Friday, March 09, 2007
Politicizing the formerly non partisan
Donald Shields and John Cragan, two professors of communication, have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans and 298 involved Democrats. The main source of this partisan tilt was a huge disparity in investigations of local politicians, in which Democrats were seven times as likely as Republicans to face Justice Department scrutiny.Believe it or not, I don't want to focus this post on how the prosecutors scandal reflects on the partisanship of the Bush administration. I think the prosecutors are a symptom of a much much larger problem.
How can this have been happening without a national uproar? The authors explain: "We believe that this tremendous disparity is politically motivated and it occurs because the local (non-statewide and non-congressional) investigations occur under the radar of a diligent national press. Each instance is treated by a local beat reporter as an isolated case that is only of local interest."
And let us not forget that Karl Rove's candidates have a history of benefiting from conveniently timed federal investigations. Last year Molly Ivins reminded her readers of a curious pattern during Rove's time in Texas: "In election years, there always seemed to be an FBI investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press. After the election was over, the allegations often vanished."
There ought to be certain aspects of government which are not partisan in nature. I believe it is a given that the dispensation of justice should not be determined by the political affiliation of the prosecutor. But there are other aspects of governance that ought not be partisan in nature, yet have been used by this administration in very partisan ways. For example...
The people hired to rebuild and govern Iraq after the invasion ought not have been chosen based upon a political litmus test. The disastrous consequences of politicizing the Iraq Provisional Authority probably doomed any fleeting chance America had to bring stability and security with democracy to Iraq. I'm not saying the young Republican wunderkinds who were hired to do their magic didn't do their best in a difficult situation. It's just obvious that they weren't up to the job. Can you imagine the disaster if Harry Truman had picked the administrators of Japan immediately after WWII based upon their domestic political beliefs? It is preposterous, but it is precisely what the Bush administration did in Iraq.
Science should not be politicized. Science is science. Science class should teach science. There are not two "sides" to science, despite the Presidents stated wish to teach both sides of evolution and creationism (gussied up to look like science and called intelligent design) in science class. Scientists aren't trying to teach our children evolution in sunday school, so why are the right wingers trying to teach our kids creationism in science class?
The politics of science manifests itself with this administration most however on the issue of global warming. The administration is now stopping scientists from talking about polar bears, and how their numbers reflect on global warming. It is frankly absurd. Scientists having to have their speeches vetted by political appointees. It truly is Orwellian. Science needs to be reclaimed for all of us, not just Republican hacks.
There are all kinds of examples of this, and many ways that we have been harmed as a result of it. But I have save the worst example for last.
How is it that 9/11 was politicized? Having an attack commercial showing the face of Max Cleland, a Democratic war hero who gave three limbs to his nation on the battlefield, morph into Osama's face is beyond the pale. The Bush administration and Republicans across the nation have politicized 9/11 in the most crass and despicable ways imaginable. 9/11 was used as a platform to take this nation to needless war in Iraq, and the continued occupation of Iraq is still continuously conflated with the so called war on terror by the administration and their toadies.
It literally enrages me to think of that smouldering pile of rubble with the remains of nearly 3000 dead Americans... used to start a war that has nothing what so ever to do with their deaths. What a horrible perversion. The people who died that day were liberals and conservatives. Democrats and Republicans, Greens and Libertarians. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Athiest...
Somehow a day that ought to be sacred in the memory of all Americans, a day more properly devoted to national mourning and rememberance, a day of somberness and reflection on America and what we should be grateful for... has been twisted by this administration to partisan purposes. The Republican party has tried to use 9/11 to have their way with our political system. 9/11 has been used to take American ideals away from us. Before that awful day not one of us could have imagined the time would come that our nation would officially condone torture. Or the imprisonment without trial or recourse to law of human beings. Allowing our government to spy upon us and not throwing those responsible from office when that was found out.
The use of 9/11 for political purposes is truly perverse from my perspective. It is the ugliest example of making a partisan issue from something that by all rights ought not be political in nature.
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