Monday, February 06, 2006

don't they care about their OWN power?

I admit right now: I'm a bleeding heart American patriot. I think the American Constitution is one of the most brilliant documents ever written in the history of mankind. I think that the Federalist Papers mark the pinnacle of the understanding of political science, in a way that was never reached before, and has never been surpassed since.

Which is why what is happening right now makes me cringe beyond anything the Bush Administration and its cronies have done yet.

You see, the American Government, as set forth in the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, assumes that each branch of government will guard its own power jealously against the trespass of the other powers upon it. That no matter what other allegiances they may have, that the very ambitions and pretensions to power of each member of each branch would suffice to ensure that no one branch became a lapdog of any other, so long as they were given the power to resist one another.

But, unfortunately, in the face of a more divided country than we have ever seen since the days of the Civil War, that is no longer the case.

Today, it is political party that trumps all other considerations. The entire American government, in each branch, is seen as a sprawling series of battlefields--wherein each party tries to gain as much power as it can. The branches themselves don't care about their own power nearly so much as they care about the power of their ideological comrades.

And in this field of war, some battlefields are more important than others--some hills are higher than others.

In this case, the Executive is the highest hill--the Iwo Jima, as it were. The crown jewel, possession of which ensures excellent field position in battles for the other hills.

The second highest hill is the judiciary, which can easily be assaulted from the vantage of Mt. Executive.

And the messy, muddy, marshy bog below is the Legislative, where each side in the battle slogs back and forth in the trenches.

The scary truth is this: that Republicans and Democrats down in the Leglislative marches don't care nearly as much about protecting their marsh turf NEARLY as much as about making sure that their allies on the higher hills are protected.

The ambition of each individual branch is a notion that has become quaint and passe. And that truly means the end of the very basis of our government.

We are locked in a death spiral. One side or the other is going to win. And we can all choose which side we prefer--I personally prefer Progressive philosopher-kings over Wingnut ones--but philosopher-kings we are definitely going to have.

And when that happens, it will be the end--no matter who gets in power. Because power corrupts. Because without checks and balances, power becomes absolute. And because absolute power corrupts absolutely--no matter who is in charge.

Sweet dreams, everyone.


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