a Drunk at the Wheel That Steers Our Great Nation
May 14, 2003
By J. Daniel Baugh
George W. Bush got away with driving drunk. Well, his 1976
conviction for it in Maine still stands, but it never became
much of an issue in the mainstream media during the 2000 presidential
campaign. Not to mention, of course, his Texas charges, which
have been conveniently erased from the record (I guess being
governor of a big state has its advantages). And though engaging
in speculation is generally undesirable, I would speculate
anyway that those weren't the only two times that the man
ever got behind the wheel with a blood/alcohol content over
the legal limit.
But none of that matters now, does it? Now that man, the
only president who ever won office by Supreme Court vote,
is at the helm of a far greater vehicle: one in which all
of us are passengers, like it or not. And what some of us
suspected (perhaps in our naïve reading of his past transgressions)
is now becoming unavoidably apparent to everyone riding along
on this national voyage (except those, of course, who are
also inebriated): our fearful leader, our commander-in-thief,
is utterly intoxicated!
Not drunk on conventional booze, no, he says he gave that
up years ago. No, the de facto leader of the "free"
world is drunk on neo-conservatism. (To see a lot of fun facts
that might appear in a fictional resume George W. might show
to only those close business associates like his Enron buddies
that are welcome in secret White House meetings to determine
public policy, visit http://www.houstonjusticenotwar.org/art/resume.html).
Actually, that's probably giving G. W. a bit too much intellectual
credit (not that neo-conservatism deserves any, but the man
can rarely form a complete sentence). It's really more like
all the members of the posse that is the "administration"
take turns sipping their dogmatic cocktails and passing control
of the wheel back and forth - with a bit of that familial
tug-of-war - but still with the sense that they belong together
at the helm of the world, a world populated by the weak, the
workers, the labor capital, the clay that can be shaped at
will by the likes of them.
How did these frat-boy-clowns-turned-wannabe-intellectuals-and-world-conquerors
get control of the wheel, anyway? When did our great country
lose its soul? Two things: first, the good American soul is
still there, still intact, but lying dormant. Second, this
"ain't no new thing", as they say. The American
history that we trumpet in our textbooks (a very mute trumpeting,
of course) is an epic struggle of the populace against the
tyrannical powers. Well, sometimes. When popular resistance
to the tyrannical policies of the rich ruling class flowered
like daffodils in the spring, yes, but mostly the fight has
been a "cold war" between the intellectual and the
Thomas Jefferson was an intellectual. Most of the founders
were, though not all. Most "conservative thinkers"
are pseudo-intellectuals, though not all. As a scientist,
I would argue that there exists enough social and economic
data today that, with a critical analysis, most of the common
conservative (pseudo-intellectual) mantras can be discredited
on scientific grounds. Of course our political system is not
that sophisticated (yet), but all of us know that the rational,
complex arguments that liberals tend to engage in overwhelmingly
outweigh the one-track, dogmatic "arguments" generally
asserted by right-wingers (this is precisely what I mean by
For anyone who is interested in politics and has ever participated
in scientific work, the thought must have occurred: "if
politics were truly a science, the right-wing philosophy would
suffer the fate of the flat-earth theory." Their ideologies
simply don't stand up to empirical tests - to the real world.
Yet, deeper forces are at work. And that is the only rational
explanation for the otherwise inexplicable survival of the
dogmatic right-wing agenda: it is a useful tool for those
in power who choose to abuse their power. And abuse is
where this article began. Abuse of alcohol. Abuse of civil
liberties. Abuse of the Constitution. Abuse of the role of
commander-in-chief. The list could go on for several pages.
In short, extraordinary abuse of extraordinary power. That's
George W. Bush and his cronies, folks.