It's Just A Piece Of Paper: The Bush Administration's Disdain Towards The Constitution

There is one thing that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on during this contentious election cycle: The Bush Administration has completely undermined the US Constitution. While most Republicans will not admit it publicly( I happen to be one of the ones that will. ), President Bush has willfully tip-toed around, loopholed through, and outright taken scissors to the Constitution.

What I once thought was just a bunch of ranting by leftover Vietnam war protesters has turned out to be true. It took the latest financial bailout for me to put it into perspective. I have long opposed the Federal Reserve, and the fiat currency that this nation has been based on for so many decades. This latest abuse of the system being championed by the President pushed me to revisit some of the arguments against this administration's abuses of power.

Let's start with the Patriot Act, a piece of legislation designed to take our rights away, and turn us into a surveillance society. I was okay with this when it first passed, because the government promised to spy only on the "bad guys". The problem is that the Patriot Act builds on FISA, which allows circumvention of the 4th amendment's granting of a warrant based on probable cause. The newest legislation expands those powers. Where the 4th Amendment doesn't apply-like phone companies, utilities, etc.-it has been used to threaten these companies into giving up private information. The reason that the Patriot Act was not declared unconstitutional, is because the 4th amendment is subject to suspension due to national security concerns.I think that if the amendment were to be suspended in that case, that the Congress would have said so in the amendment.

Then, there's his use of Executive Orders to bypass the need for Congressional approval of his actions, or even redefine what constitutes torture. He's used them to redefine the manual of Courts Martial several times and to establish a National Counter-terrorism Center. He's issued tons of them, some innocuous, some controversial. Basically, any legislation he wants to pass, he just issues an executive order. It's exempt from judicial review or congressional oversight. At the very least, it is an abuse of power. At worst, it is an grossly unconstitutional concentration of power in the Executive branch. I guess this is what we can expect from a President who is widely reported to have said in 2005 "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a g-d*****d piece of paper!"

This disregard of the Constitution extends to the Vice-President's office, who has redefined his role in the grand scheme of things as a member of the legislative branch. While this is fine if contained within his philosophy of government, the implementation of this philosophy within the governmental administration is a slap in the face to any intelligent American. The reason that VP Cheney has adopted this stance, is to keep the National Archive from viewing and recording the communications of his office. It keeps the rest of America from insights into the logic, actions, and oversight of his office.

Now we have the bailout, which gives unconscionably vast power to the Treasury and Federal Reserve. This is now law, and will not be challenged, even though it is subject to Judicial review. This law was only spawned because of the Bush Administration's paradigm regarding the Constitution.
During the bailout, certain lawmakers have testified that they were told, unless the bill was passed, martial law would be declared. You can understand why it was passed now. Who wants to give a President with no regard for the Constitution an opportunity to suspend its powers, and declare himself supreme ruler?

As someone who voted for him twice ( and regrets the second time most bitterly ), I can tell you that we have not yet seen the erosion of our rights realized. The impact of these infringements on liberty and national sovereignty will be apparent in the near future, and will burden or empower the next Administration. We can only pray they have the common sense and wisdom to begin rebuilding the liberties and security the Constitution once offered us.

In closing, I offer this prayer: May God save us from our Government's attempts to save us.

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Kurt Hartman is for strict construction of the Constitution, and an advocate for religious liberties and free speech. He is head of Employee Training at Mobile Fleet Service/ They sell otr tires for the mining and construction industries.

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