On Bolton and a Lack of Reasoned Thought

So I was watching CSPAN’s Washington Journal yesterday morning over a cup of coffee when the question over the Bolton nomination came up. If you are unfamiliar with Washington Journal then you should know that it is one of the more open forums for political discussion on the “air waves” in America. The host pulls out the morning papers that have been highlighted to death and starts asking questions of the public. “What do you think about the battle in congress over President Bush’s U.N. nominee John Bolton? Democrats call 1-800-xxx-xxxx, Independents call 1-800-xxx-xxxx, and Republicans call 1800-xxx-xxxx.” What ensues is a range of calls that run the gamut from enlightened commentary to surreal, often bizarre rants.

This morning was different in only one way, it sure seemed like there was an overwhelming number of callers with the following response, “I just want to say that George Bush is my President and so I do not question his decisions on matters such as this.” Whaaa? I guess one can expect that type of response from some small percentage of the population regardless of what the question is and who the President is but it just seemed a bit too much. It was as if the word was put out to all the local chapters of the “Patriotic Americans Cleared for Bush/Cheney Campaign Rallies” to call the show and express your unwavering support for the President. To be honest, I was really not fully awake yet and so the experience had me a bit rattled and one thing and one thing only came to my mind. It was the following line from a book I hope most of you have read.

The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

No, the point is not that I have become ultra paranoid that my every action is being watched by Big Brother, although it could quite easily be argued that with the powers vested in the Federal Government by the Patriot Act that this is damn close to a reality. What I am getting at is that the absurd nature of these comments seemed more at home on the pages of 1984 than in 2005 America. It is often argued on the right that us Lib’rals loved Clinton so much that we would swoon at his feet. This could not be further from the truth. As much as I liked Bill Clinton as a President there were many things I completely disagreed with him on such as NAFTA and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. You would not catch me dead uttering the words, “Bill Clinton is my President and so…” on these or many other issues with which I thought he was just wrong.

This sycophantic reaction people have to George W. Bush is not only unnatural, it is un-American. John Bolton is a hot headed bully who would not last one day in the private sector yet, because he is W’s man, these people are completely unwilling to take a serious look at his record which proves this out in loud, blaring fashion. What is it about this President then that causes otherwise reasonable people to suspend cognitive thought in favor of unwavering support for every his every word and deed? Since when has the American public been a rubber stamp for power?

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