Monday, December 13, 2010

The Sheeple

The people have spoken, goddamn them. -- Mo Udall

Chapter 2

This brief section in which I decry the apparent collective stupidity of the American electorate in giving George W. Bush fresh mandates to continue his madness at home and in the Middle East in 2002 and again in 2004 is the one segment above all others that my fainter-hearted friends have advised me against including in this volume. “You will only alienate readers and cause them to close your book by publishing such ire and rancor”, I have been advised. Perhaps so in some cases, though I hope not. But I do not seek to win a popularity contest anyway.

No record of the Bush administration-induced anguish that has dominated my thinking and emotions for the last six years would be complete without an honest expression of what I felt at moments of greatest despair and disgust during these terrible years. I am not dishonest enough to omit these statements. Or, alternatively, I am foolhearty enough to include them.

Americans could have rebuffed Bush in the 2002 mid-term elections, but they didn’t. This was inexplicable and unforgivable, I thought. My statements at the time reflected those sentiments.

And after the presidential election of 2004 when blindered Americans had voted Bush into office still again, thereby expanding his mandate to drag our nation ever deeper into the worst domestic and international malaise since the Great Depression, at least, I was, frankly, livid.

At that point Bush had established an indisputable track record of lies and double dealing about Iraq.

At that point he had expanded his unrelenting plutocratic attack on the middle class of America with more tax breaks for the wealthy, diminution of welfare funding, and relaxation of environmental laws to favor his fat cat contributors from the energy and other sectors.

Nothing had gone well since his appointment as president in December 2000, but here we were four years later facing four more years of the hell he had already put us through.

This, because Americans had not displayed enough collective intelligence to kick the bums out in the 2004 election. Rather, too many Americans were still crouching in dark corners expecting the Bush administration to protect them from “terrists” from without when, in truth, Bush and his cabal were the worst terrorist in America and in the world at the time. Or so I felt and wrote.

The tide is finally turning in the spring of 2007. Bush has few friends on either side of the congressional aisle and the most lethargic American couch potatoes are willing, finally, to listen to criticism of their president.

The corporate media whores are even finding a voice and daring to speak out after years of cutting Bush slack and presenting White House press releases as the gospel.

But it’s too little and it’s too late. The darkness from which our nation and the world must recover in the post-Bush years will linger for decades. It did not have to be so.


Excesses of blind patriotism annoying, dangerous

November 17, 2001

Dear Post-911 Flag-Waving Fellow Americans:

After reading your newspapers--after listening to your corporate media's propagandistic version of the so-called "War Against Terrorism" now under way in Afghanistan--after seeing your flag-decked SUVs with the Pisces emblems on the one side and National Rifle Association stickers on the other--after enduring this national adrenalin rush daily for the past two months--I have concluded that you are, by and large, a shallow, callous, insular, naively manipulable and infinitely self-righteous lot.

You are dangerously intoxicated at this time with a virulent strain of myopic ethnocentrism approaching Third Reich fanaticism--one that is most unattractive to the quiet minority here who can't in good conscience join your sloganeered, bumper-stickered, anthem-singing, flag-flapping, Arab-hating hysteria.

You are riding the crest of a wave of blind arrogance, egocentric hedonism and aggressive nationalism that cannot last--one that will inevitably lead to a cataclysmic fall in time.

I do not know how these things will evolve. I am no prophet or seer. But of this I am reasonably certain. You will be--you must be--humbled. Karmic laws are inexorable, inescapable and universal. America is ripe for a humbling as the 21st Century begins.

I do not wish this to be the case. I live here, as have my forebears for at least six generations. I have children and grandchildren who will suffer when the collapse occurs. But I see this national adjustment as inevitable.

You as a people are not better than--you do not deserve more of everything than--any other group on the planet.

You do not possess an inherent right to abuse--to show utter disregard for--other human cultures and groups, as well as every other species with which you share this tiny blue orb.

You do not possess an inherent right to destroy the very Earth that has nurtured you with your outsized contribution to global pollution--one that will bring catastrophic climate changes and sea level alterations within the present century.

You are not so very special and unique as you may imagine, flag-waving Americans. Deity has not singled you out for preferential treatment and predestined dominance. You are merely the current bully on the block--an ephemeral thing at best. Bullies come and go.

In the longer view of history, you will go the way of other civilizations that became overly extended, overly aggressive, overly confident, overly materialistic, and overtly abusive toward all that did not embrace unflinchingly their narrowly defined interests and values.

I have thought often during recent days of Thomas Jefferson's remark regarding the institution of slavery--a gathering storm in his time.

He said, "... I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

Indeed, I tremble today for my country because I know my fellows are on a course that cannot end well.