Santa Baby, Make These Wishes Come True
November 29, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The
us stipulate that maybe much in the list below is not going to happen.
But one sits on Santa's lap not for the certainty that the presents
requested will be under the tree on Christmas Day, but because we
can voice our hopes out loud to a stand-in for our preferred diety
that perhaps, just perhaps, a few of our wishes will be granted.
With that understood, here is what I - representing, I think,
a goodly number of Americans roughly from the center-left to the
center-right - want for Christmas. Oh please, Santa, make at least
some of these come true.
1. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald obtains pre-Christmas
indictments of Cheney, Rove, Rice, Feith, Hadley and others in the
outing of a CIA agent (a crime George H. W. Bush called "traitorous"),
and for lying to Congress in order to get authorization for a war
that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of U.S. troops
and Iraqi civilians.
2. Indictments are unsealed for Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto
Gonzales, Dick Cheney, Gen. Jeffrey Miller and others for concocting
legal theories officially sanctioning torture of detainees in U.S
care. The avalanche of these, and the Plamegate/Iraq War, indictments
leads to a clamor for impeachment as more and more traditional GOP
leaders abandon the White House.
3. Congress, led by GOP members desperate to get re-elected,
passes a resolution calling for phased U.S. withdrawal from Iraq,
beginning ASAP. Bush, desperate to maintain Republican control of
the House and thus stave off impeachment talk, makes moves in that
direction; he says he'll withdraw thousands now and maybe as many
as 50-60,000 next summer, "unless the security situation requires
our presence." Congress doesn't buy it - they suspect Bush will
re-insert U.S. troops in-country after the 2006 election - and votes
to cut funding for the Iraq war.
4. As a result of the GOP defections, indictments of top
officials, and the growing corruption scandals, the GOP loses its
majority in both the House and Senate in 2006.
5. GOP leaders in the House, Senate and business community
visit the White House to tell Bush and Cheney that they have lost
the confidence of the public, and are endangering the future of
continuing conservative rule; Bush and Cheney are urged to resign.
6. Because Bush and Cheney do not resign, impeachment hearings
begin in the House, a bill of impeachment is rendered, and Senate
trial date is set. The Senate votes to convict Bush and Cheney.
The new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, becomes President. She
is sworn in by the Chief Justice - and, notably, also by new Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid.
7. The Bush tax cuts, which mostly benefit the already-wealthy,
are repealed by Congress. Numerous GOP members, who formerly supported
the tax breaks, use as their rationale that the hundreds of billions
of dollars should go first to fund important social programs and
infrastructure upkeep. The budgets for those programs are significantly
8. The mass-media, having supported the Bush Administration
through it all, sink even further in public esteem. To save their
hides, and their bottom-line profitability, they take the desperate
step of reporting the truth. Their circulation and viewership begins
to rise; the neo-con crazies - Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter, O'Reilly,
Hannity, et al. - are dropped by a good share of the radio and cable
networks, due to a massive drop in ratings.
9. The insurance industry, seeing the global warming handwriting
on the wall and going broke paying out claims for floods and hurricanes
and pollution-caused deaths, leans on Congress to enact strict greenhouse-emission
limits on manufacturing; automakers double their fuel-efficiency
standards, and the government once again pays more attention to
science and less to faith-based and profit-based lobbyists.
10. Noting the many questions raised about the integrity
of the election process under a computer-voting system, all states
return to paper ballots, hand-counted, with party observers verifying
the honesty of the vote-tally. In addition, investigations are held
to determine the validity of the 2000, 2002, and 2004 federal elections
and the 2005 balloting in Ohio. A number of Diebold technicians
testify under oath that they manipulated ballot numbers on orders
of their superiors; officials of the GOP-supporting computer-voting
companies are indicted.
11. Spurred on by the success they had in championing a
phased withdrawal from Iraq, the Democrats in Congress decide to
reacquaint themselves with their spines on other issues as well.
A true, two-party system emerges, with civil debate on the issues.
Academics likewise feel more free to state their political views
publicly, and are especially effective in the non-renewal of many
of the Patriot Act's worst sections.
12. The U.S. government, anxious to reduce the major reasons
for extreme Islamic terrorism in the world, works tirelessly to
broker a just peace between Israel and Palestine. The two states
work out ways to live side by side - Israel is guaranteed security
within its borders by the Palestinians, now that it has withdrawn
its settlers from the West Bank, and Palestine has a viable, contiguous
state; both sides agree to pacts on water rights, job-creation,
and joint administration of Jerusalem. Terrorism begins to decrease
overnight; the U.S. is more secure at home.
MOVING ON FROM THE WISHES
So, there they are: the 12 wishes that could turn our country
around, permitting us to start undoing the enormous domestic and
international damage effected during the past five years, and implementing
a more helpful, positive program.
But wishes don't make it so. So how to help a burdened Santa make
them come true?
Yes, the imploding Bush Administration - beset by scandals, corruption,
incompetence, arrogance, bullyboys, whistleblowers, ignorance -
is doing its part to bring itself down. But the rest of us have
roles to play as well.
In the main, those roles involve organizing, talking truth to
power, and keeping the momentum-ball rolling.
HELPING THE GRASSROOTS GROW
Money is a big part of political organizing, sending our donations
and energies to where they can do the most good. Find the party
or grassroots group or lobbying organization with which you feel
most politically comfortable, and help provide them the funds -
and/or donate some of your time to them in battling the forces of
regression and violence.
Two of our friends, just for a simple example, host monthly dinner
parties for activist-minded colleagues and neighbors; each such
evening includes composing hand-written letters to local or national
officials on a particular issue. At times, especially on local issues,
it's clear their letters have had a demonstrable impact on local
(Note: When a legislator receives a handwritten or typed letter
from an actual constituent - not a form-letter or email or petition
that originated in a lobbyist's office - it carries immense weight;
I was told once by a Congressional staffer that each such genuine
constituent letter, whether handwritten or typed, represents 10,000
voters who think likewise. The pols pay attention to such letters.)
BRINGING LIGHT INTO THE DARK PLACES
Speaking truth to power can mean something as simple as writing
letters to the editor, or calling a local radio talk-show, or participating
in "sit-in" demonstrations at a legislator's office - or traveling
to Crawford, Texas, to let Bush know there is nowhere he can hide
from citizen wrath. On another level of speaking-truth-to-power,
there's Rep. John Murtha stepping up and telling Bush and his fellow
members of Congress that enough is enough, the Iraq War is a thoroughgoing
disaster and we need to get out ASAP.
Many in the Democratic party leadership secretly harbored such
sentiments, but were too timid to stray far from the Bush line lest
they be tarred as "unpatriotic" or "soft-on-terrorism" by the Roveian
legions. Some leading Democrats, with presidential ambitions, are
still mired in that fear-swamp, and you know who I mean. We have
yet to locate a charismatic, electable national progressive
leader willing to step out and tell it like it really is.
Those who choose to imitate the Hard-Right conservatives should
pay a penalty: put a scare in the DINOs (Democrats in Name Only)
by supporting alternative progressive candidates in the primaries.
Murtha could say what he said because millions of us out here
in ordinary America have spent years preparing the anti-war soil
to such an extent that now close to two-thirds of our fellow citizens
believe invading and occupying Iraq was a huge ideological and military
mistake, based on lies and deceptions ladled out by the Bush Administration.
As a result of this grassroots labor, the operative question no
longer is whether we should "stay the course" in Iraq, getting tens
of thousands more U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians slaughtered and
maimed in the process, but how best to extricate ourselves as quickly
as possible. That huge shift in American sentiment can be ascribed,
at least partially, to our willingness to talk truth to power.
A major contributor to that major shift in support for Bush's
war are those whose official job-description is (or at least used
to be) talking truth to power. I'm referring to opinion-molders
and institutional and Internet journalists and bloggers. For the
names of many of those courageous writers, see "Honoring
Our Journalistic Heroes." Those progressive websites on the
Internet, ours included, receive precious little funds from anybody
but their readers, so don't forget to donate regularly to those
who consistently shine the light of fact into the dark caves of
illusions and deceit.
KEEPING THE MOMENTUM BALL ROLLING
In recent weeks and months, the wheels have started to come off
the Hard-Right's juggernaut bus. The Bush Administration is self-destructing
from within and beset by more and more forces from without. We are
just about at the point of critical mass.
But the Bush/Cheney/Rove forces are still in the White House -
unless we can pry their fingers from the levers of power - and thus
are still able to do enormous, deadly damage both to what remains
of Constitutional rights and protections domestically, and to the
shreds of American respectability abroad as a result of imperial
wars and cruel torture carried out in our names.
To get to critical mass, a constant and increasing pressure must
be built up, to the point where the momentum for change is so strong
that the Bush forces will be unable to reverse it.
That's our job right now. So let's get to it.
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., co-editor of The
Crisis Papers, has taught government & international relations
at various universities, was a civil rights and anti-war activist
in the '60s and '70s, and a writer/editor for the San Francisco
Chronicle. To comment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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