Thursday, February 23, 2006

the victory is in the struggle

marjorie says...

Of the three m-pyre gals, I’m probably the least likely to get into full on Bush bashing. In general, I figure that while the Republicans are the worse of the two parties, they both pander to the interests of segments of our political economy that are, in a nutshell, vile. How’s that for blunt?

I don’t have a positive perspective on government at the same time that I embrace it for what it could be. Just like Grandpa Munster, I know that we are up against incredible power and can only organize when and where we can to move the house we all live in just a bit at a time. I don’t expect that I will win, but the historic challenge to power that I place myself within can win, and has shifted the spectrum over time. Democrats? Republicans? Well, I figure the Democrats are a little more sane, but let’s face it, as a party they are part and parcel of the problem, and we see it at all levels of government.

Having said all that, I’d like to comment on Bush. I hope you are all following the Dubai ports deal. A once impregnable president has had his credibility so damaged that his own party has turned against him, not once but twice. Remember Harriet Miers? That was shameful. But this time it’s most instructive for showing how power works. When the weakness shows, the battle for position begins. The Republicans are in-fighting, capitalizing on a case that has somehow gained traction to jockey for position. And the Democrats? Well, I think its all gross politicking.

But what makes Bush so weak? That weakness derives from a loss of credibility with the American public, due to more than a few things. Here are some that come to mind:

1. Bush says "people don't need to worry about security"but we saw in its entire horrific splendor just how untrustworthy our government is last year during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Trust Bush? No way. But the bigger issue is that we can’t trust government. I think this is a profound thing to realize. That moment when we all realized that our vaunted superstructure, our glorious wealth, our “opportunity for all” promised land, couldn’t step in during a crisis of that magnitude. We have serious problems and we can’t unquestioningly count on our government to take care of us, during an attack or during a natural disaster. Along with September 11, I think this instance will go down in history for causing a sea change in our country. Ultimately, we will only have a government we can trust when we realize that we are government and make the necessary changes that give more people a say in how things work. We have to devolve government.

2. Bush asks us to trust him, but over time the fact that his administration has lied to the public in order to justify attacking and occupying another country has finally begun to seep into the mainstream of the American public. Sure, these same folks may think being in Iraq is the right thing to do ultimately, but they generally think that for their own reasons--not the reasons that Bush gave for being there in the first place. He lied about that and people know it. He says: "The more people learn about the transaction that has been scrutinized and approved by my government, the more they'll be comforted that our ports will be secure." Um, well, firstly it’s not your government, George, it’s ours. And, no, we probably won’t be comforted... if history tells us anything.

3. Bush promoted Harriet Miers to be the next judge on the Supreme Court. And in a glaringly public debacle showed just how weak he really is when revolted against by a small segment of the public. For many of us who are acquainted with the history of Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, this was pretty much understood. But I think millions more know it now.

These are the things that are going through my mind when I read about the Dubai ports deal. These are the things that give the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress a huge opportunity to revolt together against the President. The only real bi-partisan action in years is threatened with a veto!

Many commentators point to racism as the real culprit behind the current congressional revolt. I would be the last person to dispute that--of course there’s racism going on. I think it’s perfectly clear that by and large there is real prejudice against Arab peoples in this country. Our history is rife with it. Our history is rife with racism period. It’s so rampant that it’s almost just a matter of course. Now, Bush labels all of Congress as racist as if he somehow isn’t part and parcel of the racist fabric of our society. What did the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina show us if not that we have a racist structure in place, a structure that strongly correlates race with income, that turns a blind eye to the desperate lives of the poorest among us?

If we got rid of Bush tomorrow, would these things change? Well, some of them might. But fundamentally things would remain the same. The only real change will come in bits and pieces, with a lot of lost battles thrown in. As Grandpa said, it isn’t about winning. The victory is in the struggle.