Heil to the Chief
Inauguration Day, 2005 begins another four years of BushCheney’s war and crony capitalism. The last four years saw the looting of the economy by corporate swindlers, evisceration of domestic programs, largesse for the rich, faith-based breadcrumbs for the not rich, shrinking of the middle class and an ongoing war with little prospect of positive results even into the distant future. It’s hard not be depressed on this day as I watch the forces of evil celebrate their complete control over America.
Make no mistake about it, BushCheney is evil incarnate. Evil is the enemy of the individual, of the human rights so eloquently articulated in the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by Revolutionary France and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. These important milestones in human dignity are the product of centuries of Western thought and, while America has not always fulfilled its promise and dreams in this regard, it has often shown its deference and concern for the individual welfare and dignity.
But BushCheney has demonstrated since 2001 the America in the first years of the 21st Century has little concern with human rights and welfare. These “soft values” are now subordinate to the demands of capital and the national security state. During the past century America slowly built a dynamic society that made great progress toward social and economic justice. Government–the organized agent of the community–was often a central actor in this effort that saw the development of humane labor laws, social security, local development and the dismantling of legal racism. 20th Century America was no idyllic paradise–its unsolved problems and contradictions haunt us yet–but there was a recognition that society as a whole could act on behalf of its own welfare and that the welfare of the whole depended on the welfare of all.
Not so under BushCheney. Government no longer has a role in society. Only private interests are legitimate actors according to the dominant ideology. Government is the problem. It destroys incentive and ambition, sapping society of private resources that , if left to private control, would increase overall welfare. What fucking rubbish! Three hundred years’ experience with modern capitalism have demonstrated two essential facts. 1. Capitalism generates wealth. 2. That wealth is neither fairly distributed to those who produce it nor does it pay the full costs of its activities. The profits and benefits accrue mainly to the owners of the means of production who have throughout history demonstrated their willingness to consume public resources without paying for them. This is the model for BushCheney’s America. And for the world.
Seeing the forces of evil in such complete ascendance is difficult and depressing enough. Seeing the many Americans who rejoice and support BushCheney and their policies makes me tremble for the fate of democracy in the nation that gave such meaning to this noble concept. The Founders knew how little chance their risky venture had of success. History offered no lasting examples. For the United States to grow and prosper for over two centuries as a democracy would have amazed them. How sad, then, to think that after all this time, it is as much at risk now as in 1787.
My thoughts are over dramatic, you say. BushCheney is no more than the current incarnation of trends visible in America since the end of World War II. True, BushCheney are following the traditions of the national security state that has grown in America in the last six decades but that is no comfort. Forty-four years ago President Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of the military-industrial complex that grew as part of the national security state. Beyond that, BushCheney’s wars and economic policies are more robust, expansive and concentrates power in the state and private capital at the expense of all others. BushCheney speak of security, democracy and opportunity but their actions create chaos, compromise security and limit opportunity to those not part of their favored, moneyed class.
Where has the world seen this act before?