Vice presidents are notorious for serving as an administration's chief attack dog, and time and again Dick Cheney has been unleashed to accuse anyone who is opposed to the Bush administration of aiding the terrorists. But this time he has gone too far.
The comments he made on the result of the Connecticut Democratic primary - that it might encourage "the al-Qaida types" who want to "break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task" - are an attack not just on Democrats, but on democracy itself.
Cheney's comments about the election were ugly and frightening. They show once again that he and his party will stop at nothing to wrap Republicans in the flag and to insinuate that anyone who votes against them is giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. It's obvious that this administration lacks basic respect for our fundamental freedoms.
Cheney and his crowd are all for free and open elections - as long as they turn out their way. They are all for free speech - provided it supports the administration. They are all for the rule of law - as long as the law does not prevent them from doing whatever they want to do. When elections, speeches or laws are inconvenient, he does not hesitate to declare that they are helping the terrorists. I can think of no graver offense against our democracy.
The November election will teach Dick Cheney and others of his ilk that they cannot use fear to cling to power. As Will Rogers said, "It's no disgrace not to be able to run a country nowadays, but it is a disgrace to keep on trying when you know you can't."
Cheney and his fearmongers continue to believe they can use their twisted logic and fear to suppress rightful dissent. One would think that this vice president, whose approval ratings sit around 19%, wouldn't even be allowed in front of a microphone anymore, but someone has to be the very public face of Karl Rove and the neocons who believe that free speech excercised through voting in one's candidate of choice is more of a threat to real democracy than the evisceration of democracy practiced by this administration. For men of that ilk to even attempt to explain what democracy is, after they've done everything possible to decimate it since they've held power, is an affront to the collective intelligence and passion of everyday Americans.
To equate voters with terrorists absolutely defies any sort of reason, but reason is not what these men thrive on. They rely on irrationality at every turn to the point where they have so deluded themselves and their followers that some 50% of Americans still believe Saddam had WMDs while the administration mouthpieces are quick to say, 'but we said he didn't' despite the fact that they have continually conflated 9/11 and Saddam since Day One while manipulating intelligence to start an illegal war that's resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people - far, far more than those killed in Lebanon those past month. Yet, has anyone seen a UN resolution to stop that insanity? Of course not - because the US would veto it!
While Bush is busy riding the tidal wave of fear over the arrests of alleged airplane bombers this past week, promptly reminding the world that 'Islamo-fascists' are out to get them, he and his band of neocons in the White House are continuing their own brand of fascism in an attempt to destroy every possible American freedom while making sensational power grabs by the use of presidential signing statements that undermine the very Constitution they took an oath to protect. Couple that with the Presidential Seal of Approval on the use of torture and it ought to be obvious to any sentient being that the only people actually aiding the terrorists are the ones in the administration itself - by creating more of them.
Bush sincerely believes he can defeat terrorism in the world. Well, considering that terrorism has been a reality for more than a millenia, his so-called mission from God certainly won't do anything to stop terrorism any time soon. But, the kool-aid drinkers still have faith he is their saviour. It's a deluded religion with a false prophet and yet he accuses his 'enemies' of being the only extremists while he practices his own Religion of Politics each day.
It's not unusual for many millions in the midst of such a fascist atmosphere to forgive or ignore their leader who tells them that his actions are for their own good while he continues to abuse them. Poisonous pedagogy as a political tool is far from being a new phenomenon and this administration is well-schooled in applying this technique on a mass scale via propaganda and fearmongering.
There will always be those who will adhere to the rule of this type of person to their own detriment. Witness the behaviour of the child-like Republican congresspeople who can not even bring themselves to excoriate their father figure even when he does the most egregious things - like advocating torture. Instead, they act like powerless pawns who've had their individuality stripped from them in the name of keeping the family unit functional while destroying themselves in the process. Witness how many of them are now trying to distance themselves from him in the upcoming election. Many more, though, are probably incapable of even understanding how they've reached this point and their only justification for their actions lies not in placing the blame where it belongs but in believing that, somehow, they must be good Republicans right til the end. If they actually honoured their Republican principles, they would reject this administration.
So, the younger children: those rabble rousing, unruly Democrats, are the targets instead because when one is incapable of rigorous introspection one must point to a perceived threat outside of oneself. But, pointing out the real threat becomes dangerous to their very survival, they believe, so they aim their rage at those they think they can dominate instead. For there is no dominating over an all-powerful father who has taught them that he must be feared and that they must obey his will - not their own. And it is that dysfunctional family situation that has been at play ever since Bush came into power - annointed by the Supreme Court and guided by his God.
Bush's supporters honestly believe that he is capable of ridding the world of the archaic notion of evil because, in their world, they simply can't understand that the concept of evil is so outdated and based on superstition that any thinking person would know that so-called evil enemies of the past like the witches burned at the stakes, the religious heretics, those whose heads were sliced off by the guillotines or who were publicly shamed for their diversions from what was considered to be the norm were only labeled as such because it was easier to humiliate or kill them than to attempt to understand their differences. But still, even after scientific explanations of biochemistry and how it affects the brain; even after racism and bigotry have been exposed for what they are: hateful spectacles of inhumanity; even after so-called evil convicted prisoners have been freed using DNA; even after decades of developing so-called tolerance in western 'civilized' societies, evil is used as a blanket description for all of the ills of the world. There is no evil. There is only divergent human behaviour.
So, for Bush to proclaim that he is in this crusade to rid the world of evil is as ridiculous a statement to believe in as it is to think he has the power to turn water into wine. He is a man with disdain for scientific facts; a man who thinks staying the course is a revolutionary policy; a man whose beliefs have caused the deaths of thousands and the pain of thousands more. Yet, there he and his minions like Cheney sit: chastising citizens who had the gall to excercise their democratic rights in a primary election in the Nutmeg State - Connecticut - as if that act was an aberration. I guess it is in the minds of those who feel they must be in absolute control of everything.
Disobedience is an act likening one to a terrorist. If only all Americans were capable of seeing and changing the state their country is now in thanks to these megalomaniacal masters, they would certainly reject their rule in a heartbeat. But that would require honesty, open-mindedness and a suspension of illusions and, as we have seen in America these last six years, reaching that point is a very long process. Some will never get through it, but those who do must come together forcefully and take back their country from what has destroyed it: this warmongering, fear-inducing, paternalistic administration that has offered nothing but empty promises to a nation so deeply divided that it can no longer collectively realize how a handful of men and women have offended what it means - what is used to mean - to be an American.
There is greatness to be found in America, but it will not be found at the end of the barrel of a gun, either literally or figuratively. Greatness only comes with humility, for unless one is humble, there is nothing but misplaced, ugly pride. It's time for America to to take stock and time for Americans to demand their rights and freedoms, while ensuring that its administration is not allowed to continue stripping away those same ideals from anyone else in the world. Real change begins at home.
It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
- Benjamin Franklin