There seems to be a shift underway in the way US citizens are viewing terrorism. Bush’s failed efforts to address the threat of terrorism in any real way and the continued occupation in Iraq have contributed to the instability of both that country and our own and the American people are beginning to see it. Bush’s poll numbers have again reached an all time low and the politicizing of the thwarted attacks in London and the attempt to equate Lamont’s win in the Connecticut primary to a win for Al Qaeda, have not given him the political bounce he was hoping for. The times, they may be a changin’ and not in the way the Bushies anticipated.
The economy is failing and ordinary working Americans are feeling the pain. On paper, the economy may look fine (if you consider out of control debt, a growing trade deficit and an economy based on spending rather than production, fine), but out here in the real world it sure doesn’t feel that way. We are being squeezed from every direction, too much debt, high gas prices and stagnant wages. This economy may be working for the investor class, but the billions of dollars a day being spent on the Iraq occupation are draining our treasury and the American people are starting to notice where that money is going. On the surface it appears as if it’s going into the sinkhole of Iraq, but we are starting to understand that the deep pockets of the Halliburtons of the world look an awful lot like sinkholes until they start filling up. The economy may be working for Dick Cheney, but not so much for the rest of us. Perhaps if we could write US energy policy and war policy to our best financial advantage, we might feel differently. We might even sport the same shit-eating grin that Cheney does when talking about the economy.
I worry about what will happen to people when the housing bubble bursts. Far too many Americans have leveraged their homes in order to continue spending the money necessary to keep this economy afloat. I receive offers every day encouraging me to take equity out of my house to spend on whatever I want. The only problem is, I know the appraisals I’ve received the last few years are more smoke and mirrors than an actual assessment of what my house is worth. The Bushies keep telling us to worry about terrorism but not about the economy, “Just spend, spend, spend, it’s the patriotic thing to do.” I wonder how people are going to keep their families warm and fed when all they have left are their American flags.
While the shifting mood of the country as reflected in current polls is encouraging, I’m still a little nervous about what the GOP and the Bush administration will do in order to shift public opinion back their way. If color-coded terror threat levels and potential plots against American airliners aren’t enough to boost their numbers anymore, I hate to think of what they will pull out of their hat next. The only thing we can be assured of is, it won’t be good for us.