Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Republican Vision

I've been thinking for quite some time that it would be nice to have a well-written book explaining to us lay people, us little guys, what the overall vision for America is in the virtual Republican political mind. Probably the single greatest criticism of the Bush White House and the Republican-controlled Congress this millennium has been that it is difficult to find where they have clearly expressed a vision of the future. So it would be refreshing to discover that there actually is one out there somewhere, a book or document that serves to frame, to explain and justify, the Republican agenda.
Now maybe it's naive of me to think such a book could or should exist. Maybe the reality is something akin to what the people at town meeting here in Greenville (how we in small Maine towns exercise democracy in local government) face when we ask for explanations of complex issues. "If you wanted to understand this issue, why weren't you at the meetings where we did the planning? Why do you expect that we should have to take the time here at town meeting to explain this complicated issue before the people vote on it?" In other words, if I want to understand the Republican vision, why am I not spending my time immersed in Republican politics? Why don't I read the conservative blogs, listen all day and night to conservative talk radio, watch Fox News and CNN and Pat Robertson, go to a fundamentalist evangelical church and send my kids to Liberty University, and on and on?
That argument could be used, but it shouldn't be. It's a vessel with no bottom. It holds no water. That argument would say that the only people who need to see the Republican vision are the active planners. The rank-and-file Republican voter doesn't need to see the vision, doesn't need to understand the reasoning behind the planning. While that indeed is the case, should it be? Should the average Republican voter have access to the Republican vision for America? And if America is a democracy, should the Republican vision be a matter of public record? Should all Americans have access to the Republican vision?
I wish there was some way that we could. That's what I'm saying here. I wish there was a book that clearly expressed the Republican vision for America's future. There doesn't seem to be any such book for me to read. I am left with the impression that nearly everyone else in this country who cares about this seems to have, that the Bush administration and Congress don't seem to have a vision for America's future.
But then I realize that I am asking for the impossible. Let me explain.
Republican politics isn't about sharing a vision with a democratic electorate in order for that vision to win a democratic majority vote. Instead, Republican politics is about winning the faith of the electorate so that Republican planners can accomplish their vision behind closed doors. The reason the doors remain closed is because their vision would very likely not win in an open public debate and an open democratic vote. The Republican Party exists in order to serve the interests of people who don't necessarily have the best interests of the general public in mind. But even if they did, it would be hard to convince the public that their interests were being served. For decades, Republicans have wanted to privatize education, retirement, public works, health and welfare, even the military. How do you convince the general public that public education is bad? How do you convince the general public that we should cut and eventually phase out Social Security?
You don't and that has been proven time and time again. You don't convince the general public that the Republican agenda is good for them. Instead, you have to work to convince them that the social agenda is bad or is failing or is bankrupting our economy or threatens our security somehow. The failure of socialism isn't the Republican vision. It is the Republican strategy. Socialism is what open democracies gravitate to because it represents the general public helping themselves to the nation's resources. It is the enemy of the Republican Party. The Republican Party exists as a political instrument to fight against social democracy and to fight for private ownership and wealth.
So how in a democracy such as the USA does such a political party share its vision with the general public? Very selectively and very carefully! In fact, only the seriously involved insiders are allowed to see the vision. For the rest of us it's blind faith in our leaders. We really can't see where all this conservative politics is leading us.
So wouldn't it be nice if there was a book?

Temporary Permanence

It is possible that in some people's minds, Republicans don't favor setting up a permanent US military presence in Iraq from which the US can exert a dominating long-term military influence in the Middle East. This is the well-documented PNAC agenda, the neo-con plan for the Middle East. That uncertainty was fueled recently when amendments to the latest Iraq War funding bill banned spending on permanent military bases in Iraq.
Well, put your minds to rest, my faith-based friends. The Republican agenda was restored in a late night session this week and it looks like no such restrictions on the American military will be imposed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Zarqawi

The Phantom of Iraq is dead. Hallelujah!
I can't figure out the picture featured at that website of Zarqawi's dead face. He seems to be laying in rubble but his face doesn't look like he just had two 500-pound bombs dropped on him. Clearly, somebody cleaned up his face before taking this picture.
Oh well. Everybody is doing everything they can think of to convince the world that this event actually just happened. They have to. There are a lot of people in the world who don't believe the word of the White House and the Pentagon. It's hard to convince someone about truth when you're known around the world for your lies. Everything looks like propaganda.
But will this new twist in the story of Iraq's "liberation" make any difference? I was reading yesterday about how American special forces have been tracking foreign insurgents lately and had eliminated all of the foreign leaders except Zarqawi. Clearly, if this is true, then the killing of Zarqawi represents a significant victory for America in Iraq.
There have been major victories for America's military in Iraq before: the fall of Baghdad, the capture of Saddam, the overthrow of Fallujah are just a few of them. Strangely, each victory has led Iraq deeper into the rabbit hole of terror and suffering and guerrilla warfare. Will the killing of Zarqawi be different? Does the killing of a legend ever make the legend smaller?
I'm not arguing that it was wrong to kill Zarqawi if indeed that event actually happened. I'm arguing that it was really stupid of the Bush Administration to make Zarqawi into a mythological legend. We set ourselves up here. Now we have created a legendary martyr. We have accomplished something even bin Laden himself couldn't have done!
Smart move, Washington.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Faith Based Spying

So who believes in warrantless and illegal spying on the American public? Here's the tally...