A human being should be able to
change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, conn a
ship, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort
the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve an
equation, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a
tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
- Robert A. Heinlein
Beelzebush Must Go
On September 11th, 2001, the United States found itself possessing something unprecedented in recent memory: global sympathy. Vast stretches of the world long accustomed to viewing the States as a belligerent nation of self-absorbed rednecks felt the pain of its wounded psyche, reminded of America’s humanity. Never mind that multitudes elsewhere are familiar with fear and violence as a consistent backdrop to their lives. Never mind rumors that powerful men and women in the US might have possessed some foreknowledge of events, and the unanswered questions raised by a government sanctioned airplane whisking members of the Bin Laden family to safety through the otherwise empty skies before anyone could ask them any questions. The point is that hundreds of millions everywhere recoiled from their televisions.
This singular event translated into a lot of international support for a president otherwise stumbling over the awkwardness of his ascension to power. When US troops rolled into Afghanistan, dissenting voices were few. We all knew that for every sacred American life lost, dozens of foreigners somewhere were going to pay. The international community largely wanted to see some kind of justice, even frontier justice, done.
The immanent Shrub squandered that global goodwill faster than an eight-year-old finding five dollars on the floor of a candy store. Thumbing his nose at not only the UN, but other outdated niceties like the Geneva convention, he followed up with a war in Iraq to depose a monster that, let's be honest, his predecessors had created. Sure Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We know it beyond a reasonable doubt because Washington kept the receipts. Apparently the UN-led disarmament process worked pretty well, though. Did a decade of sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children chafe US-Iraqi relations? Yes. Was there ever the minutest link to 9-11, or the tiniest chance of Iraq instigating a shooting war with America? No. But we’re in deep now. I myself can’t wait to see how democratic elections magically appear under the benevolent gaze of an invading government that absolutely doesn’t want to see the fundamentalist Muslim nation that's certain to be voted in by the people. America’s credibility is swirling in the bowl.
The self-styled war president regularly proclaims that countless enemies hate the US because the great freedom that its residents enjoy is abhorrent to them, and that he is the best possible defender of that sacred freedom. Perhaps it has escaped America’s notice that he has curtailed their rights more brutally than the wildest dreams of MacCarthyism. Homeland security laws allow unlimited surveillance, and the disappearance of anyone - indefinitely - on the merest suspicion. It’s also telling that in his inventory of democracy’s enemies, he never mentions fascism. Benito Mussolini defined fascism as "the union of state and corporate power." As top Bush supporters, Enron hasn’t even had their corporate charter revoked, proving that if you buy the right people, it doesn’t matter how many folks you screw. As the true reigning oligarchs of the current system, corporations in the US are rapidly turning democracy into a "one dollar, one vote" scenario. The groundbreaking documentary "The Corporation" recently demonstrated that as legal persons, corporations tend towards the textbook psychotic in their behavior.And this leads us into all the blessings of an election year. The most fundamental difference between parents and the childless is how intimately our hopes and ambitions are immutably tied to the future. We have to take the long view, and as such, it falls upon us to be activists. Surely we can do better. Get out and vote! Make your neighbors do the same. Granted, we’re all disappointed that Michael Moore failed to get Oprah on the ballot. You can’t blame an obviously intelligent woman for not wanting to skinny-dip in that most acidic of snake pits, but she could have made such a difference. So what the hell: write her on the ballot anyway. It doesn’t even have to be Oprah. Robert Anton Wilson makes a convincing argument in "The Thing that Ate the Constitution" that Hannibal Lector would make a better president than Bush not merely because an effective president shows no compunction about spilling blood, but because he’s literate, eloquent, multilingual and a compelling speaker.
Let’s stop the madness, fellow parents. Do we want our kids to live in
the world this president is creating? We CAN change horsemen
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