The founding Fathers saw the U.S. Constitution as a dynamic document that would evolve and change over time. Writer and activist David Swanson believes we’re long overdue in getting to work on that.
In his new book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, Swanson tracks the gradual accretion of political powers in the office of the presidency—something that has been underway for most of our national history, but which accelerated markedly in the past eight years. In his analysis, that is dangerously undemocratic, but its hardly the only place in our national governance where that is a problem. Another is the U.S. Senate, particularly the convoluted procedural practice of the filibuster, which Swanson would like to see ended.
The calls for impeachment of Dick Cheney or George W. Bush or members of their administration have diminished over the past year, but Swanson notes that leaving office does not remove or even lessen their vulnerability to such charges. And he contends that pursuing impeachment against any of the potentially culpable former officials would serve the further purpose of reasserting the strength of the House of Representatives.
The politics of 2009 were sharply different from the years before, Swanson observes, as much of the activism that had mobilized against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan got caught up in the Obama campaign, and has not yet re-established itself. He speculates that the anti-war effort might actually be more effective today if John McCain had been elected instead.
David Swanson will be speaking at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa at 7 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 13, hosted by the Progressive Democrats of Sonoma County.