If many people saw Alberto Gonzales' appointment to the office of Attorney General as an American Dream story, many of those same people now see it as a national nightmare. Never in my lifetime have I seen any public official show more disdain and disregard for the Constitution and the very laws that define American society than this Attorney General. plk
AlterNet: How Gonzales Destroyed the American Dream
Alberto Gonzales went down dreaming.
While announcing his resignation earlier this week, Alberto Gonzales deployed one of his most powerful and romantic rhetorical weapons. "I often remind our fellow citizens that we live in the greatest country in the world and that I have lived the American dream," he stated. "Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father's best days."
More than any public official in recent memory, the often smiley and sometimes smirking Gonzales -- and his supporters -- consistently framed his story as a brown embodiment of the American dream.
His rise from "extremely poor" circumstances in his hometown of Humble, Tex. became the stuff of small-town mythmaking and tear-inspiring speeches in Washington corridors, especially on those occasions when he had to be confirmed -- or rebuked -- by Congress.
During Gonzales' nomination, Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a fellow Texan, said, "The nomination of Judge Alberto Gonzales to serve as our nation's 80th attorney general -- and our first of Hispanic descent -- is the American dream come true."
Following the Tejano Horatio Alger script, many -- but not all -- of the leaders of the largest Latino organizations lent their credibility to the Gonzales dream story. Hector Flores, former national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) called Gonzales "the American dream personified." Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), said his was "a compelling American success story."
As we watch the Gonzales' compelling personal story wind down to a tragicomic resolution, it becomes clear that the meaning behind his smile and the moral of his story has nothing to do with whether or not he expanded the American dream (he didn't). It has everything to do with manipulating his story while he did the dirty work of defending powerful interests against the death of the dream.