the hullabaloo about The End of History? There
were many of us who scoffed then at its hubris,
the sheer arrogance of thinking we were "it."
Now, of course, even the adherents of such triumphalism
are back in the trenches, forecasting their own
gloom--and--obscene--profit version of Permanent
War. It's as if the Cold War never ended--and
just in the nick of time for them, too. This gives
the right the opportunity to revive that most
heinous of Cold War anachronisms, the Loyal Opposition.
Now the LO can be permanently kept toothless by
the ever--present threat of the New Cold War (remember:
they have actually used these words). Some have
even promised World War IV.
bogey man is considered by the right to be sufficient
to cover any manner of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Even the egregiously traitorous act of deliberately
revealing the secret identity of an intelligence
agent must be beyond scrutiny. But who's kidding
whom? The whole concept of loyalty is perverted,
of course, when the war itself is fraudulent,
and when those demanding such loyalty are treasonous
themselves. This whole new ball game--largely
missed, of course by the unnecessarily "loyal"
"opposition," provides the means, opportunity
and motive to beat back the right like never before.
the last analysis, Karl Rove may have to borrow
his defense from Shaggy: It wasn't me. Despite
the increasingly violent denials erupting from
the White House, Rove is widely believed to be
behind the leak, if only because it is also widely
known that all pertinent information is kept,
a la Great Carnac, in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise
jar on Karl Rove's front porch (by which we still
mean the White House).
himself, whose courageous exposure of the Niger
Lie prompted the retaliatory and illegal outing
of his CIA agent wife, said his preference was
to see Rove "frog--marched out of the White House
in handcuffs." I have no idea what "frog--marching"
is, but it all sounds very exciting. It is High
Treason, after all, and may have prompted (and
may yet still) the "liquidation" of dozens of
CIA "assets" overseas. What would the right wing
think of The Regent from Hell--their own little
Frankenstein--suffering the fate of those they
would condemn? High Treason...hmmm sounds like
a job for our old friend, Lethal Injection. Something
wickedly alluring about the ultimate vindictive
fantasy of poking a needle in Rove's icy veins.
Some might think it can't be done on a man like
Rove--the needle would freeze or something. But
then, the needle--happy Texas Mafia must have
more practice than anyone else in chilling the
coldest hearts of man. Talk about opportunity.
what if opportunity knocks and no one answers?
There is no longer any reason to be trapped behind
this soft--on--defense façade, since it is made
of Kleenex and spit. The right wing is always
barking up this same tree. My wife's cousin, filling
that most curious of niches, Black Republican,
keeps shrieking: What about 9/11? Ah, yeswhat
about it, exactly? You can hear the rest of this
tired exchange paraphrased in Al Franken's new
book, in the one--page chapter entitled "Our National
Dialogue About Terrorism." Without even resorting
to the well reasoned arguments about U.S. imperialism,
state terror, etc., the standard expert's opinion
about fighting "terror"--that is to say, mass
murder by non--state groups--is with police, not
invasion and conquest. Go after a fly with a tank,
and two things happen: you're likely to blow up
a whole lot of stuff, and miss the fly in the
fighting terror must be your mantra, then the
counterpoint is obvious: Not only is the right
dangerously incompetent at their own game, but
its vindictive, overly politicized and petty exercise
of this power proves once and for all that they
really don't give a damn about the Security of
the American People they so righteously claim
only they can protect. This is their Ace of Spades,
and OutingGate shows that the Trump Card has no
Technicolor Dreamcoator something like that.
Democrats are beginning to ask for Rove's head
on a spike, as well they should. But they have
been beaten to the punch by more courageous former
defenders of the Realm. What is this, Seven Days
in May?? Do we really need the Halls of Power,
from the CIA to the elite soldiers of Israel's
Air Force, to tell us when the world has gone
mad? Where is the voice of the left in the Democratic
heard this from a translator who declined work,
and she may as well have been speaking for most
of the Democratic Party: "I'm actually not 100%
against the war, although there are some things
about it I don't like." Sounds like the same moral
fuzz that clouds the vision of the Democratic
candidates. Hey, what's not to like? Is it the
DU that will be poisoning the children of the
region for decades? Is it the tens of thousands
of dead and maimed? It's not the war crimes, is
it? Please tell me it's not the war crimes. The
tens of billions in reparations? The point is
that there are enough "embedded disasters" (tell
Fox I own that one) to make anything but total
withdrawal, along with reparations and a foreign
policy which unflinchingly acknowledges such a
grievous mistake--seem doomed to failure.
scary reality is that Democrats seem in insufficient
awe of the horror of inheriting the debacle in
Iraq, and the concomitant mess around the world.
Were it not for the disastrous effects on the
poor of the world of a continuing relentless assault--naively
assuming beyond all evidence that an alternative
to Bush might actually stop this assault--it could
even be argued that it just might be preferable
to spend the next four years watching these bastards
sink in the swamp of their own making, and pulling
them out just as they slip under to make sure
they survive impeachment, trial, imprisonment
GOP is up to another con game, and the Democrats
should not be so easily fooled as in con games
past. However smooth Schroeder and Chirac may
appear on television, no one should mistake the
cool statist rapprochement veneer with any softening
of the world's anger. Career politicians, after
all, will not be the ones to initiate war crimes
trials, let alone commit further acts of mass
murder on behalf of stateless organizations.
inside the American bubble, it seems like a "reasonable"
position that tinkering with the occupation of
Iraq is the prudent course of action. But this
is not 1968. It's like Richard Nixon in reverse.
There is no George Wallace, and the opposition
is squarely in charge of the disaster that is
this war. There is no reason on earth to dignify
this muddleheaded thinking with the old cold war
protection argument has always been a sham, a
Cold War leftover by which the "left" seems only
too eager to be cowed. Some of my favorite lines
in this campaign so far come from Dennis Kucinich's
brave and consistent attempts to give the lie
to Bush's bogus WMD obsession: "Mr. President,
I grew up in America's inner cities, and I have
inspected real Weapons of Mass Destruction here
at home...poverty is a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
Joblessness is a Weapon of Mass Destruction. Lack
of health care is a Weapon of Mass destruction.
Poor education is a Weapon of Mass Destruction."
Bull's--eye. The gap between rich and poor in
America is the widest in 70 years, according to
a new study published by the Center for Budget
and Policy Priorities. But then, motive has never
been much of a problem.
Republican pollster Kevin Phillips has talked
about "Compression," that necessary narrowing
of this gap when it gets too large, as happened
during the 1930's. It is bound to happen one way
or another, and it is pathetic that we keep relying
on renegade republicans to point it out. "Jeffords
saves the party," is not a particularly flattering
headline for a self--respecting "opposition."
John Weaver, a former GOP consultant in Texas,
fled to the Democrats after being hounded out
of the state and the party by the ubervindicitve
Rove, according to James C. Moore, co--author
of Bush's Brain. So is this what we want to be:
the party of Karl Rove's victims?
might be thought best to refrain from mentioning
a particular candidate while making these arguments,
and I had at first intended to do so. But then
I hit on the means, opportunity, motive thing.
Besides, it is tiresome to keep dancing around
it: Kucinich is the Elephant in the Room. The
Means. Even supporters of other contenders often
agree that his is the best position on just about
everything, yet he is almost completely blacked
out because "he can't win." Most of these hypotheticals
wouldn't stand up to scrutiny in any self--respecting
forum, of course, but the best prediction may
come from Eliza Doolittle: Just you wite. Kucinich,
unlike any of the other "non--viable" candidates,
is building an organization that is truly national
in scope, fueled by a truly astonishing supply
of volunteer labor that may not need Kerry's or
Dean's big ticket donors to sustain itself.
smear of ideological purity should not be allowed
to sully the genuine virtue of moral clarity.
In a tense moment in the movie Luther, Joe Fiennes'
dashing portrayal reached a crescendo in his moment
of truth: as supporters looked on, worrying openly
whether the young monk would "say the right thing,"
Luther was finally forced to say whether he would
recant. His firm "I cannot" is more a revelation
of moral truth than an act of defiance, and his
supporters cheered. The tension is broken by his
having said "the right thing"--not, as those frightened
for his life might have reasonably wished, to
save his own ass, but because his conscience gave
him no choice.
moral clarity acts as a beacon where going along
to get along never can. Democrats need to remember
that sloganeering, obfuscating, dodging and weaving
will never win them another election. Programs,
policies and positions--clear and unequivocal--that
affect the growing constituencies they need to
inspire will provide the wining coalition to beat
the right wing - not catch phrases and amorphous
"anger." If the Democrats win, and more importantly,
if that victory is to have any meaning, or any
shadow for future elections, it will be not because
they contort themselves trying to pick "a guy
who can win," but because they pick a guy who
2003 Daniel Patrick Welch. Welch lives and writes
in Salem, Massachusetts, USA, with his wife, Julia
Nambalirwa--Lugudde. Together they run The Greenhouse
School. A writer, singer, linguist and activist,
he has appeared on radio and can be available
for further interviews. Past articles, translations
are available at: danielpwelch.com.
October 1, 2003