Consortiumnews.com, Feb 10, 2008
By Morgan Strong
Editor’s Note: When Americans wonder how the arrogant and corrupt Bush family managed to seize so much power for so long, part of the answer is that the electorate lost control of its history during the long Cold War and into a new era of secrecy called "the war on terror."
Cold War secrecy gave the rich and powerful extraordinary abilities to hide information from the American people, including the unsavory history of the Bush family, as journalist/historian Morgan Strong observes in this guest essay:To fully understand the present manifestation of the Bush family and its excesses, one must consider its history over several generations, a difficult and painful undertaking since it reveals so much about the self-destructive apathy of the American people.
James Madison wrote passionately in the Federalist Papers that in order for a democracy to function and not descend into a tyranny of the wealthy and the well-connected, the citizenry must stay well informed. In Madison’s view, a democratic society was wholly dependent on an informed citizenry.
Much of the responsibility to inform was placed on the press and the educational system. Indeed, the Founders gave the press the unchallenged right to seek out and publish information under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In recent years, however, the U.S. press has failed in that responsibility dreadfully. Education in this country also has been a dismal failure. But in the end, it is the citizens who bear the principal duty to make themselves informed.
Below, in a bleak and foreboding history, is what occurs when the citizenry is deprived of meaningful information and then fails in its obligation to find out the facts and exercise the critical judgment required for self governance.
In the late 19th Century, Samuel Bush moved to Ohio from Orange, New Jersey, where he had attended the nearby Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. He made the first big move in his manufacturing career as an engineer with Buckeye Steel Castings Company, which produced gun barrels and railroad parts.
Samuel Bush became a confidante of the company’s president, Frank Rockefeller, a brother of the enormously wealthy and powerful John D. Rockefeller, who owned Standard Oil. Another participant in Buckeye Steel was railroad baron E.H. Harriman.