Save Our Country
by Ed Hanratty
June 27, 2003
"Those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it"
I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that quote. See, as a history major undergraduate, that string of words was to us what the Sign of the Cross was to a Catholic seminarian. Like many common quotations, it seems to lose its impact every time itís repeated. However, I canít think of a more appropriate, a more stern warning that would be more applicable to the threshold of history that we currently find ourselves approaching.
I wake up every morning hoping that itís all a bad dream. But by now itís evident that itís not. I try to tell myself that we are not living through the single most reactionary and outright dangerous period in Americaís brief, yet fascinating history. I try to tell myself that, as a left-leaning concerned citizen, that I would be this critical of any government right of center, but again, thatís not true. Iíve lived through Republican Presidents before, and have lived in New Jersey my whole life, where a Republican sat in the governorís mansion in Trenton for 16 out of the last 21 years-and Iíve never been so angry.
Itís not the petty, typical political arguments: taxes, health care, and education. Sure, they are important issues that play a significant role with the crisis at hand, but thereís a plethora of larger issues facing this land that culminate into one large and destructive entity: The Bush Administration.
The tone in this country is Orwellian at best, and reminiscent of some non-fictitious bleak periods of world history over the last century at worst. Bush campaigned on being a "uniter, not a divider". He succeeded, but not in the way we thought he was implying. He has unified a sizeable chunk of the masses into blind devotion to The State. He has stigmatized all of us who have dared to dissent. He has shown no interest whatsoever in compromise, patience or humility. He walks and talks with a John-Waynesque swagger, propagating this image that he is like you, and he feels your pain, and heís going to make it better, so just sit back and trust him.
He has the nation eating out of his hands. He has manipulated the media like no other Democratic head of state has ever even dreamed of. The ratings donít lie. More Americans are watching FOX news than any other cable news network. The highest rated talking heads are the brash, right-of Mussolini Sean Hannity and the Bush-like commoner Bill OíReilly (who claims not to be a conservative, just someone "calling it like it is", a far more dangerous tactic). FOX News regularly plugs their tabloid partner, the "New York Post", leading many to consider this rag to be a credible source of journalistic integrity-even though the comPost has run headlines like "Axis of Weasels", a slew of third-grade level insults aimed at the leadership of France, Russia and Germany. Their regular contributors have names like Oliver North and Newt Gingrich. Theyíve made it a habit of restoring the tarnished images of disgraced conservatives. Can anyone doubt that one day Trent Lott will have his ow! n show?
As is the nature of the beast, other networks found it safer to go with the flow than take the chance of offering an alternative. MSNBC, who fired Phil Donahue after six months-as the networkís highest rated show-turned around and offered a prime time slot to former (and nowhere near moderate) Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough. And if that wasnít enough, turn on the network during Saturday afternoon, and you will find the brashest, most offensive, lying demagogue on the airwaves, Michael "Savage" Wiener. Father Charles Coughlin would be proud. Journalistic integrity and objectivity has gone out the window. Itís "in" to completely discredit any voice of dissent, and itís required to campaign on behalf of The State. We are witnessing what many media critics have been warning us about for years: Corporate controlled media dictating the tone and cycle of what the public sees, hears and reads. All it takes is a unified few to manipulate the willing many.
How else could you explain the approval ratings that Mr. Bush currently enjoys? Without constantly being told that this man is good, that this man cares, would the public accept a track record littered with:
* Global and domestic terrorist attacks. While the incoming administration was being briefed by the outgoing one, they were warned over and over again that Al Qaeda was the biggest threat to our security, yet the new crew said "Sorry, we need a missile defense shield" above all else.
* Two major wars with no "end-game" in sight. We have completely ignored all of the painful lessons of the Vietnam conflict. Historians will eventually look at Afghanistan, and on a larger scale Iraq, and come to such a conclusion. The average person may not know, or more likely, care about this. But think for one second. Think how this spits on that black-granite wall in DC. Often people argued that those lives were lost for no reason. But I would counter that as long as we remembered their sacrifice, and the cold, harsh lesson we were forced to learn, then no, they did not die in vain. Alas, I was wrong.
* Over two and a half MILLION jobs lost in a little more than two years. No President since the turn of the twentieth century has ever come close to being reelected when even 1 job was lost in his term. However, The State has tried to claim that they inherited a recession (looking back, it began in 2000, but there were ample opportunities to reverse it), and then on the terrorist attacks that they themselves failed to protect us from.
* Tax cuts and trickle-on economics aimed solely at the upper crust of our economic society. This has never, ever worked in American history, and definitely not in such a questionable economic environment. This makes Herbert Hooverís "Rugged Individualism" look like the New Deal.
* A complete evaporation of diplomatic relations and international credibility, most importantly amongst long standing allies. Itís not news when Syria has a beef with your policy, but it sure as hell is when France, Germany and Japan do, and to the extent that they do now. The State has squandered the overwhelming good will that the nation enjoyed following the September Eleventh attacks, and in a little more than a year, has taken that goodwill and turned it into a blanket of contempt and mistrust. The rest of the world considered us nothing more than a typical schoolyard bully, when given our wealth and stature, we should be acting as a compassionate father figure, aiming to help the overwhelming poverty spread across the globe.
* Blatant lies about the causes of both war and terrorism. The American people have fallen for elementary babble about people hating us "cause weíre free". As effective as this has been in reaching the hearts and minds of the average American, nothing could be further from the truth. They hate us because of the bully that we are. Itís that plain and itís that simple. They hate us because we sit in our ivory tower dictating how they should act, while we siphon their natural resources to fuel our Explorers and Tahoes while theyíre walking a half mile to get bath water from the well. And letís not even get into the Weapons of Mass Deception, but let me add that we gave UN inspectors a bout 3 months to find them, so I hope that by mid-July that The State finds them, cause thatís the standard we set.
* Overt attempts to increase the divide among races, classes, creeds, genders, and sexual orientations. The President himself appointed his solicitor general to argue against Affirmative Action to the Supreme Court. There was no valid reason for this disgusting action. It is not a pressing issue that needs to be dealt with at the time (unless of course, it was overturned). We are not living in a constant state of fear and economic anxiety because a C- white kid didnít get into Timbuktu State College.
* Ladies and Gentlemen, this is only part of the track record, but not nearly the problem itself. The problem is how all of the above have become standard and accepted practice. Never before has a Commander in Chief be held to such a low status of accountability. He answers to nothing and takes credit for everything. The problem is that we are rewriting history in a very dangerous way. This is not your basic Machiavellian manipulation. The State has played upon the peopleís fears of foreigners, minorities, and dissenters. The State has come to the conclusion that it can maintain power by appealing to itís base of white males and most of their wives. It has done nothing for nobody else. It has led the masses to believe that there is no alternative. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery.
And the hits just keep on coming. It was revealed recently that neandercon cheerleader Ann Coulter is coming out in defense of McCarthyism. Isnít that just lovely? Sheís blaming her favorite whipping boys, "liberals" for tarnishing the good work of a devout patriot that did this nation a great service by weeding out the Communist Threat From Within. Never mind the thousands of lives negatively impacted by his blacklists. But when one thinks about it, thereís no reason whatsoever to be surprised. This follows along the lines of the twisted evolution of this administration and its followers.
Weíve suspended Habeas Corpus and have detained thousands of people for no legitimate reason, with no due process, with no basic protection under the law.
And the people agreed.
Weíve blacklisted teachers, authors, musicians, activists and authors for speaking out against The State.
And the people agreed.
We were told that a secular leader was responsible for an Islamic fundamentalist attack against the US, and said leader was sitting on a stockpile of "Weapons of Mass Destruction" stretching as far as the eye can see.
And the people agreed.
We were told that Affirmative Action was racist in nature, and that every man should be given nothing more than the circumstances which he was born with.
And the people agreed.
These are scary times indeed, and America is sitting in front of a massive fork in the road. Reality has been obscured and maliciously altered. What appears to be real isnít, and what appears to be farfetched nonsense is reality. This is not a loony liberal ranting about conspiracies. This is a desperate plea from someone concerned about his future, his childrenís future, and his nationís future. The path. This is a message that needs to be delivered from the ground up, because the voices at the top want nothing to do with it. It has to be a grassroots campaign from the Real America: Caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Homosexuals, Jews, Christians, Heterosexuals, Muslims, Buddhists, Bankers, Construction Workers, Students, Teachers, Servicemen, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals. The message is simple but itís one of monumental and historical significance: SAVE OUR COUNTRY