As I have written previously in this blog, I was deceived by another president forty years ago. I watched the man I supported, and worked for, become further corrupted by both the power that comes with being President of the United states and the influence of those he brought with him. What I didn’t know then was that two of the men President Nixon brought with him (who are now back in The White House) learned skills from him which they have mastered since and are using today to manipulate how our government works.
Presidents Nixon and Bush, hired both Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Rumsfeld started out as an advisor to the former president and Dick Cheney was Rumsfeld’s assistant. While Nixon was still in charge of The White House these two bullies were kept on a short leash. However, after President Nixon was forced to resign on August 9, 1974, they saw their chance under President Gerald Ford to initiate a ‘massacre’ on our constitution.
By late 1975, Rumsfeld and Cheney, in what is called the “Halloween massacre,” not only got themselves promoted to Secretary of Defense and White House Chief of Staff, respectively, they also had George H. W. Bush appointed as CIA Director. For more detail on the history of the bully duo and their efforts to undermine our political system, read The Long March of Dick Cheney from the History News Network.
Well, my statements here and those I referenced above are one set of opinions of the Nixon Era. What about the opinions of someone who was there. Someone who was also part of the federal government and had a front row seat on this attack from the former president and bully duo.
Back in 1974, Barbara Jordan, a Texas Congresswoman and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, had this to say, “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
In a recent article on a commencement speech given by Barbara Jordan, Max Sherman observed, “Her eloquent warning reminds us that the preservation of fundamental liberties requires the commitment of knowledgeable citizens, the respect of government and the vigilance of patriots.”
Max Sherman’s article on Barbara Jordan’s view of the Nixon Era are applicable today and include:
Jordan’s message at Howard (University) was a dramatic warning that Americans could “stand on the edge of repression and tyranny and never know it.” The erosion of civil liberties, she declared, was not happening all at once, but one step at a time under the guise of law and order, national security and the invocation of executive privilege.
Although Thomas Jefferson had foreseen a natural tendency for liberty to yield and government to gain ground, Jordan recognized that modern technology had given new meaning to Jefferson’s warning. “In addition to the continuing reality of smashed doors and actual physical invasion of private homes,” she warned, “we know that government has more sophisticated and more invidious tools — electronic tools.”
But it was not the new technology that alarmed Barbara Jordan; it was the Nixon administration’s “shocking pattern of disregard for constitutional principles and due process of law.” She cited threats to freedom of the press, politicization of federal investigative agencies and suspension of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures in the name of national security. Dismissing the claim that the president has the authority to circumvent or suspend the Bill of Rights, she described government as “a potent, omnipresent teacher for good or ill.” If the government becomes a law-breaker, she continued, “it breeds contempt for law and invites man to become a law in and of himself.”
Although Barbara Jordan may not have anticipated the magnitude of today’s federal encroachments on individual liberties, she did anticipate their recurrence. “Freedom is the fluid, intangible condition of our society,” she declared. “It thrives in some periods, and it is beset in other periods.”
As all this indicates, history is repeating itself. And as it was with President Nixon then, it’s time now for President Bush and the bully duo to go.
I’m so ashamed of him and can’t believe he has no sense of how he appears to the world or that he is only The Decider because Cheney told him he was. The Christianists may have been the force that got this president in the White House, but it’s the bully duo that has brought this country to its lowest point, probably ever, in its 230 year history.