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What you can do about Bush
June 23, 2003 By Harley Sorensen

The San Francisco Chronicle

From our 1776 Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government ..."

And, also from the Declaration of Independence:

"... when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce [the people] under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security."

And, finally:

"The History of the present King of Great Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States."

Take out "King of Great Britain" in the last paragraph above and substitute "President George W. Bush," and you have a perfect beginning for a modern American Declaration of Independence.

Folks, Bush has gone too far, too many times. He is a one-man wrecking crew, destroying, bit by bit, what decent men and women have created and improved upon for 227 years.

We have to stop him. We have to do it soon. If we don't, we won't have an America to protect.

Perhaps some of you can't see the forest for the trees. Perhaps you're too close to the picture to see it clearly. But, I assure you, the rest of the world knows what's going on in America. The rest of the world is aghast. "What is happening to America?" they ask. "Why don't the Americans do something about Bush?"

Last week I got an unbelievably heavy surge of e-mail from readers. And roughly 80 percent had the same question: "What can I do?"

What can I do? What can anybody do? Does it help to write to members of Congress? Should I write letters to the editor? Please, please, tell me, what can I do?

My answer last week was, "I don't know." But I've been thinking about it, and I've come up with a few ideas that might actually work, if we're lucky.

And if we're good.

First, let me tell you what won't work: violence. Any violent attempts to correct our national problems will do nothing but make them worse.

A new American revolution at this point would be counterproductive. It would just divide us and lead us into civil war. And any thought of assassination is idiotic.

We need nonviolent solutions.

Our first step, I believe, is to hold public rallies and protest demonstrations. I know, I know, I opposed the recent anti-war demonstrators, but there's a difference. The anti-war demonstrators had no chance of succeeding.

Anti-fascist demonstrators might have better luck.

"Fascism" is an incendiary term when applied to America, but consider its dictionary definition: "A political ... regime ... that exalts nation ... above the individual and that stands for a central, autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation and forcible suppression of opposition."

With the exception of economic regimentation, the Bush administration seems to fit the "fascist" definition rather neatly.

Bush is not a dictator, but is he "dictatorial"? I'd say he is. My dictionary says "dictatorial" "stresses autocratic, high-handed methods and a domineering manner." That fits George W. Bush's style to a T. In fact, he even once said, on his first trip to Washington after being elected, that his job would be easier if he were a dictator.

In any event, it's time to start demonstrating against this man and what he represents. It's time to declare our independence from this man. We need to create a small army of modern Thomas Paines.

Bush's war against Iraq has become the disaster many of us feared it would become. Our troops are being killed on a daily basis. So are Iraqi citizens. We've virtually destroyed Iraq's major cities.

We've accomplished our stated goals -- getting rid of Saddam Hussein and his ethereal weapons of mass destruction -- so what are we doing there? It's time to pull out and leave the Iraqi oil behind.

There is no shortage of administration sins upon which to focus and demonstrate against. We could have massive demonstrations in every American city every day of every week.

Take the FCC decision of a fortnight ago. The only people who favored it were the three commissioners who voted for it, the Bushies who led them and the communication companies that stand to increase their fortunes from it. The remainder of America was against it, yet it slithered its way into law.

We should be protesting anti-American stuff like that. We should make our voices heard.

Just last week the Bushies edited out data about climate change in an Environmental Protection Agency report. Bush made it clear early in his administration that he has no interest in environmental protections that might cost industry money, so he and his cronies are pretending global warming can't possibly exist.

We should be protesting stuff like that. The air we breathe and the water we drink are far more important than any company's profits.

But we must not divert our energies. To be successful, we must focus. Our job is to protect ourselves from Bush. We should let other social ills pass for the moment. Saving our nation is more important than saving the whales.

To be successful, our movement can't be limited only to Bush's political opponents -- Democrats, liberals and professional rabble-rousers. We need good conservatives who are tired of playing follow the leader as they watch our liberties go down the drain.

The salvation of our nation is not a partisan issue.

In Congress, we need more John McCains -- senators and representatives who think for themselves and refuse to slavishly follow the party line. We need conservative citizens who will do the same. We need brave Democrats in office (if they exist!) and even braver Republicans, like Jim Jeffords of Vermont, who risked all to save his nation.

We need the help of rich people who love their country, people like George Soros or Bill Gates Sr. or Bill Gates Jr.

We need to get out of Afghanistan as well as Iraq. For all our bluster over there, we control perhaps one neighborhood of Kabul. The rest of the country is controlled by warlords and drug lords. The opium-poppy crop is leaving Afghanistan by the ton -- so where is our sanctimonious "war on drugs"?

Folks, Bush and his gang have angered our enemies and inspired them to try harder. Thus, our foes are doing exactly what we would be doing if we were in their shoes: planning bigger and better attacks. We treat them as if they are one criminal organization run by Osama bin Laden, but in fact they're a hydra-headed monster that can't be defeated. Chop off one head and another appears. Our only hope is to learn to get along with them, and the Bush people are doing just the opposite.

We should be protesting such a stupid foreign policy, not just in the streets but in letters to the editors, calls to talk shows and discussions with our friends and neighbors.

We need courageous foreign-service officers who will tell it like it is. We need civil servants who will risk their jobs to serve their country. We need rival political parties, like the Greens and Libertarians, to back off their dreams -- for now -- and join the fight to save our nation.

We need corporate CEOs to draw the line and quit paying the bribes demanded by both parties. "But, Harley," the CEOs will argue, "if we don't pay, we lose out, our profits drop and we lose our jobs." That may be true, but the health of our nation is more important than any company's profits, any man's job. If we lose this good thing we have going here, this wonderful United States of America, we may never get it back.

And we need character in our press. The much-chronicled sins of one cheating New York Times reporter pale compared with the propaganda that comes out of Fox News or MSNBC on a daily basis.

I know that sucking up to the lowest common denominator builds ratings, and high ratings translate into bigger paychecks, but our nation is at stake and it's time to stop pandering. We need a responsible press. You and I should demand a responsible press.

So, organize. Do what you can as an individual. We have to fight back. I've made a few suggestions, but I know from experience that people who read this column can come up with a thousand better ones. Do that. And spread the word.

Will all our efforts drive Bush from office? No. But we can distract him, and slow down his attempts to rebuild America in his own image. In 17 months we can vote him out of office. If our movement is powerful enough, we'll have a choice then between a good Democrat and a good Republican not named Bush.

"...Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

(Late-breaking news: I just heard VoterMarch is sponsoring a permitted protest from 5 pm to 7 pm today in Manhattan, where Bush will be staging a $2,000-a-plate reelection-campaign fund-raiser at the Sheraton New York Hotel. I've also heard a rumor that an anti-Bush march is planned for July 4 in Philadelphia. So the movement is already under way!)

Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist and liberal iconoclast. His column appears Mondays. E-mail him at harleysorensen@yahoo.com.
2003 SF Gate


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