Thank you, God, for delivering my society from the touch of a
The White House announced Tuesday the resignations of U.S.
Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans,
effective as soon as the Senate approves replacements.
While the resignation of Secretary Evans is a great
post-election insight into how the Bush administration really feels
about its economic policy, it is little more than a necessary step
to right a listing economy.
More wonderful news is the resignation of the attorney general.
Ashcroft’s narrow and self-righteous attitude, as well as the
militant fervor with which he impresses his moral agenda, bothers
Yes, Ashcroft has the right as an American to pray when he wants
and to oppose or support certain medical and social practices, such
as dancing. He is wrong, however, to do everything in his power to
try and push his ideology on the American public.
Upon being appointed and confirmed as attorney general, one of
the first tasks he undertook was to cloak justice. He paid $8,000
to have a sash added to the two nude, blindfolded, scale-bearing
statues in the lobby of the Justice Department Building in
As the administration of justice became more opaque with the
justice department’s defense of holding terrorism suspects without
charge or trial, the eyes of justice were enabled to see more than
ever. Ashcroft’s Patriot Act has given the federal government
unprecedented authority to watch over its subjects.
Most bothering about Ashcroft, however, isn’t his heavy-handed
and absolute methods for dealing with crime and terrorism, but
rather his simpleton and often ignorant views of humanity.
“The underlying cause of crime in America,” Ashcroft is often
quoted as saying, “is criminals.”
Well, that is brilliant! What that answer fails to address,
though, is the real question of what causes criminals. Is it
poverty, ignorance, laziness or lack of morals? The fact is that
while America continues to imprison almost as many people as every
other country on earth combined, we are still far and away the
world’s most violent industrial society.
Ashcroft states in his letter of resignation “the objective of
securing Americans from crime and terror has been achieved.”
In a world where deceptions and half-true catch phrases dominate
politics, John Ashcroft personifies everything I dislike most about
the Bush administration.
I am definitely not alone in this feeling, and perhaps no one is
more aware of this than Bush. The New York Times quotes a
Republican close to the White House as saying that during previous
months Ashcroft has been given a “strong signal” his resignation
would be accepted.
While it has been rumored that Ashcroft and the White House are
not very cordial, Bush’s reelection resulted from his core
constituency picking him because of his moral values. Whatever that
means, because of this fact, Ashcroft, a hero among the
ultra-conservatives, may have had a secure place in this
In getting Ashcroft’s resignation, however, Bush may be
attempting a gesture of benevolence to win over some of the 48
percent of Americans who didn’t vote for him.
Only time will tell how serious or superficial Bush is as he
names a replacement for Ashcroft in the coming weeks. Some
possibilities are White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and former
Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson.
Yes, neither man shares the same worldview as Al Franken, but
neither man is morally opposed to dancing.
At this point I’m willing to compromise.
Joe Marshall is a senior history major. His column runs every
Thursday in the Collegian.