And I call upon the Iraqi people to reject violence, band together to insist that the country move toward a peaceful tomorrow. Iraq is changing for the better. I mean, look at the soccer team.
~ G.W. Bush
A Walk in the Woods
TONIGHT on TV
THE EVENING NEWS
6 August 2004
I was watching the news the other night. I can't even remember what particular story was on, but I found myself on the verge of tears. Maybe it was about more killings in Iraq, though I am afraid that they are so commonplace we're getting inured to it. Maybe it was hearing that we're going to start clear-cutting trees again. Maybe it was something else. I don't know.
Maybe it was because Walt was out of town and I'd spent too much time alone, too much time with television news for company, but I can't remember ever a time in my life when I have felt as pessimistic about this country as I do right now. After watching a week of the Democratic convention and the news reports following it, I just felt this tremendous lump in the pit of my stomach at the thought that we could have four more years of the current administration.
The photo below appeared on Joan's journal a couple of days ago. It's one of those mosaic photos made up of photos of those American soldiers who have been killed in Iraq. (It's more impressive in full size.) As Joan journal entry says, "No one died when Clinton lied."
I've done publicity for most of my adult life and I have great admiration for the masterful way that the Bush administration has played the people of this country since 9/11. We are constantly kept on the edge, constantly under some sort of nebulous threat from Al Qaeda. I don't doubt that the threat of Al Qaeda is very real, but isn't it just very curious that they always surface when Bush needs a bit of a boost in the polls? Especially this last one, the "credible very real threat" to specific buildings throughout the country which, we now learn, has been known for two years, but they chose to stir the country up right after the Democratic convention.
I am afraid that the Bush Administration has become the boy who cried wolf in my mind. There are so many lies and half truths and rewriting of facts and explanations that mean nothing that I just have become suspicious of everything and don't give any credence whatsoever to anything that the administration tells me.
Clinton was impeached for far less than the sorts of fabrications that have come out of this administration, many of which have sent hundreds of young men to their deaths and thousands more maimed for life both emotionally and physically(we never hear about those). Yet Bush seems to be immune from Congressional inquiry, is not required to testify under oath or on the record, and the country is left completely in the dark about important issues.
I have disliked a lot of presidents in my life, but I don't remember a president who chills my blood the way this one does. It's the constant smirk on his face which makes me think that he's thinking "nyah nyah nyah nyah--we know something and you don't--and what's more, you can't do a damn thing about it."
If I actually thought Bush were in charge it might be different, but there is nothing Bush has done in the last four years that make me think he is calling the shots, that he is capable of independent decision-making, that he has the intelligence for it. I go back to that chilling picture of him sitting in front of the kindergarten classroom for seven minutes, knowing that this country was under attack. It wasn't even so much that he sat there immobile, but that he had that "deer in the headlights" look.
I think back to that movie with Robert Redford, The Candidate, where it was all about the campaign he was waging and how to win the congressional seat and the closing shot is of him, after he has won, with this vague, lost look on his face, saying "what now?" That's the mental image I have of Bush. Winning the election and then looking around, with the same blank look on his face that he showed in Florida that fateful day, and asking "what now?"
If Bush makes me uncomfortable, Cheney just makes me feel creepy. As hard as it is to watch Bush's smirk, the sleazy look on Cheney's face is so much worse, because I have the horrible feeling that he is calling the shots.
I read people like Joan Chittister and hear about censorship of people's views, people who lose their jobs because they have dared speak out. I listen to the backpedaling when the administration is caught in a lie.
I watch Michael Moore in interview and, whether you love him or hate him, his passion about the need for Americans to question the administration and not just be spoonfed the things that the administration wants us to hear is very real and he asks good, pointed questions--and gets booed for them.
It scares me that Linda Ronstadt can be physically escorted out of a hotel without being allowed to pack her things, simply for expressing her views about the world situation.
I see the strain on Condoleeza Rice's face as she faces reporters and realize that she doesn't sound like she believes the words that come out of her mouth any more.
I notice that Colin Powell seems to be absent from a lot of discussions lately, when he was one of the strongest proponents of this war before it started.
I have said more than once that I understand, now, the helplessness of the common man in Germany as Hitler came to power. I don't mean to compare Bush to Hitler, but things seem to be spiraling out of control in this country and the little guys, like you and me, are helpless to do anything about it.
The frustrating thing is the number of people who are actually buying all this spin. People like my cousin's husband, an otherwise intelligent man, who acts as if it's unpatriotic not to support the administration.
No, John Kerry isn't the ideal candidate. But I have never felt more fervently in the depth of my soul that four more years of the Bush administration are going to irrevocably change this country in a way that I don't even want to see.
So when I watch the news, I want to cry, because I feel so helpless. It's like watching a trainwreck approaching knowing that people are going to get horribly slaughtered and there isn't a damn thing you can do to prevent it.
Website of the Day
If we are truly so concerned for the welfare of others, and not just for the oil, why are we not also interfering in Darfur, where over a million people are threatened with torture and death at the hands of a marauding militia an genocidal government?*
*from Joan's journal