October 28, 2004

Down the Tubes


*

I am getting more depressed and angrier as the election approaches because so many Americans are not bothering to think about the actual issues at risk in this election. For example, as I drove home from the doctor’s office yesterday, I couldn’t help notice all the campaign posters on peoples front lawns. There seem to be almost as many signs for the Democrat Contender as for The President. I’ve also seen that here in Lancaster county there are Bush / Cheney and Kerry / Edwards signs at the outer edge of some estate lawns, the big house / mansion set proudly acres back from the road. At the same time, I’ve noticed more Bush / Cheney signs stuck into the three foot slice of dirt and weeds in front of row houses in lower middle, mixed ethnic, working class neighborhoods. I can’t help but wonder what is going on. I don’t like to think that more rich folk are able to think through the dilemma proposd by this election than their poorer fellow citizens. Perhaps Mr. Bush’s rhetoric about terrorists has created fear in our hearts. Perhaps we are willing to overlook all his blatant anti middle-class and anti lower-class policies and his poorly thought through war in Iraq because we hope he, like some great father figure, will be able to protect us from terrorists. Nevertheless, this thought process does not make sense to me since the war in Iraq is creating terrorists, not doing away with them. For instance, where are those 380 tons of stolen plastic explosives, enough to blow up major buildings in every city in the world. How could we not protect that when the United Nations had warned us of its presence and exact location in Iraq. If, as G W. says, the terrorists will blow us up if John Kerry is elected, they will do it with the explosives lost during President Bush’s watch. Additionally, I for one certainly don’t like the image of George W. Bush as “Big Daddy,” though it’s very Southern, and Texans like to think of themselves as Southern. Thus, I understand why Texas will vote for Mr. Bush.

Last week, I had to have a catheterization to check for coronary artery disease, which I don’t have, and that horrible procedure proved it, thank you God. After watching my heart being probed and dyed, on television while enduring the incredibly annoying and somewhat painful sensation (despite intravenous drugs) that a large pipe was being jammed into my groin and up into my abdomen, I was taken to the recovery room. In the curtained off area next to me another senior citizen, evidently not as well off physically as myself, was holding forth with a conservative political tirade. I was amazed because he prefaced the diatribe with the statement “ I don’t know how I will afford to pay for all the medications I will be on after having these stents placed to relieve my clogged arteries.” Be that as it may, he proceeded to describe Mr. Bush as our defender against terror. Nurses and staff listened and replied with “yes,” and “Um-m H-m-m-m,” and “right” as he proceeded. He railed against Kerry and Edwards, and praised Bush / Cheney. Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer and I said, “And Mr. Bush doesn’t want to allow you to buy less expensive medications from Canada. He wants to privatize your Social Security and Medicare. That means that in the future you pay for all this, surgery, hospital, and medication, not Medicare.” The man continued on as though I wasn’t there. Perhaps he was delirious. Perhaps all the Bush / Cheney folks are delirious.

This afternoon, I’m reading “An unmannerly pre-Election Day splenetic,” by Tony Kushner in the Advocate. In the article he sums up my apoplectic wonderment at all those middle class folk who love President Bush. As Mr. Bush is selling them down the pike to the oil interests, fighting an unnecessary war that has made us a debtor nation once again, bypassed the clean air and water act, given tax cuts and breaks to the wealthiest 1% of Americans, allowed the flow of middle class jobs to the 3rd world to continue unabated with no plan to fix it, caused a new energy crisis, these folks foolishly plan to vote him back in office. During a 2 page, four-column long temper tantrum, Tony says the following that just about sums up my confusion and anger.

People who know what they’re doing are going to do something dreadful. And they know. You don’t need to read the liberal progressive media or to have read the 10,000 books published in the last two years cataloging Bush’s complete failure as a president, his failed and child-abusive education policy, his fake health care policy, his wicked environmental policy, his massive giveaway to the rich disguised as a failed economic policy. You can barely escape the bad news even if you only read, with a little skepticism and discernment, The Economist or The Wall Street Journal as these conservative publications report the findings of Bush’s own CIA. You can be a decent, sober, intelligent Republican averse to all hyperbole and still hear what’s blowin’ in the wind: “DISASTER! THIS CLOWN IS A DISASTER!” Everyone knows everything! Dear God, even the Log Cabin Republicans have given up on him!


There. Tony has said it. I don’t have to rant and rave. I am just sitting here in my little apartment at Pine Needle Manor Retirement Home in a total puzzlement. How is it possible that people can ignore all this, I ask myself. And, I haven’t even touched on Mr. Bush’s Machiavellian scheming to make my kind of people, lesbians and gays, second-class citizens in a country that is supposed to require the treatment of all its citizenry as equal under the law.

I am so fearful that the implication for the United States of America in my title “Down the Tubes,” is all too possible should Mr. Bush be reelected.

*QuarkNet- Associate Teacher Institute at Rutgers University, Summer 2002,
http://www.njaapt.org/QuarkNet/QuarknNet%20at%20Rutgers%202002%20A.htm, Sunday, October 24, 2004, 1:02 PM EDT.

*Kushner, Tony, “An unmannerly pre-Election Day splenetic,” The Advocate, October 26, 2004: 44 - 46.


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