Hard to imagine that Bush could find people less qualified to fill their own positions, than he is to fill his, but he’s managed to do it. Check out this latest article by Bill Berkowitz on Media Transparency: Bush Administration mining fundamentalist recruits.
Paul Bonicelli, who most recently was the dean of academic affairs at Patrick Henry College, a small fundamentalist Christian college locatedHiring by the Book in rural Virginia, has moved on to oversee USAID’s democracy and governance programs.
William Fisher, who has managed economic development programs in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development says…
Bonicelli “has little experience in the field he has been tapped to supervise,” Fisher noted. “The closest he comes to democracy promotion or good governance is having worked as a staffer for the Republican Party in the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives.”
Now, I’m no veteran of Washington D.C. myself, and have only 34 years to my credit on this planet, but it seems to me that more career civil service officials have been provoked to complain about the politicization of the bureaucracy by the Bush Administration, than any other in history.
According to his new boss…
“Bonicelli’s office will focus on four primary goals of strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights; promoting more genuine and competitive elections and political processes; increasing development of a politically active civil society; and implementing a more transparent and accountable governance. Progress in all four areas is necessary to achieve sustainable democracy.
Setting aside the question of whether his training and professional education qualify him for such a position, let’s take a look at the environment he has just been operating within:
“Students must obey a curfew, wear their hair neatly and dress ‘modestly.’If they wish to hold hands with a member of the opposite sex, they must do so while walking: standing while holding hands is not permitted. And students must sign an honor pledge that bans them from drinking alcohol unless under parental supervision.” In addition, “The MTV and VH1 pop-culture channels are blocked from campus televisions because their contents are considered inappropriate [and] the students’ computers are set up with a program called Covenant Eyes, which monitors the websites they visit.”
You gotta wonder whether or not the human rights of queer people, or, hell, anyone whose interest in sex extends beyond procreation, to, say, artistic expression of one sort or another, are going to have much of a priority for this guy.
This is the image we want to present to the world? That of crazed Protestant Christian fundamentalists… the type of folks who ally themselves with crazed Muslim fundamentalists and crazed Catholic fundamentalists to block reforms that promote women’s rights, queer people’s rights, and access to birth control, reproductive information in general, sex education, and abortion (as Berkowitz mentions in his article)?