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Deep Impact: How Americans Feel Living Under this Bush Presidency

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Moving Testimony

I recently invited the visitors to my website (www.NoneSoBlind.org) to address the question, "How has living through this Bush presidency affected your basic feelings state and your sense of the world you live in? " For a great many Americans, I knew, the experience of living under this ruling group has been intense, its impact on the deepest fibers of our being profound. It certainly has been for me.

And since our customary way of talking together is to focus solely on what 's out there on our analysis and opinions regarding the "issues " --I figured that it might be constructive to share with one another at a more experiential level.

So I invited people: tell how living under this presidency has changed how it feels to be you and how the world looks to you. ( "You are welcome to post here whether you lament or celebrate the Bush presidency, " I added, though few people of the latter sort seem inclined to visit my site.)

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This question elicited some powerful testimony that America needs to hear. Many people in America are crying out to their countrymen to see what they see and to share their feelings about it.

As American families prepare to gather together for the Thanksgiving holiday, perhaps there will be opportunities to share such testimony. Admittedly, for such occasions, it may be best to avoid controversy. But perhaps with permission, and when the carving set is safely put away --a print-out of the passages quoted below can be given for reading in some private moment--to those in the gathering who are not yet awakened to the painful reality that these several Americans (and millions of others across the country) have seen.

There is in this testimony a message that needs to be heard --especially by those who least wish to hear it. Because it shows that something extraordinary is happening in America --something that must be confronted and understood.

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Here are some eloquent passages from the testimony people posted on my website:

Fran Merker, in New York, writes:
"I grew up in the 50's. Fear meant 'duck and cover, ' 'cause the commies might blow us up- real good! I also was schooled in the horrors of the holocaust by my Jewish mother, which instilled a different kind of fear in me. I could understand the commies coming to get us - it wasn't personal, just politics. Hitler's regime-- his adamant followers showed me the true face of warped humanity. That truly made me FEAR. The slogan -"never again"- was a prayer, not a promise. I recognized that pure evil comes from humans....It wouldn't happen HERE. That's why we all came HERE, wasn't it? Now, fear has come back . I see this administration as the test for our times. We seem to be failing. It is painful to realize so many of my fellow Americans would accept their policies and not worry about how divisive they are meant to be. I fear now - I fear for our children who may be deprived of those moral lessons we seem not to have taken to heart. I trust very few fellow humans because I suspect that they just might be part of this disaster enveloping our society. I am no longer proud to be American and that truly hurts. I won't stop protesting and fighting back, but I fear it will be in vain. How can this perversion of religious values make sense to so many? Never again? I do not know."
L, who works in a bakery in Ohio, writes:
"Rage has seeped into to almost every aspect of my life. I see bumper stickers for Bush and want to smash windshields. When I hear fellow grocery workers support the administration, it 's difficult for me to respond civilly. I find myself wishing bad things to happen , so people might see their mistake and pay for it. This is not the way I want to be. It 's an ugly thing to harbor such ill will for my fellows. I just feel so powerless against the ignorance, arrogance, prejudice, indifference, etc. I guess on some level I choose to be mad rather than be sad."
Sharrhon in Massachusetts writes:
"I feel angrier, more insecure and more discouraged than ever before, yet more awake and alive to the inner imperative to listen to my intuition and be a spiritual warrior-activist ...My biggest concerns are not for myself and my own we 'll be okay! but for the commonweal: how is our country going to survive and how are the most disadvantaged going to get through this trauma? How are the children going to thrive? I struggle with a feeling of near-powerlessness and the need to do something concrete however small to help stem the tide of this great tidal wave of ignorance and greed that threatens us all."
Another woman, C, writes in answer to the question of how living under the Bush presidency makes her feel:
Raped. With impunity. By a gang of dry drunks who are out to control the world. On a gut level and in my spirit, that 's how I feel. On an intellectual level, I 've watched a parallel unfolding between GWB and my alcoholic ex that, in the first days of his first term, prompted me to dive for the volume control and turn the sound down anytime Bush was on the media, because just the sound of his voice automatically made me gag and produced real nausea. I began treatment for PTSD from living with an alcoholic for 20 years just as Twig began his first term, and it made my recovery that much more difficult to realize and witness typical dysfunctional alcoholic behavior both in my head and seeing it in the form of our nation 's highest administrator ...By 2000, I had begun to read the indie blogs and news outlets, and they were confirming my worst fears. Indeed, it wasn 't my PTSD that super-sensitized me to GW 's behavior, many others were noticing it as well. The clumsy syntax and "Bushisms " were just a veneer. His swaggering, ultra-controlling, dogmatic behavior was much more telling than his speech patterns --I 'd lived with it for 20 years. For an alcoholic, even a non-practicing alcoholic who is not in recovery, speech is merely a tool to hide secrets, not an attempt to communicate. I believe that he found it so hard to speak correctly because he was carrying such a burden of secrets that he was constantly fighting a battle within himself. He simply wasn 't well-practiced at being glib as he would later become ...The current administration is pathologically sociopathic, narcissistic, and that they are abusing their power by negating the American people. Which goes a long way in explaining why the American public is taking so long to react. A rationally thinking person just can 't believe that another human can exist with such an irrational mindset. The same way I kept thinking that my ex couldn 't possibly be as mean as he kept acting. Well, guess what --it takes a long time to wake up to the fact that, yes, some people really ARE mean, greedy, biased, hateful, etc., and carry out their terrible behaviors in secret; or when confronted, cover up with lies, or take the offensive as a means to confuse the issue. I am beginning to feel hope. The truth will out, and once it does, I do believe there are enough rational, thinking Americans who will see through the dysfunctional lies and not remain quiet for any more abuse. And I think this will be enough. No need to exact revenge or retribution on the abusers --just get better leaders in power and remain vigilant so that this kind of abuse doesn 't happen again.
Mark R. in Mississippi writes:
"I believe that as a nation comprised of nearly 300 million people, we have a collective soul. And during the past five years the actions of the current administration and our effete Congress has seriously wounded that collective soul. My heart aches, day after day, with the knowledge that our government is destroying the lives of so many people on our planet ... Our major media outlets are complicit with the Bush administration in misleading the American people on virtually every domestic and foreign policy issue that is discussed. This fact makes me angry, it makes me sad, and I feel as if there is little hope for undoing the damage that has been done to our nation .... I travel extensively around throughout both Europe and the Middle East, and I am amazed at how ashamed I am to have to admit that I am an American citizen. Our republic has been hijacked by mean-spirited, selfish, power-hungry, evil people, and I fear that is nothing we, the common folk, can do about it. The only hope I cling to is that web sites like this one and blogs will help to educate a greater mass of our fellow citizens to the disturbing times we live in. Maybe, just maybe, a grass roots movement can regain control of our nation and we can then work toward rebuilding our democracy here in the United States as well as renew our standing in the world as a peaceful and just society ...."


A Message for America

These passages contain a message America must hear. They point to something dark that has been unfolding in our country.

And to those people who have not seen that darkness, and particularly those who see there a light, I would say:

Please think about the fact that people in this country --people who care-- are experiencing such feelings as these. People are grieving. People are angry. People are afraid.

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People are suffering because of what they see happening in America, because of destructive spirit they see now governing how power is being wielded at the highest level.

This is not how it usually is in America. Might it be time to assess what it is that is leading to such extraordinary distress?

Almost seventy percent think the country is heading in the wrong direction. Almost sixty percent in one poll say they think the president is not honest. Might it be time to look again to see if you can perceive the darkness in the forces that so many of your countrymen see leading and misleading --our country in the wrong direction?

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
 

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