Eyes Wide Shut
Here we are on the precipice of saying adieu to all that we have known and all that we believed was our birthright: freedom and dignity. We found ourselves in a war despite the best efforts of those of us that valiantly argued that it was an unjust war. Our millions of voices fell on deaf ears and on the cold, merciless hearts of those who obviously intended to have their way. Helpless, we read our papers and watched our televisions as the embedded and in-bed-reporters towed the company line.
We cried as the "compassionate conservatives" hoorayed as our bombs exploded on helpless mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, babies and grandparents. They thrilled to the sounds of Shock and Awe while we bowed our heads and wiped away our tears.
Rush Limbaugh, the self-proclaimed king of conservative radio, was downright giddy with delight. Night after night on the seven and 11 o'clock news, they paraded their pretenses for war before the cameras, before the hopeful parents of the young men and young women whose lives were needlessly in danger of never returning home.
Then came that fateful day when George W. Bush dressed in the gear he worked so hard never to wear in real life and pranced like a peacock-all puffery and full of fake machismo. "Mission Accomplished" splayed across the aircraft carrier-and he stood there beaming and proudly proclaiming we had won! It was a despicable joke then and it is a worse joke now.
Search as they might, there were no weapons of mass destruction, not then, not now, not ever-unless they wave that magic wand and, with debauchery and fakery, they materialize that which was not there.
We've lost face and we've lost faith. Our leaders, those elected and those appointed, have betrayed what America supposedly always stood for: defenders of the downtrodden, defenders of the law, defenders of justice. Shamelessly, those in power ruled autonomously with no regard for the arguments of others.
Our citizens who saw the manipulation so clearly from the beginning are full of anger and disgust. Even now, after we destroyed a sovereign nation on a lie, George Bush stands before his loyal followers and says, "He was a bad man. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein." And, "after all, he had the capabilities to create weapons of mass destruction."
The travesty, the sad, ridiculous horror, is that there still remains a segment of our population that applauds this man and his actions.
The rest of us grow more fearful, more frightened every day. We watch, seemingly helpless, as our Bill of Rights becomes a senseless, useless piece of paper, as our Constitution becomes null and void. We raise our voices, we take pen in hand and scribe as eloquently as possible our fears, and still the band plays on, Hail to the Chief. The trepidations of intellectuals and historians and everyday men and women grow steadily more with each new day, with each new proclamation of arrogance by the men and women who are single-handedly taking us down a path of no return.
History has a way of repeating itself, we have always been told. Those who study the past and articulate the past see the signs of impending doom. Critics point to the depictions of Bush with a Hitler mustache and a brown shirt as a creation by over-the-top liberals. The truth, however, is far more frightening. That word, the word "we," as freedom-loving Americans, have always shuddered when we heard it, feels and is fast becoming all too real: Fascism. Fascism is defined as a system of government with stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. It is also characterized by a centralized government ruled by a dictator.
Does it sound eerily too close to home? If we consider that we have more Americans out of work and under-employed, with little or no hope of finding a livable wage-earning job than in any time in previous history, one might wonder. If we consider this is due to a government-controlled condition enacted into law that gives corporations free rein to dissolve as many jobs as they want, and giving those jobs to third-world workers willing to work for pennies, one has to consider that there is more going on than meets the eye, doesn't one have a right to wonder? Shouldn't we be wondering if what we are experiencing has something to do with socioeconomic controls?
When the president denounced anyone who wasn't behind him as "unpatriotic," it gives cause for one to wonder, does it not?
When laws are enacted that are so far-reaching, so powerful that there is no longer due process, or freedom not to be spied on by our government, or freedom to have client/attorney privilege or habeas corpus or due diligence or privacy, then clearly one has to question what is happening to our freedoms here at home, doesn't one? Sounds a lot like "suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship," wouldn't you say?
And when our president stands on the White House steps, or behind his desk, or in front of a wall of waving-in-the-wind flags to proclaim that "Any nation that isn't with us" is our enemy, it looks an awful lot like a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
Regarding the ruling of a nation by a dictator, who doesn't recall George Bush's comment that it would be "far easier if he were a dictator," which of course was explained away as "just an expression." But what an expression it was.
So here we are, frightened in a way we have never been before, disgusted, and disillusioned. So, what should we do about this ferocious anger eating a crater in our hearts? We need to put our fear for own safety on the shelf, for there is no time to sit by the wayside and pray that the tide will turn, that soon, any day now the truth of this administration will be clear to even those who do not see, who do not read, and do not care.
Our only hope is for each and every one of us to become soldiers for the greater good, to stand up and make our voices heard, to fight the fight in any way we know how. Clearly, if this president has his way, in four more years the America of our youth will be unrecognizable. You know it, I know it, and so does every freedom-loving citizen of the world. For if we do nothing, if all we do is lament what we have lost and what is yet to come, then in the words of George W. Bush himself, "The evil-doers will have won."
©Norma Sherry 2004. Norma Sherry is co-founder of TogetherForeverChanging.org, an organization devoted to educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility, particularly with regards to our diminishing civil liberties. She is also an award-winning writer/producer and host of television program, "The Norma Sherry Show" on WQXT-TV, Florida. Email Norma at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2004 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on July 16, 2004.
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