June 29, 2002
By Laurin Suiter (ZombyWoof)
Not many generations hence, the "official" history of early
21st century America will have settled itself comfortably
within the musty bindings of encyclopedias and decorative
coffee table tomes of our bookcases and libraries. This history
will provide a record to the effect that George Walker Bush
was the 43rd President of the United States for four years,
perhaps eight. It will document how the United States endured
one of the most turbulent eras of its history, its effects
unsettled in even the future reader‘s time.
Details of the 2000 presidential election, unprecedented
in its narrowness of margin, will grimly remind many of the
elderly among us of the contentiousness and unease we felt
as we witnessed fraud, disenfranchisement, and systematic
abuses that culminated in a Supreme Court decision that none,
as Vincent Bugliosi decreed, dared call treason.
"Official" history will certainly not call it that, for it
disrupts the conceit of the orderly and sanitized version
of American Democracy that it peddles for our unquestioning
Of course, the beauty of history is that 'we the people',
if that clause is to survive, are the owners and guardians
of history. We the people, do not have to let it be written
this way. To quote Howard Zinn, in his masterful A People's
History of the United States: "A historian, or a journalist,
or anyone telling a story, is forced to choose, out of an
infinite number of facts, what to present, what to omit. And
that decision inevitably would reflect, whether consciously
or not, the interests of the historian."
Are the interests of 'we the people' at odds with the interests
of George Walker Bush and his handlers? The corporations?
Their massive propaganda disseminators we call the "media"?
And whose interests will be served by future historians? Theirs
or ours? We the people can be our own historians. The facts
are out there. We can choose what to present, what to omit.
We see their insidious version of history being manufactured
on our televisions, computers, radios, and in newspapers and
magazines, day after endless day - providing primary source
material for the Year 2050 Edition of 21st Century United
States History, published by AOL-Time-Life-Warner. Polls are
manufactured as "evidence" that All Is Well with our noble
leadership. They will "prove" that Americans were not just
proud, but loyal and obedient to their masters. The majority's
unquestioning faith in George W. Bush validates his 'presidency',
and makes the voices of dissent null and void. Alternate views
will be marginalized and scoffed at as belonging to fringe
malcontents. It is possible that those views will not be known
If we let it.
We see this marginalizing on the op-ed pages. The oracles
of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post,
and the venerable New York Times point the way. They
reinforce notions that even the most mild dissensions must
be tempered with such popular catch-phrases in the lexicon
such as, "we must be unified!" "but we are at war," "giving
up a little freedom to stop terrorism will protect us," and
so on, bleating like so many sick sheep.
Perhaps the greatest obstacle is not merely countering and
combating these poisonous ideas. It seems to be that old stand-by,
apathy, and its sidekick, ignorance. People are busy, they
have responsibilities, most certainly bills, obligations,
and all manner of demands on limited time. Some are just too
lazy to do the work, to deal with the initial discomfort that
questioning harbors. Some will stubbornly cling to the myths
of their upbringing, fly a tattered flag from their antennas
and be satisfied that they have done the maximum effort that
real patriotism requires.
The asterisk. No president in our history, no matter how
contested the election - whether 1800, 1824, 1876, or 1960,
has ever been marked with that subtle little star, that brands
their legacy and leaves his legitimacy in doubt. None ever
ascended to power through such fraudulent and yet thoroughly
American legalistic means. A bloodless coup. 2000 was the
first. "Official" history will do all it can to make sure
it remains as unblemished as its predecessors. To them, doing
otherwise would mean admitting we have failed at our grand
experiment. They are likely to succeed in its omission.
The admission of failure is not acceptable. For the rest
of us, perfecting a Democracy is messy and difficult, even
ungrateful work. An asterisk would be a sign of the experiment's
success. It would mean we love our country enough to confront,
challenge, and overcome its flaws.
Work for the asterisk. Work for its ideal, if nothing else.
History is ours.