The Case For War
March 13, 2001
by Meg Gardner
George W. Bush's 14-minute inaugural address was interrupted
14 times for applause. Meanwhile, across the nation, millions
of Americans screamed "He is not my president!"
or worse, at their television sets. How did we get here? George
W. Bush started off his campaign as "a new kind of Republican"
liked by Hispanics, African-Americans and women. Pundits said
all manner of pundit things about George W. Bush, but all
agreed that no matter what, you just had to like him. Tens-of-thousands
of protesters demonstrated their harsh disagreement with these
same pundits on inauguration day.
George W. Bush declared he was a "uniter, not a divider"
and held photo-ops with minority children in schools all across
the nation. George W. Bush, bypassing every Log Cabin Republican
overture, finally agreed to meet with pre-approved Gay Republicans,
once. There might have been a photo-op.
The outcome was not clear in Florida. Older voters, Jewish
voters, African-American voters had trouble with butterfly
ballots, punch card machines, purged voter rolls, roadblocks
and other irregularities. George W. Bush's spinners strongly
implied these people were just too stupid to vote. Rich voters,
Republican voters had good voting machines, registration-check
laptops right at their polling places, short lines, and lots
of help with their absentee ballots.
The Republican voting advantage wasn't enough. George W.
Bush sent his Daddy's consigliere James Baker and a slew of
Tom DeLay's congressional aides to stop the counting before
Al Gore could pull ahead. There were photo-ops. Bullies and
brats threatened mayhem from Republicans in the US Congress
to the Florida legislature. In a surprise move, the Republican
Supreme Court turned the equal protection clause of the 14th
amendment, meant to protect African-American voting rights,
on its head and gave the election to one of their own. The
Republican Supreme Court refused photo-ops.
African-Americans who voted 9-1 against George W. Bush were
incensed. To show he was a "uniter, not a divider"
after the selection, George W. Bush met with pre-approved
African-American ministers, once. There probably were photo-ops,
but who really cares? The messages from George W. Bush's campaign
are clear. You, too, can be included in the great Republican
tent, if you are pre-approved. You, too, can have your vote
counted, if you are pre-approved.
So, here we are with upwards of 40% of the electorate feeling
somewhere between lack of trust and out-and-out hatred for
George W. Bush. What will his administration bring? George
W. Bush has started with an attorney-general nominee to the
right of Jesse Helms, a secretary-of-the-interior nominee
who is purportedly a bigger threat to the environment than
James Watt and an initial secretary-of-labor nominee who mentioned
employers but didn't mention workers in her acceptance speech.
George W. Bush's national security advisor and secretary
of defense have indicated that they want to break off outreach
to the North Koreans and the Russians. These moves provide
a "reason" to transfer money from the US Treasury
to the pockets of CEO defense contractors like Halliburton.
The Bush team appears to prefer operating in a world with
recognized enemies as they did in their previous terms of
Anyone can see that the new George W. Bush cabinet is diverse
in color and gender with pre-approved viewpoints and religion.
They make great photo-ops. The messages from George W. Bush's
cabinet selections are clear. You, too, can have your interests
represented if you are a member of the Christian Coalition
or you are a CEO of the Fortune 1000.
The message from the people is equally clear: the more we
know you, the less we like you, George W. Bush. Remember that
it took years for the Vietnam protests to grow into the largest
inaugural demonstration ever in 1973 at Richard M. Nixon's
second inauguration. Look how large the George W. Bush demonstrations
are at their start. By 2004, the center-left and the center-right
will have joined the George W. Bush naysayers.
What will the team who stopped at nothing to take the 2000
election do in 2004? George W. Bush has repeatedly reached
back into previous Republican administrations for his policies
and his staff. He doesn't have to reach farther than his father's
administration to find a suitable answer: another war like
the Gulf war. Daddy Bush's ratings soared to over 90% and
defense contractors got fat orders. We were so proud of our
Patriot missiles, our bombs bursting in air. Remember the
great Gulf war photo-ops on CNN? What could be better? The
people who might be killed are too stupid to vote anyway.