Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Terrorism is Up, Bush is Down

Now that the time for this blog to be a more moderate, academically-oriented forum is drawing to a close, I can begin to let loose in a more free-form, overtly political way.

For instance, I can vent about my disgust with our current administration--although it's really not PC to be political these days. Only in America is discussing "politics," which in my opinion is really discussing our lives and humanity--how they are impacted by our elected officials and consumer compulsions--considered in bad taste. My European and Australian friends are comfortable voicing their varying viewpoints, it is considered part of their reality. This makes sense to me. Having a heated existential conversation is considered "upsetting" in America, or for some uninteresting. It's far more comfortable to talk about our latest purchases, what movies we've seen, or whether we have been working out lately. I've had friends ask me to agree not to do so in order to preserve the friendship. I comply.

But here in the Paper Garden I am free to point some things out, perhaps in a futile attempt to get out there what people are not discussing. Many of my points have been galvanized by the brilliant, hilarious, sarcastic, occasionally vulgar and always irreverent Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle. I'd love to meet this guy.

Morford has a
column that one can subscribe to, automatically ensuring an e-mailed treat right into your "in-box."

Here's a quote from a would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-so-pathetically-true article titled, "Bush Lies, America Cries":

"Here's something funny, in a rip-your-patriotic-heart-out-and-spit-on-it sort of way: Just last week, BushCo's State Department decided to kill the publication of an annual report on international terrorism. Why? Well, because the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were
more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985. Isn't that hilarious? Isn't that heartwarming? Your tax dollars at work, sweetheart .

Lest you forget, this is what they do. They trim. They edit. They censor. BushCo kills what they do not like and fudges negative data where they see fit and completely rewrites whatever the hell they want, and that includes bogus WMD reports and CIA investigations and dire environmental studies and scientific proofs about everything from evolution to
abortion and pollution and clean air, right along with miserable unemployment data and all manner of research pointing up the ill health of the nation, the spirit, the world.
In other words, if BushCo doesn't like what comes out of their own hobbled agencies and their own funded studies, they do what any good dictatorship does: They annihilate it. Now that's good gummint!"

As I daily dart in and out of behemouth Excursions and Suburbans and Escalades plastered with "W '04," or "Support Our Troops," or "United We Stand" (imagine how that might have sounded during the revolution which founded this country) bumperstickers, I wonder if they realize what a crappy job our heads of state are doing. How we are in more danger than ever, how the simplistic incantation of "they just hate our freedom" is beginning to sound as hollow as "it's not you, it's me."

If anyone has been reading this blog on a semi-regular basis, perhaps my vehemence here is surprising. I am very concerned about our myopia.

My husband called me to the television set the other day. England was having a Town Hall meeting featured on BBC America, which by our political standards was an out-and-out brawl. Young children were fiercely questioning their leaders, in fact shouting out accusations of lying with some effective back-up. I have never seen anything like it here. It wouldn't be allowed. George Bush bristles like an angry terrier whenever a reporter steps out of stroke-the-chief-of-state mode. In any American Town Hall meeting. some spin doctor or press agent would be sure the cameras cut to commercial, and the "hostile" interrogator would be promptly removed. Free speech is a commodity in this country--it is bought and paid for.

Bearing in mind that our frighteningly inarticulate president today arrogantly dismissed the findings of an Amnesty International report that decries our Guatanamo Bay policies as violations of basic human rights, I'll close with another quote from Morford (I'll mention that the article directly quoting Bush which was up on Comcast's homepage this morning was nowhere to be found this evening):

"They hate us, George, because of our policies. Anti-Muslim. Pro-Israel. Oil-uber-alles. Anti-U.N. Anti-Kyoto. Anti-planet. Pro-war. Pro-insularity. Pseudo-swagger. Bogus staged "town hall" meetings stocked with
prescreened monosyllabic Bush sycophants. Ego. Empire."


At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Vikki said...

You go Pamela! Did you see Molly Ivins today in the Oregonian? Lambasting W for his statement - "I cannot support federal dollars being used to end a life" yet, has no problem sending our soldiers to die into a country that posed no apparent threat to us. Then later today I read that George Sr. wants Jeb to be the next president because he's "big and strong." Certainly criteria at the top of my list for whether someone is qualified to be president. Jeb of course, denies that he wants to run for president which I don't believe for a minute. Can we please stop with the Bushes! I don't know if the world could survive another one. How about term limits on families...
Thanks for the link to Morford. He is good.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Sandy said...

Pam, finally one of your posts that I can comment about - politics before literature, who would've guessed it!?

I would've liked to see the England Town Hall, just for comparison. I rarely discuss politics. Not that I don't have an opinion, I just don't feel I verbalize it well enough to debate issues.

I found myself having to bite my tongue at work quite a bit with the last election. One of my co-workers was quite obnoxious -- despite the fact that we were both voting for Kerry! Both before and after the election, he talked about little else - with anyone.

I look forward to seeing where you go with the blog. Good luck and keep posting!

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous bill hooked said...

I've been a regular of the Spokane native since you turned me on to this column....thanks ...I always look forward to reading his column as well as visting your web page.

Great comments !


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