If some last-minute polling trends showing a powerful Republican comeback carry through the Nov. 7 elections, the end of America as we have known it for more than two centuries will be at hand.
In a political version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” the country might look the same – people driving their SUVs to the mall or eating at fast-food restaurants – but it will have internally changed. Election 2006 will have been the ratification of George W. Bush’s grim vision of endless war abroad and the end of a constitutional Republic at home.
Though not understanding the full import of their actions, the American voters will have endorsed the elimination of the “unalienable” rights handed down to them by the Founders, instead allowing “plenary” – or unlimited – power to be invested in the President. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights will have been turned into irrelevant pieces of paper.
Bush will have the authority to send American young men and women to war wherever he chooses; he will have the power to spy on anyone he wants; he could imprison citizens and non-citizens alike under the Military Commissions Act while denying the detainees the right to file motions with civilian courts; he could order harsh interrogations which could then be used to convict defendants (assuming they are ever brought before one of his hand-picked tribunals for trial, conviction and execution); he could ignore or reinterpret any laws that he doesn’t like; he would have rubber-stamps in Congress and very soon in the U.S. Supreme Court; he and his potential successors would be, in effect, dictators.
Indeed, one reason this new America has the look of incipient totalitarianism is that the Right has created such a powerful media apparatus that it can virtually create its own reality. Most often, the cowed mainstream media tags along, as happened with the media frenzy over Kerry’s misinterpreted joke.
Assuming the Republican comeback trends continue through Election Day – and the GOP holds both houses of Congress – it will be hard to imagine how this right-wing juggernaut will ever be stopped.
Robert Parry, the author of this article, is a mainstream journalist with an impressive history. Would you ever in the recent past have imagined a mainstream journalist talking about American totalitarianism and dictatorship? Dear God, what have we come to?
I'm experiencing a deep sense of dread this election day. I hope I'm wrong. I sincerely hope I'm wrong.