Is This The End of the American Century?

This site features updates, analysis, discussion and comments related to the theme of my book published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008 (hardbound) and 2009 (paperbound).

The Book

The End of the American Century documents the interrelated dimensions of American social, economic, political and international decline, marking the end of a period of economic affluence and world dominance that began with World War II. The war on terror and the Iraq War exacerbated American domestic weakness and malaise, and its image and stature in the world community. Dynamic economic and political powers like China and the European Union are steadily challenging and eroding US global influence. This global shift will require substantial adjustments for U.S. citizens and leaders alike.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dick Armey: Fostering Hate with Deliberate Lies

I was absolutely stunned to read this quotation from Dick Armey, the former House Republican leader, in a speech he gave recently in North Carolina:

"Nearly every important office in Washington, D.C., today is occupied by someone with an aggressive dislike for our heritage, our freedom, our history and our Constitution."

It is inconceivable that Armey, who worked so long in Washington, actually believes this. Could he actually come up with some names of people that fit in that category? Probably not. So one can only conclude that Armey deliberately lied when he said this to a crowd of supporters in Hickory, N.C.

Since retiring from the House in 2003 has worked as a lobbyist for a big law firm, while also serving as chairman of a conservative nonprofit called FreedomWorks, which is opposed to "big government." A story on him, and how he "has taken his politics and ideas to the right-wing protest movement," appeared in the November 8 issue of the New York Times Magazine.

Later, in discussing the health care reform with a reporter, he admitted that he did not believe some of the extreme charges--for example, about "death panels"--but said that "if people want to believe that, it's O.K. with me."

This is demagoguery, fear- and hate-mongering that has no place in the U.S. political arena, though it is increasingly dominating and poisoning the political process, and American democracy. Armey should be ashamed of himself; instead, he seems to revel in the way his provocative lies stirs up the political pot.

President Obama called attention to this phenomenon in his Afghanistan speech on Wednesday night, where he called for a return to the spirit and values that unite us as Americans:

"we, as a country, cannot sustain our leadership, nor navigate the momentous challenges of our time, if we allow ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse."

"I refuse to accept," the President continued, "the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. I believe with every fiber of my being that we -- as Americans -- can still come together behind a common purpose. For our values are not simply words written into parchment -- they are a creed that calls us together, and that has carried us through the darkest of storms as one nation, as one people."

We can disagree about policies, and the role of government, and the rights of the individual vs. the needs of the community. That is all part of the political process. But we need to speak out against, and call to account, people like Dick Armey and Glenn Beck who deliberately lie and deliberately foster hate and division.

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1 comment:

Alvis Brigis said...

I have this sudden image of Armey and Palin co-hosting a morning talk show on Fox to rival Stephanopoulous on Good Morning America.

Having worked in TV, I would not be all that shocked.

Kidding aside - keep up the great posts! Your blog is central to my core RSS wall!