His words are incredibly powerful in print, perhaps more so than hearing them read on television. I urge everyone to read it and pass it on.
A couple of points struck me as especially pertinent. The first was the warped notion of “public service” to this current Administration:
We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a president's partisanship. Not that we may prosper as a nation, not that we may achieve, not that we may lead the world, but merely that we may function.
But just as essential to the 17 words of John Wayne is an implicit trust, a sacred trust: that the president for whom so many did not vote can in turn suspend his political self long enough, and for matters imperative enough, to conduct himself solely for the benefit of the entire republic.
But there is no desire to “suspend the political self” in the Bush Administration; in fact, the entire Bush government has been pressed into creating a “permanent Republican majority.” After all, that’s what “Attorney-gate” is about, and to a lesser extent, that is the principle at the root of Plame-gate: the need for permanent war, constant threats of terror, so the American people can turn their fearful eyes to their protector, the GOP.
I am remembering ex-UN Ambassador John Bolton’s appearance on The Daily Show, of all places, in which he informed us that President Bush is only obliged to represent those who voted for him. This is wrong on so many levels: morally, Constitutionally, and practically. But this is clearly what the Bush Administration believes. That’s why the Vice President feels justified in telling a Senator from the opposition party to “go fuck yourself” on the Senate floor. It’s hyper-partisanship: a winner-take-all mentality, that is destroying this country and has brought us to the brink of collapse. It has created a majority of the voting public who feels disenfranchised from the political process. This simply will not end well; it never does.
Olbermann stated that in commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence, President Bush “ceased to be the president of the United States” and “became merely the president of a rabid and irresponsible corner of the Republican Party.” I believe that moment came long before Monday. It came when the president put his signature on Cheney’s torture memo. It came with his recess appointment of extremists and the unqualified to key posts: Julie Myers at the Immigration & Customs Enforcement bureau at Homeland Security, John Bolton to the UN, Lester Crawford as FDA Commissioner, or the recess appointment of Swift Boat financier Sam Fox as Ambassador of Belgium--a “fuck you” to the Democrats if ever there was one.
Olbermann goes on:
It is nearly July Fourth, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a king who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them -- or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them -- we would force our independence and regain our sacred freedoms.
We of this time -- and our leaders in Congress, of both parties -- must now live up to those standards which echo through our history. Pressure, negotiate, impeach: get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our democracy, away from its helm.
Today is July Fourth. Bush and Cheney have steered this ship straight for an iceberg. And the American people are to blame. We are too easily distracted by the latest Lindsay Lohan escapade or Paris Hilton’s jail sentence to pay attention to the real crimes going on in our names. Why is this? Why do millions of people tune out the news of corruption and misadministration from Washington D.C., some even calling it biased or partisan by the “liberal media,” but the latest manufactured celebrity gossip is consumed and even trusted as gospel fact? Why have we not demanded more of our news media, our representatives in Congress, and our government?
Olbermann asks the president and vice president to “achieve a very low threshold” and “display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed on August 9th, 1974” by resigning, for the good of the republic.
But they won’t. They are too entrenched in the quicksand of power. And even if they were removed, they leave behind a new generation of civil servants, Regent and Liberty University graduates, partisans who have been brainwashed into the GOP “permanent Republican majority” mindset. I wonder if they will believe that the president is only required to serve those who voted for him (or her) when that president is a Democrat?
It’s that “us versus them, party over nation” ideology that has hijacked the government and spread like a cancer. And I don’t see it leaving with the exit of Bush and Cheney.