This week has brought the American newscaster Keith Olbermann demanding the resignation of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then we have Nathan Brown’s call for U.C. Chancellor Linda P. B.Katehi (last seen here being shamed while on a perp walk to her car) today.
I wonder about the history of resignations. One imagines it goes back to court courtesies, and the roots are in the the Latin resignare. But in these cases, it’s not like asking a CEO to resign (in lieu of firing); it’s an statement of one’s own powerlessness: I must ask you (a mayor or Chancellor) to resign since only you have the power to take you from that office–it won’t come from elsewhere. Thus instead of impeachment proceedings in New York or a similar move by the Regents of the UC system, you have to rely on someone to fall on his or her sword. In any case, there must be an interesting history of this technique since it’s akin to prompting a confession of one’s failure (as opposed to simply removing from office) as more powerful indication of that failure’s truth.
While I’m at it, Glenn Greenwald is up with a post that captures a lot of what I’ve been thinking about this–it’s all of a piece with the militarization of local police forces, including campus police–all in the name of the safety and security of a populace to be cowed into submission. Thus we have the state of sovereignty as it operates today.