Rotten long day yesterday culminating in a dark drive home from Longview, which is about forty miles north geographically but a civilization's worth away culturally. So, being bored by the long drive I called my parents on the cell and wound up having a long talk with the Master Chief, a.k.a. my daddy.
Here were are in the Mosel Valley on my honeymoon trip with pre-Mommy (the First Ms. Chief) back in 1988. The almost scary thing is that the Master Chief still looks like he does in the picture, while I look nothing like the Lebanese taxi driver I seem to have been back in the 80's. Was I ever that swarthy? Wow.
My father is the living embodiment of the old Southern saying that "When Daddy Rabbit talks all the little bunnies listen." He's an Ivy Leaguer, chemical engineer, husband and daddy and now grandpa, one of the sharpest, most public minded people I know. He's been right on things more often than I've had hot dinners. It's amazing how the older I get the smarter he is, so when he talks, I listen.
Anyway, the Master Chief is as political as I am, and after Grandma Chief said night-night the conversation turned on the events of the past week.
There's a lot that Master Chief and I agree on: Bush 43 is an idiot and his coterie of neo- and paleo-cons are the political equivalent of those bachelor rhesus monkeys on Monkey Island, alernately beating their meat at the prospect of a New American Century and flinging their poop at anyone questioning whether fighting an endless war against anything carrying a Koran is a good idea; that the only question still open is whether the idiot is worse than Buchanan (Master Chief) or Franklin Pierce (me); and that we will need decades to recover from the damage he and his poop-flinging monkeys have done to the republic, to our foreign and domestic policies, and to the nation's fiscal foundation.
What I found most interesting - and most chilling - is that we disagreed strongly on the issue of impeachment.
Y'see, it seems pretty self-explanatory to me: if Dubya walks out of the Oval Office in January 2009 under his own power we have lost a fundamental assumption required for a republic - that we live in a nation of the rule of law, not of men. That Dubya and Dick and their cronies have lied and, when not actually lying, deceived, broken laws and governed based on their own will and not the laws written by the people in Congress is not in dispute. They themselves have stated openly that they will not be bound by those laws. Their excuse is that the laws they defy are preventing them from "protecting us"...but the reason is not an issue. If I have to kill a man to rush into a building to save others I cannot claim to be innocent of murder. I can hope that a jury of my peers will sympathize and aquit me; but to claim that my need supercedes the law shatters the foundation that the law rests upon. If I break the laws today in urgency, what is to prevent me from breaking the law tomorrow out of sheer laziness and the day after that from venality and selfish interest?
That is why we have such law, and why we expect our executive agents - policemen, prosecutors, judges, soldiers - to obey them even when they disagree with them.
To compound the problem, this administration has elevated secrecy to an uncommon virtue, denying us as citizens the very knowledge we need to assess the validity of their arguement for extralegal urgency.
All of this lying, hiding and lawbreaking has gone unpunished. If that remains unchanged a year from now, we will have set a precedent no future government can ignore, and can push even further if it desires.
The Master Chief, with sixty five years of adult life behind him, did not agree with this. He thinks that impeachment is not going to succeed and, as such, is not worth fighting about. In that he has given up, ceded the ground to the Bushies. He will not speak up to bring down the Decider.
And I fear that his silence on the question is a majority silence. I fear that we will enter the second decade of the Twenty-First Century with a republic further crippled with public secrecy, official unaccountability and the wide acceptance of one set of rules for "us" and another, less strict, set for those who rule over us. The irony is that the GOP, having fought so hard to free this President and his bobos from the rule of law, now find themelves with what should be the horrifying possibility that they may have sown the wind of an imperial presidency to reap the whirlwind of...President Hillary Clinton.
Remind me again...why were we so pissed off with George of Hanover?