know it's time for a serious change when the president
of the United States actually mutters the infantile,
instantly infamous line, "Our enemies are innovative
and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop
thinking about new ways to harm our country and
our people, and neither do we," just after finishing
phonetically spelling out his name, in his favoritest
red crayon, on yet another budget-reaming $417
billion defense-spending bill.
you know it's time for a change when not a single
one of the rigid and spiritually curdled military
yes men standing around the ceremonial signing
table, those sad automatons with their wooden
smiles and stiff spines and bone-dry souls, not
one broke into a hysterical bout of sad, suicidal
laughter, followed by uncontrolled wailing and
the rending of flesh and the muttering of oh my
freaking God what the hell is this man doing as
leader of the free world.
know it's time for a change when you hear that
Kerry and Edwards both wrote their own riveting,
galvanizing acceptance speeches at the Democratic
National Convention, heartfelt and effective rhetoric
that gives you hope not for the quality of polished
oratory but for genuine, refreshing political
intellect, and verbal acumen, as you offer deep
thanks that at least some politicians can still
speak coherently and cogently without mangling
the goddamn language at every adjectival clause.
you just know Dubya isn't capable of writing a
single word of his own speeches, and will employ
entire squadrons of lackeys to do it for him at
the RNC, and will regardless still insist on mispronouncing
"nukuler" and "'Murka" and "terrist" and "gin
bender at Yale," and will doubtlessly say something
like, "We must stamp out evil in all its forms
because evil wants to do evil things to us and
evil don't know the depths of its own, uh, evilnesses.
are signs and indicators. There are feelings and
intuitions. There is that undeniable tang in the
air, that clenching of the cultural colon, that
cringe in the collective soul. Something has got
to give. A national shakeup is more than imminent
-- it is desperately, urgently needed. And Bush
is just about finished.
you feel it? The sensation that the country cannot
continue to careen down this ultraviolent, antihumanitarian
path much longer without implosion and desperation
and a massive increase in sedative prescriptions
for anyone with an even slightly intuitive sense
of justice and future and long hot sighs of hope?
You're not alone.
know it's time for a dramatic change when American
bookstores and movie theaters are filled with
unprecedented numbers of extraordinarily damning
BushCo exposes and embarrassing tell-all tomes
and brutal whistle-blower digests from all corners
of the culture, produced by everyone from disheartened
CIA insiders to ex-generals to respected reporters
to former U.S. allies.
Clarke's "Against All Enemies," Woodward's "Plan
of Attack," Suskind's "The Price of Loyalty,"
Phillips' "American Dynasty," Dean's "Worse Than
Watergate," Unger's "House of Bush, House of Saud"
and "Imperial Hubris," by 'Anonymous,' to "Fahrenheit
9/11" and "Outfoxed" and "The Hunting of the President."
Go ahead, Google any one (or all) of those titles.
The list is endless and stunning in its depth
and in the heat of its unanimous BushCo condemnation.
it's getting so you can't turn a corner or have
a nuanced, humane thought without confronting
another hunk of undeniable proof that what these
media documents say is true: The Bush administration
is quite possibly the most economically destructive,
environmentally devastating, ethically corrupt,
internationally loathed, deliberately tyrannical,
worst-dressed administration in American history.
too harsh? Hardly.
the professors and other intellectuals and the
artists and the social workers and the mystics
and the truly spiritual among us are appalled
and mournful, and the homophobes and the rednecks
and the religious zealots are cheering and shooting
their guns in the sky, this is how you know.
America has become a global punch line, a petulant
and screeching child in an oversize Texas cowboy
hat throwing oily little tantrums on a WMD whim,
and the global community can only sit there, stunned
and enraged, as every ally withdraws all offers
of support and overtures of concern for our well-being,
this is how you know.
activists know it. Angry groups are popping up
by the hundreds across the nation, all working
diligently to toss a nice emetic into the Republican
gorge-fest. Some are even going so far as to offer
up the ultimate sacrifice: They will have sex
with any Republicans willing to withhold their
Bush vote this election.
true. It's funny. It's called fthevote.com. What,
too extreme? Hey, extreme times call for extreme
watchdogs know it. The usual reaction from most
analysts and wonks, most intellectuals and artists,
when faced with another presidential election,
is this: Yawn. After all, such ultra-elitist,
top-tier shifts have little effect on the massive
daily political grind, the real meat and potatoes
of government, right? This is the common wisdom.
A change in presidents is like changing the paint
on an aircraft carrier: different patina, same
this time. All those who normally claim that a
change in who sits in the Oval Office means nothing
are now all frantically waving their arms and
shouting their protests and joining the resistance.
This election is different. This one matters like
never before in history, considering how so many
of us underestimated just how much damage a single
president's gnarled, hateful administration could
unleash upon the world in a single term.
is the new rallying cry. If you care at all about
the soul of this country, if you care at all about
women's rights and gay rights and true spiritual
freedom and the environment and our international
standing, if you care at all about actually reducing
the anti-U.S. hatred in the world, as opposed
to amplifying it a thousandfold, then oh my god
yes, this election matters.
then, is how you know it's time for a serious
change. When you can feel it in your bones, when
you finally attune and really listen to the underlying
messages and dig deep into your own spirit and
discover that no, this isn't the way the world
is supposed to work. This is not the way the country
has to be.
is not the way the world's greatest superpower
is supposed to behave, this bitter metallic taste
that leaps into my mouth whenever I see a picture
of BushCo isn't really supposed to be there, the
vice president isn't supposed to make children
cry and flowers wilt and the gods recoil in disgust.
the president isn't supposed to mangle the language
and induce multiple wars and invite international
derision and make so many millions of us ashamed
to be Americans. It's time for a serious change.
This is how you know.
Posted: August 14, 2004