Wednesday, September 27, 2006


... yes, Bush, that word has been on my mind of late. Not long ago, it would have seemed to me excessive as a response to what's happening in the world around me. Nowadays it feels, well... almost mild. I’m no fan of one-line bumper sticker philosophy, but I’ve been seeing one recently that seems to speak for me with a certain elegance and precision. It says: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Outrage, I’ve come to think, is a perfectly acceptable, measured response to what’s happening in the world under the heedless, affect-less, self-congratulatory eye of your administration. And it’s happening not just here and there, but on every front I can imagine. It’s happening here at home in politics, religion, science…

Is it not outrageous. for example, Bush, that people who were barely voted into office turn everything to their political advantage, that they use politics itself as a wedge issue to divide the red from the blue, as a cudgel with which to belabor their opponents?

Is it not outrageous that one party’s intolerant religious base should dominate decisions that affect us all--decisions having to do with education, health, our civil rights... even war and peace? Is it not outrageous that religion stands in the way of potentially life-saving stem cell research and demands the teaching of creationism to our children in the guise of science? Is it not outrageous that our leaders ignore or disparage the warnings of its own scientists on the subject of health of the earth we live on?

Is it not outrageous that this, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, should allow its children to go uninsured and unprotected against the ravages of disease? That this, the wealthiest country in the world, lacks even the most rudimentary health care system for its poorest citizens? That poverty should be rife? Is it not outrageous that the children of our inner cities are deprived of the educational opportunities afforded by the wealthy? That parents lack available child-care facilities to take care of their children while they strive, often vainly, with two or three jobs, to make a sufficient living for the family to get by?

Is it not outrageous that so many of our schools are third rate, or worse? That they are unsanitary, ill-equipped, and staffed with people unqualified to teach? Is it not outrageous that, thanks to a small number of fanatics, we allow lethal assault weapons to reach the hands of teenagers, who slaughter each other with them on the streets? Is it not outrageous that for lack of care and supervision, so many of these teens resort to sex, and drugs, and violence? That countless fatherless children are born here in America to children too young to bear the responsibilities of motherhood or fatherhood?

Is it not outrageous that justice is a bargaining tool, and that men and women who need treatment for drug and alcohol addictions are sent to jail--while those wealthy enough "dry out" instead in luxury spas? That our jails are overcrowded with those who should rather be in treatment programs or, worse, in clinical psychiatric care? Is it not outrageous that this supposedly civilized, compassionate democracy should be one of the handful of nations that still sends people to their deaths in the name of justice, despite substantial evidence that numbers of them may be innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted?

Is it not outrageous that this same democracy should invade and subjugate another sovereign nation on pretexts that have proved demonstrably false? That we should do so with such incompetence and lack of forethought that we foster chaos where we promise to bring freedom and democracy? That we should claim to be waging war on terrorists when all we do is sow the seeds to grow armies of them where there were none before?

Is it not outrageous that we should threaten and bully other nations to comply with our demands? That we should do nothing to address our indecently disproportionate share of the earth’s dwindling resources, and resort to wars in order to assure that our needs are met, regardless of the needs of others? That we should lead the nations not in the protection and defense of our global environment, but in its despoliation? That we should at one and the same time wage war for oil in one country and tolerate genocide in another?

Is it not outrageous that we should piously preach freedom to other nations while we deprive their citizens and ours of the freedoms that we preach? Is it not outrageous that we sermonize about democracy even as we make a mockery of it by scandalously and cynically depriving our own citizens of their vote by setting standards that the poor and the elderly are frequently unable to meet, and by deception and chicanery at the polls?

Is it not outrageous that our media are the tools of corporate interest?

Is it not outrageous that millions of human beings throughout the world each year should die of disease, starvation, warfare... while we here in America spend billions of dollars on a program to defend against the distant, barely imaginable threat of missiles launched against us from across the ocean?

It's time for outrage, Bush. When I saw the clips of Bill Clinton's outrage with his Fox News interviewer, I'm sure I was not alone in thinking: At last! At last an appropriate response to the self-satisfied, radical conservatism that has taken over this country and has fouled its image in the world. At last a public figure with the guts to speak out in anger rather than disguise the outrage in "appropriate" language. I did not watch the entire interview, Bush, but I watched enough to know that here was one Democrat who was ready, at last, after inordinate patience and tolerance of the excesses of your regime, to give as good as he got. Thank God.


Fred said...

I enjoyed seeing Mr. Clinton getting in the smirking Chris Wallace's face too. Hope that's the start of a trend.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Wow, great piece! So proud of Clinton, finally someone stands up and shouts! However, I must give credit to Chavez for standing up to our little dictator first and having the courage to speak his mind on many things. And then to see some little Democrats say "How dare Chavez criticize our President." Wrong, how pathetic can some Democrats get! Even now, I see few Democrats backing Clinton up other then his own wife!

If I could, I would vote for Chavez before any Democrat I can think of. At least he would shake things up with the current elite/corporate control.

I like the bumper sticker, "Integrity, Is More Important Then Patriotism", which sits next to another sticker that says, "Nationalism is an Infantile Disease-Albert Einstein".

PK said...

Yeah, Clinton was a great boost to my morale too:D. SeƱor Chavez had his 15 minutes in the sun too:D! A trend? Let's hope so fred... I have been watching everything you spoke of Peter, yes it's more than an outrage, but until we can get the US off it's collective apathetic butts, or our journalists and their bosses from being 1/2 scared of nothing, we are just a pathetic country going nowhere but straight down hill. I can E-mail every member of Congress and the Senate, 24/7, it won't mean a thing unless everyone else gets involved. You would think, after all this time, people could see what Dubya is. Blind in one eye and can't see out of the other...