[Mb-civic] FW: No Subject

Michael Butler michael at michaelbutler.com
Fri Sep 3 12:03:58 PDT 2004

------ Forwarded Message
From: Allison Burnett <nemo1043 at yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 02 Sep 2004 07:58:15 -0700
To: MButler <michael at michaelbutler.com>
Subject: FW: No Subject

> Published on Friday, August 27, 2004 by
>    In These Times
>    We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore
>    How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty
>    transmogrify into the Party of Newt
>    Gingrich's Evil Spawn and their
>    Etch-A-Sketch President, a Dull and
>    Rigid Man, whose Philosophy is a Jumble
>    of badly sutured Body Parts trying to
>    Walk?         
>    by Garrison Keillor
>    Something has gone seriously haywire
>    with the Republican Party. Once, it was
>    the party of pragmatic Main Street
>    businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles
>    who decried profligacy and waste, were
>    devoted to their communities and
>    supported the sort of prosperity that
>    raises all ships. They were good-hearted
>    people who vanquished the gnarlier
>    elements of their party, the paranoid
>    Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and
>    Prohibitionists, the antipapist
>    antiforeigner element. The genial
>    Eisenhower was their man, a genuine
>    American hero of D-Day, who made it OK
>    for reasonable people to vote
>    Republican. He brought the Korean
>    War to a stalemate, produced the
>    Interstate Highway System, declined to
>    rescue the French colonial army in
>    Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace
>    and prosperity, in which (oddly)
>    American arts and letters flourished and
>    higher education burgeoned-and there was
>    a degree of plain decency in the
>    country. Fifties Republicans were giants
>    compared to today's. Richard Nixon was
>    the last Republican leader to feel a
>    Christian obligation toward the poor.
>    In the years between Nixon and Newt
>    Gingrich, the party migrated southward
>    down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and
>    sneered at the idea of public service
>    and became the Scourge of Liberalism,
>    the Great Crusade Against the Sixties,
>    the Death Star of Government, a gang of
>    pirates that diverted and fascinated the
>    media by their sheer chutzpah, such as
>    the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald
>    Reagan who, while George McGovern flew
>    bombers in World War II, took a pass and
>    made training films in Long Beach. The
>    Nixon moderate vanished like the
>    passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of
>    angry white men who rose to power on
>    pure punk politics. "Bipartisanship is
>    another term of date rape," says Grover
>    Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. "I
>    don't want to abolish government. I
>    simply want to reduce it to the size
>    where I can drag it into the bathroom
>    and drown it in the bathtub." The boy
>    has Oedipal problems and government is
>    his daddy.    
>    The party of Lincoln and Liberty was
>    transmogrified into the party of
>    hairy-backed swamp developers and
>    corporate shills, faith-based
>    economists, fundamentalist bullies with
>    Bibles, Christians of convenience,
>    freelance racists, misanthropic frat
>    boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax
>    cheats, nihilists in golf pants,
>    brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop
>    tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive
>    dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people
>    who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk
>    was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico,
>    little honkers out to diminish the rest
>    of us, Newt's evil spawn and their
>    Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and
>    rigid man suspicious of the free flow of
>    information and of secular institutions,
>    whose philosophy is a jumble of badly
>    sutured body parts trying to walk.
>    Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of
>    the world thinks we're deaf, dumb and
>    dangerous.    
>    Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like
>    toadstools in the forest! Wild swine
>    crowd round the public trough!
>    Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining
>    on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit
>    in committee rooms and write legislation
>    to alleviate the suffering of
>    billionaires! Hypocrisies shine like cat
>    turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain,
>    where art thou at this hour? Arise and
>    behold the Gilded Age reincarnated
>    gaudier than ever, upholding great
>    wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.
>    Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running
>    for reelection on a platform of
>    tragedy-the single greatest failure of
>    national defense in our history, the
>    attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box
>    cutters put this nation into a tailspin,
>    a failure the details of which the White
>    House fought to keep secret even as it
>    ran the country into hock up to the
>    hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for
>    the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a
>    box canyon of debt that will render
>    government impotent, even as we engage
>    in a war against a small country that
>    was undertaken for the president's
>    personal satisfaction but sold to the
>    American public on the basis of brazen
>    misinformation, a war whose purpose is
>    to distract us from an enormous transfer
>    of wealth taking place in this country,
>    flowing upward, and the deception is
>    working beautifully.
>    The concentration of wealth and power in
>    the hands of the few is the death knell
>    of democracy. No republic in the history
>    of humanity has survived this. The
>    election of 2004 will say something
>    about what happens to ours. The omens
>    are not good. 
>    Our beloved land has been fogged with
>    fear-fear, the greatest political
>    strategy ever. An ominous silence,
>    distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered
>    warnings and alarms to keep the public
>    uneasy and silence the opposition. And
>    in a time of vague fear, you can appoint
>    bullet-brained judges, strip the bark
>    off the Constitution, eviscerate federal
>    regulatory agencies, bring public
>    education to a standstill, stupefy the
>    press, lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the
>    rich.         
>    There is a stink drifting through this
>    election year. It isn't the Florida
>    recount or the Supreme Court decision.
>    No, it's 9/11 that we keep coming back
>    to. It wasn't the "end of innocence," or
>    a turning point in our history, or a
>    cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a
>    lapse of security. And patriotism
>    shouldn't prevent people from asking
>    hard questions of the man who was
>    purportedly in charge of national
>    security at the time.
>    Whenever I think of those New Yorkers
>    hurrying along Park Place or getting off
>    the No.1 Broadway local, hustling toward
>    their office on the 90th floor, the
>    morning paper under their arms, I think
>    of that non-reader George W. Bush and
>    how he hopes to exploit those people
>    with a little economic uptick, maybe the
>    capture of Osama, cruise to victory in
>    November and proceed to get some serious
>    nation-changing done in his second term.
>    This year, as in the past, Republicans
>    will portray us Democrats as embittered
>    academics, desiccated Unitarians,
>    whacked-out hippies and communards,
>    people who talk to telephone poles, the
>    party of the Deadheads. They will wave
>    enormous flags and wow over and over the
>    footage of firemen in the wreckage of
>    the World Trade Center and bodies being
>    carried out and they will lie about
>    their economic policies with astonishing
>    enthusiasm.   
>    The Union is what needs defending this
>    year. Government of Enron and by
>    Halliburton and for the Southern
>    Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln
>    spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus
>    Republicanii has humbugged us to death
>    on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy
>    and school prayer and flag burning and
>    claimed the right to know what books we
>    read and to dump their sewage upstream
>    from the town and clear-cut the forests
>    and gut the IRS and mark up the
>    constitution on behalf of intolerance
>    and promote the corporate takeover of
>    the public airwaves and to hell with
>    anybody who opposes them.
>    This is a great country, and it wasn't
>    made so by angry people. We have a
>    sacred duty to bequeath it to our
>    grandchildren in better shape than
>    however we found it. We have a long way
>    to go and we're not getting any younger.
>    Dante said that the hottest place in
>    Hell is reserved for those who in time
>    of crisis remain neutral, so I have
>    spoken my piece, and thank you, dear
>    reader. It's a beautiful world, rain or
>    shine, and there is more to life than
>    winning.      
>             © 2004 In These Times

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