Thursday, March 15, 2007

Political Manifesto

This was written just before the 2004 US Presidential election

Finally the time has come. I am going to let it all pour out. The weight is too great, the responsibility too dire. We else could I do? All I ever do. I can write what I think. But this is different; this isn’t about my opinion, though that it certainly is, it isn’t about sharing my views, it is bigger than that too. This is about history and the future, our country and our way of life. This is about the stage that will be set for our children, their children and the world at large. I don’t come remotely near overstatement.

Some of you know already what I am going to say, perhaps you taught it to me. But many of you will be surprised or doubtful, skeptical. After all, our country is divided down the line – but please hear me through. My fingers tingle to write it. The world hinges on these issues and fate is far from decided.

I have never given time to politics—always a messy subject. There were more relevant pursuits. But with the election of G. W. Bush and the 911 attacks, politics immediately became important: the place of America in the world was in jeopardy. Why? Suddenly it seemed that there was much more going on than met the eye. I started paying attention.

When I was in school, as an English student, I was taught how to read, really read. What is really being said, hermeneutics. Levels of meaning, things said and things implied. Suspicious and restorative understanding – and the dialectical interplay of the two. Essentially what this means is I was taught, as most of us, to see through smokescreens and propaganda, to discriminate between opinion and so-called facts, to notice when what is said is a distortion of what has been done or departs from it totally.

I have been fortunate. I haven’t owned a television in a long time. My news has come through NPR (National Public Radio), Time magazine, and various newspapers. When I do see the tv, I am shocked at what most of us encounter as ‘news’. There is so little substance, so little trust in the viewer to make up their own minds on the issues—the issues are hardly represented. It is this dependence on the major media corporations that has influenced that mass understanding of our politics.

This is an unfortunate digression, but I’ll let it stand. I simply want to give an explanation for why things have come to be the way they are, in part. A movie, Bowling for Columbine, is on the subject, and perhaps the most important movie I’ve ever watched with regard to American culture.

I’m not a democrat or a republican – I am an independent. I don’t like any of the rigged organized parties. Neither really represents me. I see as perhaps Noam Chomsky sees. What concerns me is not discussed on the news, in the papers, vaguely touched upon on NPR. It is more widely acknowledged abroad, in books and in the underground, well, at least far left wing.

The very essential elements, the rudiments of our democracy are being eroded. We have become fascist. Our government is in the control of “neo-conservatives.” They aren’t even conservative; they are extreme. They are elite, dishonest, and power hungry. We know this: they are wealthy. They are dishonest; for heaven sakes, Dick Cheney, in front of the nation said he had never met J. Edwards, when they sat next to each other a few days prior. They had met three times – fact (If there are facts).

We have a president who was not democratically elected. That is frightening. The Supreme Court at the top, to the citizen’s right to vote at the bottom, the entire scope of our political system is corrupt. The media, which is supposed to be the leveler, the tell-tale, even they are biased and skewed. The manipulation of the Florida election is direct testimony to my point: the primary tenant of democracy is the people’s right to vote. In Florida, that was taken away from tens of thousands of people, intentionally, politically, and illegally, yet it stands and most people don’t know it. (A documentary investigating the circumstances in Florida, Unprecedented, should be taught in history classes. It is infuriating, but also enlightening to the realities of our present political system.)

Our democracy is eroding. Our political parties are self serving. This is not a government of the people, but a power struggle, a government by a few, for a few, a government which doesn’t pay heed to history, who don’t walk their talk. The “chickenhawks”—all men who promote war but never actually fought, the children neither. Bush went AWOL, no, what’s more, he was a deserter in wartime. If we can’t see that this is the likely fact, than we aren’t watching our new critically. People hide only what is unflattering. Who served with Bush? Where is one memory? Nothing. Just like his protected, classified history, governor, businessman, ect. He is a ‘public’ official. How can his report be hidden, why, and why do we allow it?

Hijacking Catastrophe is a movie that most perfectly represents my own skepticism, my own feelings of betrayal by my government. We have gone to war for NO reason (that has been given by the White House. There were no WMDs. We didn’t just wake up to the fact that Saddam was a bad guy. He was a bad guy when Reagan supported him, as he gassed and murdered. But, now it suits a political agenda.

But what is the agenda?

If you listen, what is said doesn’t make sense. We aren’t safer when more of the world hates us. (Certain countries, I forget, 80% of their citizens supported us, today it has reversed, less than 20%. On 911, the world was an American, look at the world today.) We are building permanent, not temporary bases in Iraq. ?? All our bases in Afganistan are built along the proposed/new oil pipeline.?? We didn’t catch Osama, but Saddam, who had nothing to do with it—meanwhile, Bush family friends, the Royal Saud’s support terror, and most of the hijackers were Saudis. The Bin Ladins were flown out of the country on 9/12. This should be very, very troubling.

But what do we really know? Not much I think. It is hard to distinquish between fact and appearance. I have tried not to judge. But recently I learned of some documents, the “Wolfowitz Doctrine” which he wrote under Bush Sr, that made everything much simpler. We have heard so much B.S., so many stories that don’t add up, so much confusion, but there are several documents written long before hand, that promote a political agenda for the “Next American Century.” Wolfowitz is the undersecretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. They also served under Reagan and Bush Sr. It was under Bush were Wolfowitz was asked to write a new proposal for international policy. In it he laid out a highly controversial (it would be for the few know about it). It promotes unilateralism, preemption, a break from reliance on the United Nations, and a drive to control dwindling resources. Does any of this sound familiar? It is TOO clear. This is written. This was kept quiet because they knew it wouldn’t be popular. It is Empire. With Clinton they were out of office, but worked for the Project for the New American Century (I may be getting some of these names confused.). But with G.W. Bush, many, more than have of their group were appointed posts in the new White House.

Most troubling, is that the doctrine admitted that the shift would be extremely slow…..unless, unless some great catalyzing event, “the next Pearl Harbor” occurred, then they would be able to move forward rapidly.

I am frightened. This is doctrine, not hearsay. It is there.

I could go on, but I hope the point is made: these neocons have a specific agenda—it isn’t what is being said or talked about on the main stage –but it is there all the same. Unlike what is on the public stage, it actually, unfortunately fits to a tee. We are seeing it enacted everyday. Even the “Shock and Awe” of the Iraq campaign was a tactic proposed by Wolfowitz. Devistation and psychological intimidation.

Why? Why pursue such a silly, archaic anachronism? Power, I reckon. But at such cost. It defiles our constitution, our national character, our promotion of freedom, our promotion of democracy. The neo-cons succeed through subterfuge; they lie. They could never find support in the open. No one wants an empire but the powerful. Somehow they have tricked us not to not see it. The major media organizations, NBC, FOX (obviously), the newspapers, are all owned by Republican supporting millionaires. The line of impartiality has eroded. Still, we aren’t looking forward; we are to busy being afraid, to busy looking after our own, or, that’s what we think we are doing. And every day we are more endangered, more hated. Everyday the rest of the world slowly awakes to the dawn of American Empire –that we are the one’s to be feared; we hold the power and Iraq proves our willingness to use that power, and we don’t need a good reason. “They needn’t love us, so long as they fear us.” Another lesson of history. Everyday we show our hand to the world, but everyday, war and patriotism are promoted on the news; American flags sprout up everywhere. “Iraqi Freedom”—as we build permanent, not temporary bases there. We go ever farther into debt by a man who has known something of bankruptcy, by a man who was NOT elected.

Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State Harris undermined the most fundamental right of democracy: the right to vote. Tens of thousands of citizens, who had every right to vote, were denied. They were “purged” from voter registration lists as convicted felons, an archaic law, a racist law from the nineteenth century ratified shortly after the emancipation of the blacks. It said that convicts couldn’t vote—there limiting the black vote. The punishment of a crime in prison, not the loss of citizenship. The right of a citizen, any citizen, is to vote. Ex-convicts should be encouraged to vote, not further disenfranchised. But further, the records were skewed. The purge list, which was now understood to be upward of one hundred-thousand people, over fifty-percent black and Hispanic, was comprised of ninety-two thousand innocent people. An individual list in one county, which decided to inspect their list, found that of over six-hundred names to be purged, only thirty-four of them were actually felons. This is a crime against our constitution, our civic rights. It was no oversight, but an intentional and documented manipulation of the vote. Bush didn’t win Florida, but was given Florida, by political manipulation. Jeb Bush’s Secretary of State and the Chairman of the Election Committee, happened also to campaign for George Bush. Fair and Unbiased??

I am actually angry. I don’t understand a woman like Harris—how could you consciously sell out our constitution for personal gain??

These are sad, sad things. We don’t have a democratically elected president. Our President has changed our national policy from one of compliance with foreign nations to one who is unilateral. We persecute war criminals, but don’t allow the investigation of our own people –why? We are now above the law. We don’t obey it: Abu Graib—I think perhaps the low point of my national pride, ever. However, if we elect (???) George Bush president, I will concede the election the title.

My friends abroad know more than many of us. The news that is blocked from us is free to them. They can’t understand. I was in part motivated by my friend Martina. It seems so obvious to them. She sent me an article that I will attach with this email. But for us it is so complicated; we are so mislead.

I am only beginning to understand what is happening and has been happening. It was only because Bush is such a bad, bad liar that I started to look around and ask questions. Only then did I start to get the intrinsic importance that politics play in my life. This is my government. I am an American. When I travel in the world, and I say I am from the U.S.A, the policies that Bush makes affects how people will view me. It has always been positive—until now. I think of 1930’s Germany: Would I have wanted to be ignorant then? To have been a German and not known, to have supported Hitler, or, worse, to have known and done and said nothing. I don’t want to be that person, and I have been, ignorant at least, occupied by other things.

Does it offend you or seem “unpatriotic” to compare ourselves to Germany, or Bush to Hitler. (Hitler at least was elected.) Think seriously. Yes they killed millions in cold blood, but we do no differently abroad: the killing we have done in Guatamala, Nicaragua—we armed them. Remember that it is us who have armed armies who kill all over the world. We play both sides. We supported Saddam; now we persecute him. We encouraged the Shiites (?) to go against Saddam in the first Gulf War, then abandoned them to laughter. We trained militants who fight with Osama. We armed him too. The blood that is on our hands is laundered, but easily traceable; this wasn’t so long ago.

And yes, we have even blown up one of our own vessels to rally support for the (first or second WW, I don’t remember, but it is in the history books now).

I, and we as a people, cannot afford the luxury of ignorance or disengagement. This is undoubtedly the most intense and important election of many generations. Voter registration is unprecedented. People are becoming concerned on both sides. What are we voting for?

Personally, I am voting against empire, fascism, financial irresponsibility and dishonesty. I am voting for renewed international relations, viable medical reform, and renewed interest in the lower class (raised min. wage, health care, education, socialism). I don’t like or dislike Kerry. Kerry is not the point of this election for me. This is a fight to protect the nature and integrity of our democracy and our character. Are we really a macrocosm of those pictures that came out of Abu Graib Prison? Are we that perverse? Are we as dishonest and ignorant as George Bush, as power hungry as Wolfowitz, as unethical as Jeb B. and Harris? I say no.

[In 1994 Jeb Bush was asked, if elected, what he would do for the black community. His answer was two words: “Probably nothing.” ??? In 2000 he infringed upon tens of thousands of blacks ability and right to vote. This is not trivil. This is how G.W. was put in office—a presidency founded on fraud from the beginning.] - an aside.

I always pull for the underdog. I am skeptical. It deeply hurts me; I can’t understand how half of America supports Bush. These are you, my friends and family. Until now, I have been able to leave it as a difference, I like Elle MacPherson; you like Christy Brinkley, nothing more. But now, it is not just that—so much is at stake, so much is in the balance. I am begging, begging to at least have an open ear. This letter is all I have. Our votes are our voices and stamp upon the future. What do we stand for? The Republican ideals are good: small government, private enterprise. I agree, that for many of us, a republican vote is personally a good choice. But this year much more is at stake than our pocketbooks, not that G.W. has helped them. Everything that is worth being truly patriot about is on the line, regardless of whether in made the eight o’clock new. I am willing to stake everything I am and believe in upon that. I know it in my heart; I know it in my head. I’m asking for your support.

Phew. I feel much better. Sorry to put this on many of you. I am sorry if you disagree. I love you all. But I had to do this. I couldn’t stand by.

Bush has used fear to manipulate the populace:

“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leader. That is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

This was said by the Nazi Reich Marshal Hans Goering (sp.) at the Nuremburg War Trials.



PS - Some of the best information I have obtained came from these sources:

Hijacking Catastrophe- documentary; an investigation into Bush policy. I am buying a copy to send around. Write if you want to watch it and I’ll send it to you.

Bowling for Columbine - documentary; a round about debate on the impact of the media and propaganda, the use of fear to control.

Unprecedented – the investigation of the Florida 2000 election. Very disturbing.

I like NPR, weekly periodicals ( I find they are more thoroughly researched than dailies, and handle more serious topics.) Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic Monthly, Harpers ect.

Small independent newspapers.

Thanks Martina, Stu, Wendy, Adam for pressing these issues.