Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Gore Vidal on Bush's Inaugural Sermon

From Democracy Now:

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Gore Vidal. He -- President Bush said in his speech: “Across the generations, we’ve proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one's fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It's the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it's the urgent requirement of our national security, and the calling of our time.”

GORE VIDAL: Well, proof of his bad education -- he seems not to know that the principle founders of the United States, from George Washington to Thomas Jefferson to Madison, were all slave holders. So, we started a country with half of the country quite prosperous because of black slaves, African slaves, who were not in the least happy about being slaves, but they had been captured, brought over here and sold back and forth around the country. So, I don't see how the founding fathers could have committed us to the principle that ‘no man should be a slave, and every man should be a master,’ or whatever the silly-Billy said. Well, this is a country based on slavery, is also based upon the dispossession of what we miscall the Indians. They were the native Americans, at least before -- long before our arrival. So, we were not dedicated to any of these principles. We were dedicated to making as much money and stealing as much land as we could and building up a republic, not a democracy. The word democracy was hated by the founding fathers. It does not appear at any point in the constitution, nor does it appear in any pleasant sense in the Federalist Papers. So, we are not a democracy, and here we are exporting it as though it were just something -- well, we just happened to make, a lot of democracy, and cotton and tin and stuff like that. So, let’s --let's do some exports of democracy. We don't have it, and most countries don't have it, and not many countries want it. Democracy was tried only once, and that was in the Fifth Century B.C., at Athens, and finally, they were overcome by an oligarchy from Sparta, and nobody ever tried again to establish a democracy in any country on earth.

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