America: Moving Toward Lawless

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The Rule of Law in our great land has taken one heck of a beating in recent decades on certain fronts. Our Constitution has been violated and distorted in many ways to fit political and other ends. Even the people of this great land have only discretionary respect for the law; choosing which ones apply to them and which ones don't.

Small businesses abound which do at least part of their business on a cash only basis without receipts as a means of beating their fundamental obligation to society to pay their taxes. But who can blame them? Large corporations have their off shore accounts, politicians have their lobbyist and PAC benefits which permit them to dodge paying taxes on money used in their names. Illegal immigrants don't report and neither do their employers, which is a win-win for those involved in profiting from illegal immigration. So, who can blame small one person or family businesses for doing cash only business?

I can ! And so can another 100 million law abiding tax payers who pay their income taxes honestly and forthrightly believing in their nation and country and willing to pay their share to support her, protect her, and her future.

But, that is only a small part of the erosion of rule of law in America. I just returned from a Thanksgiving weekend driving trip to camp in the desert in Big Bend National Park. I drove interstate highway 10 where the speed limit is now a whopping 80 miles an hour. Not fast enough for many however, as my speed limit driving was passed by many others going 10 miles per hour faster or more. In the round trip of nearly 800 miles, I did not see one set of twirling red and blue lights issuing a motorist a citation along side the highway. How can a people have respect for the law when it is not enforced?

But, it goes much higher than this. Our Congress takes bribes for votes as a daily matter of governance. Our laws prevent the partners to the bribe, politicians and the lobbyists and special interest campaign donors, from uttering the 'quid pro quo' words that could make their bribery indictable. But, as biologists know, there are many ways to communicate on this planet with others without expressly using verbal language to spell out the contractual details. Anyone who believes this is going to change under Democrats control of Congress is going to be sorely disappointed. Campaign finance reform and real substantial lobbyist reform is not on their agenda.

The President too is part and parcel of this corruption of the rule of law in America, acting in part as King George of Great Britain did, where he made up his own laws if need be, and dispensed with Parliament's utterances if they disagreed with his wishes. This was known as the rule of men, (or woman, in the case of a Queen like Isabella of Spain) and it was a manner of governance which our founding fathers and colonialists fought a bloody Revolutionary War to overturn. But, it has been returning incrementally for decades with mechanisms like presidential signing orders used to dispense with the people's laws by Congress which the President decides should not apply to him.

This is not the first time men have tried to subvert the Constitution for personal gain or convenience. Sen. McCarthy in the 1950's bypassed the Bill of Rights to seek out Communists, labeled such, for nothing more than having associated with a person who espoused Communist beliefs. Pleading the 5th Amendment right to not testify if such testimony may in the eyes of the interrogator, incriminate the defendant, was construed and used as a signed confession to end a person's life of freedom and choice in America.

So, it was with some hope and respect that I read that U.S. District Judge, Audrey Collins, had struck down portions of the President's anti-terrorism order issued after 9/11. As Reuter's reports:

Collins found that part of the law, signed by Bush on September 23, 2001 and used to freeze the assets of terrorist organizations, violated the Constitution because it put no apparent limit on the president's powers to place groups on that list.

...Collins also threw out a portion of Bush's order which applied the law to those who associate with the designated organizations.

"This law gave the president unfettered authority to create blacklists, an authority president Bush then used to empower the Secretary of the Treasury to impose guilt by association," said David Cole of the Washington-based Center for Constitutional Rights.

The wheels of justice turn very slowly in America, partly by design, and partly by the plethora of litigation and crime omnipresent in our society. When it comes to government litigation the slow turning is largely by design. When it comes to common crime and punishment, it is largely a problem of a vastly under resourced legal system, that permits pedophiles for example, to walk free after their crime, for years on bail, while their lawyers impede the wheels turning, with all manner of delays and motions, which courts can only accommodate months later due to overloaded dockets.

Our judicial system is inadequate, and very inefficient, and, it no longer works better than in all other nations. It could work far better than it does if voters took this issue under consideration at election time. The sheer volume of violations of law from the office of the President to the thief seeking their next meth fix, is breaking down law and order in our country. And otherwise good American citizens are being habituated to observing some laws, while disregarding others on the basis of a kind of "socially acceptable" discrimination between laws which are to be taken seriously and those which are largely inconsequential.

The other half of the problem is the sheer volume of laws themselves. Our society has an astronomical number of codified rules of dos and don'ts. There are a goodly number of these laws which can and should be removed from the books; the kinds of laws which govern personal behavior which have little, to no impact, on anyone else other than the person violating that law. With the growth of our population has come an enormous growth in local legal jurisdictions and a disproportionate growth in the number of laws applicable to this, now dense, and highly mobile citizenry.

Millions of Americans now plow through our legal systems each year. Not only are the majority of their crimes costing our society directly in violence, property damage, and theft, but our law enforcement, penal system, and judicial systems are costing our society and citizens ever larger sums of money and frustration as the gross negligence due to inefficiency and state of inundation, grow. A nation of law that loses control of its laws and its citizen's obedience to those laws, is a nation heading toward a wall of frustration and loss of confidence by its citizens.

Such frustration and loss of confidence is precisely what motivated the revolt against King George and founded this new nation. Are we going to sit idly by and watch history repeat itself? Or, are we going to make demands as voters which politicians cannot ignore? Demands for a restoration of law and order in our great country are needed. Many Americans believe it is impossible to run a society this large and maintain law and order. For many others the broken system offers safe harbor for their own creative illegal activities too small or inconsequential to become an additional burden on the back of a legal system breaking down.

But, for the rest of us who, love this land, this nation, this dream, this heritage, and wish to preserve and enhance it for our children, the time to act is at election time: each and every election time. If your representatives are not making legal, judicial, and criminal reforms a top priority, and you love our nation, vote for a challenger instead of a status quo politician who would rather focus on reelection than on our nation's integrity and future.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 29, 2006 2:48 PM.

No End to Wasted Tax Dollars was the previous entry in this blog.

Iraq: More Quagmire is the next entry in this blog.

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