Throughout history, it is few the men and women who are living at moments such as these, when monumental shifts in human existence can be touched and its ramifications seen over the bright sunrays of hope. It is few the men and women in the short sand clock of human civilization whose waking conscious and steadfast courage can propel future generations forward in time, to lands promising and cultures flourishing, in an instant breaking free from the grip of absolute inertia that has hijacked an entire society.
One such moment of human crossroads, which destiny has placed upon our modern civilization to endow us with its great responsibility, will in a few days time stampede onto the shores of the American Empire, testing the confines of our existence in times of great global distress and bitter national division. At the crossroads of America do we find ourselves immersed, confronted by two most different paths whose choices will invariably confront the essence not only of all Americans but the citizenry of the globe as well.
Our decision on election-day 2004 will say as much about who we are as what we want to become, in short time transforming our destiny to the society that will exist into the future. We are each others’ gate keepers, and through the monumental decision we must make the future course of humanity will take. The referendum of the next few days is as much one regarding us as a society as it is on the presidency of George W. Bush. Do we approve of what has transpired, of what has been committed and of what has and continues to be done in our name? Do we condone all that has been lost, our reputation, our humanity, our nation? Have the last four years been an anomaly, a freak period of time not accepted or sought by the American people? Do the policies of the corporate administration have resonance and complicity acquiescence among us, or are they to be discarded and erased from our collective conscious? In our answers to these questions America will thus come to be defined.
Fortune has chosen our generation, tens of millions of voting Americans, as the torchbearers guiding the entire human race through the black abyss of the last four years, into introspections of alternate universes and parallel worlds, of dreaded pasts and more frightful futures, placing within us the great burden of deciding the next step in human history, of a return to past dark ages or a forward march towards renaissance and rebirth. It is us, living at this moment in time, mere pebbles of sand in the vast expanse of the universe, random anonymous energies in the long history of Earth, that stand to decide what shape America and by extension the world will take at the doorstep of the twenty-first century. This is our calling, and our burden.
Whether we revert back in time or leap forward into greatness, the choice is ours, having it placed before our feet by the energies of the universe, testing the constructs of the human mind, allowing us the chance to decide our own fates, whether by collective error or through a sudden burst of enlightenment. Just beyond the reach of our own existence lie answers known and expected, yet within the confines of what we know and see history changes with the passage of time and through decisions of those who dwell inside the human condition. For those who came before have had to live with the choices made, occasionally prospering through achievement, sometimes suffering through failure and oftentimes condemned through bankruptcy of wisdom.
Yet, as always seems to be the case, it is future generations to come that suffer most through the mistakes of their parents and grandparents. It is the sins of the fathers that condemn their children to hell. Sojourning through the wrong path in the face of crossroads ahead scars the future as well as the present. Born without choice, devoid of opportunity and confronted by the wrongs of ancestors past, those of the future must live with the detrimental consequences of wrongs, errors, indifference and inaction. Instead of granting a better world to our offspring, the legacy of what we have done, or what we failed to do, encages the many who are to come. Thus the burden of our failure to choose wisely will condemn millions of faceless entities whose destiny we are helping to seal even before they take their first breath of air. It is at the crossroads of humanity where man achieves its greatest victories or suffers its most monumental defeats.
Just as we inherited the mistakes of the past so then, if we are not careful or wise, will we repeat the vicious cycle once more, yet again making the world we inhabit a more burdensome place for our children and grandchildren. Throughout history, generation after generation fails to heed the echoes of times past and the warnings recorded by our forefathers, failing to learn from the lessons of human existence written and rewritten time and again, from walls to stone tablets to scrolls to books to digitized Internet, unable to grasp the repetitive predictability and disastrous inevitability of human nature, of our society and civilization, of our appetite for violence, conquest and exploitation, of our reliance on unwise leaders, warmongering statesmen and corrupt, greed-infested decimators of human life.
And so, as many of us help condemn the lives of millions who have yet to understand, as we continue forgetting disasters, quagmires, debacles and failed monuments to inept leadership, in essence failing to understand the greater reactions to our ignorant actions, we must look inward and blame nobody but ourselves for the consequences our decisions unleash upon our progeny, our planet, its many diverse inhabitants and the future course of human existence. In taking the wrong path at the foot of America’s crossroads, we also take the country and indeed the planet over treacherous mountains and bottomless canyons from where six billion energies may never return.
Only We the People
At the crossroads of America do we stand in front of, We the People, born equal and free, only unequal in life and circumstance, environment and opportunity. Through We the People can a once great nation again flourish, becoming a bright beacon once more leading the fraternity of nations, transforming itself from warmongering destroyer of the planet into humanitarian purveyor of goodness. Only We the People – forgetting the forty percent whose world consists of bubbles, blind patriotism, denials, belief in lies, ignorance, delusions and an inability to accept reality – can awaken us from the insidious nightmare we have been trapped inside for the last four years. Only We the People can take back our country from the claws of despotism, tyranny, corporatism, human evil, criminality, debauched democracy and crony capitalism. Only We the People can reclaim what has been usurped from us, our rights, liberties, freedoms, happiness, security and wish for lasting peace.
We the People, that amazing amalgam of black, white, brown and all shades in between, of all skin mutations and diversity, of all spectrums of the human race, from all corners of the globe, the time to reclaim America to its rightful owners has arrived. We are the world, a nation composed of all peoples and ethnicities, a grand experiment of pioneers marching forward towards the inevitability that is the coming fusion of humanity. We are the experiment, a mixture of different environments and genes, a melting pot of dynamism, a cocktail of diversity ready to forge a new era of civilization, ambassadors and representatives of the world, a virtual cornucopia of beliefs, ideas, talents and opinions whose many cultures continue to blend together in advancement of our eventual fusion as a people. We are the People, and ready we stand to restore balance to our nation and help make right what has been made wrong.
Only We the People can stand together, marching shoulder to shoulder to the voting booths, stomping on fear and insecurity, correcting what was never right and banishing what never belonged.
No longer do we wish the government to make fear and insecurity national policy; no longer do we wish the government to export death, violence and destruction to less developed nations; no longer do we wish to live in a state of perpetual fear and perpetual war; no longer do we wish evils to be committed in our name; no longer do we wish corporate control over our lives, manufacturing wars for profit and imperial feudalism; no longer do we wish to continue the advancing police state upon our society; no longer do we wish corporate executives holding the reigns of power, sitting in offices creating, altering and modifying laws favorable to the corporations they prostitute for; no longer do we wish the government helping polluters destroy our planet, poisoning our air, water and land in the process, making toxic our foods, lungs, and bodies; no longer do we wish healthcare to be a privilege instead of a universal human right; no longer do we wish lies upon lies, nor deceptions, brainwashing and distortions from a government elected by us to serve only us.
No longer do we wish profit over people, nor $450,000,000,000.00 per year for the military-industrial complex and $200,000,000,000.00 for the Iraq disaster; no longer do we wish the evisceration of social programs that contribute to the health, education, infrastructure and well-being of the people; no longer do we wish death, maiming and destruction of Arabs and Muslims, marketing them as terrorists in order to conduct perpetual war for perpetual profit; no longer do we seek foreign policies designed to anger, breed hate, foster blowback, enslave, pilfer, exploit and decimate untold millions whose only crime is living in lands possessing natural resources and cheap labor; no longer do we wish a Department of War, a Middle East policy under the control of Israel or a government infested with delusional neoconservatives; no longer do we wish the elimination and decimation of American education that only succeeds in making automatons and serfs of our children.
No longer do we desire crony capitalism that breeds wars, exploitation, greed, selfishness, gluttony and conditioned consumption; no longer do we wish the existence of debauched democracy where money dictates laws and wealth controls government; no longer do we wish the Almighty Dollar becoming the sole arbiter in human affairs, becoming the new religion of greed, working for the wealthy and against the poor; no longer do we wish the existence of profiteers and warmongers; no longer will we stand for corrupt leaders, inept administrations, morally bankrupt politicians and ignorant, feeble-minded, easily manipulated, unwise, puppet Presidents bereft of scruples, honor, integrity and concern for the average American citizen.
America as the Embodiment of Bush
At the crossroads of America do we stand, and on it can we see the eyes of the world intently peering in our direction. Ominously they stare, afraid of the consequences that might be thrust forward if the path of Bush do we choose to follow. Our right to democracy, that once noble institution proudly exported to other nations –though only in mirages and charades – is now the world’s concern, for it has over the last four years been transformed into the same sham our government teaches to dictators and puppets and implements on despots and tyrants in the so-called ‘third world’. The world watches in frightened anticipation, wishing it too could cast votes to extinguish once and for all the burning bush setting fire to the global village, not trusting the American populace to fix what was blatantly stolen and to forever make extinct the evil pestilence scouring the Earth.
Rightly or not, the last four years under the House of Bush have imputed Americans of all creeds, colors and classes with the personality of the man who expropriated the White House away from democracy, freedom and liberty. Worldwide, we are now seen as a nation of attention-deficit robots devoid of world knowledge or concern for anything beyond our borders. We are seen as selfish, gluttonous warmongers and imperialists concocting wars for profit, empire building and market colonialism, all at the expense of the rest of the world. Americans have become, in the eyes of the people of the world, easily manipulated and controlled beings living lavish lifestyles, distracted by bread and circus, and having cheap products through developing country slave labor and resource exploitation and pilferage.
More and more, we are seen as the ‘bad guys’, those humans our media plays as the enemy of good, always dying at the hand of the ‘good guys’. We have become evildoers incapable of empathy for the peoples of the world or the degrading state of the environment, even as we reduce to nothing everything in our path, overproducing and over-consuming like a voracious plague of locusts laying waste to fields of produce. When the world thinks Americans, it imagines a populace gun friendly, trigger happy and communications shy, a nation of rifle-toting cowboys needing new enemies, new Indians to wage war on. For us the sword is mightier than the pen, we only solve problems through the barrel of the gun and seek solutions only through violent confrontations, forsaking the fraternity of nations and the diplomacy of statesmen for the isolation of empire and criminality of preemption.
To the globe, America has become a bully nation, an immature child born to privilege, silver spoon fed from birth, educated by the fictions of television and forgotten by parents consumed by selfishness. It throws temper tantrums when it does not get what it wants, it ignores international law and the collective wisdom of the world while basking in the false bubble of its abundance, wealth and exorbitant lifestyle. Insecure in its existence and unwise to history, ignorant to culture and devoid of the emotions of constant suffering its policies help foster, outgrowing itself too fast and afflicted with the growing pains of adolescence, full of hormonal changes, chemical imbalances, a depression-filled life and Ritalin-laden dependence, America is seen as a danger onto humanity, an evil empire whose people are sheep and leaders wolves. To hundreds of millions, we are a terrorist nation, the most dangerous country in the world, a rogue pariah using our wealth and power to decimate innocents, to humiliate thousands and to destroy entire cultures and societies.
We are now torturers, dehumanizers, sadists and criminals, degenerates espousing the principles of Christ yet unleashing human evil onto the world, apathetic to the AIDS pandemic in Africa, the endemic poverty in Latin America, genocide in Sudan, slaughters in Chechnya and Palestine, ethic cleansing in Tibet and the growing American gulags roaming the plains of Earth. We have become the hypocrites of our race, monsters with an insatiable thirst for blood and destruction, shameless creatures of crusading circumstance lacking morality or respect, colonizers, occupiers, rapists and invaders of resource-rich lands, needing the force of tanks and bombs in order to ‘pacify barbarians’, institute greed-infested globalization and corporate crony capitalism onto ‘primitive’ peoples.
In order to save Iraqis, America and its armies must destroy them, and the world has taken notice. Thanks to Bush, vengeance is coming our way, traversing rough waters and scorching deserts, intent on bringing revenge for the devastation of sons, daughters, mothers and fathers. Thanks to Bush, karma will soon be knocking on our hollow doors, its blowback coming back to haunt us for the demons we have unearthed throughout the globe. The principles of action and reaction, cause and effect cannot be denied, where an eye for an eye only leads to more blindness and where violence only begets more violence. We are human, after all, unable to control our violent demons and animalistic passions, fearing what we don’t know, unable to forgive, forget, turn the other cheek, love our neighbor and seek peace over conflict. Make no mistake, Bush has made the world a much more dangerous place, one riddled with fear, terror, revenge and ceaseless fighting, resulting in the future death of thousands of innocent people. Simply for this reason, he belongs in The Hague.
The respect and love once espoused by billions throughout has been lost. The cherished principles of freedom, democracy and human rights once championed are now seen as hypocritical charades hiding the true evils of market colonialism, corporate domination, resource robbery and labor exploitation. It is no longer safe to wear Old Glory abroad. It is no longer prudent to advertise our nationality, lest we become a target of hatred, and this is a crying shame. The embarrassment our government and the Bush administration have created will take many, many years to obliterate. The ill-feelings against who and what we are might take generations. The last four years under Bush have made a mockery of America and its people. We have been made, for all intents and purposes, the laughingstock of the world, a people devoid of humanity and filled with the devastation of greed, a populace not willing or able to re-enter the world of reality or truth, preferring living in clouds of mirages and deceptions to bursting our bubble of arrogance and ignorance.
Under Bush, pre-planned wars have been declared and waged based on lies and deceptions; new wars are already in the works, most probably against Iran and Syria. Four more years of wars are inevitable; a decade of death and destruction in Iraq is assured. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis will die in the next few years, few of them resistance fighters, most of them women and children. Thousands of American soldiers will be killed, thousands more maimed in body and mind. Under Bush, the conscription of our young in the form of a draft is a certainty, as is the redistribution of our taxes away from social programs, healthcare and education to help support incessant violence in the Middle East. More troops to Iraq and the Middle East, more billions of dollars needed to kill and more war to expand profit and empire can we expect thanks to Bush’s colossal mistake.
His ‘catastrophic success’ has turned out to be a full-blown Vietnam all over again, winning battles yet losing the war, and lost has this cause become. The greatest foreign policy blunder in American history will forever scar us, becoming our downfall, burying us in waves of desert dunes from where the ruins of empire’s past still lay. We are just not prepared to admit it yet, for to do that would be to admit defeat, bursting our infallible balloon of invincibility and greatness. This is Bush’s lasting legacy to America.
We are Not Bush…We are American
At the crossroads of America we find ourselves in, finally handed the option to exorcise from our midst what has been done to us and the world. The opportunity to right what has been made wrong is upon us, as is the chance to correct world opinion and our worsening reputation among the nations and peoples of the planet. For we are not monsters nor deviants, we are not warmongers and indifferent degenerates, living in a moral cavity and being bankrupt in humanity. We are not Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Rove, Rice and their yes-men and women minions, nothing but young vultures prospering from other peoples’ misfortunes. We are not neocons, empty of humanity and satiated with delusional debauchery. We are not corruption, nor war criminals nor murderers. We are not warmongers nor profiteers hypnotized by greed and controlled by the corporate world. We are not the American government, capsizing the world in order to save a sinking ship.
We are American, millions of good, decent, honorable, loving and peace-seeking humans, wanting nothing more than a life living in harmony with all others, content in daily existence, seeking happiness and meaning in our lives, preferring peace to violence, unity to division. We are not Bush, and the world needs to know this. At the crossroads of America are we presently standing on, ready to send a message worldwide, ready to declare independence from the last four years, ready to divorce ourselves from the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Bush administration. We are not Bush, we are not the last four years, nothing but a microcosm in the vast vortex of time, an anathema to the goodness of American citizens nationwide.
From the progressive wonders of California to the conifer forests of the Northwest to the Great Plains of the Midwest to the wonderful deserts of the Southwest to the historical and cosmopolitan cities of the Northeast millions of Americans are fed up with what has been done to our nation and to the world under our name. We can now stand united, saying enough is enough, the time for change is now.
The last four years have been an aberration, a mistake of universal proportions, a nightmare where an American president and his administration hijacked an entire nation, manifesting fear, discord and evil onto the great wonders of humanity and abusing the horrors of 9/11 to launch wars over profit and battles of greed. The last four years have been devastation, ruination and incrimination, corruption, Enronization and terrorization, beginning with highway robbery of a nation’s mandate, continuing with the pilferage of our treasure, the senseless death and maiming of our loved ones and ending with the destruction of both man and land in the cradle of civilization.
It is Time for Change
It is time to end the national nightmare. It is time for change, for a return to a semblance of normalcy, and, while electing John Kerry is not the final solution or an answer to our vexing problems, it is a means to an end. It is a start, a most needed new beginning from where all other solutions might spring forth. America must begin to heal from a most painful scab that until now has refused to mend, continuing to pus with each new Bush disaster. We must let go of the inner demons of 9/11 that still possess us, refusing to release us from their grip of fear and vulnerability, a formula that hypnotized us to the pre-planned evils Bush and his masters had conceived for us. It is time to make right all that has been wronged.
America must ignore the millions who still hover inside the clouds of debris from 9/11, refusing to let go, those to which reality has yet to clear, still enraptured by hate and revenge, still lusting for Arab blood and Muslim suffering, refusing to believe truths in the face of obviousness, ignorant to facts and blind to patriotism, wrapped in the flag and seeking refuge in the cross. They cannot and will not see what billions worldwide cannot fail but to understand. And so we must see for them, becoming their eyes and minds, hoping our numbers are greater than theirs, hoping positive energy is ready to once more claim her righteous place sitting alongside the good in humanity, reinforcing our strengths and our morality and the unwavering vibrancy of our greatest assets.
At the crossroads of America do we find ourselves at, staring us right in the face, ready to test the will of the American people and the strength of our convictions. Are we ready, willing and able to take away the mandate that was stolen from us, returning it to the People? Are we willing to undo wrongs and make them right, to retake the government and once more make it of, by and for the People? I believe we are, and I believe John Kerry will become the next President of the United States.
For the will of the People cannot and will not be denied a second time, no matter how much fraud or corruption takes place, no matter how much post-election chaos results, no matter what the corporate media polls say, and no matter how much Republicans fight to keep power. On November second, the People will make sure that no amount of fraud denies us of democracy, of rightfully placing in office a man worthy of the Presidency, of not being robbed again and of restoring the greatness that was once America to its rightful place.
The anger is too strong, the awakening too omnipresent and righteousness too enveloping. An understanding of what Bush and his masters are has become apparent; knowledge of what they are doing and have already accomplished has permeated the conscious. The embarrassment on the United States wrought by Bush is known. The realization that only calamity has followed Bush’s leadership is upon us, as is the devastation of his policies and the failure of his administration. Many millions have become aware that this administration and this president have been a catastrophe, a monument of all that is wrong with America. Reality and truth will prevail, the principle of justice will return, and in the end, Americans will return the nation back from the brink of implosion and the nightmare of the last four years will vanish with the awakening of a new dawn.
Human energy accumulated from throughout the world, billions strong, united in spirit and cause, joined hand in hand, will be an unshakable force leading to the banishment of a negative energy at odds with the goodness of humanity. The will of billions will trump the disaster of the few, returning humankind back from the black hole of America under Bush.
The ramifications of not succeeding are unbearable to fathom. To give Bush acceptance over the last four years, in essence approving all his actions, murders and devastations, would be catastrophic, sending the world a message that we are indeed Bush, and he is us. If this is the case, may whatever metaphysical entity you believe in have mercy on us all. Everything we deny about ourselves will have come true, and terrorists, murderers and criminals we will have become in the eyes of billions.
At the crossroads of America do we stand, ready, willing and able to purge our nation from the pestilence of the last four years, ready to exile Bush and his cronies to the bowels of history, forever locked in dark closets and forgotten spaces. At the crossroads of America do we find ourselves in, ready to return from parallel universes and alternate worlds, ready to rejoin the peoples of the world, forever made humble by the devastation sowed by a group of miscreants who were unleashed on our nation and planet.
We are at the crossroads of America, looking directly at two distinct paths, forever turning our backs on one and slowly yet confidently walking in the direction of another. In the hope of a new tomorrow can a bright and warm daybreak be seen.
America, the right path awaits us.
Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of the novel Echoes in the Wind (Authorhouse.com). A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. A collection of many of his essays and articles can be found here: Articles by Manuel Valenzuela, 2004
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