The response was icey! "I take it that you do not like George Bush, then!"
"I do not like his policies and I do not approve of the Iraq War," I stated. "I do not like his tax breaks for the rich and his attempted tampering with the Social Security system."
"Well," she interjected, "I just love him! He is so cute!"
I have found that this is the typical reaction of those who insist that George W. Bush is the greatest thing to happen in these United States since the invention of the automatic bread slicer. One cannot discuss issues with them on any matter. The cult of personality has taken over and he is their boy, regardless of anything that is said or done by him or anyone else. They don't know what he is doing and they don't care! They have elected him God and he can do no wrong. If one persists in discussing any policy, foreign or domestic, one cannot help but learn that soon we are met with blank stares as if we had launched into the theory of relativity. It is obvious that the average market-variety Bush supporter must be sleep-walking as they really have no idea what is going on. On cue, they are ready to parrot the Party talking points, but don't even try to involve them in a real discussion of facts.
In a recent conversation with a young person who normally refuses to even discuss anything political with me or anyone else, I mentioned that the internet is awash in stories about the possibility of a scandal involving the "outing" of an undercover CIA agent which may involve Karl Rove. His beautiful blue eyes literally glazed over as he asked, "Who is Karl Rove?" I did not bother to further confuse him with names like Tom DeLay, Scooter Libby, or John Roberts. The most radical supporters of George W. Bush are totally unfamiliar with the names of those whom he has seated in the positions of power. But then, we can hardly expect them to make the connection with names like Newt Gingrich and Ollie North, not to mention John Poindexter since they have no memory of modern history before the year 2000.
It would seem that fully a third of the voting public are unknowing and uncaring of public or world affairs. They do not really watch television news or read newspapers, learning most of their political news from behind the pulpit in church on Sunday. George W. Bush is a good Christian and we may rest assured that our nation is in good hands as he goes about the world vanquishing the evil ones and forming Christian democracies. We must not worry our innocent little minds with details or ask questions because God is blessing America and good will triumph!
Others simply look at their pay checks and, if they are among the fortunate few, they applaud the tax cuts and revel in their positions in the middle class as evidence of their worth making them better than the poor fools who are suffering poverty due to the loss of their own jobs. "Those slobs in New Orleans 'had it coming' because they didn't evacuate when they should have." "Africans are dying by the thousand because they have always been backward and they just have to grab their own bootstraps to become as capable as we are." "The Democrats are just belly-aching because Bush beat Al Gore." They can't trouble their "beautiful minds" with things like offshoring of jobs or the build-up of the Chinese miltary capacity in South America and the Caribbean. "President Bush will take care of that."
The talking points are legend but, on closer examination, they simply make no sense and serve only to hide the fact that this a nothing more than a cult of personality. Political discourse in this country has converted from discussion of issues to a team sport, "Our Guy vs. Your Guy". In the process of learning that the Bush Republicans have totally abandoned even a cursory interest in the affairs of the nation, they can, at every opportunity, recite every detail of the scandals of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and all the other alleged but unproven charges against that president before, during, and after his tenure in office.
With the exposure of the Able/Danger group, the wires are hot with their disclosures as the Republicans call all the talk shows and shout excitedly, "See? There were so WMD's! Able/Danger said so!" The poor souls are so fact-deaf that they never notice the time frame in which this knowledge was developed. It was in 1990-1, which is why the UN sent the inspectors in to make them all be destroyed. "Scott Ritter? Who's he?"
They will also deride the Democratic Party for its failure to push forward a candidate for the next presidential election or any policies in opposition to those of Mr. Bush. While they do have a point on the latter, why should a minority party bother to suggest programs and solutions to a Congress that is so heavily weighted to the other side that such ideas would die a-borning? Any leader who is put forth at this time would quickly become mired in malignant accusations, (as in the case of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton), that they could hardly be expected to be effective in campaigning. As for choosing a "leader", there appears to be no hurry since the next election is still some time away and any number of people may make themselves available. Any "turkey" who raises his head above the flock at this time is going to be beset by buckshot from both sides. Better to try to build popular support sufficient to resist the Democratic Leadership Council and their efforts to dictate whom the candidate should be.
However, we "independents" may have have a "stopper" for the Republican rants, With the Republican Party literally pulling itself apart over Constitutional interpretations, Supreme Court appointments, and the torture issues, perhaps we should turn the tables and ask them whom they prefer for a Republican candidate in 2008. Once they get over the shock of learning that there may be life after Bush, they will have much the same answer they now receive from the rest of us. The fact is that, so long as Bush&Company hold the ignorati of our country in thrall, there will be no restoration of our civil rights, no respect for law or the Constitution, and no progress in building a better, healthier, and safer nation. Meanwhile, we can only try to ameliorate the total destruction of our country as we know and love it so that there will be something left which can be rebuilt to its former glory.
The most difficult and greatest period of our history is still ahead of us.