To Karl Rove (and others who prefer to revel in despotic America)
Well, Mr. Rove, I see you’ve done it again! Late last month you stated that President Bush and the Republican party understand the nature and gravity of the current threat to America, but that “the same cannot be said for many Democrats.”
So how come 9/11 happened on your watch?
On the contrary, most Democrats understand that America should feel threatened when you, an official under investigation for breaching national security by leaking a covert intelligence agent’s identity, continue to have a major strategy role in the governing party.
When you gave your half-hour speech, you said you wanted “civility” in politics. Then you just lambasted Democrats. I think you really meant “servility!”
I know you and your apologists don’t like to hear this, but now, as before, your demagogic pronouncements are closer to those of the monarchist of colonial Great Britain, the Nazis or the communists of mid-20th century Germany or the Soviet Union, than they are to the way we have conducted ourselves in this country since its founding.
So let me explain some fundamental things to you, which you and your fellow destroyers of the American way apparently don’t get.
The president said again “we are winning!” He was referring to his purposeful war in Iraq. But, Mr. Rove, America is not winning. During the last three years, America has been losing its moral standing and its historic identity, courtesy of your political machine. Liberals and most Democrats understand that, Mr. Rove. The same cannot be said for you and many Republicans.
When you said last month “the United States faces a ruthless enemy and we need a commander-in-chief and a Congress who understand (this),” you obviously don’t understand that what has defined us as a nation is civil liberties and the trust that citizens have in their leaders’ devotion to the rule of law, and that the Bush administration is destroying these using its own political weapons of mass destruction.
The president’s arrogant assertion that he has the power to selectively execute laws passed by a constitutional co-equal branch of government is plainly and simply an assumption of totalitarian authority. His insistence that he is “within the law” to circumvent (he doesn’t like that word) the federal statute that already gives him sweeping authority to eavesdrop on American citizens with the approval of a secret court is likewise reminiscent of Hitler’s and Stalin’s exercise of unbridled power.
A few words define the central meaning of the American experiment that began more than 200 years ago, Mr. Rove. They are individual rights, liberties and that aforementioned rule of law. Our revolutionary war was fought to secure these rights. A bloody civil war was fought to preserve them. Our parents’ and grandparents’ generation fought to sustain them. Liberals and most Democrats understand that. The same cannot be said of you and many Republicans.
You need to be reminded, sir, that when we declared our independence from a nation that would impose tyranny upon us, we declared that among certain unalienable rights were “life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The monument at the mouth of the Hudson River does not symbolize an American world order; it is a statue symbolizing LIBERTY.
When we put our right hands over our hearts, we pledge allegiance to one nation “with LIBERTY and justice for all.”
When we sing Samuel F. Smith’s “America,” we sing about our “sweet land of LIBERTY,” and to “let FREEDOM ring.”
Our national anthem refers to the “land of the FREE.”
Katharine Lee Bates, a Wellesley instructor more than 100 years ago, wrote another soulful American anthem, “America the Beautiful.” It contains these lyrics: “Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy LIBERTY in LAW.”
And in 1945, Frank Sinatra memorialized Earl Robinson and Lewis Allan’s purposeful definition of America in “The House I Live In,” singing of “the air of feeling FREE, the right to speak my mind out, that’s America to me.”
Liberals and most Democrats understand these American attributes, Mr. Rove. The same cannot be said of you and many Republicans.
The president keeps insisting that national security requires that he employ his liberty-subverting acts. So, too, did other kings and dictators rationalize their abridgments of citizens’ freedoms. But when one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, saw this kind of behavior, he warned that “Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Mr. Bush, who twice took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” is undermining that document with his war on liberty.
Some 50 years ago newsman Edward R. Murrow, fighting McCarthyism’s similar destructive thrust against the country, reminded us that “we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”
You and many Republicans do not understand that, Mr. Rove. Liberals and most Democrats do.
– Michael Zucker is a stock broker from South Lake Tahoe. He has lived here for eight years.
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