February 11, 2003
Despite much press coverage in his favor, Bush is off to
a bad start in his attempt to both avenge his father's single
term as President, and to secure for himself another term.
In plain terms, what Bush wants is "Mission Impossible."
A brief look at the facts is in order. After a lackluster
first few months in office, dominated by the continued erosion
of the economy and by the crash and burn direction of U.S.
corporations, with his former patrons at Enron leading the
high-speed dive into the ground, Bush was headed for an even
worse time than his dad. It's a sure sign that an administration
is in trouble when it needs Madison Avenue to help it out.
And, then, bin Laden's minions flattened a few buildings,
killed thousands, and, suddenly, "everything was different."
Little more than a month later, we all were living with a
new order, the USA PATRIOT Act, in which we all gave up some
rights, despite our "technical" objections on Constitutional
grounds, and life went on. The market went down, the major
employers of the country said, profitability and stockholders
came first, undeclared war or no, and hundreds of thousands
of otherwise dedicated employees were pitched out. As unemployment
rose, so did the Bush administration's vocal pitch in promoting
endless war as the answer to all problems. When bin Laden's
head on a pole became a practical impossibility, attention
turned to war against Iraq. Hussein became bin Laden's surrogate,
and the PR campaign to supplant him as the reigning threat
against the people of the United States began in earnest.
Little did anyone notice at the time that Bush and his advisors
were opportunistically carrying out a plank in the 2000 Republican
platform, that of "regime change" in Iraq, decided upon years
before the horror of 9/11.
Stocks continued to dwindle in value. All the churning possible
by lowly brokers could not prevent a market correction which
had been building for twenty years. Congress, incomprehensibly,
waited for Bush to signal some approval for a half-hearted
benefit to laid-off workers before acting. Congress, too,
signed onto war against Iraq without actually saying so, and
reserved its hesitations for sound bites after a vote which
Bush and company saw as _carte blanche_ for war against Iraq.
Months later, the world has erupted in anti-war demonstrations.
Everyone from the Pope to the minister of silly walks has
expressed the desire for the U.N. to continue and enhance
inspections in Iraq as a means of avoiding a war which will
undoubtedly kill many innocents, and yet, Bush and company
not only press for war but force their last public hope for
the appearance of moderation, Colin Powell, to engage in a
Three Stooges routine in front of the Security Council and
the world's TV cameras which made Reagan's evidence for invading
Grenada look positively erudite by comparison.
Perhaps, the problem is nothing more than the market, and
Bush Republicans' dependency on it as an indicator of economic
health. Perhaps, it's those "old Europe" types mucking up
America's best-laid plans. Perhaps, it's that idiot, Hussein,
who won't take the deal and retire with a billion or two to
a house in the Cayman Islands next door to Idi Amin.
No. The problem is power, and what it does to people in charge,
and to nations, in the process. Bush, having obtained the
Presidency illegitimately, having suggested to the public
that such constituted a mandate for the most Draconian revisionist
alteration of New Deal and the Great Society programs ever
imagined, now imagines a mandate for war to further both his
position, his re-election and the assurance of profit for
The truly stupid among our citizens will (as the New York
Sun recently averred) find opposition to war treasonous. They
and the press will paradoxically describe Bush as acting to
preserve law while, in fact, violating it. They will be watching
"Laverne and Shirley" reruns while John Ashcroft engages in
another end-run around the Constitution, not to temporarily
protect us from terrorism, but to forever alter the relationship
of government and the governed, using an undeclared war against
a noun as reason enough.
Many Americans _are_ stupid enough to believe that the exercise
of unlimited military power is enough to prove the point.
In their collective mind, we're right, and the rest of the
world can go to hell if they disagree. But, that army of bimbos
may not be the majority. They may have a greater voice, amplified
by a cowed and corporate press, but they speak for an administration
headed by a man who either lied about or shrugged off the
greater part of his personal history in his quest for a bedroom
and office in the White House, and with those perks, the right
to tell the rest of the world what to do. Now, he wants to
start a war which might just cause a lot more problems in
the process, and no majority, in that body representing us,
is saying so. The first and most important way of bringing
the minor Bush down is to deny him this war, his most current
absurdity. Yes, innocent lives are at issue in this mission,
but the future of this country is, as well.
Ultimately, the problem is with power. Inevitably, the problem
is with us, and the people we vote into the Senate and the
House. One single representative to the House, Barbara Lee,
had sense to vote against any furtherance of war. Fifty years
from now, she will be footnoted in texts in the same way Wayne
Morse of Oregon is now in discussions of the war in Viet Nam
now. The hundreds of others in those bodies, purportedly representing
us, bend to the wishes of a power-mad President for fear of
losing votes, somewhere, somehow. Make sure they know they
will lose your vote because of their votes in favor of a fascist's
Your mission, should you accept it, is to ask your representative
why he or she could not resist the illegitimate power of George
W. Bush, could not vote for common sense and vote against
war, and would not vote against everything and anything George
W. Bush has ever suggested. It should not take an international
catastrophe for us to find the national political will to
deny George W. Bush his ambitions, for power, for money, for
the transformation of our democracy into a fascism last defined
by Mussolini (the merger of corporation and state).
It's important to remember: George W. Bush is a small man
made larger by the magnification of office and by the press,
and only the people can cut him down to his actual size. Your
mission, should you accept it, is to drive from office Bush
and the people who are Bush's enablers, his magnifiers, the
people who make power their own for their own purposes, rather
than for yours, which true democracy demands for the people.
The insanity can stop, in 2004.
punpirate is a New Mexico writer who thinks that, in a true
democracy, small-minded men deserve insignificant jobs.