The Death of a Nation (a retrospective on the W. Bush era, Intro)

Twelve years ago right about this time of the year I was looking forward to the 2000 election, hoping to do, by voting, my tiny part to keep George W. Bush in Texas and OUT of Washington DC. Then I had a (sudden and unexpected) grand mal seizure, ended up in the hospital, and two months later had brain surgery to correct the causative congenital circulatory disorder. In between, I voted for Gore, had another seizure, watched as the SCOTUS bungled the election and appointed Bush to the presidency, and slept through Bush’s inaugural address whilst recovering in the ICU.

It was a total bummer of an experience, i.o.w., that so-called “election” of 2000, made evermore worse by that which went down in the next eight years of the Bush “presidency.”  By late 2004 I was hopeful — not optimistic, just hopeful — that common sense would prevail and the electorate would toss the monkey in the White House out on his ear. We all know how THAT turned out. Anyway, beginning late in 04 and continuing through April of 05, I wrote a series of essays which I collectively titled “The Death of a Nation: An Examination of America’s Descent Into the Maelstrom.” And today, here we are some eight years down the road and approaching election 2012 even as, once again, my optimism wanes and I’m left only with a dash of hope.

I recently resurrected the essay collection, read it for the first time in years, and found it interesting from both the historical and (current) political points of view. It is, indeed, a blessing that George W. Bush is no longer on the Amurkan throne BUT, unfortunately for all of us, the damage he did persists to this day, and should the political right happen to regain full power in the government either this year OR (for that matter) ever again . . . well, the obvious question becomes ‘how much worse can things get before national collapse becomes the defining reality?’

I thought it might be fun to post the whole pile of stuff here — not all at once, obviously, but in sectional tidbits. My hope is that some might find it at least interesting, maybe memory-stirring. I do also hope, fervently, that it is NOT predictive!

Without further ado, here’s the Intro.

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The Death of a Nation:
An Examination of America’s Descent Into the Maelstrom
(April, 2005)

Elegy on America
The Legacy of George W. Bush:
Gone, Wasted, Broken

Gone now, America’s halcyon days
Where Reason stood tall and grand in the sun;
Brilliance defined Her equanimous ways –
Gone now, expunged, all Her triumphs hard won.
E. pluribus unum: Her goal was clear.
One chosen from many, She alone rose
Reflecting the grandeur of cause sincere –   
Gone now, forever corrupted by woes:
Environments: Poisoned with gas and fume;
Waters: Mercurial, deadly as wars;
Broken: A people, too cold to exhume;
Uberty: Ceded to desolate shores.
   Still, some see not what others are mourning:
   Haste become greed become waste – sans warning.

Introduction

The story of the death of a nation cannot be told in a mere fifty words, or paragraphs, or pages, or even chapters; in fact, the sum of its sordid details may well never fit into fifty volumes.  What follows here is not an attempt to catalog events which describe the current situation extant in the United States of America, it’s not even intended to be a surface scratch on said catalog.  It may be, however, the approximate equivalent of a cursory examination of some of the ooze which has so far seeped from just such a surface scratch, ooze which belies but still portends the rot and decay of that which lies internal, effectively shrouded by the distortions and deceptions which have come to represent the hallmark of George W. Bush and of those who serve his carefully crafted image.

Not since the rise of Nazi Germany has the world been so privy to the deliberate intellectual dissembling of a once-proud nation’s principles, of her people; not since the rise of Nazi Germany has a nation’s leadership been so completely adept at Orwellian manipulation of fact; and not since the rise of Nazi Germany has a member of the Bush family itself been so intimately involved in the imposition of tyranny upon an otherwise benevolent, industrious, and humanitarian corpus populi.  Nor has the world ever, since the defeat of Nazi Germany, found itself in such a tenuous position, where celebrations of human intellect and attainment stand once again on the precipice of suppression at best, destruction perhaps.

Humans have beset themselves across virtually every century of their existence, forever become victims of a never-ending plague of tyrants whose sensibilities are, for reasons undoubtedly rooted in their genome’s beastly past, overcome by inborn urges to control: the inborn coveting of power absolute.  It matters not whether the goal is political power, or religious power, or simply the power of imposed intellectual darkness (assuming intellectual darkness can itself exist sans the motivations of politics or religion); what matters is the historical saga which did become, at various moments in time, reality – realities which now in retrospect reveal the absolute truth of their repetitious permanence within the human’s earthly manifesto.  “The race is welded to its ruin,” wrote Aeschylus in the fifth century B.C.  His words are as true today as they were then.

Things are, of course, far more complicated (and complicating) today than they were in the time of Pericles, or Caesar, or Henry VIII, or Hitler; today’s rogue nation du jour possesses weapons powerful enough to destroy not only its “enemies” and itself, but also the entire of the planet’s biosphere together with, quite possibly, all the life contained within.  Perhaps that should come as no surprise: pursuit of Power, after all, has never been a benevolent practice and surely never shall.

Nevertheless, there are substantial differences between today and all of the various yesterdays thus far recorded in and of human history.  One is a function of sheer weight of numbers: the number of humans on the earth today stands at more than six billion, and is growing rapidly.  Curiously enough, of those six billions, only around 60 million – one percent – cast the 2004 die that both fed and strengthened the emerging American tyranny of the George W. Bush administration.  And let it be known that Bush’s sixty million supporters outnumbered his detractors by barely more than a single percentage point (which may have been, in fact, not votes cast by living people but instead by rigged voting machines – another story in itself), so the tragedy of the moment is expanded in the sense that it exists solely by a minuscule and scant margin.

In the larger picture, however, none of that really matters.  The fact that matters is a simple one: a maniacal tyranny heretofore seen only once in human’s modern era – that of Germany’s Adolph Hitler – has now been handed power by a tiny fraction of an electorate.  The year 2005 is the fifth year of this tyranny, and already the damage to both nation and world itself is stunning.  As noted above, what follows here does not so much serve as even a scratch on the surface of the current reality, it simply examines – superficially at that – the implications suggested by thoughtful analysis of the nature of that which oozes from the scratch.  To a microbiologist, the pus from such a scratch has the power to predict the consequences that shall befall the beast itself – if the wound is to be left untreated.

Historian Will Durant wrote, in The Life of Greece, Volume II of his ten volume Story of Civilization series, the following:

“If we may believe Thucydides, the democratic leaders at Athens, while making liberty the idol of their policy among Athenians, frankly recognized that the confederacy of free cities had become an empire of force.  ‘You should remember,’ says Thucydides’ Cleon to the Assembly, ‘that your empire is a despotism exercised over unwilling subjects who are always conspiring against you; they do not obey in return for any kindness which you do to them to your own injury, but only in so far as you are their master; they have no love for you, but they are held down by force.’  The inherent contradiction between the worship of liberty and the despotism of empire co-operated with the individualism of the Greek states to end the Golden Age.” [highlight added]

Today, an even more “inherent contradiction” derives via the subliminal redefinition of words such as liberty, freedom, and democracy.  The Bush administration has mastered the art of co-opting the once intrinsic and understood values embedded in words of concept in order that they might now be used in the Orwellian sense, i.e. to aid in the masking of an e’er-continuous pursuit of both domestic power and of global empire.  The result has so far led to preemptive wars of occupation “to bring freedom and democracy” to nations which, curiously enough, happen to lie atop huge crude oil reserves, even as there is little or no interest in bringing “freedom and democracy” to – much less combating ongoing genocide in – certain African nations which do not happen to lie atop huge crude oil reserves.  An incongruity, perhaps?  A quantifiable element in the ooze?

At home, the emphasis has been on the gradual overturn of certain ‘inconvenient’ rights guaranteed to Americans by their Constitution’s Bill of Rights.  The first amendment’s ‘establishment clause’ has been constantly under attack for several years now, particularly from the darkened room in which dwells the so-called Christian right wing; also at risk appear to be the rights of free speech and a free press – subliminally and only hinted thus far, but sufficient to be seen as fair warning.  Also, habeas corpus can now be suspended simply by accusing someone – anyone – of being a “terrorist”; in fact, as of this writing, a man named Jose Padilla has been imprisoned for nearly three years, sans his right to be heard, and with no charges filed.  He is simply imprisoned because the government labeled him a terrorist.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, always the temptation when there is an endless supply of atrocity just waiting to be named and discussed.  As noted earlier, that shall be the work of future historians; my purpose here is simply to examine some of the ooze from a surface scratch.  My background in microbiology seems to so demand.

To be continued . . .

Part 2 here.

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2 thoughts on “The Death of a Nation (a retrospective on the W. Bush era, Intro)

  1. (standing ovation)
    Very pleased to read of your successful surgery.

    Always in awe of your intelligence and ability to relay in prose and poetry!

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