It is easy to tell when the heat is on and
getting to the American right wing. They lash out with lies
and run back to their tried
and true standbys, September 11th and the war on terror. Karl
Rove, head propagandist in charge, didn’t just orchestrate the
latest attack. He carried it out himself.
In 2004 Rove made certain that terror alerts were issued at key
moments. If the Democrats received more press attention, if Bush
poll numbers went south, we were warned that an orange, yellow
or blue alert was necessary.
Just as he chose New York City, the 9/11 bulls eye, as the perfect
spot for the Republican convention, he went to New York to deliver
a blistering attack on “liberals.” He
said that liberals don’t care about keeping America safe, liberals
don’t want to get the evildoers, liberals are weak on defense.
Only the right wing can keep the country safe.
Congressional Republicans kept up the attack
by returning to one of their favorites, Old Glory. Yet another
flag “desecration” amendment
has been offered up as a tool to get Democrats. Democrats responded
obediently, outdoing one another defending their patriotism and
feverishly trying to have it both ways. Senator Hillary Clinton, Mrs.
Triangulator, favors a federal law to protect the flag but
is opposed to a constitutional amendment. The Yale Law school graduate
has to know that even a federal law would be unconstitutional.
There is good and bad news to be seen in these events. The good
news is that Karl and company are sweating, a lot. The perspiration
results from the usually hapless Democrats standing and fighting
for a change. So far the Democrats are not cooperating with the
attempt to eviscerate Social Security while John Conyers, Maxine
Waters and others continue to demand an official investigation
of the Downing Street Memo that proves the Bushmen lied about Iraq.
But the Republican victories of recent years
are not a fluke. The Republicans win because they know how to
appeal to America’s
most base and frightening emotions. It is easy to sneer at flag
burning constitutional amendments. No one is burning the flag anymore.
Even if it were it would clearly be constitutionally protected
free speech. To add insult to foolish injury, most American flags
aren’t even made in America. Cheap Chinese labor allows American
hearts to fill with pride as they gaze at the Stars and Stripes.
And yet the Republicans are probably embarking on another successful
round of propaganda. They know and count on an important fact.
Most Americans love their empire. They love thinking that their
nation will bomb the hell out of people in another part of the
world. They truly believe that Iraqis are better off being killed
by American bombs than they were being alive under Saddam Hussein.
Love of the empire is America’s true religion. The latest flag
bill is called the “Flag Desecration Amendment.” It is an interesting
choice of words. The flag is not a religious symbol, but it symbolizes
an empire that many people love more than the God they claim to
believe in. The system that Old Glory symbolizes looms larger than
any church that Americans walk into on a Sunday morning.
The system that rewards white people more than any other group,
the powerful more than the powerless, and the wealthy over the
poor is seen as being inviolate and perfect. Love of the
empire makes otherwise rational people vote against their economic
and political interests. It makes otherwise peaceful people love
violence and death.
Democrats are at a disadvantage. Instead of
telling Karl Rove where he should go and how he should get there,
they outdo one
another proving their patriotism credentials. Instead of exposing
Rove’s corruption they brag that they all voted for the Patriot
Act and the destruction of Afghanistan. They also know that the
empire is this nation’s true God.
Rove’s attack is proof that Democrats are at
the very least getting under his skin. Unfortunately, truth-telling
Dems get the smack
down from their own party. Illinois Senator Richard Durbin was
the latest victim of collective spinelessness. He correctly said
of treatment of detainees at
The system, the empire, doesn’t take kindly to criticism. Critics
of inhumane treatment and murder are treated worse than the murderers
themselves. Durbin voted against the occupation of Iraq and the
killing of thousands. The people in favor of killing are not
only given immunity from criticism but they are made the arbiters
of discourse, deciding who should and shouldn’t speak and what
they ought to say. That is how empires are maintained.
After Durbin was beaten down and apologized on the Senate floor,
documented reports of American military physicians aiding and
abetting torture came
to light. The critics who were apoplectic over Durbin’s remarks
said nothing about American doctors channeling Mengele. Empires
work that way.
On the bright side, empires aren’t fond of
losing. Despite protests to the contrary, the war mongers will
eventually find a way to
cut and run. When the Congressman who gave us “freedom
fries” says it is time to leave the exit is coming sooner
rather than later. An exit won’t be worthy of celebration unless
this country undergoes an enormous change and says farewell to
empire once and for all. If not, more Iraqs are in our future.