Monday, November 29, 2004

Final Judgment: Dissolution of Union

Red States
Blue States

Terms and Conditions

Heretofore, let it be known that both parties involved in the legal dissolution of Union between the Red States and Blue States agree to the following terms and conditions listed here. This decree, once notarized by the court, is binding and shall be upheld by both parties under penalty of law.

1. Real Property

Real property shall be divided herein between those states designated "Red" and "Blue" based on the 2004 presidential election results. Alaska will be Red, Hawaii Blue.

2. Citizenship

There will be a one year amnesty period during which individuals or families may move from Blue to Red States or vice versa with no need for paperwork or visas. After one year, residence in each color will have to obtain the proper paperwork and identification to travel or move to the other color. The Blue States also stipulate that any Red State citizen wishing to permanently move to a Blue State must undergo health, psychological and educational testing prior to the granting of citizenship.

3. Resources

Red and Blue States will retain all natural and man-made resources currently established within each state’s jurisdiction.

4. Division of Property

Red and Blue States agree to the following division of property with future disputes to be settled under U.N. auspices.

A 50-50 split has been agreed upon for Ice Shows, Circuses, Carnivals, Car Shows, Pops Concerts, Blue Grass Bands, Gospel Groups and various regional festivals.

All Talk Radio
Charlie Daniels Band
Ted Nugent
All country and western musicians
Wayne Newton
Bruce Willis
All Elvis impersonators
Lynard Skynard
Jeff Foxworthy
ZZ Top
All Military Marching Bands
Dennis Miller
FOX (with the exception of the Simpsons)
Rupert Murdoch
TV Reality Shows
All Christian Broadcasting
All Monster Truck Shows, Demolition Derbies, Drag Strips, Pro Wrestling, Tribute Bands
Wet T-Shirt Contests
Square Dancing, Clogging, line dancing
Beauty Pageants
Hee Haw, Gilligan’s Island, Dukes of Hazard, Jerry Springer reruns
Guns & Ammo, The Enquirer, Reader’s Digest, Washington Times, National Review, Hot Rod

Bruce Springsteen
Jerry Seinfeld
David Letterman
All Opera, Classical Musicians, Ballet, Jazz, Live Theatre
Oprah, Donahue
NPR, Public Television
Comedy Central
Discovery Channel
Dixie Chics
The Daily Show
Bill Moyers
Ballroom dancing, performance art, poetry
Coffee shops
Paul Newman
Hard Rock Cafe
M.A.S.H., Cheers, Frazier, Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live reruns
Marx Brother’s Films
Harper’s, The Nation, New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, Playboy

ENTERTAINMENT NOT ACCEPTABLE TO EITHER PARTY (May be shipped to Canada or Europe at a later date)
Richard Simmons
Hip Hop
Arena Football
Cheerleading Contests
Celebrity Sports Contests
Flea Circuses
Water skiing animals
Carrot Top, Pauly Shore, Yanni, Adam Sandler


All country and western clothing
Steel Toe Boots
Military Uniforms
Sports Mascots
Baseball Caps
White Sweat Socks

Shoes With Tassels and Buckles
Tuxedos and Evening Gowns
Men’s & Women’s Suits
Clothes for Pets
Unisex Clothes
Walking shoes


Christian Coalition
Republican Party Headquarters
Independent Party Headquarters
Boy & Girl Scouts
Military Schools
Federalist Society
All corporate “front” organizations

Screen Actors Guild
Democratic Party Headquarters
Green Party Headquarters
Sierra Club
Gay Alliance
Planned Parenthood

(Agree to share 50-50 all professional sports other than those listed)

Alligator Wrastlin’
Tractor Pulls
Cow Pie Tossing
Bull Riding in Bars
Pie Eating Contests

Effete European Sports (Cricket, Bocce Ball, Curling)
Naked Tug O War


Fried Chicken
Pork Rinds
Head Cheese

Ethnic Food
Low Fat Anything
Organic Food
Smoked Cheese


Pick-up Trucks
American Cars
Motorcycles (Harleys)

Foreign Cars
Motorcycles (other than Harleys)
Mass Transit

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

IN THE NEWS: “Virgin Mary” Grilled Cheese Sandwich sells for $28,000 on eBay.

Currently up for bid on eBay:

“Last Supper” Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Pancake

“Passion of the Christ” Hamburger Patty with Diced Onions and Ketchup

“Pope John Paul II“ Dried Russet Potato

“Christ on the Cross” Mashed Potatoes and carrot slivers

“Baby Jesus” Yellow Squash

“The Burning Bush Speaks to Moses” Broccoli/Little Wieners Diorama

“God Creates Woman” Bar-B-Q Ribs

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Mum’s The Word

It’s not surprising, but very troubling nonetheless, that the mainstream media remains all but silent on the voting fraud evidence that is coming to light. This is potentially the most important national news story since the terrorists attacks of 9/11, yet network and cable news stations are dismissing it out of hand, rolling their eyes at all the Internet conspiracy theories. Yet it may be the Internet that ultimately saves us.

The Internet is allowing millions of people see the evidence of voter fraud firsthand, make their own judgments and add their own information. Now we don’t have to wait six months for a book to be published on the 2004 election fraud. We don’t have to rely on the dormant press to do their jobs. Citizens around the country and around the world have immediate access to crucial information, and they are the ones putting the puzzle pieces together.

This is a time-sensitive situation. There have already been reports of important voting documents being taken out of polling places and thrown in dumpsters. Who knows what’s happening in cyberspace. The longer this process is drawn out, the less chance there is that corroborating evidence will be found. And perhaps that’s exactly what the media is hoping for: If we put our fingers in our ears and go “Blah, blah, blah, we can’t hear you” long enough, all the bad news while go away, and we can go back to non-controversial stories about singing dogs and exotic diseases.

If there has been fraud, even if it doesn’t change the outcome of the election, we the voters deserve to know this. Whether malicious or simply human or machine error, it’s essential that problems are discovered and corrected or even the small percentage of eligible voters who do still vote will not turn out on election day.

Can you blame them? How many people are going to come out to vote if they feel an election is rigged? Our democracy won’t survive long if we can’t be sure our votes are counted and that the returns are an honest reflection of the will of the people. We’ve already had two elections fraught with doubt and skepticism, and there is little confidence there will be significant progress made to change things for the better over the next four years. Why mess with a system that got you elected and that can benefit other Republicans in the future?

We know from first-hand accounts that there was voter intimidation, discouragingly long lines to vote and misleading voting information given out in many of the swing states, yet even these “knowns” are getting scant attention from news organizations. If the ultimate truth is to come out about the legitimacy of this election, and perhaps prior elections, it will be up to intrepid Internet investigators to force the national media’s hand and make them do their job—which is to expose the truth.

Friday, November 19, 2004

My Christmas Wish List:

• Michael Jackson and George Bush share the same jail cell
• Someone from Cost Cutters ties down Donald Trump and gives him a decent haircut
• My own island
• An election recount that finds Kerry actually won
• The death of rap
• Newspaper comics that are actually funny
• A Pulitzer Prize
• A driver’s license photo that doesn’t make me look like a terrorist
• An epiphany for everyone with a red-state-of-mind
• The death of reality shows
• A liberal television network
• Iowa Hawkeyes win the Rosebowl
• Democrats find the cajones to out Republicans as the undemocratic thugs they really are
• The death of talk radio
• $76 bazillion
• America gives Iraq back to the Iraqis
• Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, O’Reilly, et. al publicly apologize to the world for being morons and getting paid for it, and then have their heads shaved
• A kitty

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Theft in Progress

Whether they stole the 2004 election or not, the conservative Republican mob is in the process of stealing our country. With the media now under their thumb, nothing stands in the way of their plans to turn a democratic nation into a capitalist theocracy. Since 1980, the Religious Right has made ground with every election, and even during the Clinton era, gathered enough strength to nearly bring down the President for the horrific crime of being a naughty boy. Today they have control of all three branches of government, and they hold a fearful citizenry in the palm of their hand. There remain no serious roadblocks to creating the Christian nation for which they have long prayed.

Like an accident happening in slow motion, I watch the government careening out of control and wonder: Is it too late to stop our descent into a Christian-fascist state? How do we know when we have passed the point of no return? How bad must it get before We The People wrest the wheel of state away from the spiritually-impaired drivers in Washington? These are incendiary questions, I realize, but when the fate of one’s country is on the line, which I believe it is, this is not merely a rhetorical exercise. No one ever dreamed the United States would one day be hijacked by religious fanatics. You can feel the Bush terror-level rising daily as the terms “fascism” and “fascist state” turn up in more and more essays and commentaries.

What is so alarming to liberals and progressives is that the checks and balances this country depended on for over two centuries have been effectively negated, the system subverted, by people who believe they are doing God’s work on earth. The Supreme Court won’t save us. Our elected officials in Congress don’t have the courage to help. The press won’t do its job. Where do we turn?

The issue here is that we are not merely dealing with opposing viewpoints. It’s not as simple as liberal versus conservative. It is a battle between those who believe in the principals on which this country was founded, and those who do not. Religious conservatives in America neither understand nor believe in democracy. Like the Taliban or any other religious fundamentalist group on the planet, they believe in an authoritarian, vengeful, patriarchal, uncompromising God, and they are dead set on having those principals serve as the guiding force of our government.

Over the next four years, we will see concerted efforts to bring prayer into public schools, outlaw abortion, make gay marriage a crime, increase the government’s abilities to infiltrate our private lives, and much, much more. Bush, Cheney, Rove and gang will work night and day to continue blurring the line that separates church and state until it is erased completely. It will be a nightmare from which we cannot wake unless there is intervention. What form that will take, I don’t know.

Michael Moore asks in one of his books, “Dude, Where’s My Country?” It’s being hijacked by religious extremists. The question now is, “Dude, what the hell are we going to do about it?”

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Unreality Game

Setting: The set of the television game show: The Unreality Game. The audience applauds loudly as the host, Bill Blank, sprints gingerly to center stage.

Thank you. Thank you so much. You’re great. Thanks. Welcome. Welcome everyone to FOX Television’s The Unreality Game, the game show where our contestant’s knowledge of alternative realities can win them big, big prizes. So listen, let’s get right to the game, shall we?
[loud applause as Bill goes to his podium and the two contestants go to their Jeopardy-like stations.]
Welcome, contestants. Glad you could be a part of our show. Now, let’s find out who you are. Our first contestant is Clive Ubbershank…am I pronouncing that correctly?

Yes. Ubbershank.

Clive is the night manager of a Gas & Gobble in Mobile, Alabama. Fascinating. I’ll bet you see all kinds of people late at night.

Yes I do, Sir. Most of ‘em are good, descent people, but, you know, you get a few whackos from time to time.

So do we. It says here that in your spare time, you like to hunt, work on your truck, read the bible and…watch your neighbor Sheila taking off—?

Uh, excuse me. Excuse me, Bill. They…they were going to take that out a there. Erase it… Just a joke….

Sorry about that, Clive. But tell me, why did you want to come on The Unreality Game?

Well, Bill, I watch a lot of FOX news and I learn something new every day from talk radio, so I just knew I would be a winner if I got on. Also, my wife, Becky, needs to have her female plumbing yanked out and we ain’t got any medical insurance, so…here I am. [waives to the camera] Hi, honey.

Good luck, Clive. Our second contestant is Nancy Clarington from Cambridge, Massachusetts. And what do you do, Nancy?

I teach political science at Harvard.

Politics? A science? That’s news to me. But it must be a rewarding job…teaching.

Very much so, but also a challenge. The students really keep me on my toes.

And you like to travel, learn new languages, surf, downhill ski and bake gourmet pastries.

Yes. I’m going on a sabbatical to France next month.

France. Audience, why would any American want to go to France? [audience boos] I don’t know either. Well, good luck to you anyway Nancy. Now, let’s play The Unreality Game. As you know, one contestant picks from a category, and the other contestant must answer a question from that category. We flipped a coin before the show, so Mademoiselle Nancy, you may pick the first category.

Bill, I will choose natural science.

Oooh. She goes for the jugular right off the bat. Typical liberal tactic. Okay, Clive. Here is your first question for $200. Evolution is an unproven theory. True or False.

That’s true, Bill.

You are correct. Good job.

[Interrupting] Bill, excuse me. Bill?

[turning to Nancy]

While evolution may technically be a theory it is also based on a tremendous amount of scientific evidence and—

I’m sorry, Nancy, but this isn’t a debate show. Let’s move on. Clive, a category?

Current Affairs

Current affairs it is. Nancy, weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq after the glorious liberation of that country from the evil dictator Saddam Hussein.

That would be false, Bill.

Oh gosh. I’m sorry, Nancy, but the answer is “true.”

True? No, that’s not right.

[We hear a harsh buzz]
Sorry, but the judges’ decision is final.


Your category, Nancy.

Ridiculous… Okay. The Economy.

Here is your question, Clive. Got your thinking cap on?

I do, Bill.

Great. True or False. The federal deficit is something that average Americans should be worried about.

False, Bill.

Now just a doggone minute here. Those trillion dollar deficits are going to have to be paid off by our children and grandchildren and—

[rolling his eyes]
Nancy, again the judges agree with Clive’s answer—

But it’s wrong. It’s not correct.

It’s my show, Nancy, and it’s the right answer if I say it’s the right answer. What do you think, audience? [Hoots and hollers of agreement from audience] You've got to stop reading liberal propoganda. Moving along…wow, Clive. You are up by $800. Good work.

Thanks, Bill.

Okay, contestants, it’s time already for our final Unreal Questions of the day. Although Clive is ahead by a bunch, Nancy can still pull it out of the bag with a final correct answer. I’ll ask each of you a question based on today’s topic, and you have 30 seconds to give me the right answer. Okay? And today’s category is…Corporate America. Nancy, here is your question: True or False. Outsourcing American jobs to other countries is beneficial both to the United States and to the host country. Nancy..?

[deflated and frustrated, she now tries to second guess the answer]
Okay, if I give the correct answer, I’ll be wrong. So, my answer is True.

Yes, True, Nancy. Good work. It is good for the United States, and, even though we really don’t care, it’s good for the host country, too. Well, Nancy has pulled slightly ahead, but Clive will go home a winner if he answers this last question correctly. Clive, your final question of the day: American corporations are over taxed, over regulated and under appreciated for their contribution to our society. True or False? Thirty seconds, Clive….

Mmm. Well, I believe that’s true, Bill, so it must be. I say, True.

[Bells ring, lights flash and the audience applauds wildly]
Correct, Clive. Absolutely on target. Good Job, and you are today’s big winner. Nancy, we appreciate you being on and as a parting gift you’ll take home a copy of the best selling book, “Treason” by Ann Coulter. Enjoy. [to audience] Well, that’s it from The Unreality Game, Folks. You’ve been great. Stay tuned for The O’Reilly Factor followed by the newest hit show on the FOX network, “When Swimsuit Models Go Berserk.” And remember, reality is a state of mind. Unreality is a way of life. Thanks, and good night.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Mafiacans

I was a target. The Bush/Republican Cartel took a shot at me on election eve. Luckily, I was prepared…with knowledge. A man identifying himself as calling from the DNC caught me on Monday night and urged me to vote the next morning, chatting from the usual “get out the vote” script. He then said that based on my phone number, I should vote at a church I had never heard of. I said, wait a minute, I vote at the nearby YWCA and I hope you are more careful where you tell people to go vote tomorrow. He thanked me and hung up. It took a few minutes for the gears to engage, but I realized I had been the target of a Rethug dirty trick to send me to the wrong polling place on election day. I’d dodged a bullet. Others may not have been so fortunate.

Welcome to American politics in the 21st century.

Audacious? Anti-democratic? Wrong on every level imaginable? Yes, yes and yes. But—and here’s the scariest part of all—no one cares. The mainstream press doesn’t care. Frightened Democrats in congress don’t care. The current administration (the criminal cartel in question) certainly doesn’t care.

Strong evidence is emerging that the election was stolen right out from under our noses. Unless you spend more time than you should on the Internet, you would not know this. The facts and speculations are rumbling around out there, but you’ll only find them on obscure political Web sites and blogs kept alive by surfing bands of rabid news junkies. As expected, major media are dismissing it all as conspiracy theories run amuck. The message to us all is, “Stop worrying and learn to love the Bush.” Go back to sleep, my children, it’s over.

I try not to, but when I do reflect on this past election, I’m reminded of my favorite movie, The Godfather. Beyond the great performances and superb storytelling, The Godfather is a powerful portrayal of the real American Dream where the rules are defined not by what is right or wrong, but by what you can get away with and what you can’t. Family success is justification in and of itself. If you kill someone and get caught, you’re a schmuck, a loser. If you kill someone and get away with it, you’re a shrewd businessman or a great politician.

This is also the version of the American Dream embraced by Republicans. Hypocrisy is too kind a word for the Republican political mentality. Mirroring the devout Catholic Mafioso, Republicans, the self-proclaimed party of values and morals, put little trust in quaint notions of honesty and fair play, instead sticking with tried and true tactics of lying, cheating and stealing. For the Mafiacans, there is no such thing as morality when you are competing. You gotta whack someone, it’s just business. You need to trash fellow Republican war hero and former prisoner of war John McCain? Hey, nothing personal, John, you’re a great guy. It’s just business. Need to smear decorated Vietnam veteran John Kerry? He pulls out a knife, we pull out a gun. He pulls out a gun, we pull out a bazooka. It’s how things are done. It’s how you win.

It’s amazing to me that the Mafiacan dirty tricks trickled all the way down to little ole’ me in Minneapolis. My God, the effort must have been on a massive scale. Just as Michael Corleone stood piously watching the christening of his godchild at the same time he is having fellow mobsters executed, George Bush spent election night in a state of faux-obliviousness, practicing his acceptance speech and crossing out the big words, waiting for a subtle nod from Karl Rove that everything had been taken care of…except for that one clown in Minnesota.

We’ll get back to him later.

Monday, November 08, 2004

All The News That Fits

The following transcript was smuggled out of the editorial offices of a major East Coast newspaper. It is a morning meeting of the political and government reporters and the editor of that section. Names have been changed to numbers for privacy concerns.

[rustling of papers, chairs squeaking]

#1 [Male]
I have such a hangover I can hardly see straight.

#2 [Male]
Where’d ya go?

#1 [Male]
Took…uh, Nancy, writes for City Features…to a new place. Christ, I can’t even remember the name of it.

#2 [Male]
Nancy…Nancy…. Oh, yeah. Is she the one with the—

#3 [Female]
—huge brain? Yeah. That’s her.

#4 [Female]
I don’t think so. If she had a huge brain, she’d be smart enough not to go out with #1.


#1 [Male]
Well then, she must be a lot smarter than you.

#4 [Female]
Once. I felt sorry for you.

[Door opens and closes]

#5 [Male]
Okay Ladies and…everyone else [laughter], what’s on the plate for today? And turn off your damn cell phones…

#2 [Male]
Got a hot one here. My buddy over at Precinct 6 calls me first thing this morning. He was all nervous and shaky…

#3 [Female]
Did he finally ask you to elope?


#2 [Male]
That’s hilarious. Really funny. Anyway, he says they arrested a government official last night for soliciting an underage male prostitute over on Lexington, and resisting arrest. So I’m thinking it’s the intern to the under-secretary of Labor and What-the-fuck. “Okay,” I says, “So what’s the big deal?” He says, “It’s Rove. Karl Rove.” I nearly wet myself. They nabbed Rove trying to hit on a kid and then putting up a fight.


#5 [Male]

#2 [Male]
Okay? Okay? That’s it? We’re talking Karl Rove. Karl Rove is a freaking pervert. He got caught with his pants down, so to speak.

#5 [Male]
Yeah, I know. I know. Let’s just say that Karl is…an asset to us while he’s in the position he’s in.

#2 [Male]
And what position would that be? On his knees playing “Ride the Pony?”

#5 [Male]
That kind of sarcasm won’t get us anywhere. Look, you know as well as I do, there are no black and white story ideas. They all have consequences in this city. So we scoop the Rove story, and our friends in the West Wing are upset, our information spigots get turned off—

#2 [Male]
I can’t believe you’re going to kill this.

#4 [Female]
Now if it were Condi….

#5 [Male]
Don’t start with me. Sorry #2, we’ll let someone else take the heat for that one. #1? Whatchya got?

#1 [Male]
Other than a splitting headache? Well, despite my current temporary health issues, I have been following up on a story that will blow you all away. This tailor I take my suits to for alterations—

#3 [Female}
In or out?

#1 [Male]
I love it when you talk dirty. Anyway, this guy knows the guy who does Bush’s wardrobe, helps him pick out clothes, match things, you know.

#5 [Male]
His valet?

#1 [Male]
Yeah, that’s it. So the tailor agrees to set us up for lunch. I figure, this guy’s gotta have a few anecdotes or funny insider stories. He does. Get this. He says the bulge in Bush’s jacket during the debates was definitely an electronic receiver and not only did he see it, he was in the room when they tested the damn thing.

#5 [Male]
Bulge? Another bulge story?

#1 [Male]
Yeah, but this—

#5 [Male]
You’re beating on a dead thing, #1. Old, old, old. Gone and forgotten.

#1 [Male]
Maybe you didn’t hear what I said. I have an eyewitness who is willing to talk about this—

#5 [Male]
And they’ll slice him into chopped liver and make us look like fools in the process. Next….

#1 [Male]
No, this is big…

#5 [Male]
It’s ancient history. Next….

#3 [Female]
Okay, my sources at Capital Security? They tell me that yesterday dogs sniffed out a 200 lb bomb in a tunnel beneath the Senate chambers. They were able to disarm it, but…My God, can you believe that someone was able to do that?

#5 [Male]
So the angle is lapse security?

#3 [Female]
Of course. A 200 lb bomb? Under the Capital? Terrorists strike at the heart of democracy? [pause] Kabooom?

#5 [Male]
I… I get the picture. Can’t go with it, though.

#3 [Female]
What? Are you insane?

#5 [Male]
Do you want us to be the one’s responsible for scaring tens of thousands of visitors away from Washington, DC? At the height of the tourist season? We can’t go around telling people security at the Capital sucks. We’ll have every city official from Mayor to dog catcher breathing down our necks, not to mention the White House.

#3 [Female]
But security is lax. Don’t you think people have a right to know that?

#5 [Male]
You said they defused the bomb. It’s all after-the-fact now. Tom Ridge and I are old golfing buddies and I’m sure they’ve fixed whatever glitch there was in the system. What else we got?

#4 [Female]
Jenna and Barbara Bush are going to host a new MTV show called, “Hot Tubbin’ With The Twins.” They’ll do interviews with movie and rock stars in a hot tub.

#5 [Male]
Really? Wow. Now there’s a story with legs. Good. Go with it. Everyone, take notes.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Truth and Consequences

Amid the predictable storm of post-election letters to the editor in the Minneapolis Star-tribune, one local woman wondered in exasperation if this election would finally help Democrats wake up and stop parading around superstars, spreading hate and spewing biased news—typical conservative echo-chamber chatter—but then she added curtly as a period to her point; “I want truth.”


This election, like no other, has made me question my understanding of “truth.” Without delving into the galaxy of analysis around the concept of truth with a capital “T,” I always made the assumption that on the level of simple human interaction, “the truth” was something provable, factual and the opposite of that which could not be proven. If I’ve stolen my sister’s diary and have it hidden in my sock drawer and she asks me if I took it and I roll my eyes and say, “no,” that is a lie, the opposite of the truth. If I cringe in fear and sputter, “yes,” that is telling the truth. And the “truth” of the matter is that I stole the diary.

But somewhere along the line, somewhere between “Leave it to Beaver” and “Sex in the City,” the idea of truth morphed in America into a much more subjective concept, one less defined by that which is provable than by ideology. Now I know that throughout human history, truth has always been framed by ideology, but what is frustrating is that this country was founded on many of the best concepts to arise out the Enlightenment—rationality, reason and the idea that humans will progress through science and an understanding of ourselves. Our growth as a nation was energized by our ability to look to science and education as the cornerstones of progress. Public education was created to give all Americans the opportunity to learn, discover and explore ideas other than those espoused by their parents or the village minister. Now, however, in 2005, the village minister, in his $2000 suits and electronic pulpit, is wresting control back from the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, John Dewey, the schools and the experts, and gathering his flock under the umbrella of superstition and willful ignorance.

There is no longer any common definition of what the truth is in America, and I don’t know what “truth” means to the letter writer. If it doesn’t bother her that the Bush administration has lied to the American people so many times, then I honestly don’t know how she defines the truth. I don’t know how red-staters understand what a lie is and isn’t. When I see a photo of the President’s back during the debates and there is a bulge evident, but Bush says there is nothing there, what am I to make of that? Bush is obviously lying, an act which I thought was wrong, but which now seems to be acceptable.

So now truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Americans are divided in many ways, with a common understanding of truth being only one. But I have to wonder how this country can ever be united with two such opposing views of reality living within common boundaries. How do we tell our kids it’s bad to lie, when lying is an acceptable part of public discourse? Of course, we all lie from time to time. It’s a natural human survival skill to respond, “No, Dear. Of course you’re not fat.” But when we are caught lying, we normally expect some type of negative consequence. In the new world order of the Bushites, lying is not a stopgap measure used only as a last resort, but a useful communication tool that is judged solely on whether it works or doesn’t work, not whether it is right or wrong.

Our nation survived the Civil War, but many of the views that divided us then continue to divide us today—rural versus urban, tradition versus progress, religion versus rationality. Despite our common borders, there are different world-views between red- and blue-staters, different understandings of what America stands for and different perspectives on truth. For the past 228 years, we have been able to keep the cloth stitched together by all agreeing to live under the label “Americans,” but the strain on the fabric of our society has increased dramatically over the past few decades, and will continue to as our common agreements of reality grow farther and farther apart. If, as a society, we can’t agree on such basic issues as what is true and what is not, what is a lie and what is not, we are in danger of eventually splitting apart at the seams, and watching the American experiment unravel completely.

It doesn’t bode well that the letter writer wants the truth, I want the truth, but we both want different things.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

America Bleeds

You win some and you lose some. America lost this one. Everyone’s favorite bumbling, smirking village idiot is back in the saddle again, allowed once more to play Shoot Out At The OK Corral wherever in the world he chooses. Half of this country’s citizens have given a man who doesn’t know the difference between Sweden and Switzerland the most important position on the face of the planet. Red covered virtually all but the coasts of the United States news maps last night, indicating a serious hemorrhaging of logic and rationality from within the American body politic—cut to a wounded democracy riding off into a blood red sunset. Music swells.

Melodramatic, yes, but when it comes to George Bush and his administration, we on the left are guilty of continuously underestimating the damage they can do and the treachery of which they are capable. Now we must all suffer at least four more years in the hopes that before the next election there will be a sufficient threshold of pain reached in the red states that it will compel people to open their eyes to the madness of King George and his extreme agenda. It would have been so much easier on everyone if we had just kicked Bush out of Washington DC yesterday.

Scapegoats? Excuses? There are plenty of them. In hindsight, Edwards probably would have been a stronger candidate for the Democrats with his good ole boy drawl, boyish charm and lawyer’s killer instincts. But I grew more impressed with Kerry as the campaign went on. True, he does have a habit of rambling in speeches, but he could also be direct and on topic, a talent he displayed admirably in the three debates. His perceived aloofness may have cost him votes, but compared to say, Nixon or even the Al Gore of 2000, the Senator is a Care Bear.

Was Kerry’s campaign run well? Kerry was not one of the favored candidates for the Democratic nomination way back when, and when he got it, he was considered a long shot to stand toe-to-toe with Bush in the campaign. Kerry overcame a lot of obstacles on the campaign trail, however, and gave the Bushies a run for their money. Monday morning quarterbacks will point to the lack of a quick response to the Swift Boat liars or the inability of the Kerry team to focus on one or two issues, but I think it is amazing that Kerry mounted as strong a challenge as he did against an incumbent president in the midst of a war overseas.

Republican dirty tricks certainly didn’t help Kerry. Rove and his band of reprobates around the country pulled off enough antics to actually make the weak-minded question whether Kerry was a war hero or not. This was an impressive feat given Bush’s miserable service record, which nobody seemed to care about. In fact, there were many, many important things about Bush that nobody seemed to care about. Mmmm.

So we come to what I consider the real culprit of election 2004—the American media. News organizations in this country, both network and cable, failed miserably to perform their jobs during this campaign, and I believe it cost Kerry the presidency. There is no other way to explain why so many Americans believed that WMD had been found in Iraq or that Iraq played a part in the 9/11 attacks long after these claims had been proven false. There is no other way to explain how esteemed scientists, economists, Nobel Prize winners, doctors, lawyers and Indian Chiefs—the most learned people in a variety of disciplines—could all object strenuously to Bush policies over the last four years, and have so little affect on US public opinion. There is no other way to explain how a President and his administration could lie time after time after time with virtually no consequences, even to the point of Bush telling millions of American television viewers there was nothing under his suit coat when the bulge was obvious in photographs.

For years, small left leaning publications like the Nation, the Progressive and others have been warning Americans of the danger of media consolidation. The major media outlets, of course, were not going to point fingers at themselves, so the story remained well under the radar for most citizens, and continues to hover there today. What may have sounded like Chicken Little ten years ago is a prophecy realized today. With only a few companies owning the vast media outlets in this country, our news and information at all levels is filtered, compressed, sanitized and framed until—like the message heard by the last person in a game of “pass-it-on”—it bears little resemblance to reality. Many have heralded the Internet as the new town square, where real information and news can be exchanged. I agree that the Internet has moved into a vacuum left by other media, but it is not yet a forum for the masses, as this election proves only too well. For all the information available in cyberspace, it didn’t reach a lot of people in the spaces between the West and East coasts.

Reversing the media monopoly should be a high priority for progressives, perhaps the highest, but with Bush in the Oval Office and a Republican congress, we have to concede that little will be accomplished over the coming years. Perhaps the best we can do is create a grassroots campaign to raise awareness among red state citizens of the dangers media consolidation poses. We’ve got four years. But if nothing is done, the consolidations will continue under a Republican administration, and it could get to the point where Democrats run Jesus himself and still lose Florida, Texas and Ohio. Sooner or later we need to rescue the fourth estate from itself or America will continue to bleed red until it seeps outward covering everything, and everybody, in its path.