Unchecked Power is Not Your Reward for Being Elected

I’m still fuming over watching the East Tennessee Conservatives, especially David Oatney, rake Coble over the coals (and question her religious sincerity) because she dares point out that Stacey Campfield is an elected official and, as such, has still to follow the rules of the State and Country and can’t just do whatever the hell he wants and never get called on it.

Unchecked power is not your reward for being elected.

Sadly, the amount of folks who don’t understand this is not limited to the meaner portions of the East Tennessee conservative bloggers.  Check this story.  Finally, Wiccans who serve and die for their country will be able to have a pentacle, an important religious symbol to them, on their gravestones.

Why, when thirty-eight other religions have their symbols represented did Wicca not?

Americans United’s attorneys uncovered evidence that the VA’s refusal to recognize the Pentacle was motivated by bias toward the Wiccan faith. President George W. Bush, when he was governor of Texas, had opposed the right of Wiccans to meet at a military base in that state. Bush’s opinion of Wiccans was taken into consideration when making decisions on whether to approve the Pentacle. [emphasis mine]

Hello, America?  Are you made of idiots? George Bush is a powerful man, yes, but he is the President of the United States; he’s not the king; he’s not the supreme dictator.  It doesn’t matter if George Bush personally hates Wiccans; you don’t get to take that into account when deciding whether to approve their religious symbol for use.  He’s just the President.  He’s not guaranteed a country in which he will never encounter anything he finds unpleasant or offensive.

Anyway, congratulations to the Wiccans.

9 thoughts on “Unchecked Power is Not Your Reward for Being Elected

  1. The republic is all but dead. I believe we stuck our toe in the Rubicon in December of 2000, and we crossed that symbolic river in 2004. But have no fear: there will be Big Macs aplenty for years to come. Who needs democracy when you have the freedom to shop at Wal-Mart?

  2. Who needs democracy when you have the freedom to shop at Wal-Mart?

    Comment by Church Secretary — April 24, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

    Kill me now, please.

  3. I dunno, I’d have to know more before I get too outraged. But then, I’m not a Wiccan.

    Sounds like a case of some people hearing their boss mention a preference and then deciding on their own to follow that. He may just be the president, but he’s also the boss of the people that make that call.

    Now if he was active in the decision process I’d be upset with him. But if it was just some general saying “Let’s not piss off the president.” then not so much. I’m not blaming George unless he was an active participant.

  4. Hmm. I don’t know, W. I think that even if he wasn’t an active participant in the decisionmaking on this one, it’s good evidence of the culture of… fear isn’t exactly the word here, but it’s good enough. Or maybe deference. Anyway, this particular presidential term (even more than the one he served before) has been marked by a lot more of this language. The ‘oh, the President wouldn’t like that, so we’re not going to do it,’ or the ‘the President feels very strongly about this issue, so we’re going to shoehorn it in even when the event has nothing to do with it.’

    Of course, that sort of thing happens in any term, in any organization… but it seems to be particularly prominent here and now. I think it’s actually a two-part problem. It’s not just that the man leads like a dictator (which he does, linguistically at least), nor is it just a rash of overexcitable underlings (which there are). It’s that combination – a leader who is not afraid to push his own personal agendas (even to the point of sabotaging his political agenda, or that of the party attached to him) and a bunch of people with superficially similar goals and really good bootlicking skills. It doesn’t hurt that he doesn’t seem to be the brightest tack in the box either.

    When you put all that together, you have a perfect atmosphere for a lot of ‘oversights’ like this. Ambitious staff do what they want, wrap it in the right language, and float it by a man who may or may not really be listening. Since it’s what he wants (or what they percieve he wants, or would want if he cared), it doesn’t raise a ripple; after all if it were an issue he truly cared about, he’d probably do the same thing himself (or something more draconian). Then you’ve got a comfy layer of plausible deniability – “well, we didn’t ask him directly, we just listened to the loudly pointed comments he made and took initiative from there” – insulating unscrupulous people on both sides (“What? I never said anything about that! Surely, he must have misheard me…”).

  5. he’s also the boss of the people that make that call.

    No. I am the boss of those people. And you are the boss of those people. And B….etc.

    We’ve got to get back in the mindset of government being in SERVICE to us not in CONTROL of us. Bush is just yet another rich guy who couldn’t get a better job, so we hired him to run the country for awhile.

  6. Here’s an interesting question – is Bush their boss but your servant? or are they all the ‘voters’ servants? I don’t know – but ya’ll all seem to either be capable of just telling me or of being able to find out.

    Maybe I should close my cross-atlantic mouth and read something else…

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