There’s a world of difference between leadership and partisanship. When the president and his supporters set a course to establish a right-wing agenda without so much as a nod in the other direction they do not serve the interests of the country as a whole but in fact serve a narrow swath of the population. Often forgotten because of Republican majorities in Congress is the fact that the nation is more evenly divided than those majorities suggest.
After an election in which Republicans received significant backing from the religious right there have been calls from those supporters to promote a religiously-oriented government although this would threaten our constitutional framework. How, in any case, do those who call themselves Christians willingly spend billions of dollars on war materiel, tax breaks for corporations and wealthy individuals yet maintain that cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and early childhood education are worthy deficit-reduction plans? One is hard put to understand how such people pass themselves off as followers of Christ who tended to the sick, fed the poor and threw the money lenders out of the temple.
In today’s world the money lenders and those who control most of the capital have constructed the temple where so many worship, and no-one is throwing them out, least of all that army of Christians who keep preaching to the rest of us about ‘values.’ Does anybody in government really stand for anything anymore? Do all Republicans have to support the president no matter how unprincipled or mindless his proposals?
In his March 28th New Yorker piece Hendrik Hertzberg refers to the Bush comment that there’s just “a pile of IOUs” in what was once the Social Security Trust Fund. Hertzberg suggests that the rich disdain progressive programs because ‘they generally have to put in more money than they get out.’ Yet, he says, “It does benefit them as citizens…assuming…they prefer…a society of civic peace, civic order and civic decency – – a society of trust. It is not helpful to them or anyone else in the country…when the president announces there is no trust.”
When we honor the rich, undercut the middle class and despise the poor, we are on a negative course that will come back to haunt us. By accepting without a murmur the constant propaganda from an administration that seeks to brainwash an entire nation we facilitate the dumbing-down of a society where too few voices participate in the national debate. It’s a struggle to get through the maze of misinformation to which we are subjected let alone to get heard.
Presently we have the spectacle of Senate leaders attempting to ram through judicial nominees so far out of the mainstream it is mind numbing they are even being considered. The false premise that they deserve an up or down vote as do all such nominees is stunning in its disregard for the fact that so many of the Clinton nominees never made it out of committee, obviating any need for a filibuster. The real question is whether an evenly-divided country should be subjected to jurists who deliver opinions from an extremely narrow perspective.
Compounding this unfortunate state of affairs a Republican-dominated Corporation for Public Broadcasting suggests PBS and NPR be monitored to ensure unbiased reportage and also that NPR spend more air time broadcasting music. Apparently what passes for “liberal” bias is the presentation of factual material by intellectuals who actually know something about a given subject as opposed to biased pundits like O’Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh. If PBS has seen fit to telecast discussions by the Wall Street Journal editorial board when do they plan to air a similar program featuring the NY Times editorial board? Isn’t it clear by now, that far from opting for an even-handed, unbiased public broadcasting system, Republicans are trying to stifle debate and replace intellectual discourse with an agenda that could never be mistaken for impartial programming.
For the present, I’ve shared my displeasure with PBS and will continue to contribute to NPR as the last best hope for open, informative debate in public broadcasting. PBS can probably do without my support as it may receive increased government funding now that it provides an unbiased Republican view of things.

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