is usually the reserve of conspiracy theorists of every political
stripe, fans of science fiction, and Black people. We are
given a pass because of the horrific treatment meted out
to us throughout American history. Slavery, lynching, the
Tuskegee experiment and COINTELPRO give us paranoia rights
while others are mocked and dismissed for expressing their
suspicions of malfeasance by the powerful. But other Americans
would be better served if they acknowledged their own need
to question authority and to doubt the benevolence of their
is a fact that the State of the Union address was moved up
one week to keep the Democratic presidential campaign from
pushing the President off the front page of American newspapers.
The administration owns up to the switch and is grudgingly
admired for its ability to spin where none have spun before.
However, changing the date of a speech is child’s play for
the Republicans. There are more serious instances of chicanery
and lies for Americans to acknowledge.
adviser Karl Rove is definitely an astute man and a shrewd
operator. Unfortunately for the American people, Mr. Rove
and other Republicans believe that democracy is a gross inconvenience
in the political process. He is truly in a class by himself
when it comes to playing political dirty tricks. In 1986
Rove worked on Mark Clements' Texas gubernatorial campaign.
On the eve of a pivotal debate Rove announced that his office
had been bugged, presumably by the opposing camp. The FBI
investigated but concluded that Rove had planted the device himself in
an attempt to discredit the opposition.
Americans should keep this story in mind when we are told
that the poisonous substance ricin was found in the Senate
or that another security alert is in order. We should be
particularly mindful if these fear inducing stories appear
when polls show Bush losing to a Democrat or when the weapons
of mass destruction hoax is so untenable that the CIA disassociates
itself from the administration. If a few brave souls in the
media finally ask, four years too late, if Bush was AWOL
from National Guard service, then suspicion is a must when
we are told to believe that the sky is falling.
the subterfuge is so blatant that every eyebrow must rise.
Republican Senator Charles Grassley predicted that U.S. forces
will capture Osama Bin Laden before
Election Day. While shocking, this prediction is actually
a conspiracy non-starter. Bin Laden will probably be in custody
on or around October 31st to give us all a trick or treat.
anyone sneer at the paranoid, a quick history lesson is in
order. In 2000 an estimated 57,000 Floridians were removed
from the voter rolls under the ruse of
preventing felons from voting. The Governor of Florida just
happened to be the brother of a presidential candidate. The
brother wins the state and in the process becomes President.
Political corruption via nepotism is a scenario usually reserved
for third world nations. If it becomes a reality for an American
presidential election should paranoia be a negative word?
Perhaps all thinking people should be paranoid and the non-paranoid
should be disregarded.
the times are ripe for all thoughtful men and women to be
suspicious it might be helpful for democracy if all Americans
tried to think like Black people. Everyone should start slowly.
It isn’t necessary to dwell on the increased likelihood of
a mortgage denial or police brutality. Just ask, “If I were
Black, would I believe that terror threats always take place
when Bush’s poll numbers drop?” Of course the down side must
not be ignored either. Anyone who takes this too far would
conclude that President Bush advised Janet Jackson to briefly
bare her breast. That event certainly took Democrats out
of the news.
humor aside, anyone with common sense should realize that
naïve beliefs about equal opportunity and level playing fields
make all Americans easy prey for corporate interests and
their political allies. White Americans would benefit if
they were willing to accept that the system often does not
work in their favor any more than it does for Black Americans.
The Republican dominated Congress recently enacted legislation
that could eliminate
overtime pay for as many as 8 million workers.
is simply obscene for the President and Congress to give
corporations permission to take money from working people’s
pockets. The obscenity is worsened by a corporate media that
gives more attention to a breast exposed for a millisecond
than to the theft of Americans' wages. The paranoia possibilities
are endless. Corporations take money from working people,
take over the media, and then refuse to adequately report
2004 we have seen the media give a lying administration a
pass on everything from the reasons for waging war to the
need for terror alerts. A Democratic presidential front runner
is made and unmade with the tacit consent of even liberal
pundits. You can call it cynicism, paranoia or just paying
close attention, but it is now unacceptable to trust who
and what we are told to trust.
Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly
in . Ms.
Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She
can be reached via e-Mail at [email protected]. You can read more
of Ms. Kimberley's writings at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/