Conservatives, too, should be critical
I found Steffen Demeter’s Dec. 20 letter about the 14 commonalties of fascist regimes – and its implied application to the current administration – almost as fascinating as Robert Cooper’s Dec. 21 response to it. Yes, Steffen, some of those points do sound disturbingly familiar, although given the Bush administration’s nonstop bungling of everything but winning elections, it’s hard to imagine all of what they do is part of a grand conspiracy. And, since the definition of conspiracy generally has to do with things undertaken secretly and behind closed doors, it’s difficult to apply this to the Bushies since so much of what they do is done quite brazenly and with large public buy-in (even if they resort to great secrecy over many of the details). It’s more a triumph of spin than anything else. While Demeter presented the information as food for thought (it was hardly a “rant”), Cooper responded with the sort of pay-back-harder GOP-speak we’ve come to expect from the folks who, to this day, derive all kinds of delight in pillorying Bill Clinton, now out of office four years.Winning isn’t enough; the “losers” must be insulted, marginalized and reminded that W. was “fairly” elected (that’s a relief, at least) – even though by a razor-thin margin. Cooper also suggests that anyone who believes differently from the president and his minions should either shut up or leave the country – an appallingly un-American sentiment I’m sick to death of hearing. Left or right, liberal or conservative, it is and has always been our duty as Americans to question our leaders. It’s when we stop questioning and simply follow a party line that bad things happen.As Bush continues to consolidate power, surround himself with a chorus of yes-men and women and continue his reckless policies while ignoring the wishes of the roughly half the country who did not vote for him, we need to be as vigilant as ever as to what this crew is up to.And the “we” shouldn’t just be us “pathetic liberals.” Despite voting for him twice, I remember being highly critical of and angry at Clinton for missteps he made during his tenure.In addition to former Kerry voters happy to criticize, those who support Bush would be well-served by setting aside the idolatry and ignoring the “don’t-worry-we’ve- got-it-all-under-control” rhetoric to take a harder look at everything this administration does.A lot of it is not good for anyone, right or left. I look to this group because they have more sway with the president than his opponents do and am encouraged by Republican leaders such as John McCain, Dick Lugar and Chuck Hagel willing to speak out despite their party affiliation.This administration, more than any other in recent history, needs the full spotlight of accountability turned on it during this upcoming second term.
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