12/14/2010

My (Old) Problem with the Coming (Last) Election



I was trawling my old drafts the other day when I came across this. I never posted it because, sometime in October of '08 I started getting a little optimistic.

If any of my fellow progressives are of the opinion that this November's electoral contest and presumed Democratic victory are going to change anything, allow me to disabuse you of that notion. Neither Clinton nor Obama, once in office, will do anything to curb the the unchecked power of the executive branch that has been established over the last seven years. The constitution will remain in torn bits upon the floor no matter who is elected and no one is going to reach for the tape.

There will be pretenses, surely, but nothing with the weight and permanence that the situation demands. We might see a much-touted executive order vowing a certain mode of presidential behavior, one that does not carry the force of legislation and that could be rescinded quietly if it were ever to get in the way of a party's agenda. There's sure to be some words about temporarily retaining such privileges to more easily undo the damage of the previous administration and thus, no change. All we can really hope for is that the new guy or gal won't be as terrible as the last one.

This is the legacy of the W years. Neither major party is going to give up this expanded executive power when it's their guy in the round room. The nonchalance with which the Republican party abused it's power only becomes an excuse for the Democrats to do the same. The public is going to have to be much more vocal about making its will known if we still want to have a country in another generation.

I should have trusted myself and posted this when it was relevant.

2 comments:

Snoozepossum said...

"Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to any thing but power for their relief. . . "

" . . . Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.

Edmund Burke, Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791)


It's been a very Burke kind of week . . . this is the fourth time I've found myself borrowing from him, and it's only Wednesday.

Tom Harper said...

I always vote and I always have strong reactions to the election results. "All right, the good guy got elected" or "Oh F$#%&!, that M%&*#$F%$&@$ got elected!"

But on another level I realize it doesn't make much difference. I agree with the old saying, "if voting made any difference, they wouldn't allow it."