Thomas Jefferson would probably have regarded George W. Bush with disgust, but Bush believes he's continuing Jefferson's work. He presided over a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens at Jefferson's home at Monticello today, and restated his belief that Jefferson's rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness apply to everyone on earth. He limited himself, however, to expressing hope that all people would someday "secure" those rights, and restrained himself from asserting an American right to "secure" those rights for other people by invading their countries. Maybe he knows that Jefferson never invaded a nation to "liberate" it and feared the wrath of the great man's ghost if he dared hint that the Virginian would endorse his war.
If Bush gets a little credit for restraint, none goes to the protesters who heckled him. Heckling is fine, in my opinion, and so is holding signs calling for Bush's impeachment. He'd never be convicted, but let's have the trial anyway. But the hecklers crossed the line when they started calling Bush a fascist. This is one of my pet peeves, as I've probably written before. Not every mean leader is a fascist, and not every police state is fascist. It should be sufficient to condemn Bush by stating plainly that he has tried to turn the U.S. into a police state, but the f-word has more emotive power for liberals and lefties. Never mind that, to the extent that fascism is a "totalitarian" ideology, it's the last thing that Bush and his entrepreneurial cronies would want to impose on America. A certain mindset just sees everything to its right as "fascist" the same way their conservative counterparts see everything to their left as "socialist." But if we're going to chastise neocon propagandists for using "islamofascism" as a scare word, we should watch our own language.