By Richard Girard
"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true."
Demosthenes (c. 384-322 B.C.), Greek orator. Third Olynthiac, sect. 19 (349 B.C.)
What is it going to take for the American people to say, "We have had enough," George W. Bush wiping his ass with the Constitution on prime-time television? Judge Samuel Alito has been confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and our Constitution is on life support. Control of our ports is being ceded not only to foreign corporations, but also to corporations that are owned by foreign governments.
As a nation, our most grievous fault, our most glaring weakness, is that we have not found a way to insure the active participation of our citizens in our nation's governance. Little more than fifty percent of those eligible to vote for the office of President do so. Anytime we have fewer than 150 million voters' turnout in a general election, it is a stinging indictment of the non-voting citizens' indifference to our democracy.
Many American conservatives particularly neo-conservatives like Justice Antonin Scalia and his fellow members of the Federalist Society (Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Hatch, and Starr come to mind) tell you that the Constitution has no guarantee to either a right to vote or any expectation of an inherent right to privacy. These crypto-fascists' contempt for the majority of Americans, and that American majority's inalienable rights, is matched only by their unholy desire for greater personal power and wealth at our expense.
We are deluding ourselves to believe that any of our rights will long survive without our immediate and continued attention. The opposite of love is not hate: it is apathy. You cannot love your country if you do not give it, and its political processes, your regular and concerted interest.
Unfortunately, liberals, progressives, and other supporters of our civil liberties seem to be fighting this battle with little help from the Democratic minority in Congress. These Democrats the titular heirs of Jefferson, Madison, FDR, and Truman appear to be nothing but pathetic examples of the worst sort of craven, self-serving human beings imaginable. Perhaps the carefully engineered electoral defeat of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004 has left them frightened that the same thing might happen to them, leaving the Democrats without any means to maintain "party discipline." I personally believe that Senator Daschle's presence, as Minority Leader would have provided the requisite party discipline for a successful filibuster against Samuel Alito.
These soi-disant political heirs to John F. Kennedy have forgotten the central theme in JFK's Profiles in Courage: that real courage in politics demands a principled, consistent stand against the pressures of colleagues or contributors, regardless of personal cost.
Since the mysterious death of Senator Paul Wellstone, the Senate has lacked an effective, consistent voice for democratic principles. Meanwhile, Hastert, De Lay, and the other Republican power brokers (with the complicit help of the main stream media), have effectively muted progressive voices in the House (e.g. Dennis Kucinich and the Black Congressional Caucus).
This climate of fear, and its attendant destruction of our nation's moral fortitude, is not limited to the Congress. The Busheviks have also effectively used fear to keep the American people docile. For anyone just waking up to what is occurring, let me enumerate some of the ways this has been done:
1. During the 2004 election, every time George W. Bush lost ground in the polls against John Kerry, the terror alert level was raised to "Orange."
2. The sudden appearance of a new communique' or tape from Osama bin Ladin or al Zawahari drives all other news off the television, radio, and newspapers.
3. Bush and his minions used lies about the existence and/or potential of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's) together with a plethora of lies about the relationship between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein as justification for an attack on Iraq.
4. With the revelation that these were lies, the Busheviks have brought forth a whole new series of reasons for conquering and staying in Iraq. We have been told that "we are fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we don't have to fight them here," and that "we are bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people. The terrorist attacks in Madrid and London demonstrate the lie of the first, the incipient civil war in Iraq the rationalization of the second.
We should have believed and been alarmed George W. Bush when he opined in his first Presidential campaign "This would be much easier if this were a dictatorship, providing I'm the dictator." He must have learned the value of fear from his predecessor, Richard Nixon, who once observed that, "People react to fear, not love they don't teach that in Sunday School, but it's true." This is a cynical belief shared by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and every other totalitarian ruler in history, at least as far back to Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the man who pushed the Roman Republic over the precipice.
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