June 30, 2006

My rant on Republicans

I am a little calmer now, but this week has been a bit rough. In consideration of my earlier post, I can certainly hear those few Repubs who stumble across this blog accusing me of sour grapes.

I don't think that is the case. I really do feel that our country is out of whack--that our political system doesn't seem to operate correctly. I am not naive. I know our system has always been deeply flawed, but I have some sense that it has functioned better in the past. In fact, one of the best examples, oddly enough, came from the Republican party when they stood up to Nixon.

Now, the system seems to be about holding power, period, and our national dialogue seems deeply flawed. Turning on the news, I either hear a talk show host suggesting we allow the Bush administration to censor the media, or hear another one suggesting that the NY Times editor be executed. The only other alternative seems to be obsession with Britney Spear's pregnancy or Tom Cruise' insanity.

Perhaps I am obsessed with torture, but it seems to me that the issue reveals much about our sick political culture. We seem to have no concensus on basic human rights. We have numerous individuals across the country arguing that torture is reasonable when we fight a foe who beheads or blows up children.

I take out much of my anger on the conservative church, but that is because it is so very close to me. Knowing all of those people, I am simply stunned that good Christian people could now use an "ends justifies the means" defense of torturing suspected terrorists, or even threatening to torture their children (NPR story on torture).

But beyond the church, if we no longer value actual political discussion, I fear we are slinking toward fascism. Not that Bush is Hitler or even close. He isn't. And for all my fears, I really don't think that any of these people are really bad people. That is the danger of our system. When our political dialogue degrades--when we can't even oppose torture without being accused of being unAmerican--when people advocate executing journalists, or fragging politicians, or censoring the media--then we are in trouble. And while Bush may be well-intentioned (something I truly want to believe), not everyone is.


zalm said...

The Hamdan ruling was a bit of good news, though. I mean, aside from the part where we shouldn't really need the Supreme Court to tell us that treaties are tantamount to law, the president is supposed to follow the law, and that the executive branch isn't just allowed to create its own system of justice.

Now if only Justice Stevens can stay alive for a few more years...

If you're looking for something to check out on emusic, give Mark Erelli's "Hope & Other Casualties" a listen. The whole album's good, but the one you need to hear right now is "Seeds of Peace."

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting factoid. I have been using my time this summer as I travel across the country reading de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. It's astonishing how much of the American character remains the same 170 (or so) years after his visits.

One thing that is sharply different is the intermingling of church and state. When de Tocqueville wrote he marvelled at the restraint of the clergy. They seemed to take pride in not mixing religion and politics. The rest of the nation seemed to feel the same way.

I wonder how different our world would be if that element of the American character had stayed the same.