Making Democracy Safe

Random Lengths News | January 11, 2006
On April 2, 1917 the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, requested a declaration of war from Congress saying that, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” The retort at the time by the noted Baltimore Sun journalist, H.L. Mencken, was, “Once the world is made safe for democracy, all that will remain will be to make democracy safe for the world.”

It would seem that our republic has made very little progress in the intervening years as our current President’s latest and greatest excuse for going to war is to make Iraq safe for democracy, something that was supposed to have been accomplished with the Treaty of Versailles. Even now, as the world watches yet another political scandal befall Washington’s insiders, with Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to counts of political payola, fraud and tax evasion, the ghost of Mencken may still be asking, “is our democracy safe for the world?”

This latest scandal comes close on the heels of Bush‘s admission of spying on the American public, but there are so many others that I have begun to lose count. First there was the stolen Florida election, then the Enron scandal, the manufactured California “energy crisis,” the fraudulent case for war with Iraq, the Valerie Plame outing, Haliburton’s no-bid war contracts, Abu Ghraib and prisoner abuse and torture, Tom Delay’s jerry rigging the Texas redistricting (and the money laundering scheme that made it possible), the Ohio election fraud, Bill Frist’s insider trading of HMO stock, the gutting of FEMA, and failure to prepare for a New Orleans Hurricane. Will we ever get to the bottom of all this before our “Born-again” savor George Bush pardons the whole lot of them before being impeached?

Of course Bush in his first campaign told us that he was going to bring integrity back to the Oval Office and sweep house after Clinton– the only problem is that Bush doesn’t know how to sweep and this administration is a house of cards, paid for by Indian casino cash, corporate kickbacks and graft. Things were much simpler when Clinton lied about getting a blowjob.

Then there is the collusion of all of my fine colleagues in the fourth Estate of the mainstream press who have been getting paid for twisting, hiding or inventing the truth. Recently it was revealed that the US military was paying to have stories planted in the Iraqi press–does the term propaganda come to anyone’s mind? That is what they call it when the government pays to plant the news. And the media executives are scratching their heads as to why their viewer ship and circulation are declining—can it be that people aren’t as dumb as the media suspects…or that it only takes an eighth grade reading level to figure out when the card game is rigged?

We have seen this all before—all it takes is the use of the war powers act or the use of a threat to “national security.” During WWI Congress passed the Espionage Act, which made it a felony to write or publish anything unpatriotic. Anyone of German ancestry was suspect. Only after the war, the one to make the world safe for democracy, did this law continue to be used on unions like the Wobblies, socialists and others who didn’t measure up to true blue American values.

During WWII the national security threat was used to incarcerate every Japanese-American (as well as a few Italian and Aleut Indians) living west of Tucson, in concentration camps until the war’s end. Our democracy was just being perfected I suppose, as these ethnic groups were not considered American enough!

After the Second World War heading into the Cold War the “Red Scare” of the McCarthy era brought us more repression of civil liberties against anyone considered “un-American”. This used under the threat that the “Russian were coming”. And the Vietnam War, too, had its day of infamy with clandestine military intelligence surveillance of any person or organization opposing that war or especially Richard Nixon’s illegal bombing of Laos and Cambodia.

Then, more recently, under the much-heralded reign of Ronnie “the great communicator” Reagan, we witnessed the Iran-Contra scandal with Ollie North’s Office of Public Diplomacy, which was just more of the same domestic propaganda. Here, too, political groups opposing the surrogate and illegal war in Nicaragua and El Salvador were infiltrated and spied upon.

All through these decades, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and other government agencies along with local police departments nationwide were used to intimidate, investigate, infiltrate and arrest thousands upon thousands of loyal US Citizens all to save “Our democracy” from those evil foreigners, communists and political undesirables. It’s tough though to convince most of the people most of the time when you have people like Jack Abramoff dealing the house of cards and then copping a plea to turn state’s evidence. The best this generation of Americans can do to make “the world safe for democracy” and “to make democracy safe for the world” would be show them how it is really supposed to work legally –bringing down the House of Bush and all his political cards with him—impeachment might be too good for all of them. But it’s a good place to start.

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Founded in 1979 as a counterbalance to the conservative, corporate- owned daily paper, Random Lengths News draws on the rich history of the Los Angeles Harbor Area. The name harkens back to a description of the lumber that used to...
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