The below is a personal response I e-mailed to Mr. Cohen after reading his whinefest essentially stating "Why is evabody always pickin' on me?"
After reading it again I decided it was worth a diary entry. It pretty much summarizes my political views and positions and is my statement as to why I am a partisan Democrat.
It's hard for me to say what's more depressing - the fact that you directly endorsed GWB during the 2000 election, in the face of massive, organized right-wing smears that somehow persuaded you that the rage existed on both sides; or the fact that you have no idea why so much anger and disrespect has come to you in response to a few innocuous columns (innocuous to the prevailing powers in DC, that is).
I am one of the many thousands or millions of angry Democrats. As such it is impossible for me to understand how someone who is theoretically a rational person has so little perception of what is really going on.
Intelligent people can disagree about things that lack an objective basis in fact.
However, there is absolutely no doubt about the following key elements that have many people so upset:
- Bush's administration fabricated reasons to start a war;
- In the guise of "smaller government," the Bush Administration criminally mishandled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina;
- President Bush uses signing statements to place himself above laws expressly passed by Congress, and has done so hundreds of times, to the extent that the presidential veto is now an obsolete tool;
- The Bush Administration uses a specious and discredited legal argument to justify unilateral use of domestic spying on American citizens, including diversion of gigabytes of Internet traffic into sealed rooms inside AT&T's central office in San Francisco for covert examination;
- President Bush has turned large multi-year Federal budget surpluses into mounting Federal budget deficits that continue to expand the national debt and hamper the government's ability to respond to future economic crises;
- The mainstream media is completely owned and co-opted by corporate entities whose direct interest it is to support the current Administration.
Because of these and many other issues, many otherwise centrist and moderate people such as myself, who hold jobs, raise families and try to keep their heads above water, are, yes, extremely upset.
The Bush administration continues to survive scandals that would have destroyed any previous Administration. WMDs, Abu Ghraib, Plamegate, Katrina, Abramoff and the list goes on and on. And yet, because of what many people outside Washington see as a compliant media claque, the effect of these scandals-of-the-week is muted and minimized. It also has the effect of discouraging dissent, as does your recent work.
People see you and others like you as an amen corner, lacking true objectivity and hopelessly compromised by your proximity to power.
As you know, the Republican party uses anger as a motivating tool. And it works. Can you blame those who oppose conservatism for becoming angrier and angrier from watching a political system that has been comprehensively hijacked? And for wishing that the only meaningful political opposition group in this country would start acting more like an opposition party rather than an excessively loyal opposition?
Through the offices of what many see (including myself) as an unholy trinity of right-wing politicians, co-opted and defanged journalists, and monstrous deregulated corporate entities, the American society is in the process of becoming something very different from what it once was.
Whenever a mortal crisis occurred in this country, a person has stepped forward. Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt.
Many of us see another mortal crisis occurring now. One which may end in insensibly destroying the constitutional republic that we once took pride in and wanted to defend, without a shot being fired. As of now, that republic may no longer exist. and no one is available to level with the American people and make the hard decisions required to begin redressing the myriad of needless, essentially nihilist blunders committed by this Administration and its followers and adherents.
People like myself do not want a "strong leader" in the mold of Big Brother. We want a President, Administration and a legislative branch that respect precedent and adheres to Constitutional law, whatever the personal cost. This is really not too much to ask for.
It would also be nice if we had a journalistic cadre who actually believed in objectivity and were willing to lose their jobs over it.
So, in the end, one's heart positively bleeds for the abuse you've taken over e-mail. However, your brand of editorializing shows a person who is fatally out of touch with reality, which as we all know "has a liberal bias." Many of us consider your writing a form of abuse and desperately want to respond in kind, as we see you as someone who holds the ammunition belt for the guy pointing the machine gun at us.
Welcome to digital accountability.
The Lighthouse Keeper (anonymized, used real name in e-mail)