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Coup d' etat

Fri, Nov 10th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

When the people are afraid of the government, that's tyranny. But when the government is afraid of the people, that's liberty. Thomas Jefferson

One warm, sunny, tropical morning in December 1989, I stood in a refugee camp in the Philippines waiting for a bus to take me the four hours to Manila. The bus had been delayed because a coup was taking place in the capital as renegade military leader Greg "Gringo" Honasan tried to pry power away from People Power's Cory Acquino.

As we milled around talking about "what this all meant for the Philippines" American jets screamed overhead from Subic Bay Naval Base 30 minutes away. President George H.W. Bush had ordered American planes to take control of the skies over Manila, thus ending any serious attempt to unseat Acquino.

In many parts of the world, people use the sword to take power. In America we use the ballot box.

By all practical accounts, Tuesday's general election was a coup d' etat - the overthrow of the Bush government's way of doing things. While Democrats were the beneficiaries of voter discontent, Tuesday's election was less a celebration of all things Democratic and more a rejection of the direction our government was taking us in Washington.

In stock-market parlance, Tuesday's vote was a correction. It was about displeasure with the War in Iraq. It was also about the deficit and incompetence in Bush administration programs. In the final analysis, it was clearly a rejection of the way Congress was doing its business, dominated by partisan self-interest, corruption and scandal.

On Tuesday the people took back their government and gave a new Congress two years to show the American people that it is capable of our trust.


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