Our Democracy Has Failed
Are these all Bush's failures?
Maybe, but only in a very superficial sense. This "defense" shouldn't be taken lightly, considering that I've been a staunch "Bush hater" ever since 9/11. In case you're wondering, I had been almost equally apathic between Bush and Gore before but Bush's cowardly behavior on the day of 9/11 thoroughly disgusted me. And it's gotten increasingly worse ever since.
I mean, our system is supposed to withstand the impact of a few colossal idiots or even "evildoers." How can it fail so completely?
Underlying all the colossal failures are a type of structural failure. There has to be. Terrorists not only brought down World Trade Center, they also knocked down the entire check-and-balance mechanism designed by the founding fathers.
If bin Laden's goal is indeed to destroy our way of life, then he's managed quite a success, with the unwitting but sweeping cooperation from us, the American people.
Let's do a technical analysis on the collapse of American democracy on the tragic day of 9/11.
The first structural failure point is the media. Mainstream media have largely and immediately abandoned their unoffical yet pivotal societal responsibility of being the ultimate checker. Under the pretense of "war time," all dissent were quickly silenced. All criticism, even simple questioning, of the executive branch were effectively banned. Fruitless hunt of the Anthrax culprit was quickly and quietly swept under the carpet. Questioning of Bush's swift decision to shift focus away from bin Laden to Iraq was never given any meaningful exposure. Coverage of the Iraq war debate was heavily skewed against the dissent.
If Bush has failed so phenominally, it's only because the media have given him a free pass to fail.
Interesstingly, rumor has it that Jiang Zemin, the head of Chinese communist party and government and military, held great fascination and admiration on how brilliantly and stealthly the Bush administration managed to manipulate and control the media and public opinion after 9/11. He asked his propaganda people to conduct a thorough study of the mechanism. Indeed, the Chinese government could never have pull it off with such ease and grace.
As a Chinese who lived through part of the Cultural Revolution, the Bush administration sends chills down my spine. The arrogance, the secrecy, the absolutism, all sound frighteningly familiar.
Am I the only one finding the following observations odd? On one hand,
- the failure to capture bin Laden,
- the failure to capture the anthrax culprit,
- the almost complete disappearance of presidential press conferences,
- the fact that Bush has taken one two disasters(one natural, one man-made) with open-ended spending power and consistently grossly misunderestimated budgets whenever provided,
- the conspicuous innocence of Kenny boy of Enron,
- the repeated and persistent unfair (or even corrupt/criminal, quite likely) award of federal contracts to Haliburton and other companies with close ties to the administration
got little to no mainstream coverage. On the other hand, we find plenty of headline space for Martha Steward's <4,000 share stock sale.
As everyone has known all along, democracy cannot function without independent, professional media. But now we have living proof.
With the media channeling public opinion with a bias (and manufacturing/shaping public opinion in a self-fulfilling prophacy), the Congress, not surprisingly, quickly betrayed their duty of maintaining accountability of the executive branch. They gave the Whitehouse and Pentagon unprecedented power and said: here, take them, don't bother to report back. Failure to capture or kill bin Laden was never questioned. The pretense for invading Iraq, which has been discredited in its entirety by now, was never questioned.
Fiscally, this is arguably the most irresponsible in the history of this country. Our politicians have finnaly figured it out: it's not my money, and the more I spend it, the more compassionate/powerful I become and, besides, it doesn't hurt to doll out a few hundred million for the Friends & Family plan so why the hell not? Nobody checks or cares anyways.
With the Congress aligned with the executive branch, the marvelous design of the founding fathers has been circumvented.
If Bush has failed so phenominally, it's only because the Congress has given him a free pass to fail.
(To be coninued...
Failure of the Political Opposition
Failure of the Constituency
It's All Because We're Cowards)