Paradise Of Lost Souls
There’s a certain amount of comfort we take in knowing that our elected officials are intelligent people, able to handle the enormous task of running our government and executing our foreign policy and we rest assured knowing that they work for us, are accountable to us, can be fired by us and must work within the confines of our Constitution that ensures one branch of government has oversight authority over the other two. At least we used to be able to take comfort in those things, not so much anymore.
It’s flabbergasting that this administration has declared it need not be accountable to anyone. It’s downright disgusting that Congress hasn’t felt the need to disagree, let alone disabuse them of such a radical notion. Each morning, many of us expect to wake up to more reports of abuses of power as well as justifications for those abuses, usually courtesy of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. It’s hard to think of a single thing, however outrageous, that this administration won’t do, “Bush Nukes Iran” (without Congressional approval of course) is only the most recent nightmare headline that many of us fully expect to wake up to some day soon.
Bush has an approval rating of around 35%, and the Republican led Congress is down around 23% approval, yet here we are, and our only option seems to be waiting around until November when we hope the balance of power will shift, at least a little bit. It’s hard to know what to do, vent about how little democracy we have left or cheerlead for change. The only problem is, there’s no one to cheer for other than the beaten down Americans who are working harder for less money and going into personal debt even faster than our country, but short of an uprising, what leverage do we really have? Only half of us vote, and the ones who benefit the most from Republican tax breaks, have a better turnout percentage than those of us who don’t, and that’s a very sad truth. The good news is, there are many more of us than there are of them, but far too many of us are too tired, too disenchanted, too overworked to get worked up about elections. If we can change that, we can change the direction of our country.
The reality of how far we have fallen as a country, and just how much work it will take to bring us back can be overwhelming. Just imagine what it would be like (most likely, if you’re reading this, you’ll have to) working two minimum wage jobs, just to put food on the table. It certainly wouldn’t leave much time to worry about politics. There is a rampant assumption that non-voters suffer from apathy, and that may be true of some, but the 30 million people in this country trying to survive on minimum wage, without health insurance or decent schools for their kids, one missed day of work away from being homeless, most likely don’t vote in greater numbers because making it to the polls doesn’t even rank in the top ten things to worry about on election day, for most of them, a day like any other.
While the news is bad on just about every front, a raised debt ceiling, a stagnant economy that may or may not be on the brink of total collapse, more poverty, more homeless, more death and destruction in Iraq, the looming possibility of yet another war with Iran, there still seem to be signs that we are nearing the end. Apparently Tony Blair cancelled a trip to the U.S., just to avoid being photographed with Bush, and here in Washington State, Congressman Dave Reichert was happy to take money from a fundraiser featuring Dick Cheney, but he refused to go on stage to avoid the photographic evidence of his complicity in the damage this administration has caused. Bush is the stinky sock that no one wants to pick up, the sulfur smell that no one wants to be blamed for or tainted by. Surely that’s an indication that the shine has come off, and we can only hope that his influence will soon dull as well. I guess it’s enough to get us through another day. Paradise it isn’t, but the end of this hell is a bright speck on the horizon, at least I hope that’s what it is.