March 03, 2003
Ever since the 2000 election, I've had a very difficult time understanding what such a large segment of this country (although, clearly, not a majority, but that's neither here nor there) sees in George W. Bush as President. He's so obviously an elitist child of priviledge, a reckless anti-intellectual who can't be bothered to know the details and intricacies of fiscal policy or international diplomacy, and a bought & paid-for tool of the corporate establishment who does their bidding on the backs of the remaining 95% of the world's population. Why are these people voting for him?
Well, this Newsweek article goes a long way to explain it to me. I'm reminded of an episode of the late & lamented "Politically Incorrect" during the 2000 election where Naomi Judd, when asked why she thought Bush should be President, said something to the effect of "I just think he's a good man". As a evangelical, born-again Christian, Bush is one of the few political leaders I can think of who is not clergy who is able to speak to the public about his own personal relationship with Jesus. For a country that is still, at it's core, largely conservative and Christian, his conversion resonates. It also allows his supporters to see him as he sees himself: someone called by God to lead.
As a Christian myself, I find this to be the absolute height of hubris in it's most offensive form. Since Bush is convinced that he's on some sort of crusade, he believes that he's above criticism or debate. Because "God saved him for a reason", then, his instincts, impulses, and opinions are also blessed by God and, therefore, infallible. War & tax cuts for the rich are God's will, and those poor misguided Muslims in Iraq only need the word of the Christian God to feed their souls.
When a man is given power over millions, where no one questions his authority, where he believes he instinctively knows God's will and is an instrument as such, isn't it a very short trip to where he begins to think of himself as a god in his own right: all-powerful, all-knowing, the final arbiter of right and wrong, with the power of life and death over all, cloaked in righteous conviction?
Yes, that SHOULD scare you.
How Bad Do You Want It?
You may have noticed by now my love of the Classics (as in "the study of ancient Western Civilization" according to my alma mater). Lysistrata is a play written by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, in which the women of Athens refuse to have sex with their husbands until the men agree to outlaw war.
In light of current events, a group of actors have created The Lysistrata Project, where they've arranged for several hundred simultaneous performances of the play around the world as a a huge public statement against the impending war in Iraq. The current count has 1004 performances in 59 countries, and that number is increasing daily.
I LOVE this idea. Definitely find a viewing near you and go.
Maybe I should start an online collection to buy two tickets for the D.C. show for Laura Bush & Lynne Cheney....
Keeping The Peace
This editorial from today's Washington Post, written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, the dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, shows that, contrary to President Bush's popular pronouncements, the United Nations will not be irrelevant if it doesn't just roll over for the current American lust for Iraqi blood. As a matter of fact, the current situation (i.e. putting the breaks on war through civilized diplomacy, while backed up by the threat of military force) is exactly what the UN was designed to do in the first place.
The Stick, The Carrot, and the Survelliance Tapes
Surely no one is surprised by the strong arm tactics the Bush Administration is using to get members of the UN Security Council to vote for the 2nd resolution on Iraq, such as witholding foreign aid, or accelerating the closing of U.S. military bases abroad. After all, the French are playing hardball, too, by threatening to keep "New Europe" countries that support the war out of the EU. What is much more troubling is this report from the UK that the President has enlisted the use of the NSA to tap the phones and direct other electronic surveillance on UN delegates and diplomats from other countries on the Security Council while they're in New York to debate the issue. Of course, it's probably not illegal, thanks to the USA Patriot Act and all the other Homeland Security shennanigans Messrs. Bush & Ashcroft have been up to.