John Dean states that the furtive and secrecy-obsessed administration, burgeoning on paranoid delusions in Dean's estimation, is designed to conceal agenda of corporate favoritism, such as 'Co-president' Cheney's dealings with Halliburton and Bush's with Enron. Rather than putting the needs of schools and students at the forefront of the administration, or the social welfare of soldiers and the American public, defense contractors and Republican politicians needs, Dean suggests, are of greater concern.
In other words, the administration has caused a fundamental economic imbalance in America, as well as limiting the public's access to knowledge of how government works. "Over the past several years," even the Smithsonian Institution has sought "corporate money to supplement its budget. In return, donors get their names on facilities: the Lockheed Martin IMAX theater at the National Air and Space Museum, for instance, and the Fuji film Giant Panda Conservation Habitat at the National Zoo." (Csmonitor.com, 2003) Dean's book casts a sorrowful eye on an America where everything is sponsored -- where even American high schools are 'brought to you' by Coca-Cola, Snapple, and Channel 1 TV contracts that exchange dollars for access, via television, to the impressionable minds of young consumers. "Today, corporate sponsorship in public schools is all but routine, whether it's Channel One, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or the America's Schools program - which works as a kind of go-between for schools and would-be corporate sponsors. The National Parent Teacher Association's website displays logos of corporate sponsors such as Disney Interactive, AT& T - and Coca-Cola. In June, a Coke executive was given a seat on the national PTA board." (Csmonitor.com, 2003)
The lack of ethics highlighted by Dean in corporate America and in the executive branch is indeed astounding. These hearken back to Bush's early business dealings, to the ethical quandaries of revealing a potentially critical voice of a former CIA informant in a way to put the individual at potential risk while still serving in the field, to the tolerated abuses of prisoners of war in Iraq. These dramatic growths of unchecked power for the executive branch that put at risk the lives of American citizens, civil liberties, and the Constitution could be a worthy subject of debate in any classroom, as is Deans' statement that corralling, as he puts it, in other words the deporting of legal aliens, or imprisoning legal or even illegal aliens indefinitely without charges or evidence of criminal activity, in the belief that it provides security is an illusion, not to mention a vile undertaking. The book presents important ethical issues for students to discuss, because it highlights personal issues of safety as well as what is right and wrong for government officials to do in the name of national security and upholding the Constitution while simultaneously defying its dearest precepts. (Dean, 2004)
Dean also states that history has shown that what our government does to others today, it will do to Americans tomorrow, a repeat of Santayana's famous answer to why we study history, as not to repeat the past. He states that when our government denies basic human rights to citizens of other nations, it has no standing to demand that other nations afford such basic rights to Americans. Simply stated, by treating other nationals, as we would want to be treated, only then do we realize our humanity and follow our Constitution but protect ourselves in the long run. (Dean, 2004) Is this a vital lesson or a controversial proposition? Either way, it forms a worthy topic of discussion for any citizen and any civics class.
Csmonitor.com "Selling the Public." (January 16, 2003) Christian Science Monitor Online. Retrieved November 27, 2004 at http://c5.zedo.com/jsc/c5/ff2.html?n=305;c=127/1;s=78;d=19;w=400;h=450;t=III-INTERACTIVE
Dean, John. (2004) Worse than Watergate. Little, Brown.
"John Dean." (2003) The Washington Post. Watergate Revisited Homepage. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-adv/advertisers/popunders/usforgrowth_nov04_wp_3.html
Santayana, George. (2004) Homepage of author's works. Retrieved November 27, 2004 at http://members.aol.com/santayana / http://members.aol.com/santayana/