The Expansive Misrepresentation
This divisiveness is, indeed, rather dramatic as you can easily tell by listening to this story from National Public Radio. Seriously, if you have any interest in this at all, you should go to the story and click on the "listen" button underneath the title. Democrats and Republicans both are expressing their utter dismay, not to mention horror, at the bizarre expansion of powers the white house is seeking to achieve. I do not think it an exaggeration to say that the precedent being set here could impact the nature of government in this country for decades to come. The executive cannot be permitted to simply decide for itself which laws apply to it any more than a police force can be allowed to simply decide that statutes prohibiting homicide or rape do not apply to them.
Yet, despite the gravity of the situation the Attorney General has been calmly insisting that the administration has done no wrong, and that it needs no Congressional approval. In this, Mr. Gonzalez is simply taking a cue from his boss, President George Bush, who has been pushing the program with the claim that he's done nothing wrong, and that claims to the contrary are preposterous. Given the number of folks in both parties who disagree, one has to wonder about Bush's rationale in offering such a bewildering defense. It seems almost impossible not to concede that Bush has no true leadership ability and is, instead, relying upon naked power and a twisted idea of his own importance. Indeed, given his performance over the past five years, one analyst has remarked that Bush's primary rules are:
...never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it...
This is exactly what Bush has been doing- keeping the public stirred up about terrorists, refusing to admit fault except in truly extreme circumstances, refusing to concede alternatives (i.e. his consistent claim that you are either with him, or with the terrorists), and, of course, that people will believe a big lie sooner than a small one. Our anonymous analyst does, indeed, seem to have a good handle on our current Commander-in-Chief.
There's just one little problem you should be aware of.
The quote from the analyst above is real, but he wasn't talking about President George W. Bush. As a matter of fact the analyst was a member of the World War II era Office of Strategc Services, and the quote is taken from a profile of Adolf Hitler.
Now, am I saying that Bush is as bad as Hitler? Oh no. Hell no. Hitler was orders of magnitude worse than Bush but what I am saying is that Hitler and Bush have something in common: the Big Lie. The "Big Lie" is a propaganda doctrine that argues, essentially, that telling the public a huge, preposterous lie, over and over, is more effective than trying to get away with little lies. This is for the simple reason that nobody can believe that someone would be so brazen as to tell such a huge lie, so it therefore must be the truth. Of course, such logic is rather poor, but that doesn't keep people from using it.
Bush is not a leader, he is not a great man, he isn't even a decent president. He is, in fact, a propagandist. He practices the Big Lie perhaps better than any other modern president and, as a consequence, has managed to wreak more havoc in the world than I think any of us would have believed possible. It is beholden upon all of us to resist his "vision" for the world, and we must fight his Big Lie, with the only weapon that can possibly contest it: the Big Truth.
Otherwise, the future we face is too terrible to contemplate.
As a side note: Woo-hoo, hyperbole! Just cut me some slack, okay? We all have our off days.