We have at the present time two government leaders, a president and a vice president, who, according to all available evidence, have carried out grave crimes. Will these two men leave office and live out their lives without being subjected to legal proceedings? Such proceedings will surely release new documents and provide additional testimony important in resolving their guilt or innocence. But the public record is now so elaborate, so detailed, and validated from so many directions that a weight is on the population’s shoulders: does our already existing knowledge of what they have done obligate us to press for legal redress?
The question is painful even to ask, so painful that we may all yield to an easy temptation not to pursue it at all.
This article has become a book!
MIT / Cloth / $14.95 / April 2010
A passionate call for citizen action to uphold the rule of law when government does not. Arguing that post-9/11 legislation and foreign policy severed the executive branch from the will of the people, Scarry offers a fierce defense of the people’s will as guarantor of our democracy.
Elaine Scarry, Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University, is author of On Beauty and Being Just and Rule of Law, Misrule of Men, from Boston Review Books.