Robertson and Venezuela

I try not to cut and paste other people’s writing wholesale into my blog, because I think my blog should be my writing, not other peoples. But I have done it recently, and I’m doing it again today, because there’s a lot of information in a recent post from Americablog that’s worth thinking about:

A lot of things have annoyed me about the coverage of Pat Robertson’s latest unChristian, unAmerican and unbelievable broadside — this one calling for the assassination of Venezuela’s leader. First, as Jon Stewart so nimbly demonstrated, Robertson is an esteemed, beloved figure on the Republican side. They use him to raise money and get votes and generally treat him like a major figure. He is NOT the wacky uncle that everyone ignores. And when Robertson tosses off one of these vicious and wacky comments, Bush and most far right “Christian” groups can’t even bring themselves to denounce cold-blooded murder.
But the part that annoyed me the most? Almost none of the coverage made clear that Chavez is the democratically elected leader of his country. Bush encouraged a military coup — which overthrew Chavez’s government — and then gave the thumbs up to the junta that wanted to replace him. Only a stirring demonstration of people power forced the military to back down (much to Bush’s chagrin) and Chavez was put back in place. He’s since won reelection under a vote that was less contested than Bush’s two paths to glory in 2000 and 2004. How can anyone call Chavez a critic of Bush and then fail to point out that Bush encouraged his overthrow? Especially since this proves Bush is lying when he claims to be spreading democracy. You can’t support democracy just when it suits you — as Bush has done his entire presidency.
And yet even middle of the road USA Today referred to Chavez as a “populist strongman.” He is NOT a strongman (whatever you think of his pronouncements or policies). Chavez is the democratically elected leader of Venezuela and sits on one of the world’s largest supplies of oil — and Bush wanted him overthrown. He has every reason to distrust and dislike Bush, as does any Venezuelan who believes in democracy and the sovereign rights of nations to be left alone.

He’s making an excellent point — that democracy doesn’t mean crap to George Bush if the democracy in question doesn’t do what we say, and jump when we say jump. They’re perfectly happy to overthrow democracies. And if they’ll do it to other countries, who’s to say they won’t do it to ours?

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