Bill Murchison

Democracy is the product we're marketing around the globe, under Bush administration auspices. Not without some sales resistance.

 Take Baghdad. Around and around the customers circle, kicking the tires, giving each other the evil eye, if not blowing each other up -- the ultimate act of mistrust.

 The reputed blessings of government of the people, by the people, for the people make less impression there, it seems, than many Americans had hoped or expected.

 Should Americans really wonder? For more than two centuries we've been in the democracy business. To say the least, we haven't worked out all the kinks. You know as much by reading or watching the news. Nothing in our public affairs right now seems orderly or tidy or moderate or measured.

 On Monday, Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin called for Senate censure of President Bush, who, says Feingold, broke the law by allowing security-oriented eavesdropping on certain telephone calls. If censure fails, there's always impeachment, a process being mulled by Congressman John Conyers of Michigan.

 Earlier, a deal to allow a Persian Gulf company's involvement in the running of key U.S. ports set off political explosions. Right off the bat, commentators called the deal a threat to U.S. security. Democrats and Republicans alike seconded the motion. So how did they know the deal was a threat to security? They -- um -- inferred it. Arabs plus ports equals terrorism.

 Never mind that these particular Arabs were proven friends of the U.S., and that port security was to remain in American hands, and that no one had had time or opportunity to hear the deal explained in detail by those who negotiated it. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to express the most irrational opinions, rationality being something the free marketplace decides for itself. You acknowledge as much even while watching the Arabs pull out of the port deal rather than submit to continued battering by those (e.g., Lou Dobbs, Michael Savage, John Kerry) who seemingly knew all they cared to know about the deal.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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