Ibi potest valere populus ubi leges valent.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 291)

Pron = IH-bee POH-test wah-LAY-reh POH-poo-loos OO-bee LAY-gays WAH-lent.

The people are strong in that place where the laws are strong.

Comment: "valere" means to be strong, not in the sense of force, but in the sense of health. The typicial Latin way of saying "goodbye" is to say "vale"--be well, be strong, be healthy.

So, our proverb might also be translated: the people are healthy in that place where the laws are healthy.

What does it mean for our laws to be healthy? Do healthy laws give power to officials, or do they protect the rights and freedoms of the people?

There have been frequent news accounts of late detailing how loopholes in the law have been used to allow the president and his assistants to search the mail of Americans; to appoint federal district attorneys without congressional approval, and statements by the attorney general indicating a belief that habeas corpus was never protected by the constitution.

For the first time in my life, as an American citizen, I fear that the protections of law that I have enjoyed all my life are being manipulated by those who would seize more power for themselves regardless of what that means to human and civil rights.

I know this won't be a popular commentary for some who receive this.
My intention is not to cause discomfort--at least--no more than those who make our laws weak.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive