Thursday, February 02, 2006

True to Form

All those fine words, Bush, and one single day later your people push through a budget whose $39.5 billion savings are carved out of the meager flesh of the poor and the needy. Health care and student loans! You sure know how to target the powerless, Bush. Such compassion! Such concern for the education of our young, for equal opportunity for all! For the much-touted "level playing field"! Does it never occur to you, from your patrician pinnacle, that there are millions out there who simply can't afford your medical savings plans? That there are millions out there who are deprived--by ignorance, by neglect, by poverty--of the opportunity that a good education affords? The responsibility for the impecunious sick, of course, devolves upon the already financially-strapped states: the Los Angeles Times estimates this morning that your budget will cost California at least $1.7 billion. So where does all that come from?

Oh, and then, in the second lead story in the New York Times, we learn that you're stonewalling on the delivery of documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee in connection with the investigation into your spying activites. You preach the values of government by the people to the world, but what do you practice here at home? It falls not too far short of tyranny, Bush. It's secretive, abusive of power, intolerant of opposition, punitive, unaccountable. And after five years of your administration, the tactic comes as no surprise. After all, you have stonewalled on everything else, from the planning of our nation's energy "policy" in your first year in office, to questions about the conduct of your war and the treatment of prisoners, to the federal response to Katrina last year. Par for the course, as Ellie's mother used to repeat with somehwat annoying regularity.

So what exactly do you mean when you use the word "democracy", Bush? What exactly do you expect by way of reaction from those to whom you preach your "do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do" plan to spread the glories of democracy to those countries in political and religious turmoil in the Middle East? Can you honestly expect all those people on the street to trust the words that you speak, when they see them to be so utterly empty of meaning? They have televisions, Bush. They have newspapers. Their media may not tell the truth as you see it, but they're seen, and read, and believed. And I'm sure that there are many in that part of the world who find your hypocrisy as astounding as I do.

And what a picture, today, on the front page of the New York Times! It could be some great Delacroix epic canvas, with the "might" on the right hand side of the image in the form of two helmeted, armored Israeli cops on horseback thrusting forward against the crowd of settlement Jews, gathered to protest their eviction by the government. The protesters fall back, one of them raising his hand in a gesture of defense, others, arm in arm, forced back by the towering presence of the horses. From behind the melee, an ominous cloud of smoke rises, billowing up into the sky to obscure the background. No matter the rights and the wrongs of this particular situation, the image captures memorably the confrontation between power and protest, between government authority and the will of the people.

Take a good look at it, Bush, and tell me which side you're on. In this case, the choice is a tough one. But at the rate things are going, believe me, if you persist in your war against the powerless and the needy in our own society, it could happen here.

3 comments:

Fred Thompson said...

Peter,

I hope you will find an opportunity to see the documentary film "Why We Fight", now in theatres. I saw it last night and quite impressed with its analysis of our rush to war, and the true motivations and goals of the neocon grand design. Don't miss it.

PK said...

I agree with Ellie's Mom. I think what sticks with me more than anything is his angry face, one elbow on the podium, shouting that they need to make the tax cuts permanent. Give us our money, and do it now!! We are well on our way to a total caste system here. People in the U.S. would do well to look at India, then ask, is this what I want for our country? Bush sees Democracy floundering in Putin's world, and he doesn't see how much he has in common with him. He jumps on Chavez, yet he's no different. I could go country by country and show you Bush if anyone wants truth. It takes an open mind for that though.

dennis said...

Peter, Especially well written.

This thing over the cartoons in Europe, shows again, how out of control it all is.

Fred; Another good film on dvd, is The War Within. A good look at why they fight. Inciteful.