Just got back from the land down under. One of the first questions I asked when I got back home (greeted in the airport by the smiling picture-framed faces of Mein-Bush and Cheney-stahdt) was "Are we still a Democracy?" (A stewardess, passing by and overhearing my question, paused to reply "Barely.")
I'm glad to see Bush's approval at 43 percent, and the effect that approval rating is having on Republican congressmen. Suddenly, all those guys who were shouting "Four More Wars!!!" are starting to do an about face. After all, election time's a-comin-- let the lying begin!!!!
Republican Congressman: "Oh, I was always against the war. We need our boys home."I didn't want to delve too much into getting to know Australian politics while on vacation there, but it's my understanding that most Australians feel about their guy, John Howard, the way we feel about Bush. In a country that leans liberal, with a socialist mindset more akin to Canada, they have a conservative leader (ironically called the "Liberal" party) whose policies have led to economic downturn and war (australia being part of our coalition of the coerced.) Our tour guide said you never used to see homeless people on the streets of Sydney. While I was there I saw about as many as are in New York. However, Australia benefits by being a very large country with a small number of people (90% live in it's 3 major cities). So there's not a large population around to fuck up it's environment (the lush rainforests, sparkling coral reefs and majestic natural features are left mostly to the tourists to destroy), and by the fact that when things look really bad, they can always go look at a kangaroo or a wombat.
Reporter: "But didn't you propose a bill making it mandatory for Bush to declare war on a new country every year?"
Republican Congressman: "Sure, but that was just so that I would have to opportunity to make my strong feelings against the war known."
Republican Congressman: "This press conference is over."
The best part of my 10 days in australia, besides diving the reefs, trekking the rainforests, feeding the kangaroos, and watching the penguins come in to the shore, hundreds at a time at Phillip Island, was getting away from all the bullshit, stress inducing hope crushing politics of our country. I get back and learn we're still a democracy, but then I read about the release of Kerry's war records, which, lo and behold, reveal he's a war hero-- and the headline isn't that Kerry was being honest all along... it's that his grades were one point lower than Bush's. (and his picture was a whole lot uglier). Never mind that Bush took swing dancing 101 while Kerry was taking political science-- the Republican hate mongers took it up as yet another point to drive repeatedly into the brains of anyone trying desperately to run out of earshot. Plus, good ol' Cheney up to his old rhetorical tricks-- calling those at Guantanamo Bay "terrorists," despite the fact that none of them have been charged with a crime. And every Republican's favorite New York Times writer, Willy Safire, continuing to blame Newsweek for riots, war, world hunger, global warming and the weight you put on freshman year in college-- despite the fact that Bush, Afghanistan President Karzai, and the guys who actually did the rioting said Newsweek was blameless. Not to mention I find out the very disturbing news that Katie Holmes is embracing Scientology.
People I met on my trip, from Ireland, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, all made it clear they didn't hold it against me that I was an American. "We love Americans," they told me(proven by a nicely shaped American girl winning the wet t-shirt contest at a bar I went to in Cairns) "We just find it so sad what Bush is doing to your country."
So do I.
The thing is, now is the chance for us loved Americans to do something. To sit around brainlessly soaking up the ineptness of our government is to let the world-- and ourselves-- down. The Republicans are finally starting to attack the Bush-Rove agenda. Where are the Democrats? Where are we?
Write your senator or congressman.. Let him or her know that now is the time for the people to take their government back from the Rich, from the Intolerant, from the Violent.
And if that fails, tell them to start importing kangaroos.