"Be a heck of a lot easier if this were a dictatorship. Long as I'm the dictator. Heh heh." -- George W. Bush (from memory, but pretty close)
The Democratic Party has been warning Americans for decades that it really matters who's in the White House, because he* gets to appoint Supreme Court justices. Problem is, since presidents can usually only add one dangerous lunatic at a time (as their predecessors on the court die or retire) -- and since we had a Democratic president for a while -- those not paying attention (read: almost everybody in America) assume over time that the Dems are just crying wolf: there's no real danger. As one (Rehnquist, now replaced by Roberts), then two (Scalia), then three (Thomas) dangerous lunatics are added to the Supreme Court: that ultimate referee and final arbiter of our entire political and legal system, period.
Now, unless a miracle happens, a fourth lunatic -- Samuel Alito -- will be added to the Court...and given the spinelessness of Mr. Justice Kennedy, that means a whole lot of 5-4 near-misses are gonna flipflop overnight to 5-4 bare wins for the Bad Guys.
Much to my dismay, most of the concern about Alito has focused solely on Roe v. Wade. To my mind, the most important effect of Alito's confirmation, if it comes, lies in another area entirely: his "unitary executive" theory...which basically holds that in many, if not most, of his responsibilities the President of the United States is an absolute unfettered dictator whose will may never be thwarted, or even reviewed, by Congress or courts; indeed, that Congress and courts aren't even entitled to know what their emperor is up to.
Why should they? He's their emperor. Their job is to submit to his will.**
I am not making this up. I am not even exaggerating for effect. This is literally what Judge Alito believes,*** and defended before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That this fact is going unremarked on television, and barely remarked in print, tells you that they're just dotting the i's and crossing the t's now on the New America; it remains only to make it official...not that these guys ever bother to wait until something's official before getting it underway.
So there you have it: the last barrier to the president surveilling, imprisoning, even killing, anyone on earth he might like to, on his say-so alone...will shortly be gone. He may have 36% support, but he has 100% of the power where it counts. Congratulations, GOP voters and their friends.**** You have done what no external enemy could possibly have done. You have destroyed America.
So I'd like to take this final opportunity to thank the Founders for 229 years of consistently-growing freedom; sorry we won't make it to the 230th anniversary, this coming July. In historical terms what you did was astonishing; it's not your fault your descendants couldn't hold onto it any longer. I'd also like to thank each and every writer -- so often SF writers, or fans like St. George Lucas -- who tried to warn us that this was coming, over the past century or so. Thanks to such folks, I, personally, got to know what freedom felt like for the better part of half a century. Pretty cool. And America's past example, like that of ancient Greece, may well persist down the ages, and inspire generations yet unborn.
Is it really too late? Quite probably yes. Democrats in the Senate could filibuster the Alito confirmation, and to my mind should even if the GOP then busts the rules of the Senate to force him through on a bare majority vote (does anyone think the GOP wouldn't do precisely this in their shoes?). For that matter, perhaps Mr. Justice Kennedy will become the most important man in America by siding with the four non-lunatics on the Supreme Court; or the Congress will come to its senses, somehow, and address what's happening to this country under its watch (or lack of same).
My hopes, I sadly admit, are not high. I know I keep saying this, but this time I really do doubt I'll be posting much more about politics here. How did Voltaire put it? -- I believe I'll cultivate my garden.
Good luck, everybody. Keep your papers in order. Do as you're told. :/
93 93/93 -- AJ
* So far it's always been a "he." Don't worry, though: soon as they can find a female fascist with sufficiently high poll numbers, I'm sure we'll get an empress, too.
** What political party in its right mind would take a chance like that? -- if the opposition party ever got the presidency, their own power would fall to zero. You'd almost think the GOP had a way to guarantee their continued occupancy of the White House no matter what, wouldn't you?
*** And used as his tryout speech for a Supreme Court gig, ten days after the 2000 election. No lie.
**** Word of the day, from St. Stephen Colbert: "Freedomtarian": somebody who believes in "freedom," but believes that it means you have to suppress actual liberty, quite possibly for the rest of our lives. Nice. I may (and do) love some such folks as people, but I absolutely loathe what they've done to my country. Sorry. :(