makes sense, really, that most of the media reaction surrounding George
Bush's inaugural address doesn't involve debating Bush's points, but
actually figuring out what the hell he really said. It should be strange,
but after four years of this guy I'm getting used to it.
not sure, but I think there was a time, not so long ago, when Presidents
said stuff and people came away knowing what had just happened. You
know, "reduce government waste" or "health care for the
children" or "Saddam has massive stockpiles of sarin gas"
or some other lie, but a lie you could hold onto. Now it's gaseous non-sequiturs
like "exporting democracy." The Bush administration is so
feverishly attuned to the business mindset that they describe abstract
concepts as manufactured goods. "Spreading liberty." It's
not cream cheese, you know.
upshot is that now, after a speech prepared over three months, Bush's
dad is out there doing damage control, assuaging foreign press fears
that they'll be wearing hoods and getting peed on by Alberto Gonzalez
in a few weeks. I'm still not convinced they're wrong.
real problem isn't that Bush's vision is vague, or that it signals an
imperialist agenda that has already been in place for years. It isn't
even that he's completely revised his justification for war in Afghanistan
and Iraq for a proudly amnesiac public, or that he's launching his trial
run at Iran. The real problem about Bush's speech is that it simply
isn't true, and doesn't make any sense. It's 100% manure from start
to finish. Let's have a look:
the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government,
because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a
slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation.
true. Half the nation rode to prosperity on the backs of slaves. Our
much-abused forefathers all owned them. Clearly they didn't have too
much trouble with the concept. Neither does Bush, who is trying to bully
his own party into granting illegals quasi-legal, second-class status
in order to create a new underclass for cheap, cheap labor. They said
the south would rise again, and they were right.
it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth
of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture,
with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
true. Bush does not oppose tyranny. America does not oppose tyranny.
Military dictatorships-those that are willing to play ball-have long
been among America's favorite business partners. We regularly attempt
to overthrow democratically elected leaders who are unwilling to sell
off their assets and screw over their people.
you don't already know this stuff, you're not alone. But your opinion
still doesn't matter. That kind of information-that is, our actual national
history and not the vague assemblage of images, sound bites and anecdotes
that most have been led to believe represents who we are-is a prerequisite
to even forming an opinion that merits consideration. In the real world,
outside the CNN studio, this habit of displacing weak foreign leaders
and imposing military dictatorships has gone unabated and has continued
full force under Bush, in Haiti and Venezuela, for example.
that, he has been all too happy to tolerate tyranny in other countries-Pakistan,
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait come to mind, not to mention most of Africa
and South America-especially when his corporate friends are doing business
there. The only reason he went to war in Iraq was that Hussein refused
to go along, and we just couldn't manage to assassinate the guy. Everything
else is just presentation.
will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling.
felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under
attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart.
And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for
good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter
justice, and the captives are set free.
"victims of disaster" bit is somewhat galling after Bush's
reluctance to cough up aid for the tsunami victims, but that "captives
set free" line is just too much. In reality we're building permanent
jails in other countries for the express purpose of keeping prisoners
("detainees" in terrorspeak) in them, without counsel or visitation
rights, or even charges, for the very reason that there is no evidence
to support charges against them. Again: We're throwing these people
in jail forever, without charging them, without trying them,
just because we can. And, truth be told, most of us don't really seem
to give a damn. Discussions about the torture issue these days seem
to hinge on the question of whether torture works or not, or
how it hurts us in the public relations area, with hardly a stray thought
as to whether it makes us a clearly evil entity on the world scene.
kind of asshole can claim to be on a holy mission to eliminate tyranny
while he's attaching electrodes to your balls? It has become painfully
clear, despite executive protestations, that torture is a matter of
policy in this administration. The denials only serve to placate those
who are most determined not to know the truth. We have become a nation
that will beat and rape you before we even know who the hell you are,
and Allawi's government in Iraq has gladly followed suit, employing
many of the same people to do the job that Saddam hired. That's Bush's
has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction
set by liberty and the author of liberty.
more meaningful lines than this in Jabberwocky. The speech was
awash in grandiose, sermonic prose, not even tipping its hat to reality.
It was the best indicator yet that we are all screwed, that we've been
conned by a man who has no idea how the world works, or just doesn't
give a damn.
point is this: the speech was an embarrassment, a ridiculous fairytale
version of the world, less nuanced than "Mighty Morphin' Power
Rangers." Freedom's on the march, and tyranny better look out 'cause
God's on our side and we're gonna rain some hot, flammable freedom on
their tyrannical asses!
Europeans are freaking out, probably because Bush's religiofascist rhetoric
is really starting to remind them of someone they'd just as soon forget,
as well as our slavishly fawning media and woefully misinformed, panicky
many of the biggest names in that media, especially those on TV, saw
an entirely different speech--or at least they got paid enough to fake
it. Here's what some were saying while the rest of us were recovering
from the ideological tea-bagging:
hideous Dick Morris, on O'Reilly, said it was the best speech: "...
Since John F. Kennedy's and one of the five or sixth greatest of all
time. It was beautiful, it was poetic... and it articulated a bold new
doctrine for American policy. It was a very substantive speech."
Cleveland Plain Dealer called it "a thematic symphony keyed to
the unalienable rights of people - the same truths this nation's founders
held to be self-evident."
Fineman, not one to be outdone in Presidential cock-chugging, called
the address "the biggest statement of American purpose in the world
of any President I can think of. It is Woodrow Wilson on steroids. It's
Wilson on steroids! Just what we need to straighten this country out.
hard not to be disgusted. We are an immensely ignorant people being
robbed of our reputation--not to mention our money--by sociopath leaders
with the aid of an obsequious, pandering press. The President announced
a policy of preemptive war against, say, half the world, based on false
premises and holy appointment, and our popular media acts like he dropped
his pants and shat diamonds.
for another four years?
by Allan Uthman