After following both the mainstream news as well as other not so mainstream sources (some would say liberal, others “unpatriotic”), I find myself at a point of complete confusion and incomprehensibility with respects to the reality that is going on around me. The way I see it, a president cheated to get elected. That, to me, right off the bat, should’ve been a huge deal in the country.
Time passed and most people accepted it. Then a series of questionable moves were made in both the economic front (tax cuts) as well as the environmental front (lax standards for big companies). The American people wouldn’t stand for that, I thought.
The reality of what was actually going on was drowned in a Republicans versus Democrats argument that the public saw as “just being politicians.” Maybe that’s why everything bad that Bush was doing was shrugged off as “those Democrats are just saying those things to make him look bad.” Bush was helping out his rich buddies at the expense of everyday Americans, but there was no uproar, no mass protests. At some point in history, the slogan of “we are the greatest country in the world” was absorbed and chanted to the extent that it became true. Who knows, maybe it is, even though I personally don’t think you can call something the best simply because everything else is doing badly. Even if it is true, a series of precepts came attached to his slogan. Being the best, people assume, meant that our president is the best leader in the world. If we are the best , then our system is the best too. All of our systems. We’re #1!
The masses became unable to fathom the idea that a president would do anything other than to watch out for their interests.
“After all, he is the president.”
Unfortunately, as reality shows us every day, this is not the case, regardless of where America stands on the list. After those relatively minor trespasses came the big foul ups, the ones I assumed would finally cause the masses to rise up against this self-interested administration.
Republicans continued to say bad things about Democrats and vice versa. The masses remained in stasis, as though nothing had happened. And don’t think that Bush & Co. didn’t notice, they probably knew it would happen from the very beginning. How much could they get away with without getting people off their sofas and out into the streets to protest?
Apparently, a lot:
And on top of all this, not only will the masses remain docile, but after four years of it they might actually decide to go for four more!
This baffled me. I just couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. Were the American people just plain stupid? No, that’s not the answer. So what it?
Over the past week I’ve come up with an answer that will have to do until I come up with something better or I’m proven wrong. In short, the reason the American masses have accepted all this and may ask for more in November is because they have finally found a president that is like them. One that they can see on TV and feel that they are well represented – better yet, accurately represented.
As Richard Clarke puts it in his book Against All Enemies,
“From the interactions I did have with Bush it was clear that the critique of him as lazy rich kid were somewhat off the mark. When he focused, he asked the kind of questions that revealed a results-oriented mind, but he looked for the simple solution, the bumper sticker description of the problem.” (Clarke)
It doesn’t get much more American than bumper stickers. But the problem here is that Bush, as similar to everyday Americans as he is, has other goals. He wants to help his friends make money, get revenge for his dad, get rich himself, etc. The scary thing is that, if you put an average, “of the masses” person in the Bush’s place, he or she would probably do the same thing. Especially when your “close circle of advisors” is telling you it’s the right thing to do. Bush is the masses personified insofar as he is just as gullible and easily persuaded.
Bush isn’t big on reading, his advisers have admitted as much. He just doesn’t like to read. Nothing wrong with that, right? Hell no, most Americans don’t find reading all that great either. Why do you think it takes such a low number of books to be sold to make it a best-seller compared to that of movie tickets sold? People would rather wait until the movie comes out than read the book (I’m glad that the rights for Against all Enemies was bought by Sony so that more people will get that information).
“Hey he doesn’t read either and he’s the president! So it’s OK if I don’t like to read either.”
Nothing wrong with you not liking to read. But for the President of the supposed greatest country in the world? I don’t know, but I would feel a lot more comfortable if he at least read the papers or something.
Bill Maher has an excellent quote in his book When you ride alone you ride with bin Laden referring to the president’s reaction to 9-11:
“…not one person in a leadership position in America asked anyone to really give up or rethink anything. Pandering to a spoiled citizenry had become so ingrained, it remained in place even as buildings and complacencies crumbled. ‘Keep shopping!’ the president told us, letting the political chips fall where they may… Yes, we were asked to do very little, and we responded. That’s the bargain we tacitly make with our presidents; we won’t ask too much of you, if you don’t ask too much of us.” (Maher)
And that’s exactly what Bush seems to be doing. As long as people’s customary way of life continues, then we will elect him all over again. And when the president claims to be bombing Iraq to protect that very way of life, well then of course they will cheer for him.
Part of this idea deals with freedom. The big ‘F word’ you hear so much nowadays. Bush sees it as the magic word to do whatever he wants, and that’s exactly what the American people have let it become. If he creates the illusion that being a US citizen means doing whatever you do or don’t want to do as long as you remain within the boundaries of the law (and that he is the one protecting it), then of course the masses will like him.
“Hey, he doesn’t mess with me, and supposedly all those tax cuts helped me out. That’s what he said, and he’s the President.”
There is no concept of having responsibilities that come along with these freedoms and privileges. We shouldn’t have to do anything we don’t want to – like going or not going to Vietnam for example. Hey, I don’t blame Bush, I wouldn’t have gone either, but I wouldn’t done two things differently. First, I would’ve at least showed up at the Air National Guard. Second, I wouldn’t have flown in a fighter jet and made a big scene like I was in Top Gun. But America likes Tog Gun, they love it. Think of how refreshing it was for Americans to see their president in full military gear, stepping off a fighter jet.
“Yeah Maverick, you rock!”
People do not realize that complete and total freedom, without any consequences, is paramount to anarchy. If you believe in this type of freedom, it will lead to your eventual downfall.
Are you starting to see the picture I’m seeing?
I never really cared who would win the Democratic nomination. It didn’t matter to me. If I was in charge of the Democratic campaign for president I would’ve simply pointed out Bush’s failures and his lies, then told Americans to vote for the other guy – whoever it was.
I would’ve lost the race because Bush is America, and if he can commit this many mistakes of such a large magnitude, and still be up in the polls, what can you do?
Sorry John Kerry, but it looks like we’ll have another four years of the representative for the masses running the government. You don’t stand a chance unless something bigger (good or – heaven forbid – bad) happens between now and November. You can’t win. Why? Because you’re either with us or against us, and there’s more of them than there are of us. You do the math.
Clarke, Richard. Against All Enemies. New York: Free Press. 2004.
Maher, Bill. When you ride alone you ride with bin Laden. California: New Millenium Press. 2002.
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