Yesterday, the Senate began hearing on the Bush Administration's latest attempt to justify unchecked executive power in the name of "The War on Terror."
Ironically, the man sworn to be the highest law enforcement official in our country, the Attorney General, is the one saying things like "We believe it's not illegal." Since when did legality come down to a question of belief? There's this law, see. It says "In order to wiretap Americans phone calls you need to go to a special FISA court and get a warrant."
Now, FISA almost never says no. Also, you can apply for a warrant AFTER you have performed the action, so it's not like you have to stand around with your Presidential Thumb Up Your Almighty Bum while you wait for Terrorists to make plans. But apparently, the Bush team decided that this law didn't work for them, so they essentially decided that they had to break it, out of either laziness or arrogance.
Now, if what they're doing doesn't work within the law, there are two things that need to be asked... 1) Should the law be adjusted to allow for new methods or 2) should they NOT be doing what is not allowed by this law, no matter their opinion of the situation.
Either you abide by the law, or you don't. This is the Bush creed.
Take their lies, for example. They are careful (or have been in the past) not to lie while under oath. That means whenever they have been questioned on a particularly dicey subject (like the 9/11 Commission) they do so in complete media blackout while NOT under oath.
Why would they do this? Because it's not against the law to lie. It's against the law to lie under oath. They nailed Clinton about lying under oath and had the man impeached.
Bush had the gall to stand before the press and say "I DID break the law, and no one can stop me, because this country is only as free as I allow it to be."
If we take that lying down, the frail illusion of representative government and laws that matter to ALL Americans will be utterly shattered.
Bush has no shame. We have to shame him.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.