Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Outcry from phillip ii of macedon

My correspondent, phillip ii of macedon, recently disseminated this impressive cri de coeur:

It has taken me this long, too long, to understand what GWB meant when he said during the 2000 campaign that he was a “uniter, not a divider.” My naive interpretation had been that Bush would reach out, and, using skills of diplomacy, reasoned moderation, and compromise, seek to soothe the strident rhetoric that has polarized us. Today, I finally understand. What Bush probably meant was that he would seek, by all means fair and foul, to stifle dissent so as to create the appearance of unity.

A facade of unity takes far less work to construct than a foundation of unity. To this President, the choice is clear. Not only easier to build, a well-made facade can conceal all manner of ineptitude, contradiction, and malfeasance. Such is Bush’s facade of unity. Was this what he had in mind from the beginning?

I recall the story that Pat Robertson related, in which Bush brazenly predicted, “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties [invading Iraq].” Similarly, I can envision Bush telling a confidante, “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any disagreements” on his governmental watch. As if, awash with power, Bush could dictate conformity and uniformity.

Perhaps Bush relies on the fact that citizens tend to give the government the benefit of the doubt. Surely people lend more credence to the President, or other public servants who hold a title, than they would to an “ordinary person” like Cindy Sheehan, for example. Speaking only for myself, the persistently perverse actions of the Bush administration has caused an inversion. I now automatically assume that anything that comes out of the Republican Party is absolutely baseless at best. As ignorant as the man-on-the-street seems to be, he’s bound to be right twice a day.

I wonder when Bush realized that his only avenue for “uniting” the country would be through the systematic elimination of avenues of expression and communication of dissent. I would have thought, in the aftermath of 9/11, that Bush could have pursued a path of fostering actual, true unity. The first such opportunity since WWII to leverage the national sentiment. Ironically, 9/11 seems to have been the galvanizing event not for Bush’s Uniting of America, but rather for Bush’s program of “I’ll Do Whatever the Hell I Want and Then Paint a Pretty Picture On It, and Destroy You If You Complain.”

Despite the Bush Administration’s best efforts, there is still plenty of divisiveness. Thank heavens for that. Bush’s audacious posturing says that anyone who disagrees with the Iraq War is disrespectful, unpatriotic, and even treasonous. This is the height of his hubris: the notion that he is powerful enough to erect a facade of unity to a horrific war, instigated without justification, and conducted with incompetence and cruelty. For a war to have any chance of being construed as in any way moral, its justification must be inherently self-evident to virtually all Americans, and it must be waged with the highest degree of integrity. Any President who accepts a lower standard than this, does so at the country’s peril.

And sadly, any country which is unwilling to look past a facade does so at its own peril, too.

We Bush detractors must now think of “divisiveness” in a positive light. Unity is a noble goal if it is freely and carefully achieved. But a facade of unity is an oppressiveness that we must all fear.

....p ii


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