The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA: "His ruthlessness in pursuit of the Republican agenda, his willingness to shake down contributors, his ferocity in pursuit of political profit - all of these stemmed from a deep-seated conviction that he was right, and doing what was right justified pushing the rules to the limit and beyond."
No doubt Tom DeLay's resignation from Congress--always assuming that he actually does step down--is a good thing for the country. Not so good as his execution by firing squad in front of the Capitol building he so dishonored, but still a small step in the right direction. But as long as his ideological comrades remain in power--corrupt congressmen like Dolittle and Pombo, eco-criminals like Chiseling Charlie Hurwitz, paid-up members of the down-with-science club like Pat Robertson and our beloved president George stay-the-course Bush--it's small comfort. DeLay was nothing more than a tool, and now that he's a broken tool, the gods he served so assiduously have cast him aside as a piece of refuse on the garbage dump of life.
Corruption has become so endemic in public life that Americans treat it as normal--a perk of the office as it were. Radio and television stations that use the public airwaves not only accept bribes to run political messages, they demand them as a right. The need to raise money to pay these bribes requires that politicians in turn take bribes from groups with deep pockets--bribes that must be paid off with future political favors. Money becomes a form of political speech--and nobody protests. It's all part of the game they call democracy.
Not that DeLay and his gang actually believe in democracy. They work from a deep-seated belief that power rightfully belongs not to elected officials, but to unelected bureaucrats who are most adept at bending the rules of that other game Americans play--Capitalism--to their advantage. These guys--innovators like Ken Lay and his ilk--are the rightful bosses of us all. Why? Well, ours is not to question why, but to humbly accept the cards that the Hidden Hand (the god of Capitalism) deals us. However it comes out, we all know it's for the best, because that's the way Capitalism works.
Of course American Capitalism is only capitalistic in the same sense that American Democracy is democratic--nominally. There's no room for either in the brontosaurian bureaucracies of modern business or government. Instead we have a grotesque parody of both--"democratic" elections bought and paid for by the likes of Abramoff, and "competition" between industries for corporate welfare doled out by the likes of Rove. And tools like DeLay in the thick of things, making sure that everybody gets enough room at the trough--for a price.
And what about those who need medicine? Screw them, says Mr. DeLay, just so long as the pharmaceutical industry makes a bundle. The purity of our air and water? Not important, compared to the need of industry for coal and oil. Wildlife? No problem; there'll always be ranches where wingless quail can be shot--for a fee. Global warming? Hey, what a chance to sell air-conditioners.
The good news is that some people still see that what these guys are doing is wrong. It doesn't matter whether their shenanigans are technically legal--anybody can write a law after all--they are flat out wrong. Torturing prisoners (for whatever reason) is wrong. Taking bribes (however labeled) is wrong. Putting poisons in our air and water is wrong. Falsifying science is wrong. Invading other countries on trumped-up excuses is wrong. These are not things we should even be having a discussion about (though doing them in the name of the American people without such a discussion is also wrong). They are wrong, and the people who do them are criminals. They are enemies of the human race. The humane thing to do would be to remove them from society and put them somewhere that they could do no harm. The rational thing to do would be to shoot them without ceremony, and bury them secretly in unmarked graves lest some fool try to make martyrs of them.
ReligionProf Podcast with Katie Day and Deirdre Good - My guests on this week’s podcast are Deirdre Good, whom I had the pleasure to meet when I guest taught a class at General Theological Seminary in Manhattan...
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