Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Well, we’re coming down to the wire on this sham election, and I must say I don’t hold out much hope for the outcome. The convention in New York clearly demonstrated that the G.O.P. is now safe in the hands—the claws, I should say—of extremists, of every shape and size, liars, thieves, bigots, religion mongers, war mongers, an assortment of the weird and grotesque, trolls, golems, chimeras, all tramping around in the woods and weeds. Every time they hear the war trumpet sounded by Cheney or Tommy Franks or Bush himself, foam issues from their lips and their eyes roll back in their heads.

God, how they love lies, and how they do love to be lied to! It’s been four years watching the triumph of lies, the triumph of paranoid fantasy and delusion over reality. As Tennessee Williams would say, we are now operating on the “fantastic level,” and so it is fantasy and delusion which are actually driving decision-making and policy.

Fantasy and delusion have brought on this needless war, which has killed upwards of 1,000 American and 12,000 Iraqi people. Fantasy and delusion have gifted us, our children and grandchildren, the biggest deficit in U.S. history, upwards of $4 trillion—from a surplus of $5 trillion. Fantasy and delusion have handed us corporate malfeasance on a scale the fat rats of the Gilded Age could only dream of. Fantasy and delusion have given us higher gas prices, Hummers, assault weapons, Fox News, and a cartoon character for governor of California. It’s why so many of our baby soldiers in Iraq are completely mystified as to why Iraqis would want to kill them instead of kiss their feet, because all they’ve ever known is what they’ve seen on TV or in Disney movies, or been told by their parents or their commanding officers. And fantasy and delusion have made it possible for a handful of chickenshits who never spent an hour in Vietnam to denigrate and malign the military service of men who were actually there, who were under fire, wounded and decorated for it.

Yes, it’s the triumph of lies, the triumph of the fringe lunatics, of the kind of folk who are driven by fear, anger, greed and superstition, believers in angels, devils and hobgoblins, who reject science, ignore history, despise education, hate liberals and resent freedom, and who probably, for the life of them, have no idea why they reject, despise, and hate these things. And that’s what makes them so spooky, because the thing that drives them, pushes them, goads them relentlessly on is—Each Other, is the Crowd Itself, without which, they must instantly revert to the level of harmless, if irritating, gnats. The crowd is their drink of courage, for that is the one attribute of which they are in short supply. In the recent past, we would expect to see them smiling blandly for the cameras at lynchings. Now, bolstered by each other in sufficient quantities, they are the folk who ban books or burn them, who run over musicians’ CD’s with bulldozers, and compare the torture of prisoners to fraternity hazings. In short, they are the ever-eager mindless followers, obedient to father-authority, that corrupt leaders down through the march of history are drawn to and feed on like birds of prey.

Germany may yet have the last laugh.

Can they win? You bet. Between the rigged voting machines and purged voter lists (in many states, now, not just Florida) they may already have the ten percent edge they need to win. Fear and intimidation tactics used on minority voters may pull another one or two percent. In short, Karl Rove leaves nothing up to chance. The fix is in.

Our best hope is to get out of our houses, suit up and stand guard at the polls, or get out there and register people to vote, as many as possible, then stand over them like nannies, ply them with food or drink, and drive them to the polls, if necessary.

It’s a weird world and getting weirder by the day. George Orwell said, “Who controls the past controls the future.” Yes, history is in jeopardy. They are trying to disappear it. We are watching it disappear from under us. And for as much as that is happening, it feels very much as if the future is disappearing, as well.

We must stop this train.


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