For those interested in the quaint and apparently outmoded Fourth Amendment "rights" (i.e., "suggested conveniences") of American citizens at home and abroad, I recommend this little article by the always-excellent Glenn Greenwald, which caught my admittedly jaundiced eye due to its beautifully phrased title:
"Democrats' strategy: Strength through bowing,"
by Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com, July 10, 2008
One simply can't write the truth more clearly and succinctly than this:
Yet again, Democrats, in their never-ending quest to avoid looking "weak," engage in the precise behavior that guarantees that perception. ... Historians writing about the Bush era were given a great gift yesterday -- an iconic headline that explains so much of what has happened in this country over the last seven years:¡§Senate bows to Bush, approves surveillance bill¡¨
[The Democratic Party's] rationale for doing that is that it prevents the Republicans from depicting them as "weak," because nothing exudes strength like bowing.
In an equally perverse footnote to the recently concluded Democratic Party primary, the man who won because he wouldn't bow to Deputy Dubya Bush on the disastrous Iraq War, Senator Barack Obama, now bows to the reviled little lame duck in trashing American's constitutional right to security from government invasion of privacy; while the woman who lost because she bowed to the Shrub on the Iraq War, Senator You-Know-Her, now finds the spine to finally oppose yet more government assaults on our personal freedoms.
The cynical Tallyrand had it right when he noted that "Treason is a matter of dates." As with other popular political weasel words like "strength" and "weakness," what pandering politicians mostly do depends more than anything else upon WHEN they betray the people, not WHETER OR NOT they will do the betraying. As Senator Obama and You-Know-Her should both know only too well by now, the successful Democratic Party nominee for President only betrays the liberals who nominated him or her AFTER securing their money, enthusiasm, and organized support, not BEFORE. Bowing and scraping to reactionary Republican demands usually only results in Democrats losing the general election to Republicans, but if the craven capitulation begins too early in the campaign season, it can lose the Democratic Party nominating primary as well. Senator You-Know-Her may even realize this truth by now, as her recent vote against more lawlessness, warrantless wire-tapping by the President and his class of privileged corporate courtiers suggests. Too late the learning, of course, and totally ineffective the belated vote for the people's freedoms; but as profitable posturing for some future political campaign, it might just pay dividends.
Who knows? Barack Obama may even have taught You-Know-Her a thing or two about significant dates that determine the meaning of the words we use and/or abuse with such unexamined, licentious abandon.