doubt there is guilt
Clearing House" -- -- Sadly, little coming from America's
politics can fire my enthusiasm. During my lifetime, America
has busied itself with the task of burying liberalism,
reminding one of October's frenetic squirrels hunting and
The nation is pretty much at ease with ugly imperial
government. Liberalism, and I mean liberalism in the
broadest, richest sense of the word, is a topic of bathroom
We read and hear a great deal about the Democrats' sizable
victory in mid-term elections, and I suppose after six years
of Bush's near-insanity, people have a right to a little
excitement, although one is sobered by the recollection that
the same people returned him to office just two years ago.
At least, the world can be grateful that Bush has been
hobbled for his last two years.
The Democratic Party has been all but dead for years as a
meaningful national alternative. The party has no recognized
national leader. It has no cause, no fire in the belly. It
has been largely silent for six years while Bush rampaged
through the world and literally peed on American liberties
like a grotesquely-smirking, small-town sheriff. No
President in history has shown so little respect for human
rights, and with so little excuse, yet all the would-be
defenders of the Republic, whether Congressmen or the
Don't-Tread-on-Me crowd, have been no where to be seen. And
Democrats like Lieberman or Kerry can hardly be
distinguished from Republicans.
The Democrats have been elected because Americans are now
sick of Iraq. Their enthusiasms die quickly. American
expectations for the wars they start are perfectly captured
by the image of Bush landing on an aircraft carrier with a
big banner behind him saying Mission Accomplished. It's a
blockbuster version of the Homecoming Game with guys in
uniforms and cheerleaders and flags, and there is no hint of
death or decay. Anything beyond that kind of performance is
welcomed like the kid who couldn't make the team.
I doubt there is widespread concern that Iraqis still huddle
in homes with no reliable electricity or clean water, no
jobs, and fearful to step into murderous streets. I doubt
there is much guilt over having killed half a million of
them. I doubt there is guilt about running a secret gulag
and torturing helpless captives. I doubt there is guilt
about blood-spattered holes like Abu Ghraib. Because if
there were such guilt, there would have been a revolt
against Bush's criminal government.
The American tendency to quickly tire of things is mightily
reinforced by the depressing consciousness of having lost.
Americans are conditioned in the great booming engine of
Social Darwinism they call society that there is no
substitute for winning, and winning in a chest-thumping way.
Losing is for losers, and loser is a favorite American
expression of contempt for others. They hate losing, and yet
the simple fact is that many of the conflicts into which
they thoughtlessly are led end up lost.
I am sure Americans are tired of images and commentary about
Iraq on television, tame as they have been deliberately
kept. They're tired of knowing that cute little Steve and
Susie graduating high school this year can't just join up to
have their college paid and be heroes in uniform without
risking their health.
The greatest horror Bush has inflicted on humanity, the
suppurating body of Iraq, is unlikely to be attended by
Democrats. They want the White House in two years, and they
do not want to be left holding Bush's "tarbaby." Instead,
they will scrutinize and highlight every twist and turn of
Bush's bumbling, murderous efforts as he struggles to leave
Iraq. American politics are just that brutal. No wonder
there are so many wars.