Friday, May 30, 2008

Trickle Down Theory

No, this is not a note on economic theory -- far be it for me to speak on that -- I'm still waiting for the trickle down to get to me since Ronald Reagan! Rather it is about the abuse of power in government and how that truly trickles down to the police officer and citizen on the street. We have been through eight long years of George Bush and we have seen the use of torture, Guantanamo Bay, secret prisons, the denial of Habeas Corpus and a president who signs so-called "signing statements" effectively exempting him from the law like they are going out of style. We have seen a president who marched this nation into a war with Iraq on the pretense that the country had weapons of mass destruction. When it was determined that no such weapons existed, the president was then seen and heard to make a joke about in at an annual press corp dinner. We have a vice president who states that he simply doesn't care about the fact that 2/3's of the American public don't think the war is worth it. What has all this got to do with police misconduct? A lot. The president has supreme power -- he truly is the top dog. But when the top dog decides he doesn't have to play by the rules, that he can simply ignore the constitution, that he and his cronies in the White House can be so arrogant that they make jokes about war one day and then declare they don't care what America thinks the next day, the model has been set. Not for all police officers, but for those officers who have an inclination anyway to use their power on the street illegally -- just because on the street, they HAVE THE POWER and are top dog. When the bar is lowered so much with regard to safeguarding human rights by those at the top of the system, when the constitution is looked at by those at the top as a problem in pursuing their policies, when those at the top think the law does not apply to them, those attitudes trickle down to the cop on the street who sees his badge and gun as his ticket to ride rough shod over citizens -- in fact, it gives them the green light to do so, believing they can get away with it. Then when citizens are confronted with these types of cops who have no respect for the law, who hear them lie under oath in court against them, many citizens begin to lose faith in the system, faith in the rule of law and faith in the court system. When citizens lose faith in our system, the very foundation of it begins to crumble. Let's hope that the foundation has not been damaged beyond repair. Let's hope the trickle down does not become a flood. Please make sure and vote for change this November.

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