How can this be?
Whatever the state of the race is (tied or Bush ahead) certainly many Democrats are having nightmares and popping pain pills with one throbbing question centrally in mind: how can this be?
How can a President start a war based upon falsehoods, kill tens of thousands, commit torture and offer no exit plan for Iraq yet still poll at around 50%? 9/11 can happen on his watch, not-since-Hoover employment numbers are produced, the deficit skyrockets to $422 billion, the trade balance continues to worsen, environmental progress is a disaster, wealth disparity widens…the list goes on and on, yet there Bush is at 50%, when he should be around 15%.
If Bush wins you can kiss whatever rosy idea of living in the United States residing in your head goodbye. It will be an endorsement of grossly undemocratic, lethal, repressive forces and certain degrading servitude to a severely abusive corporate oligarchy. It will be a total rejection of the Founders intent of what this country should be, and we will start a new era where the Unites States is officially no longer a functioning democracy.
Despite my severe limitations in perception and knowledge I’m going to attempt to answer how Bush could still be at 50%. It’s utterly vital that every citizen start asking this question and start framing some answers, no matter now humble and limited they may be. If in our collective knowledge of functioning democracy we truly arrive at good answers to what our problems are, then we may start applying solutions.
That’s why there’s a comment link. Please use it. Without further ado, here’s my list of the most important factors for Bush’s incredible polling rate:
Media Failure. Corporate “journalism” in the US is a total disgrace, a barely concealed propaganda arm of the entrenched political and corporate leadership. “Propaganda” is not a word lightly used, but after the war build-up coverage no other word fits. I don’t have 15,000 words to elucidate this failure here, but reading The Daily Howler every day will convince any skeptic.
Citizenry cannot make good democratic decisions with deliberately false, misleading, sensationalized journalism. That’s why Bush gets away with saying we’re making great progress while we blow up thousands.
Democratic Party Leadership Failure. How can the war not cripple Bush to the teens? Kerry isn’t offering a clear alternative.
Helen Thomas and Seymour Hersh say basically the same thing: Kerry is crippled by the war authorization vote and not offering a crystal clear, diametricly opposed alternative.
Kerry got unfairly trapped by that war vote before an election, and one of the reasons the vote is so disastrous is that Kerry cannot state the truth of failure and need for retreat because Bush will instantly cry he’s endangering troop’s lives.
Granting an incumbent war powers was incredibly stupid, and this is just the most glaring Democratic party failure in a long list of the last 36 months. Of course Kerry will do a better job than Bush about the Iraq war, but it’s time to face facts.
Citizenship Failure. This is related to media failure, but at some point more citizens have to take responsibility for stewardship of democracy. Approximately half are completely disengaged, and 50% of those that are no longer believe in representative democracy.
Mark Crispin Miller argues in Cruel and Unusual that the US constitution is “unkown” by the citizenry. Certain elements are familiar, but the central core principles behind the document have been lost to the everyday lives and psyches of the citizens.
Ashcroft imprisons citizens with no charge and there is no outcry. Fleischer states citizens “should watch what they say” and isn’t immediately fired. Citizens accept a do-over election right after a legitimate one, hell, right after accepting a stolen one. Again, the list goes on very long indeed, but we have to face facts. Around 20-25% of US citizens actively believe in a representative democracy. That’s it.
That’s why Bush is at 50%. It’s depressing, horrifying, and calls upon us all to firmly commit our energies to stem it in 2004 with John Kerry.
Defeat George Bush. Give money, table, join a campaign, comment on blogs, convert the apathetic, walk a precinct—it all helps. Pray that the internet and new community wireless networks will have a positive effect on journalism. Ignore the horrible limitations shackled upon us by our current failures and act in cheerful good faith anyway.
There is no alternative. 2004 may very well be our last chance to save the country.