Tuesday, March 20, 2007

68. An answer, an alleged error, a real error, and an abridged essay

First, there was a trivia question somewhere a few days ago. The answer is the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. One letter for each square mile. No, not really, but close. The island named Rhode is now called Aquidneck. But the island that was supposedly named for Luisa, the one-time Queen Mother of France and now called Block Island, was done so because the Giovanni de Verrazzano said it was about the size of the Island of Rhodes, the easternmost island of Greece in the Aegean Sea. I had two wonderful geography teachers, one in 4th grade at Prestonia (Miss Martin) and the other in 8th grade at Durrett (Mrs. Higdon).

Someone emailed me alleging an error. They were right, sort of, but got the error wrong. Yesterday I mentioned the Fourth Anniversary of George W. Bush's War in Iraq. They told me today (the 20th) is the anniversary. It was the 20th in Iraq when Bush's War of Identity started, but due to a difference in time zones, it was still the 19th here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River at Milepost 606. Where I did err, and for the exact same reason, was two entries ago when I said Spring would start at 12:07 early tomorrow morning. I even added "if I read the charts right." I didn't. It will start at 12:07 am in Greenwich, England, which will be 8:07 pm tonight here along the Left Bank. Mea culpa.

As to the War, whether one marks the occasion yesterday or today, the fact is it is entering its fifth year and it is time for America to end her occupation of a country seething in a civil war. Our mission there was to remove the Weapons of Mass Destruction, which was easy given they were already gone, and remove Saddam Hussein from power, which wasn't as easy but nonetheless has been accomplished. The time for the American occupation of Iraq should be over. The time has come to end America's involvement in a war on the other side of the globe, involvement for reasons known only to the egos of those in the junta controlling the residency of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The war has resulted in the deaths as of this writing of 3,219 Americans. How long can the politicians in Washington sign off on this mass murder of America women and men?

In November 2006 Americans went to the polls all throughout the Republic, electing as their trustees in the federal House of Representatives a number of new members. For many of these new members, their elections were made manifest by the actions of their respective opponents in the support of this war. Here in Kentucky's Third Congressional District, John Yarmuth defeated Anne Northup in large part due to her 91% support of the president. Very high on the list of reasons Yarmuth was elected was his constituents' opposition to the war, to its leader the president, and by extension the president's supporter, Mrs. Northup. (That and the fact that he had a very good field plan from early in the summer, a plan which was executed with near-exactness by his volunteer coordinator Ben Basil).

I believe the time has come for this freshman class of congresswomen and congressmen to come to terms with the power the voters granted them last fall. Further, there is a power in their numbers, a power which should be made clear to both the Speaker of the House as well as the Majority Leader at the other end of the building. There are axes of power in Washington, whether at the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, or the two ends of the Capital itself. That was in the days before partisanship had overtaken Capital Hill. Unfortunately, some Democrats in the Senate are re-creating the old rivalry of the two ends of the building, staying the course with the president on this war. It is to these leaders that the freshmen class of congress need to say in a loud, inerrant, and clarion call, "Enough!"

This Republic has a rule book. It is called the United States Constitution. Ask West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd about it if you have an hour or two to spare. While it is the Executive's prerogative to conduct a war, it is the Legislature's power to pay for it. The power of the pocketbook in Washington DC lay in Section 7 of Constitution. That privelege is granted to the House, and by amendment to the House's work, the Senate. A number of the people and voters of the Third Congressional District feel the time has come for Congress to use their Constitutionally granted power to either rescind or reauthoirze the authorization granted to the president in October 2002 paying for this war, or more aggressively, defund the future payment of the war.

There is no doubt that Louisville is being better served in Washington with the election of John Yarmuth to Congress. There is no doubt that those first one hundred hours represented the sort of change many of us sought for several years, and especially since the election of the current president. It is now time to move forward, from ideas to sound government, from sound bites to real leadership. This war must come to an end, if not this year since that has already been conceded, then next year. If the Congress is to get this done, they must start soon. A few entries back, I used Scarlett O' Hara's closing words from Gone With The Wind, saying we'll do something tomorrow.

President Woodrow Wilson once said "today's greatest labor-saving device is the idea of tomorrow." He also said, "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."

A plea to the Congress is "Please, don't forget the errand."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not just the war, in fact I was beaming with pride when I read that not only was John involved in the investigation regarding the manipulation of climate control information by this administration, but he was quoted in the LA Times!


The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.