In Your Face

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“Has David Rossie ever been to Iraq? How about Lebanon, or Iran or Afghanistan? My guess is he’s never ventured very far from his office. At least that’s the impression one gets from his Bush-bashing diatribes, or should I just call them rhetorical blabber? The majority of the people in these countries suffer under oppressive regimes. What the leaders of these countries really are is the latest incarnation of the old favorites: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho, Pol Pot. They are despot mass murderers who use torture and killing to coerce their “captive audiences.”

I am glad we finally have leadership with the guts to face off against these abominations and eliminate them. If they had to lie to get the isolationists on board, so be it. The lesser of two evils, as I see it.

As for the condition of Iraq’s infrastructure, we did the dirty work and gave the Iraqis a chance. It’s time for them to quit crying and build their own country, physically and politically.” JIM C. é from the Letters section of the Press and Sun Bulletin Binghamton, N.Y. 6/24/03.

Can you believe that?

That’s the kind of short-sighted and ill-informed thinking America is up against. The kind of thinking which has allowed Bush Inc. to do pretty much whatever the hell they want é without having to accept any responsibility for the outcome of their recklessness.

But before I go any further, allow me to explain that David Rossie is a local columnist in my Gannett-owned newspaper. He’s been one of the few voices of sanity around these parts, which means he makes the “super-patri-idiots” go crazy – as you can see. And this was one of the nice letters.

When this article is posted on a local website in this little conservative burg I’ll secure my share of hate mail as well for even daring to mention his name in a positive light. That’s a small price to pay in my book.

Anyway, here we find ourselves nose to nose with a sizable amount of “free citizens” who don’t seem to care that Bush and Co. lied to them! Think about it. Here are the same folks who were beside themselves with anger and hatred for a president who lied about an affair now saying, basically, “Bush lied? So What? What about all those mass graves and all those liberated people? Who cares about all those innocent civilians who were murdered? Saddam is gone. We kicked their butts so let’s all get down on our knees and thank God that Bush is president. Right?

Okay, sure.

Whatever you say.

But if you want to believe that then you must go take down the American flag you’ve been flying so proudly, go into your back yard and dig a big hole and bury the damn thing. For any member of a free society to proudly proclaim that it doesn’t matter if our leaders lie to us – especially when those lies threaten our security and cost thousands of innocent lives – then he has no business flying the flag. Such a mindset is insulting and does a great disservice to those who fight and die to protect the noble principles that flag once stood for and still cries out to stand for – perhaps even more urgently today.

I’m sure I’m not alone in my disbelief when I read and hear such callousness. But this mob mentality is truly the Bush legacy. This is what America has been reduced to while our world neighbors stare in shocked and nervous awe.

But it would seem that many Americans just don’t care.

The author of the above letter says, “If they had to lie to get the isolationists on board, so be it. The lesser of two evils, as I see it.”

Exactly what “isolationists” is he referring to? The anti-war crowd? The anti-Bush crowd? Now, I know my memory might be a little fuzzy, but from what little I remember the liberal press showed us – back in the early days of this year – a whole world community united against Bush and his invasion.

From the Kyoto Treaty to the International Criminal Court to the Iraq Invasion, it has been the Bush gang who has been the isolationists! This is the twisted “logic” which we who love this country find ourselves at war with and -quite frankly – I’m stumped.

How do we confront a segment of the population who willingly allow itself to be intellectually abused by Bush and his media mouthpieces? The lies and corruption infesting this administration have become so in-your-face it would appear inconceivable that the Bush fans refuse to see it. Yet, even when a little bit of truth manages to seep between the cracks in the dam, the best they can do is say, “So what.”

The EPA releases a preview of a report on the state of the environment. This official report states that the country is much cleaner than it was thirty years ago. True enough. However, it doesn’t state that the reason for such environmental successes is due to standards and restrictions which have been implemented during those previous thirty years. The very same restrictions which Bush II has been trying to undo since he snuck into office.

Then comes the story of the global-warming section of the EPA report.

Seems as though the report also stated that global warming actually is a problem and that human activity (cars, factories etc.) has been a major contributor to the problem. So the Bush Gang turns around and decides to insert the results of a different study financed by the American Petroleum Institute which, predictably, said there was no proof of the danger in global warming. Naturally, in their infinite wisdom, the Bush Gang decides that they can’t issue a report which contradicts itself or appears “partisan” so they decide that everything in the report concerning global warming must go.

Now, I ask you, just how blatantly self-serving and misleading is that? Bush decides we don’t need to know about something that would not serve the best interests of his buddies in the oil business. So he just removes it. I can hear the choruses now.

“So what?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I see we wandered into another arena there so let’s get back to our first battlefield. When Bush gave his State of the Union address, he cited intelligence concerning Iraq’s attempt to purchase nuclear materials from Niger. Now to be fair, maybe the “C” Student-in-Chief really didn’t know he was talking out of his backside when he made the statement. But Vice President Cheney did. So did the CIA and Condi Rice. They knew about it almost a year prior to Bush’s statement. But Cheney sat right behind Bush during that speech knowing full well that he was lying to the American people. Now, because of that and other lies and eliminations of the truth, we find ourselves in the early stages of a quagmire in Iraq.

Thousands of Iraqi men, women and children were murdered because of a lie. More than one hundred brave men and women died because of a lie. More than sixty American soldiers have died in Iraq since the Yellow Belly of Texas announced “mission accomplished.” At this rate, by the end of the summer, more soldiers will have died during the peace than during the conflict in Iraq. And we’re not moving out of there any time soon.

Ready, Bushies? All together now.

“So what?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Y’know, it’s not just the antics of the Bush Gang that have become so bold and reckless. There are members of the extreme right wing who have become so overconfident that they just don’t care how bad they look – because they know there is a segment of the population that just can’t see or just refuse to see them for the insects they are. From John Warner stonewalling an open inquiry into intelligence failures concerning Iraq to Tom DeLay sneering at the working poor and proclaiming “I am the federal government!” we are witnessing a political party running to embrace everything negative that’s ever been said about them – rather than trying to hide it. The hypocrisy of the chicken-hawk chest thumping in support of the troops while, at the same time, cutting their benefits and paychecks is beyond belief. But if nobody in the media is going to stand up to these people why should they care? Just like the continued fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan é if nobody reports the growing ugliness that has taken over the extreme right then it just doesn’t exist, right?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Americans have more than an upcoming election to worry about. Just listen to the call-in shows on C-Span or the radio. Listen to the people who support this Evil Empire and how they go about defending it by citing Fox, O’Reilly and the ultimate slug, Mike Savage, as their sources of information. The reality we all face is that the tiniest minds in the media are reaching huge numbers of impressionable people. These same people who yelled at us after the selection of Bush over two years ago to “get over it” are the same people who run back to Clinton-bashing every time things get too hot for Dubya.

We face a corporate media which are actively engaged in dumbing down the electorate. They will continue this practice as long as it remains profitable and as long as people continue to say “so what.” Meanwhile, the neo-cons will continue their in-your-face antics – free from any public scrutiny.

So we all need to do one thing if we want to make a change.

We need to be as in-your-face with not only those we oppose but, also, with those who are supposed to represent us.

We also need to hit the media where it hurts é right in the wallet.

We’ve already seen with O’Reilly and Savage that just alerting unsuspecting sponsors of these programs can make a change. Both shows have lost advertising dollars, largely because of the power of the internet and massive campaigns launched against these shows. Sure, they’re still on the air, but they’re being forced to hustle bucks elsewhere. It hurts them and it annoys the hell out of them. Most importantly, it puts them on the defensive for a change and they don’t handle that well.

We need to be in-your-face with our representatives on the Hill and here at home. Call them, write them, e-mail them over and over again. Let them know that if they’re lacking in the spine department é we’ll be glad to loan them some of ours. Iraq, Afghanistan, 9/11, the economy, health care, social security all need to be held up to the light in front of the whole country. We need to talk to those who will listen and not give up on those who can’t.

We need to be even more in-your-face than they are, but in a different way. We don’t have to out-shout them because all we have to do is expose the truth. All we have to do is show them the facts. By pacing ourselves and being persistent and encouraging those who agree with us to speak up, we might just have a chance.

Most of all, this country needs more than thirty percent of the eligible voting population to take part in the process. We need to remember that every last person makes a difference. The “super-patri-idiots” are going to lie and cheat worse than they did in 2000. We need to energize people locally and nationally. And we can succeed because we have one thing that they don’t have é the truth.

And we need to replace “so what” with “so there!”

This isn’t a “pie in the sky” plea. This is grassroots reality and, at this point, it’s all we have. Remember, nobody can say you failed é until you’ve stopped trying. So there!

W. David Jenkins III is a political writer. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Upstate N.Y., USA.

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