, Unsure 5%
Asked of those who answered "Less": "Who do you think is most to blame for this: Republican leaders in Congress or Democratic leaders in Congress?"
Republican 58%, Democrat 13%, Both/neither/other 24%, Unsure 5%
Hell, a recent study by People for the American Way confirms what we already know about how voter suppression is still strong.
In Order to form a more perfect Union
A SUSA survey from last year indicates that more respondents in every single state polled think that this country is headed in the wrong direction. The weighted average was 66% felt the country was headed in the wrong direction. Those numbers are pretty constant for the past few years.
Household debt is increasing to record levels. The housing market bubble is about to pop in a number of regions. People have to work multiple jobs just to put food on the table.
Well, for starters, we have a Justice Department that is led by someone whose own words rendered the Geneva Conventions as "quaint". We have a Justice Department that not only thinks it is ok to spy on Americans in the US without a warrant but scoffs at judicial decisions which render the illegal spying as, well, illegal. We have a Supreme Court who, for the first time in generations, wants to roll back the rights of individuals and have Justices who have ruled in favor of unauthorized strip searches of 10 year old girls. We have a Justice Department who thinks it is ok to hold US citizens indefinitely without charging them with a crime.
Promote Domestic Tranquility
Due to the warmongering and polarization of this administration and rubber stamp greedy Republican Congress, the past 6 years or so have been the most divisive years since quite possibly the Civil War - certainly since the Vietnam era. There are protests everywhere that Bush goes. There was a HUGE peace rally in NYC which I attended back in April. There are literally hundreds more every year. There is the "vilification" by the people on the right of anyone who dares to exercise their right of disagreement with the neocon warmongering policies. There is a movement to Constitutionalize the discrimination of gay marriage. The religious right (which certainly is neither) preaches hate, not tolerance. There is absolutely no dialogue in this country. Families and friendships are torn apart due to political beliefs, as some of us here have even experienced firsthand.
Provide for the common Defense
In this "all terror threat all the time" world that is being rammed down our throats, you would think that this would be the one area where things aren't a complete disaster. However, this may be one of the worst. According to a recent interview by Harpers of Michael Scheuer who just happens to be the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit at the Counterterrorist Center, that isn't the case at all:
In the long run, we're not safer because we're still operating on the assumption that we're hated because of our freedoms, when in fact we're hated because of our actions in the Islamic world.
From the standpoint of democracy, Saudi Arabia looks much worse than Iran. We use the term "Islamofascism"--but we're supporting it in Saudi Arabia, with Mubarak in Egypt, and even Jordan is a police state. We don't have a strategy because we don't have a clue about what motivates our enemies.
Promote the General Welfare
I have written many a diary about how this administration and rubber stamp Republican Congress have screwed over We the People in so many different ways, whether it be how lower income families pay more for basic services, or how the middle class is shrinking in many cities around the country, or how the ultra wealthy are cheating the IRS out of over $70 billion per year. I've written about numerous tax cuts for the wealthy and for cronies. The wage gap is increasing to obscene levels.
Secure the blessings of Liberty
Liberty is roughly defined as the ability to have personal freedom from oppression, or to have freedom of choice. However, we are in an era of "free speech zones", an era where politically motivated reasons are cited for blocking peaceful protests at the 2004 Republican Convention, and where people are getting kicked out of "staged events" because of the t-shirt they wear.
Need I mention the "liberty" that the people whose lives were ruined by Katrina or the illegal and immoral war in Iraq are being blessed with?
In a time where staged events are more important than actual reality, where photo ops get more press than the underlying events, where missing white girls or celebrity gossip gets way more airtime than death and destruction being wreaked on the world by the neocon war criminals, where the President can admit to impeachable offenses and not be called on it, it is long past the time to look back at the ideals that this country was founded on, and how far we have strayed from those ideals in recent years.
All of the flag waving and feel good photo ops won't undo the crimes perpetuated on this country and the world by those who are in charge. It won't bring back any of those who have died as a result of lies, neglect and greed. It won't help raise people out of the poverty level. But maybe, just maybe if we actually scratch below the shiny façade we can see how rotten the underlying foundation has become.
And maybe then, enough people will realize that we have to start rebuilding from the ground up.