Team Bush and the Pornography of Violence
[Note: This essay, including the opening sentence, were written before the editorial in the Roanoke Times appeared today. But it had remained un-posted until I edited it.]
War is hell. And no one knows that better than James Webb, who's actually gone to war. That's why he's dedicated to country, but protective of soldiers who should never be sent needlessly into harm's way. One of the ways Webb dealt with war's hellishness was to write about it, make sense of it, and tell others what it's like. The hope is that others will better understand what it means to send our men and women to war. That's why James Webb wrote (and writes) and why he made his Odyssey to Viet Nam and other areas of Southeast Asia after the war there. He tried to heal and be healed, to foster peace in the aftermath, and build reconciliation between peoples. This is the stuff of statesmen.
Those who crave a strong leader, but one tempered, ultimately, by peaceful virtues, have found a candidate in James Webb. The man who fought brings strength, but peace in his wake, reconciliation in his heart, and understanding for all. The man who saw war up front and personal tries to assure that more wars are not needed, or trumped up by our government. The man who wouldn't hesitate to defend America when necessary knows when to invoke diplomacy. The man whose own son is sent to battle, tries to work so other sons won't need to risk their lives. If war is inevitable, we have learned that we can trust him to tell us the truth. And this same man, who is the stronger candidate on reconciliation of former enemies in war, lives reconciliation in other areas of life. This is why he has earnest respect and support of his ex-wife, who's working on the campaign.
Meanwhile, George Allen again misrepresents the character of James Webb. Here's an opponent, who like his do-nothing Commander-in-Chief, knows nothing about war and legislates from true ignorance, flawed ideology, and partisanship, but not in our nation's interest. George Allen thinks he has an issue, so he brings up passages in Webb's acclaimed novels to assert false claims of pornography. And he generalizes by implying that if there are a small number of raw, intense realistic passages, that the remaining 2 million words are that way. But, as we know, George Felix Allen doesn't read. He did not read the books in question. Nor did he apparently know that many conservatives, including John McCain and reviewers for major conservative publications have raved about these books and found them outstanding FICTIONAL representations of what war is like. But here’s the thing: Allen has no clear idea about what constitutes pornography. I'll tell you what's pornographic.
Americans (and Iraqis) are living a pornography of violence every day. The violence promoted and expanded by this administration is as hideous as the worst pornography of another kind. There is nothing more vile than to needlessly take the life of another. George W. Bush does it indirectly every day. But worst of all, he does it for reasons having more to do with power, oil, and appropriating through privatization of Iraqi resources than anything even remotely noble. Bush and his administration have waged war based on lies and thus are responsible for every soldier and civilian lost. Every casket they refuse to let Americans see is a denial by this government of the meaning and importance of the life lost.
The administration has lured Americans to approve bombing first and asking questions later. Americans are upset they were mislead and they see the unjustified violence unleashed by this administration and its unquestioning enablers. They know now that "Shock and Awe" is pornographic.
The pornographic trio of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld(and its allies, such as George Felix Allen, Jr.) also stir up unfounded fear by terrorizing Americans with trumped-up warnings of terrorist threats. With dire warnings if Americans don't vote the way BushCo wants, they've intimidated Americans for years. Now they even try to tie a vote for Democrats with a vote for the terrorists. As the most hardened manipulators, administration leaders push: Always, always, the message is be afraid. The Sec. of Defense threatens the public first with taunts that they are appeasers, and then this week ominously warns critics "back off." He and Bush have helped lead us down this path, neglected to protect us, brought us to war without legitimate purpose, conducted the war off-books, and justified to themselves the raiding of Social Security (so they can declare it seriously short of funding later).
There's violence there too, in the 50% of senior women and a large number of men, who depend on Social Security. Many of them live near or beneath poverty's edge. They'll even more certainly have to decide in the future whether than can pay the rent or buy food. Every additional person who goes hungry or homeless in the future because of Bush's profligate spending is a victim of Bush pornography.
Bullying is implicitly threatening violent consequences of one sort or another to gain compliance. The Commander-in-Chief has the sole power to declare individuals "enemy combatants," even when they've never been combative or an enemy. This is the ultimate bullying, this along with the declaring of whole nations our enemy, whether they have actually aggressed against us or not. The VP still thinks water-boarding is a "no-brainer," yet the White House continues to claim it doesn't "torture."
Some American voters are so trivial in the eyes of this GOP culture as to be spit upon (either literally or symbolically near their feet), as Allen has done to at least four women. Yet, George Allen feigns that he respects women. and has the audacity to pretend women should necessarily support him. He tries to usurp the moral high ground, on which James Webb stands for government truth-telling, an end to the war, and a populism which values real people above all.
Bush gives tax loopholes for shipping our jobs overseas. Jobs replacing those lost bring 50% as much to the pockets of citizens. This is the pornography of violence, violence of destruction waged on US citizens by its own government. And we must reverse it once and for all. Webb stands against the off-shoring of jobs, which strips workers of income altogether or drives them into the ranks of the poor. The Enronization of America levied financial, personal, and health-related violence upon thousands of Americans.
The administration has committed violence of neglect against Katrina victims. It has raped the land and undercut enforcement of environmental regulations. Every added case of asthma or lung disease ravages a real, living person. Every uninsured American is an injustice and violence against that real Americans physical person. The administration has presided over 400,000 more children falling below the poverty line and millions more uninsured just in the past year.
As Matt Taibi has shown, this Congress has worked fewer hours, fewer days, had fewer hearings, less debate, and fewer open votes, than any in the last hundred years. But they, including George Felix Allen, Jr. have voted themselves a pay raise of $30,000. But Bush and Allen oppose an increase in the minimum wage.
Fresh from trying to distract voters once again, George Allen really hopes voters stay off-track and distracted from our priorities. But voters know that the violence in Iraq is the NO.1 issue. We shall not forget, despite the myriad distractions pitched at us. Iraq, Katrina, universal health care, balanced budgets, responsible spending, an increased minimum wage, education, non-privatized Social Security--these are the things we'll remember when we vote. For shame George W. Bush, and George F. Allen, Jr. For shame.