Tuesday, April 25, 2006

People Power

I don't know if you've been following the television news reports on recent events in Nepal, Bush. I have. And I've been thinking about our own country in the nineteen sixties and early seventies, when "people power" put an end to the lies and deceptions of a certain predecessor of yours in the Oval Office and to the war he perpetuated.

Is that what you think about when you rattle on about democracy? The people taking power into their own hands? I don't wish to make light of the complex problems of the people of Nepal, with their 200-year old, now decrepit monarchy, their Maoist terrorists, their non-functional parliamentary system. But I admired the bravery of those people who took to the streets in Kathmandu, risking their own lives to break the grip of a king whose rule had turned to tyranny. For nineteen days they did not give up. They showed up, day after day, with increasing anger and increasing obstinacy. And they finally won. Their parliament is back in session, with the promise of elections. The future of the monarchy is uncertain at best. People power worked its magic once again--as it did here in the United States, in Poland before the demise of communism there, in Berlin when the wall was finally torn down. As it has done, eventually, in the face of tyranny throughout history. Sic semper tyrannis, Bush. Remember?

My vision is for a return of people power to this country--though preferably without the violence and the death. We have been obediant children for too long, while your arch conservative predecessors and your own supporters have seized hold of a few perfectly respectable principles and distorted them beyond recognition--and certainly beyond the approval of the vast majority of Americans. You and your powerful corporate friends have hijacked both the government and the constitution and used them to further causes that are, in my view, profoundly undemocratic and alien to the interests of our country. You have transformed its worldwide image from benevolence to arrogance and bellicosity. You have given new meaning and realism to the unhappy myth of the "ugly American."

How would it be, then, if all those who express their discomfort with the direction of the country in the polls, and their distrust of you personally and those you appoint to high administrative positions, how would it be if all those people left the comfort of their homes and offices and took to the streets? How would it be if all of them--not just a handful, and not just on specific issues like immigration, but all of them, in their hundreds of thousands, in their millions, in their tens of millions--not only talked the talk but walked the walk? How would it be if all of them left their towns and their cities and made the pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., to give public voice to their disapproval? If they overflowed the streets of the capital and came marching to the gates of the White House, if their collective weight brought down the gates and railings and gave them access to the lawn? If they all roared their disapproval simultaneously, as one? Would you be able to hear them then, Bush? Might you then think of listening to what they had to say?

Quite a vision, no? All those tens of millions? People power? But then, I admit it, Bush, I always was a bit of a romantic. On the other hand, I catch the whiff of real revolution, small signs of stirrings other than at the fringes of our political life. Two state legislatures--in Illionois and California--have now introduced bills calling for your impeachment. California's has even taken the precaution of including your Cheney, for fear that this man might inherit the mantle of the presidency. An interesting development, I think you'll agree. So maybe my vision is not such a wild dream after all.

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