Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bush?
By Wil Forbis
To paraphrase the song, what a difference five months makes… A month or two after 9/11 it did indeed look like things had seriously changed in America. A president who'd arrived at the office in a storm of controversy was riding an 80 percent approval rating. Rudy Giuliani had gone from being the Darth Vader of New York to its Obi-One. Democrats and Republicans were practically cross-breeding. And most alarming of all, David Letterman had retired his smirk and become the conscience of America! Even here at Acid Logic, we were arguing that culture had changed, or humor had changed, or at least that John Walker Lindh 's underwear should be changed. And let me tell you folks, when something draws enough attention that it gets commented on Acid Logic, you know it's of vital importance. In those few months after the attack, there were genuine concerns being raised that in our frantic attempt to protect ourselves from this new breed of warfare, we were sacrificing the very freedoms that made us so unique in the world: our right to free speech, our tolerance of dissent, our racial diversity. Politically Incorrect's Bill Maher came under fire from numerous right wing pundits and corporate sponsors for comments he made immediately after the WTC attack, though everyone will admit he's said far worse in the past. (Remember when he compared retarded children to dogs? Gosh, I love that guy.) Presidential spokesman, Ari Fleischer issued his ominously threatening assertion that people "need to watch what they say." (I have to point out that Ari Fliesher is about as threatening as a dead hamster.) There was a heinous increase in attacks and murders of people who simply looked like Arabs, even though many of the victims were people who had come to America to escape the same breed of Islamic intolerance that we were going to war against. The one fifth of Americans who reside on the progressive left were making legitimate claims that the American landscape had been altered and our tolerance for activities viewed as unpatriotic was waning.
The problem is that five months months later, they're still making these claims… even though they've turned out to be patently untrue. The sad fact is that things seem to be returning to normal in American. Irony is alive and well. Democrats and Republicans are back to behaving like jilted lovers. ("OhmiGod! Did you hear that Tom won't return George's phone calls AND he's going to block his stimulus package?!?") David Letterman's smirk is back in full force. But most of all, political dissent has returned. One need look no further that the front page to see…
- The Enron debacle is certainly ready and waiting
to create a national scandal, though not one interesting enough to dethrone
the President Bush. After all, everyone understands blowjobs, but who
can keep all this stuff about regulations, special access and the trading
of electricity straight? Wake me when they find out Ken Lay has been
going down on Dick Cheny. (By the way folks, I'd like to bring to your
attention the restraint I've shown by not making fun of these gentlemen's
names. Ken LAY? DICK Cheny? President BUSH? When did national politics
turn into a seventies porno film? (Ten bucks says Oral Roberts figures
into this somehow.)
- Politicians in the United Kingdom are comparing
the prison facilities for Taliban fighters in Guantanamo Bay to Germany's
WWII concentration camps. Whereas I saw the picture of Taliban prisoners
and said "Hmmm, looks like a bunch of people in orange suits," the tea
bags across the Atlantic started bemoaning the savage conditions these
poor old gay-bashing, women haters were suffering under, even going
to the lengths of decrying the 8 by 8 prison cells in which they were
habitating. Hell, I've lived in studio apartments with less space. And
let's be honest folks: The main thing that made concentration camps
!!CONCENTRATION CAMPS!! was the whole "carting people off to the ovens"
bit. Until you can show proof of that, the analogy is rather weak.
- President Bush's original calls that terrorist
suspects be tried in secret military tribunals was met with agreement
and support all around - NOT!!! As we know, everyone from the ACLU to
Nixon speechwriter, William Safire, raised concerns that this might
be a dangerous road to travel down.
- While initial reports of the American Taliban -
John Walker Lindh - were often highlighted with calls to cut off his
head, now people seem to be returning to their senses and arguing that
he get a fair trial by his peers. Even old George himself has argued
for leniency in the Lindh case, calling him a "troubled young man."
(Trust me, George knows from whence he speaks.)
- Bill Maher ain't going nowhere*. The irony of it
all is that the most prominent target of America's post 9/11 patriotic
fervor wasn't a progressive leftist at all. It must be rather perplexing
to the far-left that Maher, a man who's no anti-war peacenik, gets to
enjoy the fame that comes from being martyred in our brief return to
the politics of McCarthy.
* June, 2002 update - Well, I sure called that one wrong.
Thank God the Bush daughters have managed to curb their alcoholism, because dissent seems alive and well - in fact better off than it was before 9/11. I think you could argue the progressive movement has been recharged by the war. Noam Chomsky is becoming a household name. Everyday people are analyzing U.S. foreign policy with a greater depth than ever. Because, for the first time in a long while, we have a personal stake in what happens. We now see that what we do over there, right or wrong, has an effect as to what happens over here. While conventional wisdom argues the country has shifted to the right, I don't think that's entirely true. Certainly there's been a return to patriotism, to love for your country (even households in Berkley were hanging American flags the last time I was there) but people are also starting to ask, "Why did this happen?" And they're not buying the President's argument that Arabs hate us simply because "we have freedom" - they want to dig deeper, and examine closely how well this country carries forth the concepts it applies to itself to the outside world. So who's afraid of the Big Bad Bush? Not me.
What do you think? Leave your comments on the Guestbook!
Wil Forbis is a well known international playboy who lives a fast paced life attending chic parties, performing feats of derring-do and making love to the world's most beautiful women. Together with his partner, Scrotum-Boy, he is making the world safe for democracy. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Wil's web log, The Wil Forbis Blog, and receive complete enlightenment.