In Defense Of George And Abe
Last week, the nation celebrated President's Day Weekend to honor George as Father and Defender and Abraham as Savior and Emancipator of the Nation.
Yet today, I'm ashamed to say, our current Congress would surely have impeached Lincoln; and, at minimum, prepared a 'Writ of Impeachment' against Washington.
Lincoln, you see, suspended Habeas Corpus, declared martial law and amended the military draft to add a $300 buy-out. On the one hand, President Lincoln feared Southern sympathizers dispersed throughout the nation; and, on the other, his treasury was desperately depleted. Chief Justice Roger Taney declared his actions unconstitutional. Many Americans were detained for years, without trial; and NYC's Draft Riots exploded with the 1863 Conscription Act. Lincoln, at war to preserve the nation, acted in good conscience to do what he must, and for this we honor and revere him today.
Washington, fearful that frontier farmers were not paying taxes, led his troops against his own citizens in what we now call the Whiskey Rebellion.
Most certainly, present US House of Representatives leadership and Rockaway's own Congressmen Meeks and Weiner would have condemned Washington and Lincoln as human rights monsters; launched hearings and commenced impeachment hearings. Why do I suppose so???...ask Congressman Pete King, he's furious.
Just last week Speaker Pelosi rebuffed President Bush's request that the House pass the FISA Bill...a measure that gives the FBI authority to eavesdrop on known terrorists. The Bill already
passed by the Senate
would most certainly have passed the House as it was supported on both sides of the aisle, but Speaker Pelosi used a parliamentary measure to block a floor vote, and then left town!
Spending bills and policy legislation are matters where the House Leadership and the Administration might (and do) have severe disagreements, but FISA is a security measure adapting hi-tech against known terrorists to protect the US. Would not FDR immediately jump on FISA to listen in on Nazi spies, Lincoln on Southern sympathizers and Washington on Tories and the Crown? I mean, if a known terrorist was calling my neighbor across the street, I'd most certainly want the FBI to know posthaste...wouldn't you? Regrettably, thanks to House Leadership inaction & partisanship, FISA Authority has now expired.
And, unless you think our brighteyed local Rockaway Reps are mustering all their oratorical skill to condemn Speaker Pelosi on behalf of the nation, on behalf of the Founders, on behalf of President's Day, you'd be sadly mistaken. Last July, when FISA was last in the House, both Gregory Meeks and Anthony Weiner voted 'nay.' They were among a small dissenting minority that voted against FISA then and will undoubtedly vote against it now. Congress being out of session right now (honoring Lincoln), maybe Bush should unilaterally make FISA the Law of the Land...just as Mister Lincoln did 146 years ago.
So, the next time you see Congressmen Meeks and Weiner - palms on chest - saluting the Nation's Founders and Saviors, please recall what beats in their hearts.
PETER J. STUBBEN