By Frank Pitz
As a pre-adolescent I have fond memories of the "civil defense " air raid drills of the Second World War. Invariably these were conducted during the evening hours, the wailing of the sirens meant that parents and children would draw the heavy green "black-out " shades to hide any light inside. Indeed, if so much as a tiny sliver of light shone through one could be certain of a knock on the door from the "air raid warden " castigating the miscreant for allowing light to shine through. These wardens were mostly neighborhood men - some too old for the draft or otherwise not serving in the military scouting the skies for the "enemy " as well as making sure that no household light shone through which might guide an enemy bomber.
Compared to what our neighbors in Europe and elsewhere were going through our little exercises were more akin to playacting than anything else. But it all served to keep the level of a war footing at a fever pitch. Paranoia and patriotism went hand in glove. We listened to Roosevelt 's "fireside chats, " we bought war bonds, rationing was the order of the day, and I remember many a night spent smashing "tin cans " on the floor for the war effort. Many families had small banners with stars hanging in their windows denoting a family member serving in defense of country. Many of these also signified the death of a loved one, usually in some far away place we could barely pronounce.
I can recall sitting in the parlors of many relatives, listening to talk of Hitler, Emperor Hirohito, Tojo, or Mussolini. I watched as cigarettes were snuffed out in ashtrays with decals such as a rat with the head of Hitler and a slogan stating: "stamp your butts out on this rat. " There was also the same for Mussolini and Tojo. part). None of us kids really thought that the Germans or the Japanese would get to our neighborhoods. It was all just another adventure much like the Saturday matinees where we spent our time watching war movies and westerns.
Flash-forward 60-years and we find ourselves in a war mode without any clearly defined enemy other than a nebulous "war on terror. " Unlike 60-years ago when we were asked (and willingly complied), to sacrifice by rationing and contributing to the war effort; Bush and Company have mandated that we sacrifice our civil liberties, our peace of mind, and our Constitution while they wage an illegal and immoral war against 6-million Muslims. Unlike the fleeting, and vicarious thrill (fear) which we felt in those "air raids " of 60-years ago; Bush and Company not unlike an abusive spouse expend there best coercion to keep us in a constant state of fear and confusion. All the while they assume the role of the beneficent protector.
Borrowing pages from propaganda masters of the past, Bush and Company have refined and even added their own twists. The Bush Administration has refined Goebell 's "big lie " technique into an art form. "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus become vitally important for the State to use all its powers to repress dissent; for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie and thus by extension the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. " Joseph Goebbels Minister of Propaganda, 1933-1945.
Bush and Company have utilized a "Big Lie " serial mechanism wherein all lies become big lies. The administration and their media sycophants when faced with challenges regarding the lies resort to confusing half-truths that are simple and repetitious and constantly recurring. This takes another page from Goebbels concerning political power: " ...the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore be essentially simple and repetitious. " Bush and Company always tend to speak in "generalities " using code words; civilization, Christianity, good, proper, right, democracy and patriotism - words which most Americans respect and revere to gain acceptance of their illegal and immoral policies.
Fear as a political tool is used daily by George Bush. Fear is one of the most primitive human emotions and when used effectively by corrupt politicians it increases the vulnerability of the population to subversion. Much like an abusive spouse uses fear as a weapon of control so also does George Bush utilize the same tactic to control the American population. Along with color-coded "terrorist alerts " this administration uses other manipulative components such as racism, homophobia, disability, poverty, and provincialism to maintain control. By gutting many social services and supports he increases the vulnerability of entire segments of Americans, in effect isolating them just as an abusive spouse insulates their partner from friends and support mechanisms. Bush exhibits many of the typical traits of the male abuser: anger, suspicion, tense moody behavior, and threats toward others. In a domestic situation he would be strongly urged to seek counseling.
This then is the self-anointed leader of the free world, a swaggering, abusive bully, a chronic liar, and a man with no sense of moral right. This is George W. Bush, the man who would be king. The cowboy from Crawford is just as dry and vacuous as any bone-dry oil well he may have drilled in his days as a Texas drunk. Of course, he never actually drilled any wells, he just used friends and their money for the benefit of George W. Bush.
In 1933 at his first inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt uttered the words: " ...we have nothing to fear but fear itself ... " If we as a nation allow the politics of fear and mind-numbing propaganda to continue to make a mockery of our Constitution, and all we treasure as a just society, then we are doomed. Bush and the abusers will have won.