Mudcat Café message #1305179 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1305179
Posted By: Amos
23-Oct-04 - 07:44 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From a dear friend:

GUESTWORDS: By E.L. Doctorow

    The Unfeeling President

    September 9, 2004 - Easthampton Star

    I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not
suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who
    wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General
Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives
    of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death
was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not
    of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost
more than Eisenhower could bear.

    But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind
for it. You see him joking with the press,
    peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't
seem to find, you see him at rallies
    strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the
carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving,
    triumphal, a he-man.

    He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is
satisfied during the course of a speech
    written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave
young Americans who made the ultimate
    sacrifice for their country.

    But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an
emotion which he does not feel in the
    depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not
feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000
    dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.

    They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or
wives and children who will suffer to
    the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial
relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of
    aborted life . . . they come to his desk as a political liability,
which is why the press is not permitted to
    photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

    How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets
nothing. He does not regret that his
    reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the
facts. He does not regret that his bungled
    plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a
disaster. He does not regret that,
    rather than controlling terrorism, his war in Iraq has licensed it.
So he never mourns for the dead and crippled
    youngsters who have fought this war of his choice.

    He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive
the costs of war, or to listen to those who
    knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war
when it is one of the options but when it is
    the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have

    Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to
cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator.
    He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to
have a mind for only one thing -- to take
    power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of
themselves and their friends.

    A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader.
The country gets behind you. Dissent
    becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is
not contrite, he does not sit in the church
    with the grieving parents and wives and children. He is the
president who does not feel. He does not feel for
    the families of the dead, he does not feel for the 35 million of us
who live in poverty, he does not feel for the
    40 percent who cannot afford health insurance, he does not feel for
the miners whose lungs are turning black
    or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work
overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills
    - it is amazing for how many people in this country this president
does not feel.

    But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is
relieving the wealthiest 1 percent of the
    population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and
that he is polluting the air we breathe for
    the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the quality of
air in coal mines to save the coal miners'
    jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half
benefits for overtime because this is actually a
    way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

    And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and
the flag and democracy, when just what he
    and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of

    But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I
remember the millions of people here and around
    the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that
spontaneous aroused oversoul of alarm and
    protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After
all, this was not the only war anyone had
    ever seen coming. There are little wars all over he world most of
the time.

    But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of
people that America was ceding its role as
    the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the
classic archetype of democracy was morphing
    into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was
turning its back on the future, using its
    extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a
concordance of civilizations but to endorse the
    kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a
people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring
    their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

    The president we get is the country we get. With each president the
nation is conformed spiritually. He is the
    artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the
laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern
    our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast
in his image. The trouble they get into and
    get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

    Finally, the media amplify his character into our moral weather
report. He becomes the face of our sky, the
    conditions that prevail. How can we sustain ourselves as the United
States of America given the stupid and
    ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving,
and the monarchal economics of this
    president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as
to make us mourn for ourselves.

Sums it up beautifully.