Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's Watergate, Act II

Not "Watergate Revisited," but "Redux" - those in that same group of Republicans who got away, and their thirty years of working between power grabs.

At Digby's:

flipping thru the a.m. shows, i'm not sure he's [Rove] gonna have to work too hard at all. the domestic spying story was quickly dumped for the duke rape story, who won on idol and the club fire sentencing. move along.

bkny | 05.11.06 - 8:17 am | #

Then we're going to do what it is that we in the blogosphere do best; we're going to drive the story for weeks and months until the MSM is shamed into reporting it. Remember Deborah Howell, WaPo and the Abramoff lie ("He gave to Democrats, too")? It's frustrating, infuriating, and it just plain frosts my cookies, but nobody said that democracy was easy.

At my website, I keep this Abbie Hoffman quote up close to the banner to remind me and keep me going: "Democracy is not something you believe in or a place to hang your hat, but it's something you do. You participate. If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles."

When that doesn't work, I harken back to the darkest hours of the Nixon years.

When Nixon was reelected in '72, after the Pentagon papers were published, and after the Watergate break-in, and after the discovery that one of the 'plumbers' who broke into the DNC offices at the Watergate had deposited a $25,000 check into his bank account that had originated as a donation to the Committee to ReElect the President, I didn't know how I was going to continue living in a country where my fellow Americans were so monumentally stupid and my President was so corrupt. It took another 2 years, but we got him out.

Our mistake was that once Nixon was gone, we thought it was over. We thought that Nixon was the anomaly, just a bad egg. We thought that what had been out of balance was due to a criminal element - Nixon. We thought that we could all get on with our lives, trust that there were equal numbers of progressives, liberals, who were actively involved in running the government and would keep the conservative influence in check. In balance there could exist a dynamic debate. We trusted that there were good Republicans and the "cancer on the Presidency" (Nixon), once surgically removed, the patient (America) could go on to live a healthy and fruitful life. We trusted that the system worked with only minor attendance from We, The People. It doesn't.

We didn't know that the cancer had metastasized. Neither did the "good Republicans," if there really are any. I don't believe anymore that there are any. I remind myself that in spite of their personability and intellects, moderate Republicans like Rockefeller gave us some of the most draconian drug laws the nation has ever seen. And "honest conservatives" like Barry Goldwater wanted to drop nuclear bombs on Viet Nam.

We, the People didn't realize that as soon as we were getting on with our lives, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were running Gerald Ford's administration, and pardoning Nixon. That's where the seeds for Rove's planned midterm election campaign strategy comes from: "Our long national nightmare is over" and "Hasn't the nation been through enough?" = "Put Democrats in power and you'll swear you must be dreaming, and that it's 1974 all over again" and "Put Democrats in power and they're going to do to Bush what they wanted to do to Nixon, but never got to (because Gerald Ford was such a wise and gentle man)" and "They will take this country down the path of never ending hearings because THEY'VE GOT NO IDEAS!" This is going to be like the end of fireworks' shows on July 4th, when they throw up everything that they've got left at the end.

What we're seeing today in Washington, in this Bush White House, has its' origin in the Nixon White House. It's the same people with the same agenda. It's the military industrial complex and empire for oil, taking resources by force, all for the enrichment of the few. This is what happens when you put off for tomorrow what you should have done today, or in this case, in 1974. This is what happens when there is no closure.

We've made many mistakes, but not holding Republicans' feet to the fire is one of the biggest. Republicans have counted on liberals' humanity, maturity, generosity and compassion to let them get away with murder. That is the one thread that runs through all Republican rhetoric. You can hear it in their anger over Viet Nam ("We could have won it") and in their hatred of liberals "Liberals would give milk and cookies to the terrorists.") We somehow have in the back of our minds that absent conflict with outside enemies, if America was secure and safe from foreign threats, Republicans and Democrats would be great friends because we are all Americans. It wouldn't happen.

The threats and violence that drives Republicans to arms and torture comes from their pasts, their upbringing. There is a deep, collective wound, and shame, running through Republicans' rhetoric, and it's the source of their bullying. It shows in how they govern. Their policies aren't people-friendly; they're 'separative.' It comes out of the angry fantasies of powerlessness of children who have been raised in non-nurturing, abusive families. These are wounded children who have become hard-hearted as a defense, and abusers themselves because that's what was modeled for them early on.

Do I want to give them milk and cookies, and get them into therapy? No, I don't. It wouldn't work. They aren't motivated to go into therapy. They don't believe they have a problem; everybody else is the problem.

I do want, however, to get them out of positions of power where they are able to do permanent and irrevocable damage to every living thing on the planet. Their judgment has proven to be worse than poor and they can't be trusted. The question that most Americans are wrestling with about Bush and the Republicans is "Who and what are they serving?"

Fair people, we Americans. Most of us have been bending over backwards trying to give Bush and Republicans the benefit of the doubt. Most Americans don't involve themselves in the minutiae of day-to-day governing and policy. When we vote, it's for "Who is going to be the canary in the mine? Since we all have to drink the water, breathe the air, eat food, all we need to do is put somebody in charge of it all who seems to have enough sense to know that." We didn't. Or, those of us in the red states didn't. They voted for people who, once in office, have used the power to finance their own trip to higher ground.

That's the real secret of this administration that nobody talks about. We talk about Bush as a failure based on what we think he is trying to achieve. In the Republicans' own measure of assessment, the corporate model, they are wildly successful. They've earned massive profits for their 'shareholders.' That is all they have ever wanted. "Just give me the money, I'll invest it on my own." Cheney's retirement package from Halliburton telegraphed where this administration was taking us - it's the only way that he could control how he was going to get that deferred income.

Republicans don't respect that which they don't understand, and there's damned little introspection and self-analysis going on there. It's like hearing juvenile delinquent teenagers justify knocking over a liquor store; they will find a reason that justifies breaking the law for something that they want. And Republicans perceive their "wants" as "needs." They get bolder and more brazen each time they pull off a 'liquor store job.' Republicans are like children with no clear boundaries, and we liberals have stood around, shocked and awed, and wondered "Where are their parents? Why aren't the parents doing something about them?"

In this sense, Hillary is right: It takes a village. She just hasn't continued through with the metaphor. Probably because she has had her hands full with her own post-pubescent teen at home (Bill), confusing and embarassing her as to her role in his life. And his in her life. But that's another blathering rant for another day.

This blathering rant is about what to do now.

Americans don't HAVE the power; Americans ARE the power. There is nothing that we can't accomplish when we set our minds to it. The recent immigration protests and the fear that it struck in the hearts of those in Congress should give us hope. Nothing has come of it, but that's because those in Congress are not gifted legislators and did not go there to serve the nation's interests - they don't know what to do.

We really have to stop accepting that these are well-intentioned public servants. For the most part, they are not. On both sides of the aisle. Most of the Democrats in Congress are indistinguishable from the Republicans, particularly in the Senate. We need to understand that our responsibility doesn't end with getting Republicans out of power. We have to participate at all levels of government, actively guarding the institutions and not leaving it to others. We have to clear out our own house, too.

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