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Four More Years Would Spell Disaster
January 14, 2004
By Doug Snider

What a difference a year makes. Or does it? One year ago this week I took my first timid steps at activism, opposing a war that I honestly believed could be stopped. My first peace rally was soon followed a peace march that left my feet blistered for weeks. During the ensuing weeks I wrote letters to editors, web sites, legislators and friends hoping that one more voice of reason might make the difference. I joined an eloquent silent protest and witnessed the hateful treatment that true patriots earn when they oppose a popular form of lunacy.

This week, when it is statistically likely that we will observe the 500th U.S. fatality of the war and the 600th coalition death, I learned why my efforts had been doomed to failure before they even began. The invasion of Iraq was set in irreversible motion when the Supreme Court of the United States said "Game Over" and an administration was put in power with war at the top of its "to do" list. Former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill's revelations make it clear now that George Bush's elective war had far less to do with preemption than it did with projecting American military power into the heart of the world's oil reserves.

The myth of a nation united by the tragic events of 9-11 quickly gave way to the reality of a tragically divided nation. The past twelve months have seen an alarming decline in civility and a frightening escalation of hate mongering and fear mongering. Questioning an administration whose own legitimacy is questionable is cause for accusations of treason. Rights we have always taken for granted are now in jeopardy and perhaps non-existent for certain minorities. A year ago I stopped short of stating that the symbols of our cherished freedoms were being usurped as symbols of a tyranny based upon the well stoked fires of fear. Now I have no doubt.

If we allow the Bush administration another four years to complete their grand design, we will not recognize this country. America the Beautiful is already the most hated and feared power on earth, one that answers to no law and no standard of international decency. One Nation Under God is now a nation that enlists God in its persecution of those who stand in its way. We have already seen an administration keen on constitutionalizing the sacrament of marriage and proclaiming the president the moral leader of our nation. We are dominated by a movement that puts the life of an unborn fetus ahead of that of its living mother but will not even acknowledge the innocent thousands it has killed in the name of liberation.

We are appalled at how deeply the Sunnis and Shiites hate each other but too many of us ignore the deepening enmity among our own citizens. The United States is becoming parallel universes where in one everyone sees a dangerous, arrogant, bumbling, incompetent leader and in the other that same figure is seen as a heroic man of the people. The evidence is mounting that the former is reality, but will the rest wake up in time?

As the Bush administration utters a classic Emily Litella "never mind" over its bogus justifications to invade another nation, we will see an increasing barrage of distractions from the critical truth. The Bush Space Initiative is a laudable diversion and an eloquent testimony to the historic role that chimps have played in the American space program, but it will only get off the ground if some genius finds a way to fuel rockets with red ink.

George Bush is inviting foreign workers to swarm to our cities while real jobs are fleeing like rats leaving a sinking ship. From now on out it's all politics and anyone who thinks Bush has suddenly become a real president is watching too much junk television. It's the kind of politics that should have us all concerned. When the incumbent and so far unchallenged president needs over two hundred million dollars from the beneficiaries of his outlandish tax cuts, you know this will be an election that will trash democracy like none before. I made my first ever contribution to a presidential campaign this year and I feel as inadequate as all those junk e-mails want me to feel. Size matters, and my small contribution doesn't carry the weight of a corporate heavy hitter's at a Bush fund-raising love fest. We are in a vicious cycle of power buying even more power.

I have some fears about the next Bush presidency that hit very close to home. My biggest fear, one that I first expressed when Bush won by a single vote in the Supreme Court, is that my two sons will be forced to serve and possibly die for the madness of Dick Cheney and his Neo-con high priests. The reinstatement of the military draft is already in progress but will receive little real attention until it is once again the law of the land. The civil liberties that have disappeared in just two years are just a hint of what is to come if Bush rides back into office, this time on the strength of the votes of nineteen suicidal hijackers. Local law enforcement agencies have already been asked to keep an eye on people like me who make their dissent public. In 2005 homeland security will likely go way beyond today's already invasive surveillance.

Last year's anger and hope have given way to outrage and disgust. I am outraged that the crimes of George Bush have been applauded by so many Americans and I am disgusted that the only vision Bush offers my children is a lifetime of war and terror.

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