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The Feralization of America

Bush's Legacy to civvies and soldiers both

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, June 21, 2006.

There was an episode of the comedy Seinfeld where one character obsesses over a retort he should have made at a business meeting, and he goes to great lengths to create a situation with the desired folks and uses it. It bombs badly, of course, and as in all else, learns nothing from it.

Well, I was listening to John Kerry on Don Imus, today. As he correctly noted that the Republicans are under orders from Karl Rove to use the term “cut and run” in references to the Democrats, Kerry suggested that the Democrats’ phrase in retaliation should be that the GOP’s policy is “lie and die.” Despite the fact the verbs in his phrase have different subjects, he seemed pleased with it, and let’s face it: it’s accurate to a large degree of the Republican course of action. But a high school debate newbie could point out how that will backfire. And while listening to that depressing podcast, the face of Seinfeld's George Costanza appeared to the voice of John Kerry, than whom few bear less likeness. He’s got his phrase, and by Go….er, heavenly being in approved FCC lexicon …..and he’s gonna use it. It’s so wrong, hard to know where to begin.

It’s another sign that Democrats are completely capable of bungling this November election. They’re led by an FDR mindset Democrat with a tin ear for phrase in the House. They’re led by a sharp but charisma challenged leader in the Senate. Looking to 2008, they have no new Presidential material yet. Gore, who would have made a great President and still might, and Kerry, who could have been decent, are still bedeviled by Hillary Clinton, who would make an interesting President, but about whom I have serious doubts. And that’s it. Nothing I’ve seen yet inspires otherwise.

Even so, the complete collapse of the Bush presidency continues uninterrupted. The massive corruption scandals seem to be gaining steam: the Abramoff, the Cunningham, a Kentucky governor who’s been indicted three times, plus the Libby issues. On top of that, the killing of another al-Qaeda leader of sorts to no known benefit or effect along with numerous civvies, the continual turning of corners, the perpetual and increasing deaths by insurgents who are not in the their last throes, the obvious feudal and fabricated government of Iraq that will collapse into civil war as soon as we leave, and the feralization of our Armed Forces in a perpetual war with no linear measurement of success, all of this can be lain at Bush’s feet.

And the feralization isn’t a slam. Just as the Stockholm Syndrome recognizes that people as hostages come to identify with their captors, people locked in perpetual combat with no apparent change in their situation or future will respond more and more brutally to each other in increasing percentages. I don’t think that difficult to imagine, and highly dangerous, and it applies to both sides, although the Iraqis had a leg up with their immediate history. Religion is a pretext, not a reason. We’ve known this happens, and we continually refuse to prepare for it. All those soldiers come home, some day. Are you ready? Are they?

We may not have to worry about that, right off. President Bush has said we’ll be in Iraq into the next presidency. Which is to say a war solely based on his wishes and against known national interests will have to be solved by someone else, so stop nagging him about it.

It’s difficult to find enjoyment in the Republican party biodegrading as I’d always hoped they would and have erroneously predicted for over a decade. I hate the Bushies, with their hypocritical insistence on a God not worthy of worship and a Patriotism of chicken hawk bombast, both reduce to ritual trinket adoration in practice. They’re a rotting fish, and the Democrats can neither sharpen the knife nor wield it to open them up.

That's because Democrats want so much for Bush to go down by the same methods applied unsuccessfully to Clinton. There is a serious movement afoot to prove Bush is having an affair with Condi Rice. (It’s on the tabloid covers, it must be true. And of course, the First Lady has moved out and given the President an ultimatum.) The GOP, in turn, is trying hard to terrify the nation over the very thought of a Hillary Clinton presidency, and they’ve been digging deep, even unto Whitewater depths. The feralization of our politics has an old and distinguished history, but only the recent GOP since Lee Atwater celebrates it.

But the feralization – the dehumanizing - of an entire group of young men and women who believed lies and who’ve served long in combat will haunt us in meaningful ways if we don’t take control of our own government, honestly debate well phrased issues, and live by our decisions.

The legacy of the GOP and neoconservatives is the feralization of America, both at home in politics and abroad in the actions of our military. That is the substance of our problems, at present, and Democrats are not rising to the challenge or national need.