Sunday, March 04, 2007

There are still people with George Bush

In my normal day to day conversations with people in bars, cafes, work, etc., I'm finding, to my great surprise, that there are some people still "with" George Bush. I've had at least three of these conversations in the last two weeks. More surprising is that these are not people I would dismiss as idiots. They are all quite bright, which makes it more disturbing. I thought those that make up the yeas in the mere 29 percent approval rating for our illustrious leader were all residing in Utah and the deep South. They're not.

I could sort of understand years ago, back before there was this enormous record of such staggering failure, giving the guy the benefit of the doubt. It was clear to me from day one he was a frat boy, lacking in intellectual curiosity, the privileged son of power being elevated to unconscionable power to service the interests of power. Reagan played that role well, the kind grandfather, the pitchman with the soft touch, but he had far less evil people surrounding him, and he was far less corrupt than this bunch. He ran against a smart and experienced, but wooden and cautious man in Gore, got fewer votes, but was installed into power by the Supreme Court. The Democrats ran another smart, yet wooden and uber-cautious candidate in Kerry, and Bush squeaked by and might have had more votes this time. The nightmare continues, there is a clear record of failure now, and still there are people "with" George W. Bush.

Think about this for one second: After the ongoing Iraq fiasco including Abu Gharib, the misdirection of focus on Iraq from Afghanistan that let Bin Laden escape in Tora Bora, the lies about nuclear weapons, the Haliburton profiteering, the Abramoff scandal, the thinning of military resources to deal with real global threats, the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, the blowing off of the Kyoto Protocol and general head in the sand on Global Warming, the Patriot Act and all the related eroding of civil liberties from arrests and jail time without charges, trials or access to lawyers, the use of torture and shipping people off to countries that torture through "extraordinary rendition," the spying on email, postal mail and listening to phone calls sans warrants, continuing to read "My Pet Goat" after the country was attacked, the intrusion of the religious right on all kinds of personal issues such as abortion, prescription medicines and the right to die, the general gay bashing and the now $9 trillion deficit as a product of war, tax cuts for the rich and uncontrolled giveaways to corporate interests, there are still people who support this man. This fact is flabbergasting to me. What else does this guy, and these people have to F*** Up in order to acknowledge the obvious? The mind boggles that anyone can think the country is going in the right direction or that democracy and traditional principles that make America unique aren't under direct assault because of these shameful people.

How can anyone sit by and watch lobbyists for the pharmaceutical companies write the prescription drug laws, the banking industry/credit card companies re-write the bankruptcy laws, the oil industry get massive tax breaks and get sickeningly rich from this war, and still be a Republican? Far, far, far more money is transferred to the sickeningly rich corporate influential than any welfare mother could ever dream of, yet the welfare mother is the demon and the corporate CEO is the paradigm. People still hold to this long ago fiction that Republicans are "fiscally conservative." Newt and the boys found out thirteen years ago that the Religious Right was a better demographic to pander to, and a combination of irresponsible tax cuts and endless borrowing the way to go.

For some people, loyalty to one's party is similar to loyalty to one's favorite sport's team. They are with them thick and thin, and I find this to be more common amongst Republicans than Democrats. A quick read of The New Republic versus the National Review would demonstrate this point. It is no surprise to me that the Religious Right is so steadfastly Republican, as the very nature of "faith" is to believe and accept without evidence, to suspend critical thinking and obey authority -- a staple of being a modern Republican. Intellectually, I think that is a horrendous way to live, but electorally it has served them well. That whole flip flop thing gets trotted out every time against every Democrat, and it must have traction, or they wouldn't be doing it. The talking points and the ads actually make it out to sound like changing your mind is bad. If I followed that mindset, I'd still believe in Santa Clause, think a 64 ounce "Big Gulp" soda and Twinkies a perfect lunch, the Dukes of Hazzard to be quality entertainment and find McDonalds to be preferable to a place that serves actual food.

I also continue to hear that word "liberal" thrown around like an epithet by otherwise sensible people, and I really stand in awe of the powers of propaganda. They've really attached the negative assocations and stigmatized it, and they hurl it like a weapon. As if being open minded, being concerned with the poor, generally wanting change (liberal means progressive, wanting change, while conservative means averse to change) and power to be shared amongst a larger group is so bad, something to fear.

None of this is to indicate Democrats are great or their leadership skills so profound. I'm more of a Democrat out of the sheer evil of this current crop of Republicans and the necessary practical response. I can stomach the John McCains of the world, especially the version that ran against Bush, not this current strain. Reagan wasn't nearly as harmful as this current group, and mostly was beneficial. Practically speaking I'm much more inclined to the Green Party or Libertarianism, which is way over most people's head, sadly. The lack of practical choice politically is disturbing.

George Carlin makes this point well:

"Oh, and freedom of choice, this is the big one, the illusion of choice, we're led to feel free by the exercise of meaningless choices. There are, for instance, important things — not too many choices, unimportant things-ice cream flavors, what do you want, we've got 31, the flavor of the week, the flavor of the month, but political parties-we're down to two, jeez. Sources of information, media companies down to five, banks, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, chemical companies, oil companies-used to be seven, down to three, pretty soon it's gonna be two. But if you’re lookin' for a bagel or a fuckin' donut, hey, what do you want-pineapple supreme, hazelnut; we've got everything you want. Cereals, I counted, personally in the store counted 192 different cereal choices, 192. 140 different cat foods, I counted, and that includes a tartar-control cat food for senior citizen cats, okay?"

Matt Taibbi did a great job explaining exactly how and why democracy is broken in this piece: "The Worst Congress Ever." After reading that report, you'd have to get on your knees and thank the heavens that these guys got neutered in November, and there are now more civilized people in control. Of course, the new budget is out, not that anyone would know it with Britney's implosion and Anna Nicole Smith death circus, and all kinds of nonsense about an irrelevant pissing match between David Geffen and Hillary Clinton. Taibbi does a great job indicting the media on their wildly off base fixations in this one as well. The traditional media across the board are a huge disappointment.

I am at a point where I would be infinitely happier to be a European and embrace those values (a heightened appreciation for food, art, travel, the ability for most anyone to see a doctor, less derision for the educated) than the American ethos of a bigger house(massive mortgage debt), a bigger car (Hummer anyone) and a bigger stomach (supersize me).


The Saipan Blogger said...

You sound French.


KAP said...

It's possible you're seeing cognitive dissonance up close and personal. There's a natural tendency to 'dig in' and defend a choice you've already made. I've had some otherwise reasonable people turn abusive and go into attack mode when I made fairly mild comments about the Pres. It happened with Clinton jokes too. That's my cheap psychological analysis for the day.

There are also 'one-issue' people, and he would have them wrapped up despite what he does on other issues.

Oh, and respect for authority: 'he's the President and must know what he's doing, he's got more information than me'

People who can tell you the last three celebrities to visit Darfur, but couldn't tell you where it is.

I'm surprised his numbers aren't higher.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

I take French as a compliment. I'll take a creme brulee over Death By Chocolate any day.