Our country's last chance
Too many Americans will vote for George Bush because they are like him: They don't read newspapers, they fall asleep when great speeches are delivered, they think gods will save their buns (ever count the roadside white crosses?), they see no reason to think and reason because their lessons of history come from a single old book of false promises (heaven, for one example, when absolutely no one has been there), and because Pat Robertson will tell them who to vote for.
When I asked several Republican friends what they thought of the Democratic convention, to a person they said they hadn't watched it! Is that their way of practicing democracy?
Steve Hammer has it right: "This election campaign represents the last chance we may ever get to reclaim our country." The arrogance of the current administration is amazing, from vulgarity to a senator, to having a real pilot land the president on an aircraft carrier, to declaring "mission accomplished" followed by hundreds of dead Americans in Iraq.
When I asked several Republican friends what they thought of the Democratic convention, to a person they said they hadn't watched it! Is that their way of practicing democracy? Is that how they make informed decisions? Maybe they are like a close relative of mine who will vote Republican "because I always have."
Unlike President Reagan, I once was a Republican who a few years ago saw how some divisive persons with large sums of money want to alter our great Constitution, not to expand our choices and liberties, but to restrict them, to exclude certain Americans because they don't fit their Republican/religious mold, to threaten with extortion those who do not follow Vatican edicts. Today we have tax monies going to church groups around America. Tomorrow, with more of Bush, we'll have an official national sanctioned religion.
I'll be reminded then of what at least one great founder said: "We have given you a republic, if you can keep it!" I'm less sure than ever that we can. We have too many "sheep" led through life leaning not on their own knowledge and thought, but on what wealthy robed clerics tell them to do from Italy, Florida, North Carolina on airwaves costing millions of dollars weekly (possibly tax-free?).
Still, I'll remain an optimistic person, aware that in our system of government, we can look forward every few years to turn out the rascals, to put in statesmen with vision instead of reformed college drinkers and playboys using the family name, and to find a few scholars who do read newspapers, and who would not fall asleep at addresses at Gettysburg or Boston.
Nothing justifies my skepticism more than when both sides of an argument use the same tactics. Hammer and our President are most deft. President Bush played on the fears of every American post 9-11 to push a dangerous foreign policy leading to the Iraq War. Now most everyone is scared and willing enough to pull the trigger on any enemy Bush points his finger at, and if you oppose the Administration you are "soft on terror."
In response, Mr. Hammer and Michael Moore in his "documentaries" try to scare Americans into believing the jackboots of Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft will crush all civil liberties in America if we don't vote for John "whichever way the wind blows" Kerry and we'll be forced to have a picture of Bush's vacant face over our fireplaces. Very subtle.
Let me tell you about one of the original progressives and his idea of civil liberties during wartime (he wasn't elected by a majority of the people either), Woodrow Wilson. Our Democratic President routinely lied to the American people or allowed lies to be said without opposition. Like him protesting the sinking of the Lusitania the passenger ship (he knew it was carrying munitions to the British), arresting scores of anti-war protestors and sentencing them to years in prison, silencing all dissenting media and arresting their publishers, using deadly force to put down an anti-conscription rally in Montana, creating a propaganda department headed by a journalist ally and always releasing the lies created by the British about German war atrocities to the American public to create a "war will." All to make the world safe for democracy (while ignoring the fact that the British Empire had already subjugated much of the globe). And let's not forget the campaign promise "We're too proud to fight" he quickly broke to a largely isolationist populace who re-elected him to stay out of Europe.
Far and away it was one of the darker times of civil liberties in America, and last I checked we made it through okay. Today, people like Michael Moore are allowed to openly voice their dissent and make millions in the process. People can walk any main street in the U.S. today carrying placards about the evils of President Bush without much harassment. And Steve Hammer can fill his weekly column with anti-Bush words without censorship. Too many people in the media today lack historical perspective and are prone to drama and overstatement. With already too much information unleashed upon us by a thousand news channels we can do without the fear-mongering and the scare tactics employed by both Steve Hammer and George Bush.