Very good article here. Read it and spread it.
The Enemy is Us (APOLOGIES TO POGO)
by Jon Faulkner
Monsters, if they expect to frighten anyone, must have some human qualities. They can’t scare us if we don’t see ourselves in them. Monsters know we use them to tell us the truth about ourselves. We expect - demand - a performance and when it’s over we are free to celebrate our rejuvenated innocence. The monster invites us to see through its eyes. That’s why there must be fences around high places. We want to look, and fall.
Many Americans suffer from a poverty of spirit. If Congress, the Supreme Court and Bush are true representatives of the people then Americans have reached a low they may never recover from. Art has been replaced with advertising and God is a wholly owned and subsidized possession of the Christian Right. Given corporate control of the ballet box, fair elections are receding memories. Bush & Co are the inevitable product of the anger and derision that Fox News and other right wing media so gleefully broadcast. Their audience listens loyally to their lies and slander and Americans are further divided. Cheap, bumper sticker patriotism has brought to America a wholly contrived war in which tens of thousands of innocent Iraq’s are murdered while millions of Americans look on in approval. To every American’s ever lasting shame a stunned world saw photos of American soldiers torturing prisoners of war. Today, enthusiasm for the war is ebbing but for material reasons, not moral ones. The moral ones, if there ever were any, disappeared as more of the lies that got us into the war come to light. The mother who lost her son can only remember it was just months ago when she watched him pin a corsage on his prom date. She watches Bush and his Fox News support group as they continue kicking that dead horse. “We must stay the course” they say. “We can’t cut and run now.” And their big gun, “The ones who want to quit are a comfort to the enemy.” Her husband drives her to the military’s morgue in Dover and she thinks. This is a part of the war that Bush opted out of.
Have Americans forgotten how to dream? Where is their commonality of purpose? Once, inspired leaders could ask Americans to come together for great public works. Americans responded with programs like Social Security that made it possible for the elderly to live in dignity and independence. Today, no matter how successful they are, public works are being dismantled and turned over to corporate control. There are so many American’s who are numb and dumb and asleep at the switch there’s hardly a stir when Bush and his Republican Congress effectively end Medicare when they announce they’re giving away $1.2 trillion to drug manufacturers over the next decade. $1.2 trillion? National health care? No, no, no. That’s socialism - “somethin’ a librel would spend ma money on!” Better the money be given to drug manufacturers. Avaricious greed rules the day with corporate theft and government by Bush competing for yet another headline screaming of lies and corruption. Dick Cheney believes the river of taxpayer cash flowing into his pocket is earned income just as Bush believes he came to power on his own merit. Both are delusional. Perhaps the history books will get it right. That in 2000, right wing zealots of the Supreme Court destroyed that institutions honesty and credibility. Their clumsy and contrived arguments awarded Bush an office he can’t understand and will only ever succeed in diminishing. Bush does not possess the minimal intellect to understand that leadership is a thing that is given by the ones who would be led.
There was a time when Americans sent astronauts to the moon. There was a war on poverty. Americans took to the streets when they fully realized the folly of the Vietnam War. Together, Americans defeated communism and welcomed Russia into the world community. Then, things began changing. Reagan encouraged Americans to hate “welfare queens.” He asked Americans why they shouldn’t resent programs like affirmative action. He of course didn’t mention that Colin Powell, among other great Americans, were beneficiaries of that program. He didn’t mention that the vast majority of beneficiaries were white males while the majority of soldiers that had slogged through the mud of Vietnam were minorities. He didn’t say that republicans didn’t mind affirmative action as long as its beneficiaries were white. His most republican moment arrived when he asked that ketchup be classified a vegetable so a few dollars could be cut from school lunches. Arrogance, in combination with ignorance, defines most republicans. Reagan liked to say, “If a business were run like the government it would go bankrupt.“ This unique perspective ignores the fact that government is not a business and was never meant to be. For instance, unlike the government, a successful corporation would never bail out a failing one. The auto makers, the airlines, the S&L,s, were all saved by the government with massive infusions of taxpayer cash. Which corporation would step up and help New Orleans find itself after hurricane Katrina? If New Orleans were a business the Bush administration would have responded immediately and with an open checkbook. But it was only hundreds of thousands of ruined lives and as such was not a high priority for team Bush.
Those Americans who voted for Bush see a tough guy from Texas, who can and will draw down on the “evil doers” of this world even though he and most of his cabinet have clear, unquestionable records regarding their non-participation in the Vietnam War. Cheney says, “I had other priorities.” To bring a nation to war on lies is beyond despicable. They needed and they got the nations support to do it and the world looked on as a great and good people irrevocably shamed themselves.
Most republicans seem somehow absent the noble qualities of humanity. They can see a meadow, alive with a swarming cacophony of color, the yellow sun melting the lazy air while sweet, sleepy dreams loop around a Summer breeze and they see nothing but a condo, or the future site of a Wal Mart. Americans have given such spiritless husks the keys to their great nation.
Jon Faulkner firstname.lastname@example.org
is a musician and writer living in Florida.