Let Freedom Ring Gonzales and Rove Into Permanent Exile

05/25/2011 12:05 pm ET
  • Trey Ellis Novelist, Screenwriter, and Associate Professor at Columbia University

I just came from seeing, "The Lives of Others," the German film that won this year's Academy Award and it beautifully forces you to think about the true nature of freedom. Many Progressives don't like to talk about freedom because the right has squatted over that real estate for so many years, confusing "These Colors Don't Run" t-shirts with what it actually means to live in a free society.

The most frightening aspect of, "The Lives of Others," is its meticulous depiction of life in a crushingly soulless, one-party state ruled by fear. For the past six years or so Americans have become pretty well acquainted with that feeling. If we hadn't finally wised up in the last midterms to drive America's extreme right wing into the sea, East Germany's inhuman past could have become America's very near future.

One-party rule, as envisioned by Rove, the Architect, and implemented by his henchmen like Gonzales, was trying to reshape America into a country that water boards first, asks questions only after the detainee has been resuscitated. They were trying to reshape America into a country that shadows and infiltrates any organization that is perceived to counter even remotely the ruling-party's dogma.

Most thriving democracies have dozens of political parties that are forced to dialogue and compromise in order to govern the whole. Its citizens begin with a broad choice and then in a series of run-offs have to tailor their final selection to the will of the majority. America has only two parties, 50.1% take all (or worse if we get into the horror of the electoral college). Our relatively precarious democracy wasn't good enough for the Bush Administration. When the Democrats appeared especially weak Rove and company systematically set out to install themselves as de facto one-party rulers.

They came within a botched war of succeeding.

If they hadn't over reached on this foolish war they could very possibly have succeeded in extinguishing democracy in the most famous democracy on the planet.

Firing the federal prosecutors was just a small piece of the Architect's plan. The already toxic federal lobbying system was taken to Soviet extremes by the K Street project's purge of most Democratic lobbyist. The supposed reconstruction of Iraq by the CPA was wholly and completely a patronage system for loyal Republican apparatchiks. The C.I.A. and the State Department were all systematically gutted of even moderate Republicans as efficiently as any operation by the Stasi, East Germany's dreaded secret police.

I am so proud of Congress for standing up to this fundamentally and aggressively anti-democratic administration, however belatedly. With the right on the run, now is the time to press onward, to let freedom ring again.

Mr. Bush...Tear down this wall!