Stop Making Sense
March 30, 2002
By Isaac Peterson
George "I'm not really the President but I play one on TV" Bush recently told a group of college students that the 9/11 "tearists" must have gotten their idea of the U.S. from watching Jerry Springer. From everything I could tell, he was serious. But who is it that really treats us like we're a "Jerry Springer" nation? Foreigners or our "leaders"?
I know that George Gump was trying to say that the attackers had "misunderestimated" how tough and serious we are as a country. But the way Bush Inc. behaves, this administration can't have too high an opinion of us either. They seem to think this is a country full of slack-jawed Jethro Bodines, who'll swallow whatever high-grade fertilizer they dish out, as long as we have enough pork rinds and TV.
Let's start with the polls that show that Bush is almost as popular as oxygen. I know there's lots of people like me who are wondering where those numbers come from - the ones giving him 80% approval ratings. For months we've been getting told by this administration that any dissent is treason. Ari Fleischer warned us that we'd better be careful what we say and do. Lynne Cheney and Joe Lieberman published a "hit list" of unpatriotic college professors.
The USA PATRIOT Act gives the government and the police the power to haul us away without warrants and without having to charge us with anything. We can be taken away in the middle of the night just for being suspected of knowing someone who is accused of being a terrorist, even if we had no idea they were up to anything (even if they aren't). We are subject to the same charges and our property can be seized. We can be charged with terrorism or treason, and they get to define what that means.
Our phones can be tapped without a court order, and the FBI has their handy-dandy Carnivore program that can spy on our e-mail. Now, with all that, and things I didn't mention in the air, when the phone rings and someone asks "Do you support the President?", what do you think most people are going to say? "No"? In the atmosphere we have right now, how do people know when the phone rings that that pollster isn't really the government conducting "loyalty checks" right out of the McCarthy days?
Don't ask questions, just tell us what we want to hear, and then we'll let you get back to watching Jerry Springer. We'll just used these propped up numbers to tell you how you better live every part of your life - or else.
I also don't believe the polls that say most people are willing to give up their civil liberties. It's probably a matter of the way the question was asked. If people are asked the question straight, without a chance to think of the implications, sure, many people will probably say yes. Let me put it this way: Which question do you think would be more likely to get a "yes"?
1. "For the sake of your security, would you be willing to give up some civil liberties?"
2. "To fight terrorism, do you support the government being able to haul you out of your home in the middle of the night, hold you indefinitely, and take everything you own, based on a neighbor reporting you for something they thought they heard you say?"
If you're going to try to convince me that most people would say yes to #2, make sure you bring lots of beer and a bong.
Then there's the "war on tearism". We heard a couple months or so ago that we had achieved our objective in Afghanistan.
Questions we're not hearing answered:
1. If our objective was to get Osama bin Laden "dead or alive", how could we have achieved our objective if he got away, and we didn't really get anybody else who was very important?
2. If getting Osama was the original goal, how can Bush now be saying Osama isn't important? And why has the reward for him been reduced?
3. If we had achieved our objective, what are we still doing over there with our troops going through fierce battles and Americans getting killed in some pretty intense fighting?
4. Why are we suddenly so hot to take on Iraq again? What did Hussein have to do with terrorist attacks in September? And Iran, and North Korea?
But never mind; coming up on Springer: Teenage male lesbian baby-sitters!
The administration wants to increase homeland security spending and Congress wants Tom Ridge to answer questions about what the money is for ($37 BILLION). The administration says it's none of their business and refuses to let him testify. Congress went along with the administration at first, and gave them what they asked for. Then we started getting Ridge and Ashcroft interrupting broadcasts of Jerry Springer and Judge Judy to announce that we were under alert.
It seemed we had to watch out for an attack that could be on United States soil or directed against Americans abroad. We should watch out for suspicious groups of one or more people who could be any race or nationality. The attack we should look out for could be today, but it could be tomorrow, the end of the week, or it could be next week. We should be especially vigilant for any kind of attack, from any direction, using any possible means. And we should believe there could be an attack, because they got the information from credible sources, but their identity can't be disclosed. After a few of those alerts, they got kind of like the last season of Saturday Night Live - they keep running them, but nobody much cares..
So now, in its place, we have an alert system that consists of five colors to stand for the level of alert: green, blue, yellow, orange, and red. But other than watching traffic lights, most people have no idea where to check for the color level for the day. More than that, no one knows what we're supposed to do if we do find out the color alert for the day. We just kind of assume that red is the color for "kiss your ass goodbye", but beyond that, we have no clue what to do.
We're supposed to be in yellow alert today, I heard. I think that means "There's evil tearists out there up to evil and no good, but you just go on watching Jerry Springer". I heard a rumor that Ari Fleischer would signal the alert level by the color tie he wears on any day. That guarantees that I'll never know what the alert level is, because then I'd have to watch and listen to him.
Congress looks like it has buyer's remorse and wants to know what the homeland security money will be spent on. But the administration is basically telling them not to worry about it. Just trust us. The sooner you just knuckle under and give us the money, the sooner you can all get back to watching Jerry Springer.
The surplus is gone, wiped out by the "war on tearism", the tax cut for the super-wealthy, and the recession. I want to hold George Gump's feet to the fire and get him to explain this to the whole country.
Hey GWB - while we're at it, how about this stuff:
Your plans for your dictatorship. A lot of us figured all along that that was what you really wanted. Now we know for sure, since we all found out about your little "shadow government" hidden away in a secret cave and that even Congress didn't know about it. (Hey George - maybe that's where Osama is).
Dick Cheney's showdown with the GAO over the details of who he met with before he came up with his energy plan, and Cheney's PR campaign where he lied to the public about what the GAO wanted.
The Islamic Institute that has such close ties with your administration and your political party.
That oldie but goodie, Enron.
But I know better than to expect any answers that make sense. We're getting a pretty good idea how much you just don't want to let us know about things we really should know, George Milhaus Bush. So I guess I'll just knock off and go watch Springer. I can make more sense out of that than where you are trying to take this country. And right after Springer, I really don't want to miss the John Ashcroft Good Time Sing Along Hour.
Isaac Peterson is hoping real hard to see the Hite House in '04 - the White House without the "W"