It started with the November 2000 rigged US presidential election, and has degenerated from there. I've not been alone in watching with horror as our country's government flipped the bird at international treaties designed to protect human rights and the environment, favoring military build-up and big oil instead. Many of us have been outraged by the unelected ones sabotaging chances for an independent investigation into 9/11, and disgusted by their ass-covering legal gyrations to prevent inquiry into their former shady business dealings, not to mention their equally shady bedding with oil interests once having seized political power.
But now it seems the coup from hell is complete. In midterm US Congressional elections in which only 40% of those citizens eligible bothered to vote, a full 95% percent of House races and 75% of Senate races were won by the candidates who spent the most money. This while, under the guise of "poll watching," Republican Party functionaries were posted at polling stations across the country on Election Day, harassing (mainly Democratic) working class and minority voters. This while, right before the voting, a beloved Democratic Senator who was locked in a close election contest died in a mysterious plane crash, exactly two years after another Democratic Senate candidate died in the same mysterious way. This while the same inaccurate lists of supposedly ineligible (mainly Democratic) voters which unfairly disenfranchised tens of thousands in the 2000 presidential race, were inexplicably used again in this election. This while much of the country voted via computer systems whose proprietary nature does not permit public scrutiny, and which by definition do not leave much in the way of physical evidence for each vote. The computer glitch in South Florida which almost deleted 103,000 votes is a case in point; what other votes could have been "lost" at the touch of a button, and to whose benefit?
Do the math: in a seriously flawed, arguably corrupt, electoral process in which the majority of the population was too apathetic to even feign democratic pretenses, only 21% ended up granting Bush his newfound sweeping and absolute powers.
Call me old-fashioned, but that's just not my idea of democracy. It's a farce and a travesty. And it's guaranteed to get much worse.
With a lame-duck Congress, and Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate (plus the Supreme Court), it's clear military spending will skyrocket as domestic social services are slashed and the environment is pillaged. Any previous attempts to rein in corporate scandal and excess will be attacked as un-American (kiss the corporate-fraud targeting Sarbanes-Oxley Act goodbye, for one). The proposed $37 billion Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy will be approved, along with its attending decimation of civil protection rights and collective bargaining power. And with the Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2 finally enforced, the military will be able to suppress domestic "assemblages or rebellion against the authority of the United States" whenever the President sees fit. In other words, it's going to get a lot more dangerous to protest or express dissent.
And that's the relatively good news.
As the US economy tanks, Bush will pursue his oil-hegemony dreams in Iraq, creating a bloodbath for both Iraqi civilians and US service members, not to mention burning up hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars in the process. Meanwhile, the Putins and Sharons of the world will see fit to continue oppressing their chosen targets, with full knowledge the US will turn a blind eye to their crimes against humanity in return for their own tacit approval of similar US actions. The Middle Eastern region will predictably destabilize, with dangerous political/economic consequences accompanied by untold human costs.
And the US will be subjected to further terrorist attacks--that is, if Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has his way. According to a little-discussed classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by the Defense Science Board, a group of private industry executives advising the Pentagon, new counter-terrorism measures will include "cover and deception" and secret military missions to stimulate terrorists into making attacks, thereby leaving them open to counterattacks by US forces. Plainly put, the so-called "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group aims to save citizens from terrorist attacks by actively provoking terrorist attacks against citizens.
It's no wonder many normal people are feeling devastated and disillusioned right now, ready to draw back from this whole damn dysfunctional mess.
But now is not the time.
This train has barely left the station and its destination can still be changed. The only chance to alter the current sorry state of events and prevent matters from getting much, much worse, is a vigilant and involved population. That's you and me--actively assuming responsibility on a daily basis to name this societal rollback for what it is, then confronting each step away from sanity, while presenting a more humane and equitable alternative.
It's our only chance.