By Ed Hanratty
ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it"
I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that quote.
See, as a history major undergraduate, that string of words
was to us what the Sign of the Cross was to a Catholic seminarian.
Like many common quotations, it seems to lose its impact every
time it's repeated. However, I can't think of a more appropriate,
a more stern warning that would be more applicable to the
threshold of history that we currently find ourselves approaching.
I wake up every morning hoping that it's all a bad dream.
But by now it's evident that it's not. I try to tell myself
that we are not living through the single most reactionary
and outright dangerous period in America's brief, yet fascinating
history. I try to tell myself that, as a left-leaning concerned
citizen, that I would be this critical of any government right
of center, but again, that's not true. I've lived through
Republican Presidents before, and have lived in New Jersey
my whole life, where a Republican sat in the governor's mansion
in Trenton for 16 out of the last 21 years - and I've never
been so angry.
It's not the petty, typical political arguments: taxes,
health care, and education. Sure, they are important issues
that play a significant role with the crisis at hand, but
there's a plethora of larger issues facing this land that
culminate into one large and destructive entity: The Bush
The tone in this country is Orwellian at best, and reminiscent
of some non-fictitious bleak periods of world history over
the last century at worst. Bush campaigned on being a "uniter,
not a divider". He succeeded, but not in the way we thought
he was implying. He has unified a sizeable chunk of the masses
into blind devotion to The State. He has stigmatized all of
us who have dared to dissent. He has shown no interest whatsoever
in compromise, patience or humility. He walks and talks with
a John-Waynesque swagger, propagating this image that he is
like you, and he feels your pain, and he's going to make it
better, so just sit back and trust him.
He has the nation eating out of his hands. He has manipulated
the media like no other Democratic head of state has ever
even dreamed of. The ratings don't lie. More Americans are
watching FOX News than any other cable news network. The highest-rated
talking heads are the brash, right-of-Mussolini Sean Hannity
and the Bush-like commoner Bill O'Reilly (who claims not to
be a conservative, just someone "calling it like it is", a
far more dangerous tactic).
FOX News regularly plugs their tabloid partner, the New
York Post leading many to consider this rag to be a credible
source of journalistic integrity - even though the comPost
has run headlines like "Axis of Weasels", a slew of third-grade
level insults aimed at the leadership of France, Russia and
Germany. Their regular contributors have names like Oliver
North and Newt Gingrich. They've made it a habit of restoring
the tarnished images of disgraced conservatives. Can anyone
doubt that one day Trent Lott will have his own show?
As is the nature of the beast, other networks found it safer
to go with the flow than take the chance of offering an alternative.
MSNBC, who fired Phil Donahue after six months - as the network's
highest rated show - turned around and offered a prime time
slot to former (and nowhere near moderate) Republican Congressman
Joe Scarborough. And if that wasn't enough, turn on the network
during Saturday afternoon, and you will find the brashest,
most offensive, lying demagogue on the airwaves, Michael "Savage"
Wiener. Father Charles Coughlin would be proud.
Journalistic integrity and objectivity has gone out the window.
It's "in" to completely discredit any voice of dissent, and
it's required to campaign on behalf of The State. We are witnessing
what many media critics have been warning us about for years:
Corporate controlled media dictating the tone and cycle of
what the public sees, hears and reads. All it takes is a unified
few to manipulate the willing many.
How else could you explain the approval ratings that Mr.
Bush currently enjoys? Without constantly being told that
this man is good, that this man cares, would the public accept
a track record littered with:
Global and domestic terrorist attacks. While
the incoming administration was being briefed by the outgoing
one, they were warned over and over again that Al Qaeda was
the biggest threat to our security, yet the new crew said
"Sorry, we need a missile defense shield" above all else.
Two major wars with no "end-game" in sight.
We have completely ignored all of the painful lessons of the
Vietnam conflict. Historians will eventually look at Afghanistan,
and on a larger scale Iraq, and come to such a conclusion.
The average person may not know, or more likely, care about
this. But think for one second. Think how this spits on that
black-granite wall in DC. Often people argued that those lives
were lost for no reason. But I would counter that as long
as we remembered their sacrifice, and the cold, harsh lesson
we were forced to learn, then no, they did not die in vain.
Alas, I was wrong.
Over two and a half MILLION jobs lost in a little
more than two years. No President since the turn of the
twentieth century has ever come close to being reelected when
even one single job was lost in his term. However, The State
has tried to claim that they inherited a recession (looking
back, it began in 2000, but there were ample opportunities
to reverse it), and then on the terrorist attacks that they
themselves failed to protect us from.
Tax cuts and trickle-on economics aimed solely
at the upper crust of our economic society. This has never,
ever worked in American history, and definitely not in such
a questionable economic environment. This makes Herbert Hoover's
"Rugged Individualism" look like the New Deal.
A complete evaporation of diplomatic relations
and international credibility, most importantly amongst long
standing allies. It's not news when Syria has a beef with
your policy, but it sure as hell is when France, Germany and
Japan do, and to the extent that they do now. The State has
squandered the overwhelming good will that the nation enjoyed
following the September Eleventh attacks, and in a little
more than a year, has taken that goodwill and turned it into
a blanket of contempt and mistrust. The rest of the world
considered us nothing more than a typical schoolyard bully,
when given our wealth and stature, we should be acting as
a compassionate father figure, aiming to help the overwhelming
poverty spread across the globe.
Blatant lies about the causes of both war and
terrorism. The American people have fallen for elementary
babble about people hating us "because of our freedoms". As
effective as this has been in reaching the hearts and minds
of the average American, nothing could be further from the
truth. They hate us because of the bully that we are. It's
that plain and it's that simple. They hate us because we sit
in our ivory tower dictating how they should act, while we
siphon their natural resources to fuel our Explorers and Tahoes
while they're walking a half mile to get drinking water from
the well. And let's not even get into the Weapons of Mass
Deception, but let me add that we gave UN inspectors about
3 months to find them, so I hope that by mid-July that The
State finds them, cause that's the standard we set.
Overt attempts to increase the divide among races,
classes, creeds, genders, and sexual orientations. The
pResident himself appointed his solicitor general to argue
against Affirmative Action to the Supreme Court. There was
no valid reason for this disgusting action. It is not a pressing
issue that needs to be dealt with at the time (unless of course,
it was overturned). We are not living in a constant state
of fear and economic anxiety because a white C-student didn't
get into Timbuktu State College.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is only part of the track record,
but not nearly the problem itself. The problem is how all
of the above have become standard and accepted practice. Never
before has a Commander-in-Chief be held to such a low status
of accountability. He answers to nothing and takes credit
for everything. The problem is that we are rewriting history
in a very dangerous way. This is not your basic Machiavellian
manipulation. The State has played upon the people's fears
of foreigners, minorities, and dissenters. The State has come
to the conclusion that it can maintain power by appealing
to it's base of white males and most of their wives. It has
done nothing for nobody else. It has led the masses to believe
that there is no alternative. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery.
And the hits just keep on coming. It was revealed recently
that neandercon cheerleader Ann Coulter is coming out in defense
of McCarthyism. Isn't that just lovely? She's blaming her
favorite whipping boys, "liberals" for tarnishing the good
work of a devout patriot that did this nation a great service
by weeding out the Communist Threat From Within. Never mind
the thousands of lives negatively impacted by his blacklists.
But when one thinks about it, there's no reason whatsoever
to be surprised. This follows along the lines of the twisted
evolution of this administration and its followers.
We've suspended Habeas Corpus and have detained thousands
of people for no legitimate reason, with no due process, with
no basic protection under the law. And the people agreed.
We've blacklisted teachers, authors, musicians, activists
and authors for speaking out against The State. And the people
We were told that a secular leader was responsible for an
Islamic fundamentalist attack against the US, and that said
leader was sitting on a stockpile of "Weapons of Mass Destruction"
stretching as far as the eye can see. And the people agreed.
We were told that Affirmative Action was racist in nature,
and that every man should be given nothing more than the circumstances
which he was born with. And the people agreed.
These are scary times indeed, and America is sitting in
front of a massive fork in the road. Reality has been obscured
and maliciously altered. What appears to be real isn't, and
what appears to be farfetched nonsense is reality. This is
not a loony liberal ranting about conspiracies. This is a
desperate plea from someone concerned about his future, his
children's future, and his nation's future.
This is a message that needs to be delivered from the ground
up, because the voices at the top want nothing to do with
it. It has to be a grassroots campaign from the Real America:
Caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Homosexuals,
Jews, Christians, Heterosexuals, Muslims, Buddhists, Bankers,
Construction Workers, Students, Teachers, Servicemen, Republicans,
Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals.
The message is simple but it's one of monumental and historical
significance: Save Our Country.
Ed Hanratty I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org