Sunday, November 12, 2006

Worse Than W Keys Missing From The Computers

One of my core beliefs is the importance of celebration. I adore birthdays, both my own and those of my family and friends. Everyone needs one day a year devoted entirely to the joy and pleasure and wonder of their own existence. I love celebrating the eight Sabbats of my religion, marking the turning of the wheel of the year, from sexy, flowery Beltane to deep, dark Samhein. And I love to celebrate victories. I work with a guy, very nice and absolutely brilliant, who often doesn't get how important it is to take all the secretaries, paralegals, young associates, etc. out for a big celebration when we get a brief filed or win a case; he doesn't understand why I always insist on it.

And like every Democrat, hell, like every half-way sentinent being on the planet (dryads, elephants, manatees, and cats included), I've been celebrating ever since Tuesday night when America finally decided to start being America again.

And, yet, deep believer that I am in celebrating, there's also a strong element of Cassandra in me. And here's what my inner Cassandra is worrying about now:

One of the most pernicious thing that the Bush junta has done, and they've been doing it actively and deliberately for the last six years, is to place "true believers" in every government post that they possibly could. I'd go so far as to say that a major purpose of the "reorganization" around creation of the odiously-named Department of Homeland Security was so that they could further this goal. The federal government is now studded, from the highest levels to the lowest, with Bush fanatics, with dominionist fundies, and with free-market whack-jobs.

In D.C., it's always been the case that a new administration could make some changes, but that they'd have to depend upon a whole slew of life-time federal employees to carry out those changes and, often, that the changes would be blunted by those civil servants. Everyone in D.C. today knows a number of people who, after long careers in the federal government, gave up and left every agency from NOAH to NIH, from Justice to Ag, because they couldn't stand the creeps that the Bush junta put in place. Those creeps, kind of like viruses, have been replicating themselves, replacing those career civil servants with graduates of Bob Jones University and lawyers from George Mason Law School.

Remember this Bush appointee who managed to get the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet" deleted from NASA's mission statement? Or this presidential appointee who "told a Web designer working for [NASA] to add the word 'theory' after every mention of the Big Bang, . . . . [He said that the] 'Big Bang is 'not proven fact; it is opinion, . . .' adding, 'It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator . . . .'" Here's a report prepared for Waxman that details Bush's attempts to interfere in scientific endeavors. Multiply these sorts of incidents across the Department of Education where appointees of the Bush junta push the demonstrably-failed Abstinence Education initiative, to the State Department where anyone "disloyal" to Bush has been purged, to every other branch of the federal government.

So I worry that, regardless of what legislation the new Congress passes, it's going to take a long, long time to root out all the crazies that are planted, almost precisely like land mines, everywhere you look. I don't know what can be done about this, in the short term, but the new Congress needs to keep this problem in mind when it writes new legislation. Be clear. Be very, very clear.


Anonymous said...

That's so true. I work as a government contractor. I was afraid to apply for a job at the Pentagon because of rumors of ideological purity tests. What's really scary is that I'd rather go to Iraq than work at the Pentagon. It's prestigious, but in this administration getting too close to the flagpole will get you burned.

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