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Episode 096 – Government: Under the Constitution?

 

“How do each of you feel about the upcoming election?” That was the question posed by our hostess at the end of a lovely dinner. Innocent enough question, and one that each of we guests took seriously enough. Hope was expressed by all; also a feeling that things are going to change “all for the better”. My answer came last, although it was formed in the first few seconds after the question was asked. In other words, before I heard any of the other answers.  I thought at the time. Now this is real retirement talk. This is what retired people talk about – a great deal of the time.

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.

“I guess I am the only cynic here,” was my response. I went on, “I don’t possess the hope all of you have expressed. I wish I could answer with hope included in the response, but I can’t. It’s been bled from me over the last eight years. Maybe the last twenty-eight years. I don’t see our government changing in a positive direction. I don’t think our government still exists. Not like it did under the Constitution. It’s eroded under our very eyes. And that final gasp came when the election of 2000 was openly stolen. That was the day democracy died in this country.”

No one argued my point, but they said they still had hope that government could return to the previous democracy we had once known. My statement had a chilling effect on the conversation. It darkened into an acknowledgement of the huge change that has taken place.

I don’t want this podcast to become a political platform, but politics are very much part of what retired people talk about. The conversation moved on concerning political changes that we all acknowledged:

The election in Florida had been stolen. The criminal activity had been rewarded by a Supreme Court that had overstepped its jurisdiction. No correction to this travesty of justice has occurred.

The election in 2004 had been stolen. There were all too many “problems” in Ohio and elsewhere. No one has been held responsible

The right of habeas corpus has been abridged. The president now has power to lock us up one at a time or in groups without the right of trial. It is the law of the land today.

The country has violated the rights of the accused by a system entitled “rendition” whereby people are arrested and sent out of country to some other place in the world where they can be imprisoned and tortured with impunity. No one has been brought to justice for this crime.

People can be tortured in American run prisons in violation of the Geneva Convention. No one who ordered such abuse has been held accountable.

The President now writes a letter of intent, or Presidential Directive,  to not follow whatever part of a law he doesn’t like or intend to follow.

Our right to privacy has been eliminated. The government can tap our phones; monitor our emails and all forms of communication without a court order.

Private mercenaries can replace local police in policing local communities, such as what happened in New Orleans with Blackwater .

The justice system itself has been contaminated with judges fired who were of the “wrong” political persuasion and replaced with judges with “correct” political affiliation.

The system of checks and balance that our grade school teachers taught us concerning our constitution has been obliterated. They taught that this was a government of laws and not of men. It is all too obvious that laws no longer rule our land. Historians are going to date the fall of American constitutional government within the last few years.

I’m not sure how long the discussion lasted but the list of abuses was long. It created a disquieting moment following our delightful meal of fresh salmon, potato salad, and new garden peas. It was obvious to all that the conversation needed to move on.

That’s the way it is today. We have to move the conversation to something else, almost anything else. Even talking about global warming comes as a relief. Certainly that is a problem for most people today, that and the price of a gallon of gas.

I’m not sure being a cynic is a good thing. I’ve never thought of it that way. It was always the “optimist” that won the day. “Think positive thoughts” someone famous once said. I’d like to be able to say that when it comes to politics in my own country, but some time, some day, we need to face reality. Perhaps then will we demand true change and a patriotism will emerge that means more than wearing a lapel pin?

 

This is Retirement Talk.