Roosevelt 100 Years Ago

In April 100 years ago:

“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”
–Teddy Roosevelt.

(April 19th, actually – I’m a few days late with this.)

Looks like the “invisible government” he was referring to has surged forward and become a lot more visible.

Consider this, from Lawrence Wilkerson: “Is U.S. being transformed into a radical republic?” in today’s Baltimore Sun:

As Alexis de Tocqueville once said: “America is great because she is good. If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

In January 2001, with the inauguration of George W. Bush as president, America set on a path to cease being good; America became a revolutionary nation, a radical republic. If our country continues on this path, it will cease to be great – as happened to all great powers before it, without exception.

From the Kyoto accords to the International Criminal Court, from torture and cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners to rendition of innocent civilians, from illegal domestic surveillance to lies about leaking, from energy ineptitude to denial of global warming, from cherry-picking intelligence to appointing a martinet and a tyrant to run the Defense Department, the Bush administration, in the name of fighting terrorism, has put America on the radical path to ruin.

Unprecedented interpretations of the Constitution that holds the president as commander in chief to be all-powerful and without checks and balances marks the hubris and unparalleled radicalism of this administration.

Moreover, fiscal profligacy of an order never seen before has brought America trade deficits that boggle the mind and a federal deficit that, when stripped of the gimmickry used to make it appear more tolerable, will leave every child and grandchild in this nation a debt that will weigh upon their generations like a ball and chain around every neck. Imagine owing $150,000 from the cradle. That is radical irresponsibility.

This administration has expanded government - creation of the Homeland Security Department alone puts it in the record books - and government intrusiveness. It has brought a new level of sleaze and corruption to Washington (difficult to do, to be sure). And it has done the impossible in war-waging: put in motion a conflict in Iraq that in terms of colossal incompetence, civilian and military, and unbridled arrogance portends to top the Vietnam era, a truly radical feat.

Congress can awaken and discover that the Constitution is correct, that Congress is in fact a separate and equal branch of government. The American people will find a way to deal with the remainder of the radicals, whether at the ballot box, in the courts or in the Senate.

We can halt the precipitate slide in our standing around the world, convince the majority of the Islamic world that we can and must co-exist – and eventually prosper together – and at the same time confront, confound and defeat the small element in Islam’s midst that lives to murder innocents, Christian, Jew and Muslim alike.

Sounds like place to start for the statemanship of today.

5 thoughts on “Roosevelt 100 Years Ago

  1. Thank you! A useful comment – much appreciated, the more so since I’m a bit mortified that I didn’t catch it. It’s been about 15 years since I read any de Tocqueville, but it didn’t sound that far off.

    In your piece you refer to him as “Tocqueville.” I wasn’t aware that the convention of the inclusion of the “de” was broken in his case. Do you know why that might be?

    I would have guessed that the quotation might have been from Journey to America rather than Democracy in America, but as I say, it’s been a while.

    You’ve traced out an interesting viral effect. It’s an interesting story – I urge other readers to take a look.

    Wilkerson is not the first to be mistaken on this, as you make clear. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.

  2. [Off topic] I wanted to let you know — I got your comment that you left on my blog about the newly-uncovered Gospel of Judas, but after I approved it, it disappeared into the cybersphere. The Gospel of Judas is available at any Barnes & Noble or Borders, usually on the “Da Vinci” table at the front of the store. You can also download the text as a 7-page pdf file.

    ~ Darrell

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