PEJ News - C. L. Cook - It's tempting to discount George W. Bush and those around him as something alien to humanity, some sort of ghoulish life-force vampires whose joy and sustenance is the misery inflicted on the rest of the race; but, that would be a misunderestimation of their true constitution.
Pustule of the Body Politic:
You, Me, and George
C. L. Cook
September 10, 2005
You've likely heard the phrase, generally uttered by pachouli scented Sixties types as they huddle about steaming pots of herbal tea: "Everything is connected!"
Beyond the obvious, it's an observation whose simplicity conveys the answer to the question millions have asked these last terrible years: "How on Earth did George Bush become the leader of the planet's most powerful nation?"
The cynics in the crowd may cite the criminal machinations of the Republican party apparatus that employed goons like John Bolton to intimidate voting poll workers; the mobilized racist law enforcement officers to intercept and harrass Black voters; stacked state bureacracies with anti-democratic apparatchiks, happy to obstruct the will of the majority; and, used a crooked judiciary more interested in its own interests than the public's. And, of course those cynics are correct on all points. But, there's another dimension to Dubya's ascension, one more than the mere corruption and venality he represents, one that has more to do with you and me.
The thin veneer of civility so effectively stripped away by the recent disaster in New Orleans can't honestly be said to reveal anything we all don't already know, at some level at least; our system, the economy, the privilege of race and class, the barbarous measures required to sustain the status quo, is nothing new. Images of the suffering of the underclass, whether at home, or wherever our virulent influence is exacted may shock, but they certainly don't surprise.
That we who aren't suffering can watch images of misery, and then go about our daily business supporting the system that promises its continuity without losing a lot of sleep over it attests to a societal disease, a political pandemic far greater than George W. Bush, or any of the serial killer manifestations of that illness preceding him in the White House. George, and this war, not even His war, is merely the latest symptom of our collective sickness; a poison pustule, boiling to the surface of the body politic, a manifestation of our disregard for all, save narrow self-interest.
That this pimple need be lanced is beyond dispute, but if we are content to remove the zit without addressing the infection that created it we run the risk of further sceptic eruptions; eruptions that will prove increasingly toxic, and perhaps fatal to the organism we all, in turn, feed and are fed by.
Yes, we are all indeed connected: I am you, and you are me, and we are all together. And George is where he is now because we failed to practice preventative medicine.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor to PEJ News.