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Mr. Bush, Will You Swear To Tell the Truth…?
22 March 2007

Thank you to the Lord who created all this
There's a whole lotta hurt before you get to the bliss
Why even Jesus Christ was betrayed by a kiss
But that was long before that he got in show biz
Well I understand the land and the land ain't no sea
But when I try to walk I'm sinking you see
                                                The Church

People who feel gravity – I mean, the gravity of situations – often find it very difficult to speak or write or draw something relating to the realities they face.  It becomes a matter of endurance, outlasting and fighting through the pain that forcing oneself to speak often brings on.

And it is often a matter of forcing oneself to speak.  Detractors immediately come to the fore: “Then shut up!”  The detractors, real or imaginary are always in the back of a writer’s head, an artist’s thoughts: Be quiet; who do you think you are?  What of any value at all do you have to add to any discussion on any topic of any weight whatsoever?

Oh yes, indeed.

People in positions of power and those who support them and feed from the scraps dropped from their tables are, quite often, the voices of detraction.  Last on their list of desired visitors to their orgy of manipulation and excess are those who have keen eyesight and those who feel things deeply, have a keen sense of intuition – or skepticism and suspicion.  Those with the upper hand will do everything in their power to hide what reality actually consists in from everyone else; they thrive on appearances usually constructed like a set design for a movie – they only want you to see the celluloid perfection, not the sawdust from the construction or the fact that the storefronts are all facades with no interiors.

I am convinced you will find this phenomenon in your personal life, in the life of your community, in the life of your nation if you choose to pay attention to it.  Of course, no one wants you to pay attention, and paying attention comes with a personal price.  Everything around you militates against taking the time to slow down and ask genuine questions of any sort.  Seeing an aspect of the truth others hide or refuse to admit is lonely business.  Sharing what you think you’ve seen is even more lonely.

To speak is to court error and it risks falsifying what you’ve experienced – our words never quite capture reality; at best, they point back in the direction of reality and say, “If you follow this trail, you, too will have a similar experience as I did – go and see for yourself.”

*                                                                              *                                                                            *

Will Karl Rove testify before Congress or not, and will he be under oath or not if he does show up?  These are the words in the mouths of every journalist covering Washington this week.  Will there be a conflict in the courts centering on the separation of powers?  Can Rove and the Bush White House legally ignore a Congressional subpoena?

My question is: What is the White House hiding?  I see the fašade – it’s an appeal to the good ole Constitution (a document this administration likes and then ignores by turns as it helps or hinders its hold on power).  But then I wonder: Where’s the sawdust?  Are there any rooms behind the storefronts in this movie, or is it all just for the sake of appearance?

“Executive Privilege!” comes the battle cry from the spokesmen for Bush.  Another fašade – more powerful sounding words that, in actuality are invoked more to cover something up than reveal any truth, perhaps?

I am inclined to think so.  We just got finished honoring President Gerald Ford, one of the few last presidents who will deserve any honors at their funerals.  One of the reasons we, as a nation, mourned his passing and showed appreciation is because of the manner in which he handled the Nixon disaster.  One of the things the President of the United States did in the midst of that filthy moment in American history he inherited was go before Congress, voluntarily take an oath, and testify that his pardon of Richard M. Nixon involved no quid pro quo.  He placed his honor and his reputation on the line, and his right to hold office, to go and speak the truth before Congress.

As he said in an interview a few years ago, “I had nothing to hide.”

And that about sums it up, as far as I’m concerned.  The matter at hand is not  matter of national security; it’s a question of finding out if Mr. Bush and Mr. Gonzalez are stuffing the Federal Prosecutors chairs with political appointees that might be inclined to do things such as, oh, not work very hard to put Scooter Libby behind bars on his appeal, not push to pursue cases against people like Duke Cunningham or Tom DeLay or Jack Abramoff, not investigate the Bush White House if any of its denizens appear to have committed crimes.  This is a matter of keeping our Federal system of justice equitable and independent of politics, and unless “National Security” has been completely redefined to mean “keep Republicans in power and excuse their illegal behavior when possible,”  this does not involve an issue that’s even debatable the advisors to our President are immune to a Congressional subpoena.

The precedent has been set: Gerald Ford set it.  When we need to get to the bottom of an issue that could potentially splinter the country even further than it already is, the President and all his men and women need to stand up and voluntarily speak the truth to the representatives of the people of the United States.  Under oath, on the record, recorded and transcribed.  In public – so there’s no question that the Bush Administration is lying, being evasive, presenting half-truths.   Since the representatives of this administration have continuously done just that for six years – lie, been evasive, presented half-truths – about very important matters, we, the people and our representatives, have the right to demand testimony under oath when possible, now, and Mr Bush and his people have the responsibility to comply.

The job of the President of the United States is not to do underhanded things and then pretend that the Day of Reckoning should never arrive.  If Bush wishes his administration to behave in an underhanded and unethical manner, then he ought to proudly parade it before us so we can see head on with whom it is we are dealing.

If Mr. Bush is actually going about things ethically, he needs to let us see with as much clarity as possible how proper and unsuspicious his activities are.  Why hide?

Does Mr. Bush have a right to privacy?  Absolutely – except when his actions directly affect the direction of the country.  Possibly packing prosecutorial positions with political hacks would qualify as something capable of affecting the direction of the country.  Any advice the president received concerning this matter and the advisors themselves, now that the appearance of impropriety has erupted, are open for scrutiny by the servants of the people – Congress.

The real question now is: Is Mr. Bush in government to serve the people, or to shore up his own power?





Richard Van Ingram
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