These are the days of large, desperate measures. This is the era of dictators, threats and wars. Unmodified by reasoned debate, lacking the rule of law, this is the age of the mob and demagogue.
Once respected for its freedom, justice and economic opportunity, the United States of America today is reviled for being a police state at home and a perpetrator of illegal wars of abroad.
America’s bright beacon of liberty has been extinguished by the arrogance of neoconservativism. Loathed by a world grown fearful of its motives and actions, America is a shadow of its former self.
How did this happen? Where did we go wrong?
In a Soma-like six years, Americans have allowed men of dubious integrity to transform the U.S. into the very sort of bellicose monarchy above which this country originally was established to rise.
Article after Amendment, the United States Constitution has been rendered irrelevant by George W. Bush who twice swore on the Bible to uphold that document’s honor.
The majestic words, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" have been corrupted by America’s military-industrial-complex, the insatiable hunger of which can only be fed by war unending. That complex paid hand over fist to "elect" a Commander in Chief who would lie about national security to feed its appetite for federal subsidy of weapons, wars, troops and mercenaries with which to fight them.
The Bill of Rights has been condemned to the ranks of "enemy combatant" all for a manufactured crisis which has resulted the disaster of a shattered Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, a million angry Muslims and a snarling Shiite Crescent in the Middle East ready to take over. The more threats of terror, real or imagined, the better for Bush and Cheney as these threats serve the twisted purposes of Washington DC’s delusional elite who are far removed from the America that it was elected to serve.
The real-evil doers are still in power. “With all the lawsuits over kidnapping and torture marching toward the Bush administration, you might think the top officials running the global war on terror would be worried … Alas, no." Writes Jeff Stein in this week’s Congressional Quarterly, "Ah, sweet mystery of Hill life."
Earlier this month, in a last desperate gasp, Americans refused to be enslaved. On November 7, 2006, Americans made a clear statement that the path of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney is not the one down which they wish to travel.
And yet within the halls of Congress and the polished rooms of Washington power, frantic maneuverings for position in the new American order take place hourly. All this is done by people who could care less about the lives of those who depend on the deals that are done.
"Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss!" Have we been fooled again? Is the newly elected Congress capable of restoring the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? Can the illegal war be brought to an end? Is the American voter capable of demanding the Congress to do what they were elected to do?
Or are we facing overwhelming odds in a system so stacked against us that we do not even have the right to ask for a new deck of cards until another two years pass and we are dealt yet another hand full of jokers?
Did the November 7th act of national revulsion come too late?
Rome fell; the sun did at last set on the British Empire; and the power of the Soviet Union crumbled under the weight of bankruptcy. Will the United States of America fade into pathetic mediocrity?
Rather than working for peace, the United States, Britain and Israel continue to force their fundamentalist views on the rest of the world. But the world no longer takes seriously Bush’s bullying of a country in which the might of the American army cannot contain insurgents in Baghdad. The world cannot admire Cheney’s rogue state the illegal wars and domestic consumption of which are financed by foreign loans.
America’s role as a super power has vanished. America’s pretensions to the high moral ground are greeted by disdain.
President George W. Bush cannot even visit the country he "liberated" and on which he has thrown away thousands of lives and billions of dollars. The war in Iraq is a failure. Like Hitler in his April 1945 Berlin bunker, Bush continues to deny that all is lost. And the names of Bush and his poodle, Blair are now synonymous with falsehood.
How can the United States make good the evil it has done? By having a "National Sorry Day"?
It is easy to point the finger at post-9/11 fears, or at hostile nations. It is a cop-out to blame political partisanship or to lambast incompetent, corrupt, elected officials and their corporate sponsors. It is sheer laziness to sneer at media manipulators and the federally-symbiotic "think tanks" which "spin" blindly delusional agendas.
It is vital that the true fault is faced.
Americans must swallow their pride and take a long, hard look in the mirror. We must ask ourselves, how did we allow this to happen? What did we do wrong? How can we stop George W. Bush?
Elizabeth Gyllensvard edited and contributed to this story.
Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.