Destroying America

President George W. Bush’s recess appointment of ethically-challenged John Bolton as the new ambassador to the United Nations is a typical act of arrogant defiance from a man who believes he should be all-powerful and the checks and balances built into the U.S. Constitution are expendable when they conflict with his political agenda.

Bush’s decision to bypass the Senate and challenge their authority to “advise and consent” on the Bolton appointment is just another assault on the Constitution and the freedoms it should guarantee.

Sadly, like his other blatant attempts to shred the Constitution and destroy the freedoms of America, he will probably get away with it.

Bush declared war on the Constitution from the beginning, starting with his appointment of former Missouri Senator John Ashcroft as his attorney general. Ashcroft, a bible-thumping zealot who got slapped down repeatedly by the Missouri Supreme Court for ignoring that state’s Constitution while serving as governor, was so inept he lost re-election to a dead man – just the kind of qualifications to fit into the Bush administration.

Ashcroft set out immediately to ignore Constitutional guarantees of personal privacy by declaring a war on pornography, prosecuting a Missouri couple who sold sex education tapes in their video store. A jury tossed out the case, as juries and judges have done with 95 percent of the cases that Ashcroft launched during is tenure as AG.

Ashcroft left after Bush’s first term but his pitiful legacy lives on in the USA Patriot Act, a bill that – along with Bush’s rights-ignorant Department of Homeland Security – turned the United States into a police states where Americans’ travel, spending and reading habits are monitored on a daily basis and where people are arrested and detained without due process and held incommunicado without right to counsel.

Bush replaced Ashcroft with Alberto Gonzales, another enemy of freedom and individual rights. Gonzales, as White House Counsel, wrote the memos that justified torture of prisoners in Iraq and called the Constitution an “outdated document.”

But let’s be fair. Bush and his Republican cronies who control Congress, have a lot of help from Democrats who joined in the mad stampede to approve the USA Patriot Act during the post 9/11 furor and also helped create the Department of Homeland Security, the closest thing the U.S. government has ever had to a German-style Gestapo.

Oddly, it is now a couple of ultra-conservative Republicans – former Congressman Bob Barr and anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly – who have joined with the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Conservative Union to oppose renewal of the Patriot Act – a campaign doomed to failure because enough Republicans and Democrats in Congress are still too shell-shocked by 9/11 to think clearly and realize the dangers of such legislation.

Having destroyed the Constitution and decimated freedom in this country, Bush now moves to the world stage with his recess appointment of Bolton, a diplomatic loose cannon who will wreak havoc not only on the United Nations but in relations with our dwindling number of allies around the world.

Those who work with Bolton describe him as an arrogant, temperamental nutcase who openly berates subordinates, flies off the handle with little provocation and who has all the finesse of a runaway freight train.

Critics fear Bolton’s job is to destroy the United Nations and, if so, he is the right man for the task. Doing so, however, will destroy what little credibility the United States has around the world.

Maybe that’s what Bush wants. Maybe his goal is to destroy not only the UN but also America. He’s already destroyed much of the country, its reputation and its greatness. With his appointment of Bolton, he has told Congress and the American people that “I am the absolute ruler of America and there is nothing you can do to stop me.”

The idealist in me hopes to God he cannot do this. The realist, however, is forced to admit he can…and has. If so, many share the blame – Republicans who elected him, Democrats who voted for his rights-robbing proposals in Congress and members of both parties in the Senate if they let him get away with the recess appointment of John Bolton.