As they study the rise and fall of America as an empire, scholars should consider that as they dishonestly spoke the word “democracy” the political and media elites had no faith in it. They fight against any possibility of it rising up out of interest in their own wealth and power, but they also don’t even believe that its necessary precursor can exist.
One of the most characteristic assumptions of the American establishment is that the American People are high-strung and nervous children who have to be protected from even the most important realities. That’s their line. The same conservatives and their media mouthpieces who whine and complain about any program to aid the down-and-out as paternalism turn around and, when it suits their purpose, say that the entire American People are babies.
They pretend this because it allows a string of the most criminal administrations in our history, all of them Republican, to escape investigation or punishment. They have no such inclination during Democratic administrations, doing those the favor of inventing lurid and sensational crimes to be most publicly investigated at the cost of tens of millions of dollars when real crimes weren’t forthcoming. And that doesn’t include the fictitious impeachment porn that the religious right, Ken Starr and Henry Hyde pitched in most educational detail on the public airwaves. On Sunday morning, even.
The excuse of the Nixon pardon, that Americans couldn’t stand the indictment of a president, assumed that the American people lacked the maturity to see justice done. There was no reason to believe this was true. By that time, Nixon had accepted that resigning and having his hand-selected successor pardoning him was his only hope of escaping impeachment and prosecution. Nixon, who insisted on law and order for everyone else, accepted a pardon before he was even charged.
The majority of the American People would have listened to the evidence and let justice be done. It was our elites who couldn’t stand to see the Constitution come to life, not the People. And even if the People hadn’t been prepared to watch, when did that become a legitimate issue in law enforcement? The crimes of Richard Nixon included the extension of the Vietnam war into Cambodia, a crime which over its course was as bad and then worse than the invasion of Iraq today. Even the House committee which adopted articles of impeachment thought the American People were too childlike to face what its government had done to millions of people in that one. If you can find a transcript read what Congressman Robert Drinan said in favor of their adoption.
Perhaps, as proven in their inability to sway the public with their fully aired “evidence” in the Senate trial of Bill Clinton, their real fear is that the American People are fully able to judge evidence and to draw logical conclusions from it. If you don’t get that, let me point it out plainly. They put Clinton ON TRIAL over phony, rigged up charges - after refusing to try Nixon over some of the most serious crimes an American President has ever committed - and they lost with no resulting social disruption whatsoever.
Letting Nixon be pardoned set the stage for pardons by other Republican administrations, perhaps most infamously* in the Bush I pardon of the unindicted Caspar Weinberger. Wineberger’s handwriting put Bush the father “in the loop” of Iran-Contra and likely under perjury for denying that he was. The media shrugged. The Nixon pardon put Republican Presidents above the law. The excuse effectively said that the Constitution was impractical due to insufficient maturity of the American People. Despite that honor given to Gerald Ford at the Kennedy School, the Nixon pardon was one of the more injurious acts done to this country in the past half century.
What was, one hopes, the nadir of this coddling of the People was the post 9-11effort to present them with George W. Bush as a surrogate daddy. How desperate does an imperial establishment have to be to instill George W. Bush with preternatural paternal powers? And at the same time, they were trying to install him as first-frat-boy, first-drinkin’ buddy, top gun and a raft of other, would be, endearing personas. Flight-suit, Matthews, you know what I mean. The post-September 11th glorification, even deification of George Bush is a sign that our media has reached that stage of eutrophication that produces abundant methane and no clarity. The Press Corps wanted Bush to be their daddy, you wonder what their relationship with their natural fathers could have been to allow such a perverted idea to gain currency. Yes, let’s make it reflect back on to the media who say these things, they’re the ones who are saying them, afterall.
We've got to fight against this attack on the maturity of the People. It is an put-down given for the most dishonest purposes, to cover up imperial crimes, the kind of crimes that it takes grown-ups to detect, punish and prevent. By remaining silent as they treat us like children we allow them to be unaccountable.
Children exposed to war and tragedy often grow up too fast, it is heartbreaking to see them robbed of even what little childhood they might have had. Seeing an attempt to turn Americans into babies over one day of attacks is not sad, it is monumentally insulting. Roosevelt didn’t do it after Pearl Harbor. He knew he would need all the maturity that Americans had to win the war against fascism and Naziism. Americans won’t take to being called babies once it has been pointed out to them that is just what the corporate media has been doing for the past five years.
* After the fall elections watch a flood of pardons come down from Bush II. If the Democrats take back one or both houses it will be a deluge. If this is done it should not stop Democrats from fully airing the crimes of this regime. If Democrats do begin investigations watch for the press to increase the attempts to quash them with this and similar tactics. They will reach levels of insane frenzy surpassing those poor monkeys whose terry-cloth and chicken wire mother substitutes were taken from them.
In the mean time watch the exact same ersatz journalists’ defacto campaign for Republicans. They are already warning that if Democrats win they will do exactly what they, themselves, were encouraging Republicans to do to Clinton, impeach a president. Impeachment has gone from being a moral imperative under Clinton to being an unthinkable catastrophe that the country couldn’t survive under a Republican.