‘’Size of protest — it’s like deciding, well, I’m going to decide policy based upon a focus group,’’ Mr. Bush said.
This may be one of the most infuriating things Bush (Dubya) ever said, and that guy said a lot of stupid shit.
When I was still fairly fresh-faced and believed that protests mattered, circa 2002/2003, I attended several protests against the invasion of Iraq. One of these was the one referred to here in this article, on Feb. 15, 2003. You know the one. The massive worldwide protest, wherein an estimated ten to fifteen million people showed up to protest the war BEFORE it began. Yet, it was ignored.
“And there it was. We failed. Slightly more than a month later, the U.S. was shocking and awing its way through Iraqi cities and Saddam Hussein’s defenses and bedding in — though it didn’t know it yet — for a near decade-long occupation. The protests, which by any measure were a world historic event, were brushed aside with blithe nonchalance by the Bush Administration and a rubber-stamp Congress that approved the war. The U.N.’s Security Council was bypassed, and the largely feckless, acquiescent American mainstream media did little to muffle Washington’s drumbeats of war….”
“…A dictator is gone, but more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead, as well as 4,804 U.S. and coalition soldiers. The U.S. spent nearly a trillion dollars on a pre-emptive war that didn’t need to happen and a nation-building exercise that has achieved only fragile, uncertain gains. Far from a “mission accomplished,” the American adventure in Iraq has become a cautionary tale of hubris and poor planning. It’s clear the West’s current reluctance to take more direct action in ending Syria’s bloody civil war is, in part, a legacy of the U.S. experience in Iraq, where the disintegration of a regime spawned a whole new phase of sectarian slaughter and chaos…”
These words were written in 2013. We are all familiar with the devastation, failure and psychological trauma that has piled on since even then.
Yet we see on one hand the very people who largely bought the line at the time are bitter, are in despair, and are longing to be saved by someone. I don’t think most of them know this. But the bitterness, grief and unfamiliar nihilistic impulses speak to despair. They double down, choosing the same party that led us into the Iraq invasion, though they justifiably feel betrayed by their government. They either truly believe or willfully believe that the Trump brand is actually different from Neo-liberalism as usual. They really believe, or at least profess to believe, that Trump and his ilk are sticking it to those RINO’s/elite Republicans. And better yet, those dirty commie liberal democrats they hate for not very well defined reasons as well.
On the other hand, we see that the average democratic lawmaker followed the Republicans into the invasion. And this may not be a popular opinion, but Obama sold the youth (including me) and many others on ideas of true social progression, on the idea of helping out the “other 98/99%,” but inequality is just as shite as ever, and then some. So, he pushed for the ACA, right? Don’t get me wrong; I liked the idea. I wanted it…. well at least I wanted it before our precious lawmakers and Obama caved to pressure and did not fill in the blank space (read: yawning chasm) of people who will be required to have insurance but cannot afford it but also don’t qualify for Medicaid. And, then because of how the ACA was shoved through federally, it meant that states could refuse the Medicaid expansion.
Any thinking person could see where this was headed, especially a thinking person in a so-called conservative state surrounded by so-called conservatives bemoaning the ACA and Obama and cheering for the ironically named Tea-Party fuckers. They predicted they would fall through that crack. And worse, Republican lawmakers, such as our own dear Nicki Haley in S. Carolina, were more than happy to help make that happen but refusing Medicaid expansion, pretend it was a noble move to refuse big government intervention, while what it OF COURSE did was leave about 27 million people (whole of the US) in the coverage gap. These poor fools think the problem is that they are required to get insurance. Of course the real problem is that it fails to have complete coverage of the population. There are some that can speak to this particular subject with more detailed knowledge and better articulation, but as I am speaking of something that I expect my audience to have some basic awareness of, I will just hope that my poor wording will suffice.
So that is maybe the one thing I might be inclined to give Obama credit for, and I find that I cannot do even that. And yet the dude is still given far too much credit by so-called liberals.
I have long thought that the beginning of our woes — such as they are — began with the Reagan era and the commingling of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity with so-called conservative politics, which preceded and heralded Reagan. I want to be clear about something. I am not one of those people that believes that there lies some golden Camelot era in America’s past. Not at any time. “Make America great again” is unbelievably ridiculous to me. I mean when was this greatness? When we justified owning and brutalising human beings? When many human beings were not allowed to vote because they had dark skin or a vagina? When we were bullying various countries in the ME? When we dare tell ourselves that people do not even deserve basic comforts because of the vicissitudes of capitalism? ~notice I am not using past tense for that last one~
But I see a specific sickness and I think it weaves it’s way back to the unfortunate worship of capitalism and the market. And I see a series of upticks and sudden jumps in the seriousness of this illness. Perhaps you could call it worsening symptoms?
Firstly, the commingling of fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity with conservatism and politics. Second, that the party they aligned themselves with was also the party more closely associated with a strong love of the market and capitalism, the party — at the time — was also associated with stronger problems with prejudice and a tendency to allow for a Dickensian world such as we have now in which inequality is profound. What emerges is a group of people that religiously believe in their politics. This means there can be little to no rational discussion. Even Goldwater — and he was a bad man — was afraid of these people. Justifiably so.
“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’ “
(1909–1998) US Senator (R-Arizona) Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981
The next symptom to spike was the coming of the Reagan. Opportunity abounded and so did greed, greed for the supposed American Dream, the longing to GET MINE, and compete for resources like starving wolves as if resources were endless while also taking for granted that there are resources enough to go around to make everyone comfortable. But that is not enough. Little people wanted to vie to be warlord kings at the expense of nameless and countless others.
Following this, I see another spike with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 89. The “end of the cold war”, the “triumph of the free market, of good old apple-pie-eating, god-fearing capitalist western values.” And this brings me back to where I began for the next symptom of something going horrifically wrong that I would like to name and discuss, that left an imprint on me, is George W. Bush and the Iraq invasion. There are several things to note here. First, our reaction to the events on 9/11/01 indicated we were a country that could not empathise with the kind of fear that many countries in the world without our military might lived with most of the time. That even was tiny compared to the suffering we caused every year, to the fear and terror we instilled, and then continued to instill in others. We romanticized it and we turned it into a sport, into something gross. We were morbidly thrilled by it. If this were not true, then Fox News and all of the other big media would not have seen it as profitable to constantly dissect and discuss and show images, to fear monger. They were wildly successful. Do you know why people think it was an “ inside job”? Aside from the fact that humanity tends to grow nutty conspiracy theorists? Because it was profitable and because a population was so blatantly manipulated by it.
I see where a lot of people have said that having Trump as president makes them miss the Bush days, or want Bush back in office, etc. I understand, but this is, in reality, a nonsense thing to say. You don’t get a Trump without having had Bush. Remove Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld from the equation, you do not get a Trump. Millions of things lead to getting a Trump, and yeah I am not dismissing them, but Bush, the Iraq war, the dismissal of the unprecedented anti-war protest before a war, and what has been wrought by it is a biggie. To wish for Bush is to wish for Trump. Now, this is not to say we would not have landed in another really bad place. No doubt we would, with our empty worship of avarice. That practically defines Trump doesn’t it?
People often talk about how people came together in response to 9/11. That is trash. Together is that massive protest that went ignored. That showed me how little the 98% could do without vested interest backing them, or without massive influence and affluence. Maybe that sounds depressing. But here I am still fighting and talking, so I guess I did not learn my lesson after all.
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. ~Albert Camus