He said, "You're entitled to your opinion, Mr. Harper, but, I can assure you, we take our oath of office very seriously here." I put up my hand and said, "Can I respond?" To which he said, "No, sir, you can wait till next week." Which I thought was kind of amusing, in that now he apparently takes for granted that I will be returning yet again.
Diane got up then and did some nice cleanup for me, telling the Mayor that she was certain that "Mr. Harper meant no offense toward you or this council." Her speech was really quite good. She's much better at speaking extempore than I am. I'd be lost without something written out in advance.
My next speech will be a response to his angry remarks. Meanwhile, here's the one that inspired them:
Good morning. I appear for the ninth time asking the Council to pass a resolution to impeach the President and Vice President of the United States.
Last week, after reminding us again that the Council still had no interest in passing this simple resolution, the Mayor added that an election was "around the corner," thereby suggesting that everyone simply overlook the crimes and corruption of the Bush administration and move on.
Frankly, I find this attitude so paradoxical as to defy understanding.
One can only imagine the public outcry if this apparent low regard for the rule of law translated into similar tolerance for crack dealers and prostitutes roaming Hemphill Street.
But when it comes to an equally stalwart defense of law and order as it applies to those in positions of power, apparently even the best among us are impotent.
Such an attitude lead one of the judges in the Nuremburg Trials to conclude that indeed there were enormous crimes, but there were no criminals. Why? Because so few people were willing to stand up and say, "No."
So the question is--how do we reach men like these, who never get blood on their hands, but who lay plans that result in the shedding of blood?
How do I convince you that by looking the other way, as you ask all of us to do, you are signing your approval of a system in which the law applies to some, but not to others? Petty thieves and prostitutes go directly to jail. The rich and powerful who advocate torture, who lie and cause the deaths of thousands, apparently get a free pass.
Plato said, "what is valued is practiced, what is not valued is not practiced."
I am just a commoner of the town. My voice doesn't hold nearly the sway with this Council that the gas drillers' voices do. But you. You are the keepers of the law. You are the law.
You can say all you want that you have no interest to speak out in its defense. By your silence, you can imply that you have no moral obligation to the Constitution. But I believe in doing so, you harm not only the citizens and this town, but you harm yourselves, as well. You don't know that, now. But you might one day.