Thursday, April 14, 2005

Sounds so familiar, it's scary... the weeks have gone by, it has become clear that both the hearings themselves and some of the commentaries on them have become increasingly absorbed in an effort to implicate the President personally in the illegal activities that took place...I ask for your help to ensure that those who would exploit Watergate in order to keep us from doing what we were elected to do will not succeed. (Richard M. Nixon, August 15, 1973 - 2nd speech on the Watergate break-in scandal)
At a crowded news conference, Mr. DeLay said he would not entertain questions about his political activities. It was his first question-and-answer session with reporters since one fellow Republican, Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, called for him to resign his leadership post and another, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, said he should explain himself to the American people. "I'm not here to discuss the Democrats' agenda," Mr. DeLay declared.

He has asserted that Democrats and the "liberal media" are orchestrating a campaign to discredit him by raising questions about possible ethics violations, including overseas travel financed by outside groups.
April 14, 2005 New York Times article
Is anyone else hearing an echo of not-so-distant thunder?

Does it scare anyone that yet another Republican has wrapped himself in the flag (only this time, sprinkled with holy water from the religious right) and started talking about how it's all the fault of the "Democrats and the liberal media"?

Can a resurrection of Spiro Agnew's "nattering nabobs of negativity" speech be far away? Will we get to hear "I am not a crook" for a whole new generation of voters?

Just wondering...

Now, those of you who have been listening for a while know that I'm about as apolitical as a former graduate student can be. When I list the things that I can change, control, or even affect, Tom Delay is not on my radar screen.

But folks, I lived through this once. And it was some of the scariest times I had experienced in my life. I was 16-goin'-on-17 when Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre purged the Judicial Branch of the people most likely to uncover the wrongdoing of the President. Less than a year later, the "I'm not a crook" president resigned his office, and the Special Prosecutor recommended pressing charges. But it was touch-and-go for more than a year. And if by some legalistic shenanigans or direct act of violence someone had managed to discredit or eliminate Judge John Sirica during that year, we all would be living in a terrifying place right now.

So when Tom Delay stepped-up his gunning for the judiciary based on the Terri Schiavo case (which is the worst possible basis for a legal attack, but the best possible basis for an emotional, Spiro-Agnew style slam), it just gave me the willies, to be honest.

Those of us who are old enough to remember the fear, the doubt, and the uncertainty of life both under and in the wake of Richard Nixon need to be especially clear about what's happening today. We have to remember: whether one wraps themselves in the flag, or position themseles around the Cross (as oppose to embracing it, heart and soul), it's just posturing. And that posturing can't help but point us away from what the truth is.

My prayer, as voiced by The Who a generation ago, is that "We won't get fooled again." Make it so, Lord. Amen.

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