On Friday, September 30, 2005 I received a call from Congressman Tom Reynolds. The message given to me was that Congressman Reynolds had something important to discuss with me. Wondering what that could be, I immediately called up the Congressman’s office on the number that was given to me. A gentleman answered the phone and explained to me that I had been chosen as one of the up and coming businessmen in the Broward County area and part of some organization dealing with small businesses of which I was told it would have an impact on national policy. I was then asked if I would wait a second for a recording to be played in which Congressman Reynolds would explain exactly what was being asked of me.
I listened to this 35 second or so recording which touted President Bush’s and the Republican Party’s agenda of how their policies are meant to help small businesses and whether they could count on my continuing support for the President and for his policies. After that 35 seconds or so, a female voice got on the line with me and asked first if I had any questions. I responded no and then she proceeded on.
Again, she reiterated that I had been chosen as one of the up and coming business leaders in Broward County. We went into the fact that I was being solicited to join this organization which apparently by the way she was speaking was part of the RNC, the Republic National Committee. She further informed me that the cost would be $350.00 to join, but by joining I would get the following: My name would be listed on a full page New York Times ad along with many others, who chose to be part of this organization; the ad would be sponsored by the RNC and in essence would be my endorsement of the Republican Congress and George W. Bush’s agenda; I would be given a framed picture autographed by George W. Bush along with receiving a gavel with a commerative plate on it indicating that I was part of this organization. Lastly, I was told that I would be invited to and allowed to attend the Presidential black tie affair or ball, where I would have the opportunity to meet others like myself, influential people. Although not promised, also a possibility of meeting George W. Bush. After this was told to me, I was asked if they could sign me up and could I make my pledge.
I responded with the following question: “Why would I want to donate money to a party and a President who has destroyed my country for the last five years?” The lady on the other end of the phone responded with “I guess you are not a Republican?” I responded with “That’s right I am not a Republican”. She then asked me if I was a Democrat. Again I responded “I am certainly not a Republican”.
I then told her that I had changed my mind, that I would be willing to pay the $350.00 or so dollars to be part of this organization, with my intention to show up at this gala ball, wearing my Impeach George W. Bush T-shirt. To my surprise, chagrine, and actual fear, she replied to me that local police and secret service would not like this and that I would be escorted out. My response was I thanked her for making that statement, as I am sure that the world would like to know, that it is the Republican party’s and the President’s position to stifle free speech and First Amendment rights by using branches of the Federal government or local governments to take away those rights. She immediately hung up the phone.
During the 2004 presidential runup, were numerous reports of the Secret Service along with other law enforcement agencies, escorting people from public hearings, that wore Kerry T-shirts or anti-Bush T-shirts. Each time this incident occurred, it was always explained after the fact, that this was an accident, it wasn’t meant to happen, it was the local people acting out without authority, it was a misguided Secret Service agent and has been rectified, and any other excuse. I now know that these lame excuses were just that. Lame excuses. Apparently, it is official Republican policy from the President on down, including Congressmen such as Tom Reynolds that unless you speak the way that they want you to speak, government agents will be there to silence you.
From the grandiose display, George W. Bush did in New Orleans with a majestic building in the back drop, while the rest of the city was flooded, to the talking points issued by the administration, to their friends in the media towing the party line, to the not allowing of dissenters into any gatherings in which the President may attend, outward threats made to myself by people from Congressman Reynold’s office, Republicans in this administration have done their best to shape, characterize and control what you see, what you hear, and ultimately what you believe.
I know that it is not popular and it seems offensive to equate anything in this country with the Nazi regime of the 30’s and 40’s. I know that any comparison immediately is branded as being over the top or from the fringe. Yet, the analogies are amazing. Hitler had a propoganda of minister. Although one has not been given the title in this administration, this administration has certainly taken a page from that chapter.
The truth is not important to this administration. Image is. Facts are not important to this administration. Spin is. Legality is not important to this administration. Perception is. Honesty and freedom of speech are not important to this administration. Keeping the Republicans in power at any cost is.