Bush Vs. Not-Bush
By Frank Scott
The corporate parties held their conventional orgies of blatant hypocrisy and false motivation in September. The Democrats emphasized that Not-Bush was a hero in Viet Nam, and the Republicans didn't mention that Bush dodged the draft for Viet Nam. The multitudes, drunk on political power and corporate booze, were thrilled by the spectacle, foreseeing victory for their great candidate and their great country. Sure.
The present regime has been America's worst, for everyone but the rich and the ignorant. It has alienated most of the world and created a domestic market that fills the malls with books, videos, films, bumper stickers and T-shirts that all Hate Bush. It remains to be seen if that profitable, commodity-linked hatred can possibly help Not-Bush, who may be the worst candidate the opposition could find. His wretched performance might guarantee another defeat for Democrats. While the Bushites lie, fear monger, and lie, the Not-Bushites imitate the Seinfeld show, but without the jokes. Their campaign seems to be about nothing.
The Republican coronation was the usual theater of flags, balloons and hysterical rhetoric about god and country. The Democrats almost equaled the patriotic bombast and reality denial, and that's the problem. They remain an imitation, a Republican Lite, afraid to stand for anything that counters their polls and focus groups, which they seem to administer to themselves. Not-Bush repudiates the most substantial move of his life-opposing the Viet Nam war-and tries to make himself a patriotic hit man, to outshine the more rhetorical killers of the other mob. Unlike the dense, plodding Bush, he is said to be subtle, nuanced. This means that when asked a yes or no question, he answers yes and no. And polls suggest a population of manic depressives or pimps; forecasts of a landslide or a tight race depend on the public mood swing, or who is paying for the poll.
The hatred for Bush could sway the election, since millions will vote for anyone but him. That isn't the strongest incentive for an election, which is supposed to be the prime example of our spectator form of popular power. But even while praising democracy inside their conventions, both parties did all they could do to suppress it outside. As usual, the Republicans outdid the Democrats.
Democrats put a tight lid on demonstrations, and reduced the convention crowd to a programmed TV audience, but the Republican production topped that. Not only was their house a vast sea of blissful studio patrons, but the outside was kept cosmetically clean by a massive police action. People who thought they could exercise rights of free speech and assembly often found themselves dumped into jails before they could utter a word or form a group. Hysterical propaganda combined with Gestapo-like tactics to sweep opposition off the streets. Still, massive numbers were able to express their antagonism to the regime's treacherous war that the Democrats are too complicit in to question. If that passion translates into votes, other than in New York, there could be a November surprise.
But those who wish to see a world that actually fosters democracy by nurturing freedom, peace and social justice, must look beyond this corporate jockeying for power. Even if Bush actually gets more votes this time, ruling class opposition will control him. A segment of the establishment prefers the normal style of empire, with mass murders only on special occasions, and not as a matter of everyday life. In fact, reelection might be the only way to give him what he richly deserves for his deceitful, bloody war; impeachment.
The death toll of Americans has gone beyond 1000 since Bush claimed victory. Iraqis have died in the tens of thousands, as this imperial war destroys a previously rich nation, with the corporate terrorists profiting by rebuilding the ruins they themselves created, at taxpayer expense. Just as in Palestine, the suicide bombings increase as despair spreads among a generation without hope. Continued killing abroad is creating more terrorists, with a threat that they will soon, again, arrive here. The regime thrives on fear of foreign terror, while it does everything possible to make it domestic.
A new administration will do little to change that, since it's imperial policy is as Zionist oriented as that of the present fanatics. It may dress fear in more fashionable garments, and perhaps help some of the affluent sigh with relief. Domestic policies may be tweaked, at least cosmetically, to please those who have been totally left out of this administration's programs; just about everyone but the rich.
But the global changes that are afoot are more important than an American election. It assumes major importance only for a relative minority here, where many will not vote at all, and most will cast ballots against the "winner." The larger problems of a menacing political economic system will not be solved by this election. A world in which a few gamble billions of dollars in financial markets, while millions go hungry and homeless, will not be affected by a new staff at the executive office in the USA. The market forces of capital will continue their rule, and candidates who merely represent different styles of its gangsterism will not change the substance of a system.
That system, which threatens the natural and social environment of the entire planet, will remain in place once this election is over. No October surprise or November result will alter the reality: the cancer of capital's threat to the entire world will remain. Bush or Not-Bush, on November third, those who really care about the world and its people will need to forget this phony exercise, and work to counter whatever disasters the new or old malignant tumor in the white house will threaten.