Billboards surfaced recently in Florida featuring a huge photo of Bush’s face and the distinctly Hitlerian slogan “Our Leader.” At around the same time, Bush visited Camp Pendleton wearing some type of faux military jacket, a la Fidel Castro and any of a dozen other dictators past and present. What’s happening here? Is Bush starting to actually believe he has been appointed by God to rule America? Are we being prepared for the declaration of Martial Law making Bush President for life? I sense a degree of desperation on the part of Conservative Christians in America that Bush may be their one and only chance to take control of the government and mold it in their image, and you know they are not going to be eager to give it up in four years.
Some of Bush’s statements since the election have been equally unsettling, alluding to a mandate (the voice of the people) not supported by the election results themselves. And he is moving quickly—and with total disregard for bipartisanship—to fill the ranks of exiting cabinet members and judgeships with far-right ideologues and political lap dogs. It all smells rancid to me. It reeks of something antidemocratic and cultish, an ideological coup in our capital by people who reflect and represent only one small slice of the American pie.
The stench of theocracy permeates the halls of the White House and Capital Hill. From the push for school prayer to the desire to post the Ten Commandments anywhere and everywhere, Bush and his lawmaker lackeys are emboldened to reshape our democracy into the capital of a militaristic Christian empire. It’s as though Falwell and Robertson and fellow demagogues have become impatient with the slow movement of the Evangelical tide to convert the earth to Christianity, and are poised to speed up the process by force.
George Bush is not an intelligent person, so it isn’t hard to envision him being manipulated by Cheney and Rove and others into believing he is “chosen” to be Our Leader. The adulation of fans, the servitude of staff, the glamour and glitz, the power and might: These can be highly intoxicating and, if deftly manipulated, highly motivating. A weak but ambitious man like Bush can be steered in ways that serve the interests of the few while appearing to serve the interests of many. Keeping Bush cloistered and away from the news and news conferences helps maintain the “anointed one” illusion and deny his critics a target.
Would they be so bold? So audacious? It has happened before in history. There’s no reason to assume it couldn’t happen here. In fact, there is no speculation beyond the pale when you are dealing with people who believe they are doing God’s work. Vote rigging and voter intimidation in 2000 and 2004 could be merely a prelude to more dramatic attacks on democracy. If you don’t think the Bush administration and its evangelical allies are capable of orchestrating a coup in the guise of national security or a national emergency, take another whiff. Something stinks, and it’s not yesterday’s garbage.