Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"The Moral Vacancy of George Bush"

This president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the
overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and
his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing --- to take
power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of
themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything.

You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes
inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite,
he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and
children.

He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families
of the dead; he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live
in poverty; he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford
health insurance; he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are
turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to
work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills --- it is amazing
for how many people in this country this President does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is
relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax
burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air
we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the
safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and
that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a- half benefits for
overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them
into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the
flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our
democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember
the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the
war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneously aroused oversoul of alarm
and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After
all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are
little wars all over the world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of
people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of
mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy
was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in
history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary
power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of
civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated
with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring
their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the
nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable
national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of
lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people
he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us
into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report.
He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we
sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and
ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and
the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a
figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

E.L. Doctorow

1 comments:

Anonymous,  16:45  

It's very amusing to see the current administration meddles into the policies of foreign countries while claiming that it's defending and spreading "freedom". At the same time the Republican, redneck supporters loudly chant "freedom is not free". Yes it's freedom but it's either their way or highway ("either you're with us or against us"), and freedom is not free but those rednecks are not paying for it. Majority of people currently in the arm force are either poor or new immigrants. Those fat, SUV driving, tough man wannabe snobs are too coward to join the army and only do the service by mouth. The real issues that affect American people are health cares, pension, benefits are neglected (because "free market should take care of those problem and it is not the government's business to be in charge"). Amazingly lot of people believe in those propagandas, and I have stopped questioning the intelligent of the American people long ago. The prime minister of Bhutan was correct when he said that "the problem with democracy is that stupid people make decision in the official elections", and to support his statement he pointed out the Bush re-election.

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