I have a number of friends and relations that have supported George W. Bush in the past. It’s pretty hard to admit you’re wrong, and these folks still support him. So I’m going to write this out in one burst, for fear that I won’t have the balls to click “submit” if I bother to make this a coherent argument.
I feel that if we return George W. Bush to office, we’re a bad people. While what the Bush administration is doing is not as bad as what the Nazis did, folks who work to keep Bush in power are doing the same thing in their turn as those who supported the Nazis when they knew what they were doing was wrong. This includes folks who have given a record $200 million dollars directly to Bush’s re-election cause and the untold more to soft money. If you honestly and thoughtfully disagree with me, ok. But failing that, support for Bush’s re-election is equivalent to support for keeping Hitler in power.
There, I said it.
Fool me once: During the campaign for his current presidency, Bush’s most forceful and repeated advocacy for himself was that, with the moment of his being sworn in, he would restore the honor of the office of the presidency and of the United States in general. An appealing goal to many, but on its face it derives all goodness from his own perceived character and not from his uniquely individual actions. His charge was that President Clinton’s lies on personal matters did far graver damage than those of, say the elder President Bush when he lied to congress about negotiating with terrorists while a candidate or as Vice President. The younger candidate claimed no previous success in business or political affairs that were not attributable to his family. (A family that, we are now learning, derived great economic and political profit from its ability to work in secret with Hitler’s Germany.) He claimed no answers or leadership beyond his ability to choose good advisors. The closest he came to revealing his policy intensions were broad statements that he would not engage in nation building, that he would favor education above else, that he would work to stop government interference with the rights of individuals, and that he would be compassionate. I’m ok with that. He also trash-talked the most successful economy in history until he achieved his aim, which might have been a clue about how he would manage our economy. His most important decision during the campaign — his choice for VP — was not properly legal, but this technicality was waived by judges appointed by his father. OK, so maybe there were some clues here.
I’m grateful that he did not enjoy the support of a majority of Americans during the election. Not even a majority of those who cast votes. Let’s skip what many around the world, and not a few in America, think of as the coup by which he achieved power.
Anyway, people get the government they deserve.
Fool me twice: We don’t have to guess what Rumsfeld will do. He has told us that he would destroy anything he perceived as a threat, and he has made good on his word. He has never really told us of any specific plans for actually helping any formerly enemy people to become an in independent and stable ally. And he should know his enemies well: He was point man in directly raising Sadaam’s regime to it’s pre-war power.
We don’t have to guess what Ashcroft will do. He has already declared that anyone who stands in his way is un-American, that he is not bound by prior US or international law or judicial oversight, that only he and the President can decide who is under whose jurisdiction, and that his and Rumsfeld’s private armies are immune from both civil and military prosecution. The good people of Missouri that knew him preferred to elect a dead man, but Bush finds him a good choice.
We don’t have to guess what Poindexter will do. This fine choice to direct significant portions of national security was actually convicted of running a shadow government and sentence to jail. The conviction was overturned on a technicality involving a botched immunity deal. (I’m not sure what relationship the deciding judges or prosecutors had with Bush senior.)
We don’t have to guess what Republican staffers will do with the power afforded to them by such changes as the Patriot Act. Even without specific legislation, the majority staff of the Senate judiciary committee has already read private computer files of the minority staff and leaked those files pursuing political gain. Instead of denouncing this, the Republican party leadership declared its own definition of privacy and right and ridiculed the minority for failing to take further steps to protect it’s private data.
As the mess these guys create go to court, we don’t have to guess what Thomas will do; he’ll vote with Scalia. We don’t have to guess what Scalia will do. He has already declared many times that, despite what every social studies teacher has ever taught me, his court has no right to interpret the intentions of the other branches of government. Meanwhile, he claims to be the only one who can decide whether his personal relationship and activities with Bush’s people is a conflict of interest.
We don’t have to guess how how president Bush will keep candidate Bush’s promises, or how he will manage petty issues like fiscal responsibility or whether wackos with assault rifles constitute a well-regulated militia. But this goes beyond mere political disagreement.
Our actions in at home and abroad in the name of fighting terrorism are truly wrong. We don’t have to guess how our arrogance and violence will be perceived around the world. We already know we are regarded as the only first world country in which the state kills its citizens, invades other countries without cause, tortures the vanquished, ignores treaties it has signed, and dares anyone to question it. And we don’t have to guess what the reaction will be: hatred and violence. The US Olympic Committee has already cautioned our athletes to literally not wave our flag too vigorously, and everyone considers a successful meeting of world athletes to be one in which not too many will get murdered.
We don’t have to guess what our reaction will be to world opinion. I’ve already seen myself and my loved ones steel our own hatred and prejudices against the world. Fuck ’em, we say.
Enough. I don’t like the nation we are under this President Bush’s leadership. He and his supporters fan moral flames against anyone who disagrees with the way they tell us what to think, how to act, what to do with our bodies and our eyes, and who we may love. What do we have to wait for before Republicans of conscience admit George W. Bush is a bad guy, break with party loyalty, and do what’s right for the country? I have to believe that anyone with a moment to reflect will recognize this as wrong. And if we do for our country what we know is wrong, than we are not patriots. Reasoned people of both parties can work with each other to resolve issues, whichever party is in power. But Bush divides us into those with him and against him. I hope we will all be against him.