We are supposed to search our fear levels now against our fears then in order to determine whether the Bush policies have been right or wrong or whether he was such a good choice in the first place. Our answer is going to, somehow, govern the path of the nation in the future? Nonsense! The Bush administration does not care a damn what you, or I, or anybody, think or feel about anything. Their agenda was set from Day One and, regardless of intervening events, they steadfastly refuse to deviate from it. I can only imagine how they must chuckle over the polls that show the President's popularity ratings to be in the dumpster or that the people think the Iraq war was a mistake. They know that there is nothing that we can do to change their course short of the evolution of the Religious Right into thinking individuals and the conversion of the major corporations to a policy of working for the public good rather than for profits. They have the power, they know it, and they intend to use it!
A better polling question would be, "What do you fear most?" Options could be: loss of freedom, loss of privacy, loss of voting rights, etc,. etc. A very small fear which inflicts those of us who write on progressive websites is the spectre of jackboots coming to our door. We tell ourselves that the chances of such a happening are remote, but haven't we all read about "Big Brother"? With the passge of the dread Patriot Act, we learned how easily our privacy could be invaded to the point where all our other rights could be cancelled by the accusation of "un-Americanism" or "givng aid and comfort to the enemy". The thought police came out in full force, cutting off any public questioning of military policies, foreign and domestic.
So we sat passively by while the rich got their juicy tax cuts and the factories that provided the life-sustaining jobs moved to other shores where people could be found who were sufficiently desperate to work for nothing and the few jobs that were available were either mnd-numbing slave labor or were already taken by illegal immigrants accustomed to living from hand to mouth. We watched the numbers mount on the casualty list of our American soldiers, and comsoled ourselves that they were there for a "noble purpose". We saw our Congress, the representatives of the people as they held midnight votes on controversial measures with extended time limits so that Congressmen could be extorted on the floor of the House to chnge their votes to the "right" position.
But fear is like grief, the mind tires of it. Just as Cindy Sheehan's mind tired of her grief and converted it to anger at the meaningless death of her beloved son, our minds are tiring of the fear. We can now see that the entire premise of the Iraq war and, just possibly, even the attack on the World Trade Center were staged in order to fill us with horror so that we could be better maneuvered into a position of support for allowing the ruling party to take total control of our country and, thus, of our personal lives. As the bodies pile up in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are beginning to ask, "WHY?" and the lack of believable answer is only ringing silence.
While the slow awakening of the "herd" is progressing, so does the fear that the President feels of the American people. From day one, the President has appeared in public only under tightly controlled conditions, while the Vice-President is rarely seen, other than at gatherings of corpotate moguls. Even the prospect of meeting a defenseless woman who wants only answers to the reasons for the death of her son drive him behind gates and Secret Service personnel for protection. As his "front men" fall into disrepute for vindictive and illegal behavior, the security for the President increases. He appears before groups of military people who are well-controlled or before vetted influential party members in order to mouth his messages of fear which is meant to immobilize opposition.
One can hardly contemplate the current situation without recalling the stories of President Abraham Lincoln and the fact that his office was opened to personal visits from the mothers and wives of those who had fought and died in that Great War Between the States, the Civil War, on both sides! If that President could meet private consolation and prayer with those women, why does the President of today so fear this one woman? She could be escorted down the road to the Ranch House under the watchful eye of the Secret Service, frisked for hidden weapons under those baggy shorts, and her every word monitored. Let her ask her questions and give her real answers. Let us all ask our questions and give US reasonable answers! We are a free people and you are our employee!
No, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea, it is not the American people who are afraid of un-named and unseen "terr'ists". It is the President who is afraid, and afraid most of all of the very people whom he is sworn to serve and to protect. Go about your business. It is not our fear, for many of us have already awakened from it and others are beginning to stir. The most frightened person in our nation today is the one who resides at the White House.
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who operates a small business caring and advocating for the handicapped and the under-privileged. Questions and comment may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.