In all of the coverage of the Schiavo fiasco across the liberal blogosphere, I’ve seen a lot of outrage (as well there should be) and a lot of frustration (as well there should be) and a lot of shock (as well there should be) with the government’s astonishing decision to get involved. What I haven’t seen is much mourning for how truly tragic a day it was for the American democracy.

I have been called a conspiracy theorist, a pessimist, a radical, and every name in the book for sounding alarms about what this administration is doing to our country, and yet, yesterday, we saw the legislative branch acting against the will of the people (by a significant majority, according to any poll one reads) at the behest of the executive branch to supercede the decisions of the judicial branch. Two fundamental breaches of the major tenets of democracy—overtly acting against the will of the people and a complete disregard for our system of checks and balances. And bear in mind, this was indeed a bipartisan decision.

I despair for the future of America that the trust between the people and our elected representatives is regarded with such apathy by the former and treated with such contempt by the latter. Opportunism has always been a part of the political landscape, but never has it come at the price of sacrificing the very principles of democracy; never have the precepts upon which this country was founded been subverted with such cynical proclamations of goodness when the motivation was sheer avarice, the unmitigated desire to retain power at all costs.

Yes, that is reason to be outraged, and frustrated, and shocked. But it also reason to grieve. That in which we believe, that love of country and democracy which motivates us each day to do what we do, to inform ourselves and others, is slipping away from us, and in large part, we react with the jaded sense that nothing really surprises us anymore. The resignation to such insufferable behavior is frightening.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, call me a pessimist, call me a radical, call me every name in the book. But it doesn’t change the reality that we are on the brink of losing that which is dear to us, perilously close to going over the edge, where the damage to our democracy becomes irreparable.

America is so big, and more importantly, so wealthy, that the average American experiences little difference in his or her day-to-day life regardless of who is president. It takes so very, very long for the reality of bad (or good) policy to affect personal circumstances—and even then, often such changes are untraceable for those who are not immersed in politics. Most people do not see, nor care about, the changes that are happening in our government; most people wouldn’t believe you if you tried to tell them. By the time they “get it,” it will be too late.

So what are we to do? We’ve recently discovered our ability to push stories into the mainstream media. It’s really our only chance. We must repeat over and over and over again that we will not let this stand; we must point out that this maneuver was not simply foolhardy or politically expedient, but in fact seditious; we must identify those who seek to destabilize our system of checks and balances as the treasonous opportunists that they truly are; we must make noise. There are traitors among us, but it is not we on the Left, who rightfully question bad policy and are branded as such for our refusal to toe another party’s line in furtherance of the mindless nationalism they substitute for new and good ideas. It is instead the ruling party, who promote a radical ideology wrapped in a flag that used to stand for the very principles they disdain. We must recapture that flag from these scornful interlopers, and with it, everything it is meant to represent.

We must make noise about their intentions, before it is too late.

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