The US has been through a lot of awful stuff over the past few years, but this week brought what I’d consider the most ridiculous government legislation so far, the condemnation of a MoveOn.org ad which criticized General Petraeus. There are a number of reasons this really bothers me, more than all the other shit that’s been foisted on us by Bush and his crew, and this incident as much as any other sums up why the Bush team is still so powerful, and why the Democratic party is such a pathetic bunch of cowards who won’t really change anything if they’re elected.
Back in 2006, I wrote: “The critical thing after 9/11 was the construction of the idea that to not support American aggression was to be anti-American, to oppose Bush's policies was to be a traitor. This was evident in the Dixie Chicks controversy, how could having a difference of opinion mean being anti-American? Isn't the whole point of freedom having the option of doing and saying whatever you want? But as constructed by Bush, it's an us vs. them, the "free world" vs. "the axis of evil.” Since then, there’s been a massive erosion of support for Bush, the vast majority of people are incredibly dissatisfied with the way the war in Iraq is going, yet no one is standing up to combat the Bush administration.
The Democrats got elected on the promise that they would end the war, however, they’ve done absolutely nothing. Now, the president’s veto power means they can’t do whatever they want, but that’s not an excuse to do nothing. They should be passing bills cutting funding for Iraq all the time, and forcing Bush to veto them. They should put the responsibility for every American death firmly on Bush and whoever voted for that legislation, where it belongs. Of course, the Democrats are so incredibly pathetic, they can’t even censure Bush for his execution of the war. It’s pretty sad.
Things got sadder this week when they found something to actual act on and it was just a pointless condemnation of a newspaper ad. I don’t understand how people running a nation that was founded on criticizing exiting order can legitimately be angry at a group for criticizing the handling of this war through an attack on the man handling it. It’s absolutely perplexing to me, and I’d love to hear someone try to defend it as anything other than pure politics. The Republicans are absolutely shameless to call this ad disgusting, but have no problem with the tens of thousands of people that George Bush killed with his war in Iraq.
But, the saddest thing for me is that Democrats not only voted for the condemnation, but actually tried to expand its reach and further diminish free speech. It’s unbelievable hypocrisy to criticize MoveOn for attacking Petraeus after the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry, but condemning those attacks three years after the fact isn’t going to do anything. Where the fuck was the attack on Republicans then, particularly when Bush was attacking anyone who attacked his “military service.” That’s one the greatest testaments to their patheticness, even when their candidate actually fought in the war, they lose the military cred.
Now, I think running from Kerry’s anti-war record was a huge mistake. The protest movement in Vietnam was one of the proudest moments in our nation’s history, a moment when people tried to fight back and not just accept the will of the government. Kerry was a hero for that, not for his service in Vietnam. The soldiers in Iraq and Vietnam are not heroes, they are victims. Bush does not care about the soldiers, he does not support them and he does not respect them, nor do any of the Republicans who sent them into war for no good reason.
But, that’s just my opinion. Would I condemn someone who thought otherwise? No, and that’s why anyone who voted for the condemnation will never have my support again. I can’t respect someone who says it’s wrong to criticize the military because that is not wrong, sometimes it’s the only way to create change. No institution in this country is above critique because no institution is perfect, and they never will be, we always can be better and we should strive for that.
Inherent in conservative politics by its very definition is the notion that things should remain the same. Because so many conservatives believe our nation is going downhill morally and socially, they respond to politicians who talk about the good old days and traditional values. Guess what, the good old days never existed, the moments they lionize were marred by racial prejudice and suppression of groups based on their gender and religion. We’re still far from perfect, but I’d rather see politicians who imagine a better future, and fight for that.
It’s unbelievable that some of the people in power remain in power considering the stupid things they say. I hear people say evolution doesn’t exist, that’s patently wrong, I thought we cleared the issue up in the 1920s. How could you trust someone who denies the existence of evolution to run our schools? And, evolution and God are not mutually exclusive, the way I see it, evolution is the engine designed to make us all better. Look at 2001: A Space Odyssey, evolution is moving us closer to godliness.
Beyond that, it’s hard to believe that people making hate speech against gay people can remain in office. Humanity’s destiny is towards acceptance and unity, we’ve knocked down a whole bunch of divisions, and prejudice based on sexual orientation is the next to go. The politicians who don’t support gay marriage today are the ones who would have supported slavery and the oppression of women years ago. It’s the same belief in a new guise, and soon, this barrier will fall like others in the past have. We are destined for greatness, but need to overcome these temporary obstacles.
The problem is, the Republicans still control the game. That’s why criticizing the military is analogous to treason, it’s the same as the Dixie Chicks controversy from a few years ago. They want to make dissent with the party line un-American, when in reality, dissent is the essence of America, and even the essence of the Christianity they all value so. Jesus was a revolutionary who upended social order, just because something has become an institution doesn’t mean it must lose the spark of change that ignited it. That is the core American and Christian value, not the imagined values of a time that never was the Republicans present us with now.
But, because they control the game, everyone is pushing towards the right. Democratic candidates refuse to really oppose the war, when in reality they should be fighting it hard. People hate the war, but this small group of extremists has captured our government and the idea space in America. Democrats must define themselves in relation the Republican values because they don’t really stand for anything. I’ll freely admit that, but it doesn’t mean we can’t dream of something better. Hate and fear have possessed our politics, and no one is willing to fight it with love and progress. Republicans would have you believe they are an oppressed group fighting for mainstream values against a small bunch of extremists who control the media and cultural dialogue. That would be hilarious if it wasn’t actually being said, Bush and his crew are the extremists, completely out of touch with the mainstream.
Sadly, most Democrats don’t really do anything. They are cowed by the brilliant attacks Republicans threw at previous candidates. Bush ran in 2000 on responsible fiscal management and a refusal to go on nation building military expeditions, but it’s Kerry who was tagged as a flip flopper. Once that tag was on, there was nothing he could do to combat it because everyone has slight variations in belief over time, that’s evolution. But, that adaptation was characterized as weakness.
This inaction is enforced by the fact that it feels like average people can’t do anything to enact change. No march or petition is going to stop the war in Iraq, and I get the distinct sense people can’t do anything but laugh at the situation, hence the popularity of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. But, laughing at it isn’t going to make it go away, and until a really dynamic, exciting leader comes along, we’ll have to just wait for time to change the game and push the Bush agenda away. But, with ridiculousness like Rudy Giuliani’s sudden belief in guns for everyone and the constant use of 9/11 as justification for everything, that could be a long time.Powered by Sidelines