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Barry Crimmins

words to live near


political satirist Barry Crimmins

We Are Here Wednesday, May 9, 2007

We Are Here
By Barry Crimmins

We wouldnt be human if we werent anxious to consider all that Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter have to offer as potential chief executives but before we plumb the depths of the 2008 presidential race its important to establish just where our current president has led us.

Unfortunately I dont have a complete list of the failures and scandals of the Bush-Cheney Administration. I really need to get the latest copy of the Guinness Book of World Records.

There has been so much malfeasance in this malignancy of a White House that you have to figure henchman-in-chief Karl Roves strategy is to camouflage disgrace with more disgrace. And then plenty of outrage. And then even more disgrace.

Gandhi said, Fill the jails, which was a brilliant strategy, meant to ball up the works of oppressive regimes. Now an oppressive regime has adopted the ball up the works tactic with scandal overload, while perversely filling the jails with people other than themselves. Some of the jails are hidden beyond our borders and many of the prisoners are unidentified. But thats getting too scandal-specific and Im after the big picture here. Or big mug shot, anyway.

Perverse hypocrisy is the trademark of this junta of chickenhawks. From long before Bush literally took office, he was shiftier than an 18-wheeler headed for the Great Divide. His baggage included a history of drug and alcohol problems and a murky military record. More recently his background was as a failed businessman, private beneficiary of public stadium funding and as the governor of a state that is a reminder of why we should never rob Mexico. He ran for president promising to bring ethics back to Washington. It turned out to be more of an extraordinary rendition.

The fill the jails strategy was tipped early with his choice of Dick Cheney as his vice-president. Right away watchdogs had two slimy trails to follow. In short order they led through a labyrinth of smoke and mirrors meant to obfuscate the most massive criminal enterprise ever to lay its hands on the government of these United States.

Never have so few benefited from robbing so many. And therein lies the only success to which George W. Bush can lay claim. It must kill the little braggart that you cant flaunt such thuggery without couching it in foggy terms.

Bush has deregulated everything, including the conduct of most of our government. But thats because its good for business, right? Not in the long run. At the moment Buah's policies are good for stockholders -- unless of course they need things like clean air and water and a safe food supply. To survive in the current rigged game, many businesses play for short-term extreme profitability-- which means layoffs at home and exploitation of defenseless peasants abroad. But when most of a companys customers can no longer afford its products, then what? The Dow is over 13,000, which is approximately how many people are economically better off thanks to the destruction of the middle class that has driven the market so high its apex is only visible from penthouse terraces.

Beyond the health care rackets, the preponderance of dependable growth businesses are in the military/police/prison-industrial complex. The oppression that Bush has exported to Iraq has made its way home. As the government operates from behind an ever more opaque curtain, private citizenry is subjected to increased violations of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What should be public is private, what should be private is public. Extrajudicial private concerns now conduct our foreign policy and run detention centers at home.

A current poll says 28% of Americans approve of George W. Bush. This means 27.5% of Americans hate themselves and the other 0.5% of Bush approvers are happy to rake in immediate and obscene profits regardless of the suffering such profiteering inflicts upon the innocent.

As the election of 2008 approaches, George W. Bush must face life in the shadows. After spending two terms hiding in them it shouldnt be too tough an adjustment. Nevertheless he must now consider his legacy  as president (as opposed to the one that allowed him to bring permanent disgrace to Yale.) What he has actually accomplished has been done under backroom tables. Therefore his public legacy must be cobbled from some mighty slim pickings.

So what will GWB turn to when he needs to publicly rationalize his two terms as president? An examination of the last six-plus years leads to the same thing Bush always cites when there is no legitimate answer for a question: 9/11. And so the greatest tragedy that has struck our land since at least the Vietnam War is what hes left with as his finest moment. And in that moment, which lasted for several days, he read to us about a goat and climbed upon rubble filled with the earthly remains of countless souls so he could lie to us through a megaphone. Fear and common decency conspired to provoke 90% of us to ignore the fact that he was then and always would be a dodgy little con artist. He was given the benefit of the doubt and he took it into needless, and what may well become, perpetual war.

And thats his highlight!

So forgive me if Im not itching to find some new politico in whom to invest blind faith. Im sick of living in a country that is so wrapped up in choosing a leader. Only morons need leaders because to have a leader is to divest oneself of the responsibility every citizen in this republic must meet for us to become a truly free and just society. What we need are public servants who act upon the demands of an informed electorate. Judging by the first two presidential debates, there are only a few people running for president who would even consider undertaking the hard work of public servitude. The rest want to be leaders and leaders lead us to awful places like war and prison. In the process they treat us as subjects rather than employers.

To be a bona fide member of that informed electorate requires more than simply choosing from the limited and predictable rhetoric of political aspirants. It requires more than simply consuming what others decide are the issues of the day. We cannot expect to make any progress if our discourse is limited to a lexicon of soundbites.

We cant get over George W. Bush and Dick Cheney by declaring them impertinent and then simply replacing them. We must demand that bright lights are shone throughout the network of rat tunnels from which our nation has been undermined. The candidate that pledges to take on that grimy task will have my support until he or she proves they're not up to the task.