Today is Unsolicited Opinion's 8th blogiversary. I started posting on June 1, 2004 and have been at it ever since--1,444 posts in 2,922 days, one every other day for eight years. I can't say that it amounts to a hill of beans. This blog hasn't ignited any revolutions or broken any major stories. What it has done is given me a chance to not only speak out but also to clarify my thoughts. By itself, writing requires thought and organization but putting those words out for public consumption provides even more discipline.
So eight years later I'm still at it. When I began, GW Bush was running for a second term and I was hoping that John Kerry, what ever his faults, would make him a one-termer. That did not happen. Even more disappointing has been to see how little changed when Democrats captured both houses of Congress and the presidency. I would have been surprised in 2004 to think that I could be even more cynical about politics and policy but eight years later I have less expectation for progressive change than I had back then. Clearly blogging has not made a difference there.
Maybe the best part of the entire exercise has been meeting (mostly online but a few in person) interesting people who share my values. When I get too cynical, I can at least remind myself that I am not alone
So in honor of today's occasion, I am re-posting one of my initial pieces. The specifics are dated but the conclusion in the final graph still sounds like America in the age of Obama. The legacy of Bush-Cheney survives.
Earlier this year Bush supporters were outraged that a MoveOn.com
contestant dared illustrate similarities between Bush’s words and those
used by Adolf Hitler. It was a mini-firestorm of outrage and accusation
that soon gave way to the next controversy. I haven’t forgotten it,
though, mainly because the similarities are too frighteningly similar. I
don’t think Bush is a Nazi. He’s no Adolf Hitler. But he and his
administration may be as dangerous to America’s security and civil
liberties as the Nazis were in Germany.
The cabal that stole the presidency in 2000 has lied,
manipulated public opinion and made every effort to expand government’s
ability to spy upon Americans and limit time honored liberties. And
that’s just at home. Internationally, the Bush Administration is the
ultimate rogue state. But unlike the rogue states and terrorist
organizations that Bush claims to protect against, the US is able to
assert its will against all others, at least in the short run, creating
major mayhem in the process. The world did not want Gulf War II but we
invaded Iraq anyway. Iraqis may have been pleased to be rid of Saddam
Hussein, but our ill conceived occupation has failed to restore their
security even as it heaps insult and hostility on them. Much of the
world sees the U.S. as dangerous these days.
But what most bothers me and reminds me of Hitler’s
Germany is Bush’s manipulating the public. Josef Goebbels knew the
power of the Big Lie. And the Bush Cartel has used that weapon
extensively. Bush tells the lies that Americans want to believe. We
invaded Iraq only in self defense. Weapons of mass destruction are
still to be found in Iraq. Only opponents of democracy oppose our
occupation in Iraq. The administration repeats these mantras over and
over. The overwhelmingly conservative media (America’s equivalent to a
state run media) amplify this message. In the meantime, reality moves
in a completely different direction. Americans and Iraqis die,
hostility grows and the goal of a stable, democratic Iraq grows more
Not that Bush is the first American president to lie
or distort the truth to fit his version of reality. Manipulating
opinion goes back a long way in American history and has had a
particularly egregious history since World War II. But the Bush
administration seems to be more comprehensive in the scope of its
ambitions to control America and the world. The world must accommodate
itself to America’s needs, not unlike the arguments put forth by Germany
in the Thirties. And Americans must sacrifice liberty for security.
Again, I hear totalitarian echos in these words. We are engaged in a
titanic struggle with evil, with The Other. Any criticism endangers our
troops and weakens America in this time of peril.
It all reminds me of 1984. Permanent war. Big
Brother. A cowed citizenry. Back in the 50's and 60's I always thought
the threat was external. I’m older and wiser now. The danger that
George Orwell warned about was not from the outside. It came from
within. We’ve been at risk almost since he wrote his prophetic words
but the Bush Cartel has brought us to a totalitarian precipice. I fear
that Americans will not see the danger before we step into the abyss.
Labels: cheneybush, civil liberty, why am I in this handbasket?