That Pass in the Night
August 17, 2001
I'm not a history major, so I'm not sure if all tyrants (small
or large) telegraph their intentions to their soon-to-be subjects
(or the world in general), but I suspect that their megalomania
would almost make it impossible not to. I do know that Adolf
Hitler did write a book, where he pretty much laid out what
he was all about, and that the German people, and world leaders,
either never bothered to read it, or if they did, simply refused
to believe that he meant what he wrote.
And I do know that our current tyrant-to-be, while not capable
of writing a coherent paragraph on his own, let alone a book,
has given us, and the world, ample illustrations of his mind-set
and of his intentions. For the third time since January he
has stated, quite clearly (although jokingly), that things
would be easier for him if this (our country) were a dictatorship
(with him as the dictator is implied, although he once did
add that caveat in a NY Times interview published on January
14, 2001, before his coronation).
As Jonathan Alter notes in his on-line column in the 8/6
issue of Newsweek (on MSNBC - "Fighting the HMO Meanies"):
"'...A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier - there's
no question about it,' he said again last week, repeating
what appears to be his favorite quip." (In the book Fortunate
Son, J. H. Hatfield has Dubya, as governor of Texas
in 1996, saying this to a business group - "It would be a
heck of a lot easier to be a dictator than work in a democracy".
This is not a "new" joke for him.)
I am also not a psychiatry major, but I do not believe that
these statements are just some off-the-cuff attempts at humor,
I believe that they are, in fact, a window - a brief and terrifying
peek - into the true nature of the man who has been "chosen"
to lead our country. As Mark Crispin Miller points out in
his recent book, The
Bush Dyslexicon, a lot of Dubya's verbal gaffes provide
a glimpse into the workings of a very disturbed mind. "Both
in his gaffes and in his lucid statements Bush consistently
betrays the raging animus that also drove our thirty-seventh
Miller also warns that "...this president is neither as dim-witted
nor as easygoing as TV makes him out to be. That first impression
now requires a clear corrective because - as he might say
- we misunderestimate him at our peril." We should not misunderestimate
him, nor should we misunderestimate the power of the forces
that conspired to place him in power.
The scary part for me is not just that our "resident" is
anti-democratic at the core, the scary part is the amoral
and profoundly undemocratic coalition that he represents,
with our so called independent press turning a blind eye -
in effect enabling and legitimizing the unable and illegitimate
administration. As Miller sums up in his powerful Afterword
- by itself worth the price of admission. If you've been laid
off as a result of our new Bush economy (an economy designed
to keep us anxious and distracted and thankful when things
turn around in 2004) and $25 for the book seems a bit steep
at the moment, I urge you to get it from the library - before
they defund that too - and get someone to scan the Afterword
for you - it's that good!
"To understand what's going on today," writes Miller
in the Afterword, "We must also look further back, for
that coup was the climax of a history far richer, darker,
and more complicated...so that we may begin to understand
how...it all finally came together in the year 2000: every
antidemocratic force in the United States converging to suppress
the will of the majority."
I should mention at this point, that besides not being a
history major, or a psychiatry or physiology major, I am also
not a friend or relative of Mark C. Miller, nor do I have
any connection with his publishers. I'm just an average guy,
trying to put "food on my family", who bought and read the
book last week, and his book has helped me to crystallize
many ephemeral thoughts that had been floating around in my
mind for awhile. I have received no money to recommend this
book, which I now do wholeheartedly!
That the will of the majority (the democratic process) on
election day 2000 was suppressed by the Supreme Court should
be, by now, obvious to anyone who cares to think about it.
That this overriding of the democratic process, a coup d'
etat by definition (albeit minus the tanks and soldiers in
the street that most people associate with a coup), happened
under the most intense media spotlight (and in the most media
intense culture in the history of our planet), and was promptly
ignored by the "fourth estate" after it occurred, should serve
as a warning that our self-correcting form of government has
become seriously unhinged.
Now with our anointed leader's repeatedly expressed preference
for dictatorial power (it would be easier for him - someone
who's always had everything given to him) we should have all
the warning signals that we need. It couldn't be more clear
if they had written a book stating their intentions, but then
again, Hitler did write a book stating his intentions, and
it did not pose much of an obstacle to his ascendancy. Can
the same thing happen in America in the early years of the
Although I'm not a history major, or a psychiatry major,
from my working class suburban bedroom - where I type out
my futile thoughts - I would have to say, yes - and I am frightened
by that thought.