by E. J. Sieyes
This week those in the movement fifty years ago have suffered a loss, a prophet of the 60’s, the closest person we had to a patron saint of the Hudson Valley, and a true spokes-person for the interests of all the people. It is so ironic that coincident with Seeger’s death we also saw a State Of The Union address by someone who many of us hoped and believed would be the one president most likely to turn Seeger’s vision into reality. Yet now we see a president who most Americans believe to be the worst since Herbert Hoover. When we see what this president has and has not done, is there any wonder approval ratings are abysmal. No matter what someone felt about Harry Truman, people all admired his principle that he alone was accountable. Instead, today, we have a president who, rather than unite the people, ran the most divisive political campaign since Lyndon. No “Buck Stops Here” plaque on his desk – instead we see “Blame Congress” and “He Did It Too” excuses.
So what did we really hear, what is the real state of the union? Did we hear “The state of the union is not good, and it’s my fault.”? Did we hear “I sold out the government to the rich and politically powerful, and have become wealthy in the process.”? Did we hear “You elected me to serve you and I let you, the nation, and the environment down.”? We still have pressing questions – how can we plan for colonies in space when our government does not take real measures to protect and rehabilitate the environment, to shelter the homeless, and to deliver real healthcare to those in need?
Due process is a fundamental requirement that the government, its agencies, and its officials be accountable to respect the rule of law and all of the legal rights that are owed to a person. What we heard from a president who runs from accountability was that he would bypass established procedure in our Constitution to continue forcing whatever programs and policies he wanted, no matter how destructive these might be. Pete, the flowers are gone and the people have learned nothing – now more than ever we need Grassroots Democracy.