Wednesday, November 03, 2004

remember when?

When I was a child the Cold War was in full swing, and I remember being told horror stories in school about the communists. It was obvious to us children that we had the better deal - after all, we lived in a country that didn't use propaganda on its own people, didn't allow a monolithic fundamentalist group to take over all branches of the government, didn't engage in unnecessary expansionist wars, and didn't lie to us about any of the above... how could they, when we have an elected representative government?

I, perhaps naively, believed those things when I was young. I have learned hard lessons since.

This election was never about Kerry. It was always about whether or not we were willing to surrender even the pretense of being the good guys. It was about whether or not we were going to let fear and ignorance trump our belief in our ideals. We had the chance to make an important statement about the direction this country has been taken in just 4 short years by the Bush regime.

But now, their vision vindicated and their power entrenched in all three branches of the government, this administration (which has been openly scornful of the citizens of this country, has tirelessly fought to reduce civil liberties, and has managed to turn record economic surplus into record deficit while destroying any credibility the US had in the rest of the world) has no reason to restrain itself. No 'checks and balances' are necessary - if indeed they are even still possible when a single party controls all branches of the government.

Remember when the future looked bright, and the US was at the top of its game? Remember when our buildings burned, and these same politicians you just handed the country to said "if this causes us to give up our dream of freedom and democracy, the terrorists have already won"? Remember when, shortly thereafter, these same politicians raped the Constitution and defied every ideal we supposedly stand for?

THAT WAS ONLY THREE YEARS AGO, and now, by the criteria set by these same politicians in the mid-afternoon of the 11th of September, 2001, the terrorists have indeed won. bin Laden and the rest of the terrorists (a formerly diverse group that has been given a singularity of purpose by our response to 9/11) are probably high-fiving each other right now. Their common coin is, after all, terror, and the US voting populace just let fear guide its hand during an election. This administration has shown itself to be incompetent, deceitful, greedy, and short-sighted, and has engaged in its own campaign of terror against the people of the United States, conjuring up bogeymen to keep us too scared to question their acts, and you bought it.

In a way, I guess the democratic process did work yesterday: a fearful and ignorant populace elected a government that capitalizes on fear and ignorance. I find this gives me scant consolation, however, as I look forward into the darkness of the next four years.