Indulge me in a little paranoia, if you will.
This week, the Bush administration announced it was creating a new plan for dealing with a catastrophic emergency in the U.S. It gives the president broad authority to take over disaster recovery from state officials and empowers federal authorities to provide "appropriate support" to the vice president to orchestrate post-attack recovery.
Details of the plan have not been released, of course. That would mean the American people would have some idea of just how far-reaching this directive is. And we can't have that, now can we? Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the White House rejected his request to review the secret portions of the plan. Of course. That would allow our elected representatives to have some idea of just how far-reaching this plan is. We can't have that, now can we?
This administration has a clear track record of flouting the law, whether it's breaking the Geneva Conventions, outing a CIA agent, manipulating military intelligence, abusing presidential "signing statements," firing U.S. attorneys without due cause and lying about it, or ignoring subpoenas from Congress.
They've done their utmost to create an imperial presidency, claiming powers for our chief executive that were never intended by our Founding Fathers. The question I keep asking myself is, Why? Sure, in the short term, it allows them to get away with almost anything, but looking down the road to, say, a Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama presidency, you would think they would quake at the very idea of such powers in Democratic hands.
Unless they know something we don't. And, I admit, this is where paranoia strikes deep. The entire Bush presidency is based on the fallout from 9/11. In the aftermath of that tragedy, the administration began accumulating its power, and it hasn't stopped. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff said recently he had a "hunch" we'd be attacked again.
I have a hunch that if such a thing happens, we'd better be prepared to defend our republic — from every direction.
(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes) — e. e. cummings
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...
I'm writing this from the restroom facility at Big Hill Pond State Park in southern McNairy County. On Monday, I commandeered the building, which contains the men's and women's restrooms, some racks of pamphlets, and two vending machines. There's no one here right now, but I plan to stay as long as necessary to protest the fact that the state of Tennessee is run by oppressive know-nothings who wouldn't know small government — or freedom, for that matter — if it bit them on their considerable backsides ...