April 27, 2005

An American Heresy

Al Gore ...
Our founders understood that the way you protect and defend people of faith is by preventing any one sect from dominating. Most people of faith I know in both parties have been getting a belly-full of this extremist push to cloak their political agenda in religiosity and mix up their version of religion with their version of right-wing politics and force it on everyone else.

They should learn that religious faith is a precious freedom and not a tool to divide and conquer.

I think it is truly important to expose the fundamental flaw in the arguments of these zealots. The unifying theme now being pushed by this coalition is actually an American heresy -- a highly developed political philosophy that is fundamentally at odds with the founding principles of the United States of America.

We began as a nation with a clear formulation of the basic relationship between God, our rights as individuals, the government we created to secure those rights, and the prerequisites for any power exercised by our government.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident," our founders declared. "That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights..."

But while our rights come from God, as our founders added, "governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed."

So, unlike our inalienable rights, our laws are human creations that derive their moral authority from our consent to their enactment-informed consent given freely within our deliberative processes of self-government.

Any who seek to wield the powers of government without the consent of the people, act unjustly. [....]

Our founders understood that there is in all human beings a natural instinct for power. The Revolution they led was precisely to defeat the all-encompassing power of a tyrant thousands of miles away.

They knew then what Lord Acton summarized so eloquently a hundred years later: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." They knew that when the role of deliberative democracy is diminished, passions are less contained, less channeled within the carefully balanced and separated powers of our Constitution, less checked by the safeguards inherent in our founders' design-and the vacuum left is immediately filled by new forms of power more arbitrary in their exercise and derived less from the consent of the governed than from the unbridled passions of ideology, ultra-nationalist sentiments, racist, tribal and sectarian fervor -- and most of all, by those who claim a unique authority granted directly to them by the Almighty.

That is precisely why they established a system of checks and balances to prevent the accretion of power in any one set of hands -- either in one individual or a group because they were wary of what Madison famously called "factions."

Yet today that is precisely what a small group of radical Republicans is trying to do. And they threaten a fundamental break with a system that has served us well for 230 years and has served as a model for the rest of the world. [...]

The rules and traditions of the Senate all derive from this desire to ensure that the voice of the minority could be heard. The filibuster has been at the heart of this tradition for nearly the entire 230 years of the Senate's existence. Yet never before has anyone has felt compelled to try to eliminate it.

The proposal from the Senate majority leader to abolish the right of unlimited debate is a poison pill for America's democracy. It is the stalking horse for a dangerous American heresy that would substitute persuasion on the merits with bullying and an effort at partisan domination.
The speech delivered by Al Gore at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill for MoveOn PAC organization.

American would have been a better place if Al Gore would have become President rather than Bush being selected by a partisan court. Al Gore is the first person I ever voted for, I would vote for him again if he ever runs for office.

Go read the whole speech.


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