BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
The founding fathers understood the dangers of vacillating public sentiment, so they established the United States Constitution to protect America from the ebb and flow of public opinion. The Constitution was designed to set in place a set of American values from which the nation should never deviate in response to public sentiment.
But the GOP and the Democratic Party are working hand-in-hand to undermine those standards – first, the GOP creates a toxic political environment to circumvent the people’s common sense, then instead of defending the Constitution, the weak-kneed Democratic Party simply goes along in order to protect their political interest. This unholy alliance has been going on for nearly forty years now, and America has been racing downhill every since. The primary victim of this unholy alliance, is the rule of law – the very foundation of the Constitution.
Immediately after President Nixon resigned in response to the Watergate Scandal, instead of bringing Nixon to justice for violating the law, only his subordinates were jailed. On September 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford issued a full pardon, “In best interest of the American people,” immunizing Richard Nixon from any further prosecution, and thereby corrupting the Constitution, and setting a precedent establishing a class of people who were above the law.
The American people were caught sleeping, but Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, two young politicians in the Nixon and Ford administrations, respectively, were wide awake, and fully cognizant of the ramifications of this new development.
Then on January 20, 1981, the newly elected Republican president, Ronald Reagan, entered office under a cloud of suspicion. On November 4, 1979, the American embassy was stormed by Iranian militants and they took sixty-six Americans hostage. The hostage crisis went on for 444 days, greatly enhancing Ronald Reagan’s bid for president against President Jimmy Carter. Many believe that Reagan forces negotiated with the Iranians to hold the American hostages until after the election. That has never been proven, but what adds fuel to the allegation is that the hostages were released six (6) minutes after Ronald Reagan was administered the oath of office as the 40th President of the United States.
What has been proven, however, is that even though the Iranians were considered an enemy of the United States and had held sixty-six Americans hostage for 444 days, Reagan entered into a secret agreement with the Iranians to have Israel ship them military arms, then resupply Israel in return for payment under the table (treason). Reagan needed the money to fund the Contras in a war in Nicaragua in which congress outlawed funding under the Boland Amendment. Reagan also drummed up funding for the Contras by flooding the nation’s inner cities with illegal drugs – an act of treachery that thirty years later, the nation is still feeling the negative effects.
While several of Reagan’s high-level subordinates were convicted of conspiracy and obstructing justice (“So many White House documents were shredded that the White House shredder became choked”), the convictions of Col. Oliver North and John Poindexter were overturned on technicalities, and others who were convicted were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush – “in the best interest of the nation.”
So, again, instead of impeaching Ronald Reagan and sending him to prison for his grossly unthinkable crimes, airports and an aircraft carrier was named after him, many Republicans began to hold him up as one of our greatest presidents – and once again, while America slept, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were watching from the wings.
So this “not looking back in the best interest of the nation” mantra is getting a little overworn and tiresome – not to mention being total nonsense. If Richard Nixon had been sent to jail for his part in Watergate, and Ronald Reagan and his gang had been made to walk the yard with him, chances are Bush and Cheney would never have dared to initiate their illegal war in Iraq that led to the death and displacement of over a million Iraqis, the death, and dismemberment of thousands of American troops, and the near bankruptcy of the nation.
America is on a toboggan hurling down a very slippery slope. Every political generation is taking the assault on the U.S. Constitution to the next level. We’ve gotten to the point where the Supreme Court is taking the election of our presidents out of the hands of the people, war crimes are simply being redefined as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and the freedom of religion is under serious assault.
Where will tomorrow’s young demagogues take us? Yesterday it was a war on terror, today it’s a war on Muslims, tomorrow it could be a war on Black Muslims, and the next day, a war on Black people in general. That doesn’t seem as far fetched as it once did.
Wake up, Mr. President. It’s 3:00 a.m., and reality is on line one.
Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It’s not that I hate everyone who doesn’t look, think, and act like me – it’s just that God does.
Eric L. Wattree is a writer, poet, and musician, born in Los Angeles. He’s a columnist for The Los Angeles Sentinel, The Black Star News in New York, and a Staff writer for Veterans Today. He’s also the author of A Message From the Hood.