Thursday, May 25, 2006

Vote Them All Out

Nothing these days could bring two polarizing political opponents together faster than the threat of an "out-of-control" executive "trespassing" into the "sovereign" domain of a Congressman’s office.

In the aftermath of the raid conducted by the FBI on the Office of Congressman William Jefferson (D-Louisiana), Dennis Hastert, the Republican Speaker of the House, and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Minority Leader, came together to demand the immediate return of materials seized by federal agents from Congressman Jefferson's Office and declare:

"The Justice Department was wrong to seize records from Congressman Jefferson's office in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the speech or debate clause of the Constitution, and the practice of the last 219 years."

I love it!!….. (Metaphor for: I really hate this and hope that they all get voted out of office soon - Taking note, with added optimism, of what happened in Pennsylvania recently)

How convenient it is for these big egos to call upon the founding principle of “separation of powers” to resist and shun oversight upon their activities when they are so eager to vehemently invoke the equally important principle of “Checks & Balances” in order to call the other two branches of government to account. You can't have it both ways and the founding fathers of this nation certainly did not mean for you to have your cake and eat it too.

The founding principles of the constitution are not divisible and can not be cherry-picked for political or personal convenience. You get one constitution indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Yes, justice as in Department of Justice in this case. Get this: Members of Congress are not exempt from the laws of this land nor are their offices the sovereign sanctuaries and safe-heavens that foreign diplomatic missions are.

Having gotten that out of the way, let me say something else - This time directly at Louisiana’s 2nd district representative, William Jefferson: NO, you do not get to claim “Separation Of Powers” when you are videotaped taking bribes; when you are found to hide $90,000 (3 times the annual salary of a middle class American) in your freezer. On second thought, maybe you should have used the “separation of powers” tool to hide the money in your congressional office after all, hey?

One other thing: No, sir, you do not get to imply racism as a motivation for the probe against you. You do not disgrace the memory of Dr. King by trying to put your criminal self in the company of those who have truly struggled against injustice so that one day you, sir, can be Congressman. As they say around here: Are you freakin’ kidding me??!!

The American people need to clean house. They, and only they, in this democracy can have the final say. And it is time for the people to reclaim what is rightfully theirs: The political destiny of this republic. If the name says "incumbent" next to it, that's the guy you should NOT vote for.

Vote them all out.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Radical Republican: Old Vs. New

Once upon a time, the term 'Radical Republican' referred to principled Americans who, despite great threats to their personal safety, labored against slavery and fought for the civil rights of all Americans, black or white.

There was a time when 'Radical Republicans' strong-armed the racist Democrats of the South to ratify the fourteenth (14th) and fifteenth (15th) amendments of the constitution, which granted former slaves citizenship and voting rights and guaranteed them equal protections under the supreme law of this republic.

There used to be a time when the first emancipated slaves, like John Roy Lynch, sought political office under the Republican banner, grateful to those 'radicals' who not only secured the physical freedom of their black citizenry but also their unalienable rights to equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

There used to be a time, when the Republican campaign of a General-turned-President was placed under the compassionate slogan: "Let Us Have Peace". This, at a time when the Democrats were campaigning under the hateful slogan: "This is a White Man's Nation".

There used to be a time when 'Radical Republican' was a term that inspired compassionate service in the name of justice and brave defiance in the face of intolerance, hate, and injustice.

There used to be a time when...Then:

Over the last half century or so, the African American community was literally driven away into the oblivious arms of the Democratic Party because Republicans were too eager to turn blue into red and dominate the political map of the nation. Blacks became a dispensable casualty of the republican re-engineering of the American political landscape. As a result of this methodical, often clever, re-engineering, the Republican Party gained dominant constituencies in the South and gained the loyal support of the white protestant communities.

Today, over 90 percent of black voters consistently vote for the Democrats. As is always the case, it is the members who make the party and not the other way around. So, the Republican party became the party of a few minorities and large white protestant constituencies. It became the party of God, Guns, and Bullies. The party that has allowed its success to get to its head in record times and could not stop, if only for a second, to hear itself: arrogant and intolerant - A party that is slowly, but surely, driving the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community, into the arms of their political rivals.

The Washington Post has just reported that "nearly half of the nation's children under 5 are racial or ethnic minorities, and the percentage is increasing mainly because the Hispanic population is growing so rapidly, according to a census report released today." Yet, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center finds that "predominantly Republican 'red' counties were significantly more opposed to immigration - both legal and illegal - than are predominantly Democratic 'blue' counties, where immigrants are far more populous".

Recently, the new 'Radical Republican', a far cry from his predecessor, enacted legislation in the House of Representatives to turn the 12 million or so illegal immigrants on US soil into felons. The Republican Party better pay attention and sober up to the demographic trend in this country and be reminded of how the blue ballot ended up in the hands of the African American community. The new so-called 'Radical Republicans' are driving their party right up to the edge of a cliff because they have no sense of history and, most importantly, no practical vision of the future. Michael Powell of the Washington Post wrote a timely essay contrasting old and new immigration. He notes: "The bitter arguments of the past echo loudly these days" and adds: "Most of the concerns voiced today -- that too many immigrants seek economic advantage and fail to understand democracy, that they refuse to learn English, overcrowd homes and overwhelm public services -- were heard a century ago."

The Republican Party, which is surely not lacking in intelligent and responsible leaders, better pay attention and sober up from the drunkenness that its recent successes have permitted. Sensible and visionary party leaders must limit the overreach of their extreme and ideological offspring and steer the party away from the hateful fear-mongering agendas of the day. They must lead a multi-dimensional future of global unity and global perspective if they are to get it right in the next few decades. They must understand that simplistic, one-dimensional ideology can not and will not prevail as a driving force for an America that seeks to lead in an era of unprecedented global proximity; an America that will increasingly need decisive domestic support and convincing international coalitions to tackle the great challenges and threats that lie ahead.

If not, then, they better ready themselves for a future when 'American Conservative' would increasignly turn-off world opinion and effectively trigger undesirable responses in the subconscious memory of a large group of the American electorate.