Splitting the Difference
February 8, 2006
By Nancy Greggs
the beginning of a new year, a time to reflect on the mistakes of
the past and resolve to improve the future. That being said, my
Fellow Citizens, I think it's time we admitted that we just can't
get along anymore - it's time to think about a divorce.
For the past few years, we've been engaged in a civil war; a war
of ideas and ideals. The rhetoric got out of hand a long time ago,
and before this really comes to blows, let's agree to disagree -
Drastic times call for drastic measures, so let's pick up the
sword of Solomon and cleave the country in two, and pray that somehow
both sides survive.
Those of you who are ardent believers in the Bush regime can take
one-half of the nation (hereinafter called Bushistan); those of
us who still believe in old fashioned notions like the Constitution
and the Bill of Rights will take the other half, known as the Good
Citizens will have to relocate to the side of their choice - and
for many of you, it may be the last freedom of choice you enjoy,
so choose wisely.
Undoubtedly G.W. Bush will declare himself your President-In-Perpetuity
(PIP), but those of you who are enamoured of the man and his policies
will have no problem with that. We here in the Good Ol' USA will
hold fair and transparent elections - and by the way, you can take
the Diebold machines; they'll be immediately outlawed on our side
of the fence.
The first order of business will, of course, be the erection of
giant wall between Bushistan and the Good Ol' USA, and it's only
fair to share the expense. Our side will be built by Good Ol' American
workers, paid a fair wage; your side will be built by Halliburton
via a no-bid contract, so it will inevitably cost you a lot more.
But you haven't squawked about their contracts up to now, so I'm
sure you won't mind.
The period of adjustment will be difficult, but much less so for
you over in Bushistan. You've already acclimated yourselves to things
like loss of personal freedoms and civil liberties, the loss of
respect around the world. We Good Ol' USAers, on the other hand,
will have to go through the difficult, albeit joyous, re-adjustment
of having those things back in our lives.
You will still have your usual newscasters, like O'Reilly and
Limbaugh, and under their Bushistan government-controlled mandate,
they'll feel even freer to slant the news, just the way you like
it. You won't have to put up with any real news anymore, and every
day will be a great day in Bushistan - at least that's the way you'll
hear it, day in and day out.
We in the Good Ol' USA, on the other hand, will have to face the
real news: we'll hear about how things aren't really going too well
in Iraq, and if there are any discrepancies in our voting system,
we're going to have to hear about it, 24/7, in excruciating detail.
So while you get to hear about Paris Hilton's latest fashion faux
pas, we'll have to content ourselves with things like international
and domestic news of substance. You get to keep FOX; we'll keep
Seymour Hersh and Maureen Dowd. Seems fair.
On a darker note, you Bushistanians will have to brace yourselves
for some hard times economically. Your income tax rates will probably
soar to somewhere in the 80% to 90% range; after all, once your
PIP Bush is installed as supreme leader, the wealthiest among you
will be declared totally tax-exempt, right along with all of the
corporations (Big Oil, Big Business, Big Pharma) he so adores. That
means a heftier tax burden on the middle-class and poor - but again,
you've shown your acquiescence in the past, so you're sure to welcome
the new tax code with open arms.
You'll also be bearing the ever-escalating costs of the war in
Iraq (along with whatever new wars your PIP will be involving you
in). We'll be giving the soldiers currently stationed there the
choice between coming home to the Good Ol' USA or staying in the
Middle East to fight for the non-freedoms of Bushistan - so I think
you may be seeing a rather dramatic draw-down of troops as a result.
But life will go on for you in Bushistan, just the way you seemingly
want it to be. You'll attend state-sanctioned churches every Sunday,
a one-stop-shopping site for Jesus-and-government all rolled into
one. After services, you can take the family to a Triple-G-rated
movie, without fear of the kiddies seeing anything that depicts
homosexuality, criticism of the government, or any of those other
unhealthy things that destroy society.
Economically, I don't think it will take too long for the Good
Ol' USA to get on its feet. With your PIP's penchant for sanctioning
the outsourcing of your jobs (after all, a financially-strapped
citizen is a malleable citizen), he'll undoubtedly be sending a
lot of jobs our way. Imagine going to your local WalMart and seeing
"Made in the Good Ol' USA!" stickers on the products you
buy! That will be a new concept for many of you younger folk, who
have never seen that label before.
Of course, there won't be any "Made in Bushistan" labels
on the products sold on our side of the Continent. The Good Ol'
USA will be following its traditional policy of not doing business
with repressive regimes that advocate torture, and without any restrictions
on your PIP and his Administration in that regard, that kind of
keeps you out of the trade loop, doesn't it?
You'll also be taxed to fund the various governmental programs
to "keep you safe," and due to your PIP's aforementioned
proclivity for torture, as well as invading and occupying sovereign
nations, you'll be a lot more vulnerable to terrorism than we here
in the Good Ol' USA. You'll also be funding those secret prisons
around the globe - and hey, let's face it, water-boarding experts
don't come cheap.
We in the Good Ol' USA, free of those financial burdens, will
spend our tax dollars on things like education, hospitals, stem-cell
research to cure diseases - you know, the kinds of things you Bushistanians
no longer see any need for.
On the other hand, you'll never have to face the heartbreak of
your children leaving home. After being educated under your system,
they won't be able to secure jobs anywhere else but Bushistan. Once
they start spouting what they've learned - like the fact that God
created the world 6,000 years ago, and the fact that the sun revolves
around a flat earth - they're sure to be turned down for continuing
education or job opportunities anywhere beyond mom and dad's backyard.
Once we rebuild NOLA and its environs, the tourist trade will
also be a great source of income here in the Good Ol' USA. Of course,
in Bushistan, once any of your major cities fall prey to natural
disaster, they'll be replaced with tent cities and FEMA trailer
parks - not exactly a big tourist draw. Without any pesky oversight,
PIP Bush will be free to appoint whomever he chooses for important
government positions, and disaster victims shouldn't expect too
much assistance from Barbie Bush (new head of FEMA), or Jenna Bush
(new head of Homeland Security). But on the brighter side, Momma
"Babs" Bush will be more than happy to remind disaster
survivors how much better off they are, which will undoubtedly be
a big morale booster when you're left with nothing.
There's also the matter of the population explosion that is bound
to happen in Bushistan, once abstinence is the only sex education
allowed, and abortions and birth control become a thing of the past.
But once the FDA and the Department of Agriculture are privatized
and free of oversight, tainted meat and experimental drugs will
keep the population down, along with those of you who die of overwork
trying to fund your PIP's most important policy (making the rich
even richer). So your numbers should stay at an acceptable level,
i.e. just enough workers for the factories and fields.
And yes, there will be jobs. With the institution of the new minimum
wage of 9-cents-per-hour, and the abandonment of such crazy ideas
as health benefits and sick pay, multi-national corporations will
flock to Bushistan; they're always happy to relocate in "cheap
After a while, we in the Good Ol' USA will undoubtedly lose touch
with all of you over in Bushistan. Travel outside of your borders
will be restricted - for your "own good," your PIP will
explain - and Internet access to the outside world will, of necessity,
eventually be outlawed. But there's always the hope that some kind-hearted
NSA agent, who will be monitoring your every communication, will
clandestinely pass along some news of you to the outside world now
Now, I know a lot of you prospective Bushistanians are already
having second thoughts. Maybe you're thinking that life in the Good
Ol' USA would be preferable; perhaps you're already pining for the
way things used to be, before you threw in your lot with a PIP who
is more interested in clearing brush than he is in your well-being
Well, it's not too late. As much as some of you drive me crazy
at times, you're still my Fellow Citizens, and I want you to be
part of my country, and part of my life.
So maybe we should give it one more try, if not for ourselves,
for the sake of the kids. Maybe we can come to some sort of mutual
understanding, some sense of cooperation.
After all, it's not that I don't want you living in my world;
it's just that living in your world is no longer an option for we
who still firmly believe in the Good Ol' USA.