It was Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth President of the United States and a Republican, who famously said in 1918, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
Put differently, and in modern context, blind, unquestioning faith in President Bush is not only foolish and obsequious, but it is also contrary to the fundamental principles of this country, as set forth in the Constitution. Indeed, those who would merely sit by, without protest or question, while our President sends our armed forces off to kill and die in a nation which did not and could not do us any harm, are more than simply slavish sycophants. Those who refuse to acknowledge, much less criticize, the wrongs committed by this President in the name of the United States, while simultaneously denigrating those who do dare protest, betray this country and the promise it stands for.
In short, they are positively un-American. They are traitors.
Those who, in the name of nationalism disguised as patriotism, would remain silent when faced with the Bush administration's common plan to wage war and torture captives in violation of customary and treaty-based international law; those who would waive their rights while they wave their flags; those who would turn a blind eye to evidence that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify its preconceived war; they would do well to consider the oath of office taken by all members of the civil service or uniformed services. The oath is not to the President or any other person. Rather, those who take the oath swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
I have taken this oath. All members of Congress have taken the same oath, as has every member of the armed services. Every naturalized citizen is likewise sworn to support and defend the Constitution. All of us, regardless of any particular political affiliation, are sworn to support and defend the Constitution. None are sworn to support and defend this or any other President. While the military concerns itself with challenging foreign enemies of the Constitution, it is up to the rest of us to defend the Constitution and the principles it embodies against its domestic enemies. Right now, there is no greater domestic enemy of the Constitution than President George W. Bush.
This is not a charge idly made. It is not a charge rooted in political ideology or partisanship. This charge is not made because I am a liberal (which I suppose I am) and President Bush is a conservative (of which I have some doubt). I make this charge, a charge supported by evidence which continues to mount, because of one very simple reason: I love this country. I love the Constitution on which this country is founded. I love the principles and the promise embodied in the Constitution. And I have sworn to protect the Constitution against all enemies, regardless of office or title, including the President of the United States.
It is an oath I do not take lightly.
Sadly, Congress, the only body with the legal authority to defend the Constitution against domestic enemies in President's clothing, has abdicated its sworn duties and responsibilities in the name of party loyalty. It is all too clear that members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, must be reminded that their loyalty is not to their respective parties. They must be reminded that party affiliation should come in no better than second place. It is up to those of us who truly care about this country, who are pained by those who would corrupt its Constitutional values for personal or pecuniary gain, to remind the members of Congress of their oath and to what, not to whom, their sworn loyalties lie.
Members of Congress (Republicans particularly, since they currently control both houses) need to be reminded of their predecessors, such as Robert McClory, Tom Railsback, Hamilton Fish, Lawrence Hogan, M. Caldwell Butler, William Cohen, and Harold Froehlich. All were Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee who approved articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon on July 27, 1974. All put their loyalty to the Constitution above their loyalty to their party. Members of Congress must be reminded of their predecessors' courage and they must be called upon to bring articles of impeachment against President Bush, a dire domestic enemy of the Constitution.
Nationalism is not synonymous with patriotism. Nationalism demands obsequious obedience. Patriotism demands truth and honesty. A patriot places the country, as embodied by the Constitution, above any individual, the President included. Thus, a patriot is willing to make the hard decision to demand the President's impeachment for the sake of the country and in defense of the Constitution.
Are you willing to make that demand? Are you willing to demand that Congress honor its oath and defend the Constitution against its domestic enemies? Are you willing to be a patriot?
Ken Sanders is a writer based in Tucson, Arizona. Visit his weblog at: www.politicsofdissent.blogspot.com/.
Other Articles by Ken Sanders
* Is Anyone Any
Other Articles by Ken Sanders
* Is Anyone Any