Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Power, Corruption & Lies

No, I’m not writing about New Order’s excellent 1983 album, though there does seem to be a new order in this country that thrives on that unholy trinity.

Today I read Paul Burka’s Texas Monthly article “Without Delay” that told the tale of the rise and fall of Tom Delay, a man whose every friend, ally and associate seem to be felons. It’s all icing on a very depressing cake.

The more I read the more depressed I become about the state of politics in America. My brother and I were recently discussing the potential for Democrats to take one or both houses of Congress back this year. The polls look good. Wave after wave of scandals are breaking on a seemingly daily basis. Bush’s staff are leaving like rats fleeing a sinking ship and yet, I’m not hopeful.

People want the bastards thrown out, but I worry that they don’t want to throw out their own bastards, only the bastards in the other districts that waste government money by bringing the bacon home to other people.

We’re seeing yet another problem inherent in our two-party system. Republicans are willing to defend the very things that they would consider indefensible if they were being perpetrated by a Democrat president. I can’t imagine how anyone can honestly say that they think it’s a good thing that Bush is allowing the NSA to spy on Americans, that Bush’s aides should be allowed to out covert agents and still keep security clearance, that Americans would ever – EVER – justify the use of torture, that the government would eliminate due process protections at whim, that… well, the list is long and time is short.

The sad thing is that our representatives in congress let this happen by abdicating their constitutional responsibility to check the executive. Since the Republicans control congress they will always make excuses for all abuses. We see that Republicans clearly love their party and their power more than they love their country. It’s a sickening sight.

Now, I am not foolish enough to think that Democrats are naturally less corrupt. Power breeds corruption and the problem is that the Republicans are the party in power, and they have a dangerous lock on that power. The most dangerous aspect of it lies in the fact that any who suggest that the constitution is being gutted are labeled terrorists, traitors, dangerous. This from the party of strict constructionists. This from the party that once wanted less government and more individual freedom.

The Bush problem is one of either incompetence or crookedness, or more likely both. At this point, the only way to address this problem is accountability of the kind Americans were not wise enough to demand in 2004. That accountability can be acheived through divided government, which is why anyone who truly cares about the direction of this country, about competent leadership, and indeed the constitution itself should be supporting Democrats this fall.

It’s not about being liberal or conservative anymore, it’s about ensuring that our government doesn’t continue its ineptness or devolve into a truly autocratic regime. We’ve already seen the dangers of the former and we’re closer than we probably realize to the latter.


  1. I am a life long conservative (Hey! you grow up in Orange County!) some where along the way the party that put leaders like Lincoln, T Roosevelt and Eisenhower forward was Hijacked by the religious right and militant flag wavers. It is sad and tragic that the party did not listen to what Powell had to say in 96. I thought there was hope for them

    I am not sure the Democrats have done any better. They continue to follow old beaten paths and do not look to the real issues facing us as a nation and seem to ignore middle america. As much as I disliked Slick, give him points for inspiring strong feelings. Do the Democrats have anyone even close to approaching him?

    As far as the “throw the bums out, just not here” view point of voters. It is accurate and the reason we keep sending these clowns back to congress. Term limits are the only answer and we seem to lose the political will to get it done. Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone campaigned for 2 elections on term limits and promised “2 and out” seems something in DC rots them because he changed his mind about a third term and might have won despite the hypocrisy.

    As voters, we must accept some of the blame for sending these clowns to office.

    The ultimate irony? The founding fathers viewed the government as citizens first and part time legislators second. Seems we have created a professional class of politicians with all the moral ambiguity that comes with it.

  2. I agree that the Dems aren’t much better in and of themselves, but I think a tension between the two would be better than the status quo. I do expect that someday the economic/fiscal conservatives will come to their senses and break with the religious right crowd and take back their party.

    You’re quite right about the voters taking the blame. As Cassius said in Caesar, “And why should Caesar be a tyrant then? / Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf, / But that he sees the Romans are but sheep: / He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.”

    I wonder what would happen if every incumbent lost. A nice dream, but only that I suppose.

  3. The Constitution of the United States is a gift from God. Our government is destroying it little by little. Our children will pay the price for our lax attitudes about these abuses of power. I hope you can find a way to make this seem important to your students.

    Have a nice day.


  4. Thanks, Dwayne. I try, but it’s hard to break through to them about these things sometimes. They will pay the price, not just in terms of quality of government but also with the debt that’s being laid on them.

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