CBS News Sept. 3, 2007
(The Nation) This column was written by Simon Prentis.
To those of us here in Britain, there is an Orwellian edge to the news that George Bush is invoking executive privilege to protect his policies from Congressional investigation. Just like that scene in "Animal Farm," when the newly-liberated animals start to believe that some are more equal than others, it sounds like the President of the United States has reverted to the divine right of kings. Wasn't that something you guys fought so hard to escape from? The phrase "I'm the decider" may have a certain folksy charm that Charles I would never have stooped to, but it's clearly coming from the same stable. And we should be just as suspicious of it now as we were then. I say "we," because even though you decided it was wiser to cut and run, risking all for a new life across the pond, those of us you left behind in the seventeenth century didn't like it any more than you did. Nobody does; it's humiliating to have to submit to someone who thinks he's unaccountable. We tried our hand at civil war, cut the head off our king and toughed it out for a while, but in the end our nerve failed us. And as we negotiated our shabby compromise with royalty, you moved the project forward with a nation devoted for the first time to the cause of liberty - leaving us to watch with an older brother's bitter blend of scorn and envy as his younger sibling threatened to outdo him. As, of course, you eventually did. And little wonder. With the dispossessed of every land flocking to your shores in search of life on a level playing field, you were a beacon of hope for those on the run from tyranny and oppression. France even sent you the Statue of Liberty, a gift to mark your first centenary, and a fitting symbol of what you represented to ordinary people everywhere. Fueled by the power of this American Dream, you were then the beneficiary ...full text