Mission accomplished.

January 24, 2009

This is another brilliant piece of writing by Bill Marvel, about whom I have enlightened my readers in an earlier post.  This column appeared in the January 19th edition of the Conway Daily Sun, and it is nothing short of brilliant.  Enjoy!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
by William Marvel
Conway Daily Sun
Monday, January 19th, 2009

Tomorrow ends one of the gloomiest epochs in American history.  The most cynical, selfish, and shortsighted presidential administration in 220 years will conclude just as it began, with most of the country’s population opposed to its occupation of the White House.  Now others must begin the enormous task of reparing the pervasive damage George W. Bush has done to our environment, our economy, our international prestige, our future, and our national spirit.

Our deliverance does not come without further volleys of Republican hypocrisy.  Republicans who lambasted Al Gore for his legal challenge to the close results of the Florida election now put their last hope in a legal challenge to the close results of the Minnesota election, straining to at least delay any increase in the Senate’s democratic majority.  Republicans who declared Bush’s one-percent margin a “mandate” in 2004 now belittle Barack Obama’s 53-to-47 percent victory as “not that significant” – studiously forgetting that Abraham Lincoln’s resounding 1864 triumph barely gleaned 55 percent of the popular vote, and that Andrew Jackson’s legendary landslide of 1828 only reached 56 percent.

Although he shows little regard for history, and even less knowledge of it, Bush appears belatedly concerned about his historical image.  To resuscitate his miserable environmental record, for instance, he lately transformed many leagues of the Pacific Ocean into national monuments – but only because the energy tycoons of his coterie have no practical means of exploiting the resources there.  Meanwhile, he spent his final days in office auctioning off mining and drilling concessions in some of our more precious domestic preserves, sacrificing historical and natural treasures for the sake of a few more months of fossil-fuel pollution.

In order to prevent embarassing revelations about the president or his associates, the Bush administration routinely disregarded the Presidential Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act, or any other law that might provide incriminating documents.  E-mails conveniently disappeared, in flagrant violation of federal statute, and in many instances their deletion represents the destruction of criminal evidence.

This unlawful secrecy ensnared even the pension records of the last surviving veteran of the Civil War.  Half a century after his death the Department of Veterans Affairs should release his records, but that requires a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act.  I filed such a request two years ago – but, six years into the Bush presidency, I was informed that there was a six-year backlog of such requests.  The old veteran’s pension file probably doesn’t hold very dangerous insights into the workings of the Bush-Cheney cabal, but letting more innocent FOIA requests accumulate by the thousands effectively buries the really damaging information.

Democrats, to their eternal discredit, assidiously avoided every opportunity to prosecute a president who smirked his way through innumerable offenses far more serious than hiding an extramarital affair.  Were every American truly equal under the law, Bush should have been impeached two years ago for violating federal statutes against domestic wiretapping and torture.  Bush and Cheney might even have been handed over to the Hague for war crimes.

Instead, hand-wringing Democrats cringe at the thought of “putting our country through such an ordeal,” just as they did in 1974.  That didn’t stop ruthless Republicans from frivolously impeaching a Democrat, and the Democrats’ perenial cowardice about impeachment only allows those Republicans to resume the attack with all the self-righteousness of the unindicted.  They are doing just that, too, by ballyhooing the investigation of one dubious Democratic governor to make the public forget Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley, Scooter Libby, Ted Stevens, all the pardoned Reagan-era criminals whom Bush re-appointed, and countless other Republican scoundrels.

Bush ultimately betrayed almost everyone.  His rapacious economic and foreign policies horrified even the traditional conservatives of the Republican party, including his own father.  Under the dishonest guise of compassionate conservatism, his cronies cultivated the worst elements of the Republican base.  Bush leaped blindly into the abyss of neoconservatism.  He enthusiastically embraced the apocalyptic world view of his fellow biblical literalists, whose primitive lunacy and enforced ignorance mirrors that of their fundamentalist Muslim counterparts.

Through their failure to control the renegades who hijacked the party, and their willingness to accept reckless leadership in return for electoral victory, Republican leaders forfeited any further claim on the loyalty of the American public.  Their party now represents almost no one but corporate hyenas, chauvinistic imperialists, and religious fanatics.  Those deplorable constituencies are all personified by that swaggering monument to unearned who starts back to Texas tomorrow afternoon.

William Marvel lives in South Conway.

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Another argument for dismantling the two-party system: This week, in Maine, that state’s supreme court overturned a lower court ruling “that said the state acted reasonably in keeping an independent on November’s U.S. Senate ballot. As a result [of the supreme court’s overturning of the lower court’s ruling], Independent Herbert Hoffman’s name will not appear on the ballot in the running with Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democrat Rep. Tom Allen.” You can read the rest of the story from which I’ve excerpted here.

Tom Allen (a Dem) must realize how tough it will be to beat out Susan Collins (the incumbent R), so all stops were pulled in an effort to grab as many votes as possible. The Dems felt threatened, apparently, by this independent upstart, so they shoved the Maine Supreme Court into their pockets, started jumping up and down about some technicality in how Hoffman collected his signatures or some such nonsense, and got this poor bastard kicked off the ballot.

Apparently, Hoffman intends to appeal the decision further, as well he should, if not in an effort to revive his (quite certainly) doomed campaign, but to stand up for the idea of democracy, and to represent the will of those 4,000 folks who signed the petition that put him on the ballot in the first place.

Here’s an idea – let’s completely disassemble both the Democratic and Republican parties. And, for good measure, the Greens and the Libertarians and every other political party fighting tooth and nail for ballot access in this country. Make everyone run as an independent. Everyone gets a fair shot. Let’s level the playing field, so that we are voting for a candidate, not for a party. No more DNC or RNC. Let’s get back to the idea of “whoever gets the most votes wins,” not “whoever is left over from the nearly meaningless primaries race and has the slickest and most well-funded campaign wins because the American people who bother to vote are blinded by their allegiance to a political party.”

This is what I’m sick of – people who just as quickly as they can shit will move their zealous allegiance from one candidate to another for the sake of the Party. So, it really doesn’t matter WHO we put on the ballot, does it? There is a guy who lives near me who is so ultra-Republican, whose lawn and vehicle are completely covered in candidates’ signs, stickers and such (we all know people like this), and who I sincerely believe would vote for a poodle if one were nominated for the GOP ticket.

Many people here in the blogosphere and in my day to day life know how I am torn about whether or not to take part in the political process anymore. Some of these people, in their efforts to sway me one way or the other, try to extol the virtues of either Obama or McCain – and I know damn well that these same people would be just as fervently extolling the virtues of Romney or Clinton or (fill in the blank) or (fill in the blank) if the primaries had turned out differently than they did.

Maybe it’s because I don’t like religion or sports, but I just don’t get the whole herd mentality – and I’m afraid you dyed-in-the-wool pols seem to have it just as badly as the religious wackos and those annoying Red Sox fans that surround me up here in New England. Change the starting line-up of any baseball team, for instance, and people will still “love their team”. Why? Because they’re all wearing the same stupid looking jerseys? The ballot seems to be no different – just throw some name on there of some distinguished Senator, so long as they have an (R) or a (D) after their name.