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A Naif in The Land of The Pharisees

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Part 1

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By Paul deParrie
May 14, 2004

There is an old saying that goes along these lines: �Anyone who keeps saying �Trust me,� is probably someone you can�t trust.�

When I hear it, I start checking things.

Yet, today it seems that many are numb to the alarming sensation that should accompany �Trust me.�

Since 9-11 we have been hearing �Trust me� a lot. Donald Rumsfeld says it when he is asked how things are going in Iraq � where are the WMDs, and such. John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge sing it as duet when they talk about the War on Terror as it is waged on the home front.

�Trust me,� we won�t be violating anyone�s right under the USA Patriot Act, they say. Most seem to be all too ready to believe it � so long as it doesn�t affect them personally.

It is like Rush Limbaugh�s long-time tirade against �conspiracy theorists� and what he calls the Keepers Of Odd Knowledge Society (KOOKS). He regularly lambasted people who talked of Justice Department abuses of rights and how they were railroaded in the courts and wound up in prison. All this was regular fare on his bombastic broadcasts � until it happened to him.

When law enforcement said, �Trust me,� he did � and told others to trust him in that trust.

However, once law enforcement began rooting through his medical records in search of a crime, he suddenly became an outspoken opponent of police abuse of power. He suddenly realized what a lot of lesser people had known for a long time � that the power of the badge corrupts.

Yet, even here, Limbaugh�s enlightenment is shallow. The scope of his distrust is very narrow. He still sees �power� as his friend.

This is true of the vast majority of the American public. They either have never experienced the raw and abusive power of the State, or they have experienced one sliver of it and refuse to believe that it goes beyond that.

Lord Acton said, �Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.�

I disagree. I believe it is people who are corrupt. If power corrupts, then God is corrupt. However, when people are given power, it is corrupted to the degree that they themselves are not moved by God, the Incorruptible.

Some people were angry with me when I said early on in Bush�s tenure that Ashcroft would be as likely � if not more so � to oppose anti-abortionists than even Janet Reno. It has proven to be so, as over and over in the courts the U.S. Justice Department has sided with the baby-killers. What this proves is the John I-have-a-prayer-meeting-in-my-office-every-day Ashcroft is not the �Christian� everyone thought he was. (Naturally, this doesn�t say much for the Boss either.)

This is one reason why I don�t vote for potential winners, but for those whom I believe to be righteous men. The first duty of the godly voter is to vote only for godly men who have the best chance of wielding power without corruption.

�Trust me,� though is still the message � from Bush, from Rumsfeld, from Ashcroft, from Ridge.

Now we see the spectacle of naked Iraqi prisoners being tortured, tormented, humiliated, and abused. The �Trust Me� Brigade is out in force assuring us that this is �another isolated incident� (as the Glen Beck bumper song goes). Not only will this stop, but those responsible will be brought to Justice (with a capital J) � Trust me! These are just a few bad apples � Trust me! No, it�s not happening at Guantanamo � Trust me!

Isn�t this the kind of assurance we get from the domestic �Trust Me� Brigade? The ordinary citizen won�t have his e-mail monitored � Trust me! We won�t look at your library records, your business records, your bank records, your supermarket discount card records � Trust me! You will never be the target of one of those black-bag entries into your home � Trust me! You will never be declared to be an �enemy combatant� and held incommunicado in prison (unless you are truly one of them) � Trust me!

Forgive me if I say that even Clinton would never have gotten away with this kind of subversion of our Constitution.

This is only the beginning. It will get worse � Trust me.

� 2004 Paul deParrie - All Rights Reserved

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Paul deParrie is a 17-year veteran of anti-abortion street activism, a preacher, and a social critic. He is the author of "Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics" (Huntington House) available at NewsWithViews Online Store Front. deParrie may be reached at:

Paul's book: Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics can be purchased by calling







"Since 9-11 we have been hearing �Trust me� a lot. Donald Rumsfeld says it when he is asked how things are going in Iraq � where are the WMDs, and such. John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge sing it as duet when they talk about the War on Terror as it is waged on the home front."