Thank you, Senator Dodd
Thank you, Senator. Thank you for doing what so few have these last few years: standing up for the Rule of Law. The Rule of Law doesn't have a big office on K Street, nor does it result in much juicy gossip. And though, for a while, it seemed to have become a partisan issue, with the Republicans working against it out of loyalty to an Imperial President and Democrats speaking up for it to show their opposition to him, we see now that it has few partisans, that few will man the barricades for it.
And yet there you stand, not in Iowa or New Hampshire, but on the floor of the Senate, speaking for the Rule of Law, the principle that if you violate the law, commit crimes, you must face justice in a court of law. There you stand, for the principle that the law of the land and not the whims and dictates of the Commander in Chief, the Sole Supervisor of the Unitary Executive, the man with "Inherent Executive Authority" that goes back to the Divine Right of Kings, is what rules us. There you stand.
And with you stand the ghosts of all our forefathers who gave their lives for the precious documents that enshrine that principle. How has it come to this that so few of our supposed leaders, our representatives, our senior statesmen stand by you? How is it that Senator Reid can give lip service to the principle, but bring to the floor the version of the bill that casts it aside, yet again? How can he not honor your "hold" and yet honor Senator Graham's that protects the power to torture from the application of the Army's Field Manual?
We hear much about supporting our troops. How does it support them to throw aside the practices of the Field Manual which prescribes principles of international law that we expect the world to apply to them. How does it support our troops to set aside the Uniform Code of Military Justice in favor of secretive ad hoc "Tribunals"? How does it serve them to tear down the principles that we insisted on at Nuremberg, that the rule of law and not of vengeance and power of the victor to do what he likes with the vanquished? How does it honor our dead to set aside the Constitution, Federal statutes and those of the several States, the laws and principles they fought and died for?
How have we come to the point where the ability to torture gets more respect from the leader of the Senate, the supposed head of the Opposition, than does the defense of the principle that those who break the law must face Justice in a Court of Law? It seems surreal. Routinely these days you hear people invoke Orwell's 1984, and less often Brave New World. Occasionally, Animal Farm is suggested as shedding light on where we are, or wry comments are made about the subtitle, "How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb".
But this week I feel like I'm caught in the President's Analyst. You may remember the film that satirized spy thrillers and conspiracy theories, by making the ultimate evil force that threatened our country that villain that everyone could hate: TPC -- The Phone Company. I feel like Dr. Sydney Schaefer, the titular President's Analyst who becomes convinced that everyone is spying on him, that all the spy agencies, and at their heart The Phone Company are out to get him. Back in 1967 we laughed at the film. It was an absurdist spoof. Today we seem on the verge of making it real, of making The Phone Company immune to prosecution, immune to civil suit, immune to inquiry as they secretively spy on us at the whim of a President whose lawyers tell him he is above the law or perhaps he IS the Law..
But, there you are. There you stand. Son of an FBI agent, Senator and Nuremberg prosecutor. Dark horse in a Presidential race where one freshman senator criticizes another for lack of experience. And while they thump their tubs, you stand and speak and act for the Rule of Law. Thank you Senator. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. As the descendant of a Scot who came to this country in chains, condemned to indentured servitude for standing against a self proclaimed "Lord Protector", only to win his freedom and settle in your home state, I thank you.
Thank you for remembering how hard fought our freedoms and privileges are in this country, thank you for standing for the the Rule of Law. It's not glamorous. It will not win you friends. It probably does you little good on the campaign trail. It will not endear you to K Street or to the leaders of your party. But thank you, and may Providence bless you.
A free voice