Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Attack on the Judiciary

Another ho-hum day in America, except it ain't. We are under attack and, no surprise Pogo, the "enemy is us." Rep. Conyers says it succinctly:
...things are very quickly spinning out of control.

First, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, made the outrageous statement, and apparent threat, that "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." When given repeated opportunities to disavow the interpretation of his comments as a threat or incitement to violence, DeLay has repeatedly declined to do so.

Tonight, my staff showed me a quote from Senator John Cornyn (found on Americablog) that speaks for itself: "And finally, I – I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news. And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in -- engage in violence. Certainly without any justification but a concern that I have that I wanted to share."
It used to be called "going postal," I guess the new term will be "doing a DeLay."

There are many precedents to this kind of behavior in the Congress. It used to be rather unsavory place to hang around and, back when men carried walking sticks, potentially detrimental to your health.
The Field of Blood: The Culture of Congress in Antebellum America
During the first half of the 19th century, violence erupted on the national stage. On the floor of Congress, brawls and fisticuffs, personal character attacks, shootings, and duels became almost commonplace. Some of these incidents have been studied individually, in clusters, or anecdotally. Some seem to have fallen through the cracks of the historical record - in several cases (particularly those that involved guns on the floors of Congress), because witnesses agreed not to discuss it. But the larger story of this pattern of political violence and its broader implications has not been explored. The Field of Blood will examine this pattern of violence, tracing the evolution and slow dissolution of national governance.
But hopefully we no longer settle our disputes at the O.K. Corral. In particular, we have judges and juries. These are dedicated professionals and if your ideas of morality clash with theirs, then that is your problem. To even suggest doing violence to them puts you in that Circle of Hell that Dante reserved for target practice.

Message to Mr. DeLay and Mr. Cornyn:
"I would like to humbly point out to you that you both took an oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution. Please uphold it in all its particulars. Furthermore, will you kindly shut the fuck up!"

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