With any luck, Bush's double digit lead over his Democratic rival merely reflects the dubious role of polls in accurately gauging the nation’s flatlining political pulse. So far they reveal that given a choice between two evils, a growing number of Americans seem to be rejecting the slightly lesser one in favor of the more obvious candidate to be waving from Satan’s flaming victory float on the November 2nd election parade. “To save a village, it takes a village idiot to destroy it first” seems to be the mangled bumpersticker slogan these voters are quoting to justify their presidential preference.
Now that “quagmire” seems a ludicrous understatement when describing the horrors unfolding by the minute in Iraq, you would think that the American electorate would recoil from Bush's name on the ballot like it was anthrax. If the polls and pundits are to be believed, though, incompetence and failure seems to be resonating with voters, who look upon Bush Corp's bungling Imperial Crusades as part of a noble effort in the “war on terror.”
On the home front, Bush’s slightly narrower support base (“wingnuts for corporate welfare”) draws from a long and impressive list of absurdities by way of explaining his domestic agenda. The administration's catastrophic policy of nation plundering has become known by the more euphemistically upbeat “freedom spending.” By the same token, federal funding for school lunch programs is glibly dismissed as yet another example of Liberalism's bleeding pocketbook pandering to “special interests” aka “caviar for crackheads.” Funneling public funds into the pockets of tax evading Christian fundamentalists, however, is a “faith based initiative,” as is bankrupting the treasury.
Loony tunes or not (cue up Twilight Zone music here), the administration has to be commended for successfully thwarting a plot by Senator Ted Kennedy and the retired folk singer formerly known as Cat Stevens to board planes on US soil for the sinister purpose of arriving at their local destinations. While the Massachusetts Senator managed to shrug off Homeland Security's black-op pranksters, the bearded songbird made an unintended US concert stop, singing from his airport detention cage before being rolled up in his prayer mat and shipped back to London.
Americans can sleep more soundly tonight knowing that they are “safe”, not only from folk singers but jobs, healthcare, civil liberties, forests, clean drinking water, Planned Parenthood, Charles Darwin... to name but a few of the most immediate “threats” facing the nation today. For the Bush administration, this counts for “security”. By that measure, Americans have never been safer -- a point driven home by New York City’s self-appointed Pope, Rudy Giuliani when he took to the podium of the Republican National Convention. Having the cadaverous pontiff to preside over his beatification ceremony, George II (patron saint of pet goats and horned creatures everywhere) got his party’s much needed “bounce”, not to mention more blood drinking endorsements from such luminaries as Billy Baldwin and Ricky Skaggs.
Bush’s homicidal bid for unelected divine office (The RNC) coincided with another atrocity being broadcast live from the frontlines of the “war on terror.” The massacre of hundreds of school children in the southern Russian town of Beslan by presumably Chechnyan separatists came just two days after Republicans wrapped up their convention. For the Russian hostages, their ordeal ended with hundreds of them being reunited with their families in bodybags as they were carried out of a burning gymnasium. After four days in a stadium packed with explosive rhetoric, not to mention the ticking time bomb planted in Dick Cheney, red meat Republicans, under heavy security, waddled out of Madison Square Gardens and back to their gated communities.
Throughout the four day ordeal of the RNC, delegates and media pundits alike swilled a sugary poison concoction of outright lies, distortions and demagoguery. Not since the Reverend Jim Jones herded his 900 strong flock into the jungles of Guyana some twenty-five years ago have we seen this many whack jobs under one roof. Cyanide Kool-Aid or not, something was contaminating the water supply. What else could explain “Kallee-Fornia” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's pumped up claim to have seen Soviet tanks in his Austrian homeland -- an observation historians scoff at for its bold revision of timelines with no basis in fact? Or the cranked up turncoat Senator from Georgia, Zell Miller, delivering the keynote speech? Make no mistake about it: the Republican Party is inclusive. Any ‘roid raging lunatic is welcome into the fold, even if he is a Democrat.
Again, partisan differences were set aside as both Republicans and Democrats applauded the departure of Dumbya's daughters from the convention stage, after entertaining the delegates with an incoherent dialogue lifted straight out of a teen sex chat site, or at least a fifty year old man's idea of one. Mercifully, the First Lady stepped in as soon as they staggered off in search of the nearest stretch Hummer to drop them off at TGIF's. Dipping a little too heavily into her Xanax supply, the glazedly serene junior matriarch ensured the squirming audience members that the sizzling sister revue they had just seen was, unfortunately, necessary to clinch the youth vote. Girl-on-girl action aside, the Republican Party, she graciously reminded us, was about “husbands” and “fathers” in the finest hetero-sense of the term. At both the DNC and the RNC, the candidates were cast as heroic action dads in golf pants who rescued drowning hamsters (Democrats) or just as heroically, let them die (Republicans).
Democrats, despite their attempts to Viagra-tize their campaign with plaid shirts and glued on chest hair, are still unable to tap into the raw meat mentality of the voting bloc they were hoping to win over. Like the ravenous junkyard dogs who descended upon New York City for their convention earlier this month, a slim yet significant majority of voters are hungry for more than just red meat. As the RNC recently proved, this species demand no less than hair-clumped, still warm slabs of flesh torn directly off the carcass. The scary Senator's campaign slogan of BRAAIINS.....MUST EAT BRAAAIIINS" (as summed up by “The Daily Show”) has so far failed to connect with even the cannibals among his party's faithful.
Before their recent about-face transformation into hard-ab'ed action heroes, team Kerry (unwisely, it turns out) hit the campaign trail with a promise that his administration would restore the nation back to the “kinder, gentler” genocides of the Clinton era. Voters, this time around, seem less interested in Kerry's promise to wipe out dissent abroad with his predecessor's more cunning method of accumulating bodies under crippling sanctions, or bombing them out of range of TV cameras. And they certainly don't want their leaders to share the spoils with other Imperialist looters, hoping to get their fangs into Halliburton's sloppy seconds.
Recent polls show that voters prefer the Republican's spend-and-destroy cycle of violence as opposed to the previous administration's destroy-and-consume one. Suddenly, it seems, the detonation of “dot bombs” once again lighting up the Magic Kingdom skyline is of no match for the latest burst of cluster bombs over the mosques of Sadr City. Whatever the outcome in November, the polls are right about one thing though: freshly severed heads abroad prevail over cooler ones at home.
Leilla Matsui is a freelance writer living in Tokyo, Japan. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This essay is a shorter version of a piece that will appear in the forthcoming edition of Covert Action Quarterly.
Other Articles by Leilla Matsui
The Keys to the Looted Kingdom