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Thursday, October 28, 2004

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 The Nation: Kerry can prevent a slow-motion American coup

I don't usually read The Nation, because I can usually guess what their position is on a given issue. However, their endorsement of John Kerry for President is an interesting read that makes unique arguments compared to other such endorsements.
[I]f Bush is defeated, his entire presidency will acquire the aspect of an aberration, a mistake that has been corrected, and the American people will be able to say: We never accepted Bushism. We rejected the brutality, the propaganda, the misbegotten wars, the imperial arrogance. And we never, ever chose George W. Bush to be President of the United States.

But even these stakes are not the largest on the table in November. The largest and most important is the protection of American democracy. It is always difficult while enjoying the comforts and privileges of taken-for-granted liberties to imagine that they could be lost; but the elements of Bush's misrule have plainly converged to form this threat....

It is not only all three branches of government that have fallen largely into the same hands; it is the corporations, the military (which tends to vote Republican) and, increasingly, the communications industry, which are either propaganda arms of the party, as in the case of Fox News and other outlets of the Rupert Murdoch media empire, or else simply bow to the pressure of Administration threats and popular anxiety....

The persistent theme of these policies and actions, domestic and international, is to acquire power--to seize it, to increase it and to keep it for good. A systemic crisis--a threat to the Constitution of the United States--has taken shape. At the end of this road is an implied vision of a different system: a world run by the United States and a United States run permanently by the Republican Party, which is to say imperial rule abroad, one-party rule at home....

No one can know when or how the decisive test of democracy might arrive. It could come quickly, perhaps in a crackdown following another terrorist attack on American soil, this time conceivably on a far greater scale than September 11, or it could come slowly, in a protraction of the process, already well under way, of gradual strangulation of independent institutions, amounting to a coup in slow-motion--a hardening of an informal monopoly of power into a formal monopoly--leaving the institutions of democracy technically intact but corrupted and hollowed out from within, helpless to resist a central authority that has drawn all real power into its own hands....

Yet it remains true that of all the things Americans can now do to support democracy, the election of John Kerry is the most important. A Kerry presidency would seriously disrupt the concentration of power at the heart of the present danger....

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