LXXXI – Bush or Kerry?

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Another
meaningless presidential election is scheduled for November. The
media has done its best – for at least a year now – to
whip up public enthusiasm for this quadrennial ritual that does
little more than confirm in the minds of witless souls that they
are running the state! Voters in a democracy play a role not unlike
that of the "fool-king" in ancient monarchical systems
who, for one day each year, was selected king for a day.

For
this year's election, the political establishment – impresarios
of this three-ring circus – has provided the electorate with
yet another meaningless "choice": a Yale graduate, pro-war,
pro-Patriot Act, pro-expansive state member of "Skull-and-Bones"
George Bush, or a Yale graduate, pro-war, pro-Patriot Act, pro-expansive
state member of "Skull-and-Bones" John Kerry.

It's
like getting to choose between emphysema and lung cancer!

The
distinctions between presidential candidates are about as thin as
a slice of English roast beef. There has to be some way of differentiating
the Republocrat from the Democan offerings. A popular definition
of an insane person is one who keeps engaging in the same behavior
under the same circumstances, expecting a different result. Those
who continue to stagger into voting booths to confirm their faith
in "the system" – a faith they exhibit to others
by wearing an "I voted" sticker on their clothing –
may exhibit such traits of insanity. They are not, however, thoroughly
brain-dead. As a result, even Boobus electorus must be convinced
that there is some meaningful purpose to his or her participation
in this charade.

In
recent elections, voters were led into voting booths, spellbound
by such major political questions as whether Willie Horton should
have been placed on parole, whether the "pledge of allegiance"
is a good thing, or the sexual peccadilloes of an incumbent president.
The idea that Boobus should have any relevant input in determining
major political decisions – such as United States' interventions
into the affairs of other nations, the political structuring and
direction of economic activity, or whether the state should have
decision-making power over the bodies of individuals – is never
to be considered. Should Boobus become sufficiently agitated,
however, the establishment will allow for the introduction of such
subset issues as gay marriage, cloning, or legalized marijuana to
divert attention from the deeper questions, underlying such issues,
that relate to the question of power.

I
can think of no election in my lifetime that so illustrates the
utter meaninglessness of voting as this one. On what should be major
questions for people to examine and answer – war versus peace,
a burgeoning police state, or the role of government in people's
daily lives – the candidates are as Castor and Pollux, or as
twins joined at the hip. One sifts through the detritus of their
speeches – if, indeed, their babblings can be so dignified
– to find any measurable distinction between these men that
would excite the mind of a halfway intelligent person.

Even
the Democrats are not enthused about Kerry. They want him to get
elected for one reason: he is not George Bush! Nor do most Democrats'
reasons for wanting Bush out of the White House have anything to
do with the kinds of issues that used to mobilize many of the faithful:
war and peace, freedom of expression, and police powers. The Democratic
convention in Boston was carefully orchestrated to keep such matters
from being raised – much less discussed. Protestors were to
be kept in "free speech" cages out of public view, opponents
of the war were quickly whisked from the convention floor, while
the Boston police were relied upon to sanitize the convention from
any appearance of debate or controversy.

The
war against Iraq and the Patriot Act – the two major issues
that best illustrate the state's current aggrandizement of absolute
authority – are being avoided by both parties at all costs.
The comparative Vietnam era war records of both Kerry and Bush,
and stem-cell research, are emerging as the issues that are safe
for the political establishment and its puppet performers. Lest
these issues prove unable to sustain the attentions of voters, whose
minds might wander back into forbidden territory, the media will
keep Boobus's mind entertained with the Scott Peterson, Kobe
Bryant, and Michael Jackson cases!

The
Democrats, like the Republicans, have one pursuit in mind: getting
and keeping power! Each wants the power to do the bidding of the
political establishment – which has shown, by its presentment
of these Xeroxed images, that it cares not which candidate prevails.
George Bush is already in office, and has the advantages of incumbency.
The Democrats, on the other hand, must respond with a candidate
who (a) is satisfactory to their establishment bosses, and (b) is
electable. This party would have gladly settled for Jerry Springer,
Larry King, or Pee Wee Herman, if any of these three stood a better
chance of defeating Bush.

The
utter bankruptcy of the Democratic party is revealed in the bumper-sticker
that reads: "anyone but Bush." How would you like to be
married to or be employed by another whose stated purpose in selecting
you was "anybody but Smith?" Former Nebraska Senator –
and Democratic leading light – Bob Kerrey showed how little
regard his party has for the defense of individual liberties when
he recently declared that such concerns had to be placed on the
back burner!

"Throw
those rascals out and put us rascals in!" could well become
the Democratic party slogan this year. It serves as well as "anyone
but Bush."

These
two men are competing for the same office out of no other vision
than seeing themselves in the seat of political authority in America.
Neither man has what I could identify as philosophic principles;
no threshold point they would be unwilling to cross if their ambitions
for power hung in the balance. Each would be prepared to endorse
cannibalism, the hanging of witches, or the creation of a U.S. Department
of Psychic Phenomena, if it served their political ambitions and
didn't offend the political establishment – which amounts to
the same thing.

With
politics representing the dregs of society, it is difficult to speak
of any further collapse of this system. Still, George Bush has diminished
the presidency far more than any other man during my lifetime. He
even makes Nixon and Clinton look honorable and statesmanlike by
comparison! The weeklong political and media wake over the death
of Ronald Reagan was probably driven less by the qualities of the
man himself, than by the effort to breathe some respectability back
into an office that has been so demeaned by Clinton and Bush.

If
we are able to read between the lines of literal expressions –
a skill with which our intuitive mind informs us of what is implicit,
but unspoken – we can see this year's election as the established
order's admission that philosophic principles and meaningful issues
no longer have anything to do with the electoral process. This election
amounts to nothing more than allowing the voters to decide which
man will get to carry out the political agenda of the establishment!

So,
what is an intelligent person to do in this year's election? I would
hope that some, at least, will join me in celebrating my fortieth
consecutive year of non-addiction to the destructive voting habit.
But I suppose that years of government-school conditioning, reinforced
by the soon-to-be-heard litany "the election is too close to
call," will cause far too many to confirm their commitment
to this collective insanity. That the only meaningful choice available
to voters is to not participate, may dissuade some, but not those
well-conditioned in the doctrine of "civic responsibility."

If
I had a preference for the outcome of this election – as meaningless
as that result will be – it would be for George Bush to be
re-elected. Make no mistake about it: I have absolutely no respect
for this moral leper, or for the slugs with whom he has surrounded
himself in his administration. He is both a dishonest and dangerous
man. He will tell and repeat any lie, distort facts, and engage
in any conniving that will permit him to carry out whatever preconceived
policies he wishes to foist upon the American people and the rest
of the world. He is the personification of the proposition that
"a lie is as good as the truth if you can get people to believe
it."

But
there is a growing awareness of this man's vicious and dishonest
nature.

Even
many conservatives have unwrapped themselves from their bloodied
flags to question how this man can be representative of their traditional
values of distrust of government, non-intervention in foreign affairs,
and non-deficit spending. Contrary to the mindless image the Democratic
party insisted on presenting at its recent convention, there are
many liberals and conservatives who are deeply troubled by the warlike
and Gestapo-like stances taken by Bush and his gang of unprincipled
thugs.

It
is precisely this growing distrust and disillusionment that leads
me to prefer having this man kept in office. For the same reason
that I hoped for Bill Clinton's re-election in 1996, keeping a scoundrel
in office in the face of growing public hostility to him, provides
some measure of hope for political gridlock. Bush is already trying
to weasel himself out of the wholly unprovoked act of mass murder
he has inflicted on Iraqis and American soldiers alike. John Kerry
has indicated that, if he is elected, he will send more troops into
what will then become a bottomless pit of increased taxation, increased
terrorist responses, and a return to military conscription.

If
Kerry is elected, the Democrats – most of whom never opposed
the Iraq war in principle, but saw it only as an opportunity to
unseat Bush – will breathe a sigh of relief, as Kerry does
his Lyndon Johnson routine on the Iraqi people. They will then focus
their attention on what really drives them: the increased power
of the state over the lives of Americans. Universal health care,
gun control legislation, tougher environmental laws, and other intrusions
into our private lives will be taken up with enthusiasm. As the
Democrats intensify the war against both the Iraqis and the American
people, the liberties of individuals will, in the words of Bob Kerrey,
be kept on the back burner.

The
1952 presidential election centered on the war in Korea. Dwight
Eisenhower campaigned – and won – on the promise that,
if elected, "I will go to Korea," a statement most Americans
interpreted as an indication that he would end that war. If John
Kerry were to declare: "if elected, I will bring the troops
home from Iraq, and I will work to repeal the Patriot Act,"
I would have a different attitude about the outcome of this election.
But if this were Kerry's thinking, the political establishment would
not have tolerated him as a candidate.

Kerry
does have a smoother style than Bush, and for this reason his presidency
– one that accepts the Bush policy of gorging the appetites
of Leviathan – will be all the more dangerous. George Bush
– whose character and policies are coming into greater disrepute
among people – may have painted himself into a corner from
which it will be difficult for him to move. There may be some hope
for "gridlock" with Bush remaining in the White House,
an option far better than a "bipartisan" opportunity to
keep the same dirty games going in a Kerry White House. George Bush
and the state have stumbled badly, all to the embarrassment of the
political establishment. I find no comfort in John Kerry helping
the system back to its feet.

As
I stated earlier, I shall stay home on election day, and I urge
you to do the same. A remarkably low voter turnout may be a meaningful
"protest" available to those of us who value peace and
liberty. But on the assumption that one of these two unprincipled
louts will win the election, I shall find some sliver of opportunity
in keeping Bush in office. This election – like most –
comes down to little more than a choice between emphysema and lung
cancer. Because I prefer health to choosing between fatal diseases,
I pursue other avenues for bettering the world in which I live.
But if it comes down to emphysema or lung cancer, I will opt for
the latter. As my doctor informs me, emphysema is incurable, while
lung cancer can occasionally be overcome.

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