Monday, March 27, 2006

Fundamentalism in Government

Recently I finished reading Jimmy Carter's latest book, Our Endangered Values. Carter is a unique person...he is a Christian man of great faith, but he served in a way that his personal beliefs were known but did not interfere with his ability to fulfill his role as President. I found the book to be extremely well thought out and quite extraordinary.

Chapter 10 of his book is entitled Fundamentalism In Government...something Carter feels is threatening our way of life, despite his personal beliefs. I thought I'd share an excerpt:

Among America's senior political leaders there are examples of threats to our country's basic separation of powers. Some of the more conservative officials in Washington demonstrated their frustration with the independence of the judiciary by injecting themselves at the last moment into the highly controversial Terri Shiavo case after nearly twenty judges, most of them conservative jurists appointed by Republicans, had maintained their fifteen-year refusal to extend her life artificially.

Making it clear he was speaking as a heart surgeon, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist pronounced to his colleagues that he condemned the judicial consensus, "based on a review of video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office here in the Capitol. And that footage, to me, depicted something very different than persistent vegetative state." This diagnosis contradicted the subsequent medical examiner's autopsy performed on Mrs. Shiavo, which reported that she was blind and her brain was "grossly abnormal," less than half its normal size.

Enraged with judges, Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay issued threats of imposing legislative control over state and federal courts. He ordered a congressional investigation of the judges and made a series of irate proclamations: "Judicial independence does not equal judicial supremacy.""These rulings are not examples of a mature society, but of a judiciary run amok." He added, "Congress, for many years has shirked its responsibility to hold the judiciary accountable. No longer. The response of the legislative branch has been mostly to complain. There is another way, ladies and gentlemen, and that is to reassert our constitutional authority over the courts."

Carter then goes on to discuss John Bolton, in great detail and to discuss the term neoconservative as it is applied today:

Some neocons now dominate the highest councils of government, seemed determined to exert American dominance throughout the world, and approve of preemptive war as an acceptable avenue to reach this imperialistic goal. Eight years before he became Vice President, Richard Cheney spelled out this premise in his "Defense Strategy for the 1990s." Either before or shortly after 9/11, he and his close associates chose Iraq as the first major target, apparently to remove a threat to Israel and the have Iraq serve as our permanent military, economy, and political base in the Middle East.

Funny how these so-called neoconservatives, who are fully responsible for our domestic and international government policies, can't recognize their folly...they've done exactly the opposite of what they claim to stand for by creating a ridiculous deficit, by forcing the federal government to intruded into state and individual affairs and by their imperialistic actions disguised as either protecting American lives or bringing democracy to the world.

As Carter points out, and I agree, it is the combination of far right conservative politics and Christian fundamentalism that is creating deeper divides in our own country and a hatred for us throughout the world. Combine these actions with like actions from countries whose fundamentalism is Islamic and you have a recipe for worldwide warfare, hatred and despair.

That's why I'm going to do my part to live by a different credo and why I'm going to try and vote the bastards out of office.
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