Bowling for Cubberley (Free Music Inside!)

Usually, it’s impossible to argue with people who make comparisons between the incumbent US administration and various past totalitarian systems, particularly when the argument turns to a comparison between George W Bush and the Austrian guy with the Charlie Chaplin moustache. Whatever you think of George W Bush and his administration – still a mystery to many people in the US as well as abroad – he’s no Hitler, and the US are still a largely liberal democracy – albeit a deeply divided and angst-ridden one with a progressively eroding system of common values.


A regular guy from Texas.
Though I hope to the contrary, I believe the weeks following the US Presidential election will become a much bigger electoral and legal debacle than most commentators are willing to admit now. In the end, this election might well become a testament of the principal current American weakness – deep social and partisan divisions, if not outright hatred between the camps. American politics now appears to consist predominantly of conceptually empty labels – very soon even rituals of Patriotism may be exposed as nothing more than a band aid for a mentally and spiritually ailing nation.

Apparently, according to Slate, two days ago, a crowd of about 2000 people near West Palm Beach in Florida raised their right arms, repeated the words of Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt, and pledged their allegiance to President George W. Bush.

“I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States.”

Contrary to many of those in the blogosphere who rightfully freaked out about this incident, I doubt it sounded better in German. But that may be because I have grown up there – in a country with a totalitarian past harboring the mental image of the USA as liberator and the beacon of liberty that it is no longer.

Last Wednesday, I was most appalled to learn about the price of free speech in Upper Arlington, Ohio, a wealthy suburb of Columbus, where – if the residents’ statements recorded by German ZDF television are even roughly accurate – Presidential politics are driving even former friends apart, where Kerry supporters aren’t willing to put a sticker on their new cars for fear of attracting Republican scratchers. The example may be about Republicans, but I’m sure the same is true for Democrats.

Suddenly, it can no longer surprise why the “clash of civilizations” is an inherently American concept. Apparently, all Samuel Huntington had to do to come up with it was get up and buy some milk in the morning.

I don’t know if John Judis and Ruy Teixeira are actually right with their predictions about the emerging Democratic majority. Even if, the political consequences of demographic shifts are even more uncertain – the ethnic cleavage which dominated so much of American politics in the 20thcentury is finally losing a little salience while increasing knowledge of the dismal science, Coase’s victory about Communism, is reducing the clout of the prevailing economic orthodoxy of the day. But Republican or Democratic majority – America will probably remain a progressively divided nation.

And where extreme partisanship rules, control of institutions is particularly important. That is why the Bush-pledgers mentioned above should not just be treated under an “oddly enough” header. They’re a symptom.

Philip Roth just published an “it could have happened here” novel – “The Plot Against America” – about the US under a fictional fascist American President, Charles Lindbergh. Clearly, Philip Roth is a far more astute observer of America than I ever will be. So the release of his novel in these times should be concern enough.

However, it did happen before – in the US. In 1968, Ron Jones, a history teacher at Cubberley high-school in Palo Alto created the “Third Wave”, a Hitleresque youth organization, to teach his pupils about life in a totalitarian system. He ended the experiment after five days, before it could become an uncontrollable dark force of its own. “The Wave” has since become, as he wrote in an article in 1972, “a secret that I and two hundred students would sadly share for the rest of our lives.” Later, his experience has been turned into a book (The Wave by Morton Rhue/Todd Strasser) and a tv film.

Personally, I don’t think America could seriously develop a modern version of the Wilhelminic disease and suffer its consequences. In part thanks to its democratic tradition and the very social divisions creating such danger. As Josh Marshall explains – after quoting the email of a volunteer in the trenches in Florida whose faith in Democracy had been restored by an eighty-year old black man’s determination to make his vote count this time – there’s hope.

But throwing out election observers is not a hopeful sign. And when old people in a wealthy neighborhood like Upper Arlington, Ohio begin to joke – even semi-seriously – about leaving the county in case of a Bush reelection, it certainly is a very, very depressing sign.

Since I have no right to vote for Kerry in Ohio or Florida, I have decided to contribute additional two cents by spending this afternoon arranging a demo of a song I once wrote – about a regular guy from Texas, who is suffering from a rare reading disability (1.5 Mbyte, 64kb Windows Media Audio 9) – it’s called “GW Blues”. And you will be able to download it here until election day or until the traffic becomes unbearable. Hope you enjoy it.

26 thoughts on “Bowling for Cubberley (Free Music Inside!)

  1. Usually, it?s impossible to argue with people who make comparisons between the incumbent US administration and various past totalitarian systems, particularly when the argument turns to a comparison between George W Bush and the Austrian guy with the Charlie Chaplin moustache. Whatever you think of George W Bush and his administration – still a mystery to many people in the US as well as abroad – he?s no Hitler,

    Apparently, according to Slate, two days ago, a crowd of about 2000 people near West Palm Beach in Florida raised their right arms, repeated the words of Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt, and pledged their allegiance to President George W. Bush.
    …..

    Contrary to many of those in the blogosphere who rightfully freaked out about this incident, I doubt it sounded better in German. But that may be because I have grown up there – in a country with a totalitarian past harboring the mental image of the USA as liberator and the beacon of liberty that it is no longer.

    Perhaps I’m misreading you here, but aren’t you doing exactly that( comparing the administration to Hilter )? The Slate article claims that Sen. Ken Pruitt asked people to ‘raise their hands.’, not their arms. Raising your hand, as every American child knows, is synonymous with the Pledge of Allegiance. Raising your arm, as you put it, is meant to evoke images of a Hilteresque Sig Heil. Again, maybe I misread but I can’t see what else that paragraph is there for.

    I also think that you are missing a larger point, that being 9/11. The Clash of Civilizations is certainly not an American concept but rather an old one that was forcefully revealed to an ignorant American populace and polity. The subsequent emotion from that event has only served to magnify historical and well defined ideological differences between the two parties. American politics has always been vitrolic and certainly more corrupt and violent than what your seeing nowadays. But that’s not to say it can’t get worse.

    For me the biggest failure this election cycle has been that of the ‘mainstream press’, however cliched that term is. Whether it be Paul Krugman in the New York Times or Dan Rather at CBS, the press has failed in it’s duty to be objective. I can compensate with the Internet and blogging, but most American’s can’t.

  2. Well, I wasn’t there and I haven’t seen a video, this is the quote from Slate:

    >on the trail
    >One Nation Under Bush
    >At a campaign rally, Republicans recite >the “Bush Pledge.”
    >By Chris Suellentrop
    >…
    >The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this >Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West >Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and >repeated after Pruitt:

    Arms aloft… well, hands, arms – I don’t think that’s the story here. A pledge of allegiance to an incumbent president, it’s simply natural to think of the German past here. All of the above just gives me a creepy feeling.

    I second your thoughts about the US media as far as I can judge it. What does it tell about the media (and politics) when a comedy show can become a reliable source for news. And again, all that simply gives me a creepy feeling.

  3. Seems like business as usual to me. Obviously I’m not happy that people may be committing illegal/unethical acts or just acting strangely for the election, but that’s a symptom of democracy. If people didn’t care, or weren’t allowed to vote on things they care about, they wouldn’t be so passionate when the election comes around.

    I’m not even sure there is much partisanship amongst the voters any more. More and more people consider themselves “Independant” these days, and even the ones who call themselves “Democrats” and “Republicans” have probably voted for someone from the opposing party in a previous election, if they weren’t actually in the opposing party in a previous election themselves.

    Also, can we get a new “scare” regime that we can use for our worried comparisons? Hitler and the Third Reich, to understate, has been done before. Mussolini or the Generalissimo get much less play, and I’m sure someone can make witty comparisons between Imperial Japan and the current U.S.(both enjoy baseball, for example). Or heck, we can move away from 1940’s totalitarian regimes entirely and use something really new, like the Aztecs or even the mythical Atlanteans.

  4. Why I don’t think America can become totalitarian in the way Germany did…

    I have no deep theoretical foundation for this belief and I can’t quote literature; however, I have lived as a guest in both countries for many years and these are my observations.

    The rise of a hitler-esque figure in American is not only possible but likely. The American emphasis on the individual and on marketing oneself is anathema to many Europeans. American children are taught: “You can make a difference.” “You, too, can become president.” “If you don’t like it, change it.” A tremendous force for good when applied positively, it challenges convention when convention is wrong, e.g. Martin Luther King et al. But, it is often applied negatively with challenges to good convention by, for example, senior officers at abu ghraib.

    Consequently, successful individuals in America must always be somehow larger-than-life. Bush is not satisfied with being the most powerful president in history, he has to be “leader of the free world.” Being vice-president would be enough for most people but Al Gore must invent the internet also. Perhaps, this is where Kerry loses, in a land of superlative-inflation, a regular joe is discounted to ‘mediocre’.

    In this environment, wannabe American megalomaniacs stand an above average chance of getting into a position where they can cause real harm. However, to create a new 1930s Germany, America’s individuality-cult misses an important ingredient: process.

    As a child, I grew up with the idea than Germany was authoritarian. Blame it on the British and American entertainement of the period, I guess; Germans were always the (often incompetant) authority figures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Germany doesn’t place its faith in figures of authority but in process. People often wait for the little red pedestrian-crossing man, not because somebody beats them if they jay-walk but because thats the process and if they follow process then life works better. It’s a sort of unwritten agreement between society and its people: people promise to follow the process and society promises to work hard to get the process right. Thats what I see now and I suspect that it was true 70 years ago. Hitler was ‘successful’ because he hi-jacked the process. He broke the covenant: people followed the process, but society didn’t ensure that the process was in their interest.

    So, despite a possible over-abundance of Hitlers, 1930s Germany cannot be repeated in America because there is no process to hi-jack. The individualism that breeds extremism also protects against it.

  5. Seems like business as usual to me

    I don’t know Felix, compared to any other elections I’ve voted in (Ireland, NI) or been present during (Netherlands, Australia) the shenanigans being reported and the spectacles to be observed are hair raising and unbelievable.

    Challenging voter registration based on undelivered mail? Dem volunteers watching Republican volunteers watching voters? The sheer hysterical mindlessness of protesters and rally-attendees screaming obscenities and claiming god wants their guy elected? Lawyers mobilizing for a months-long challenge? Flyers being sent out with the wrong election date and misinformation about registration rules? Stating that Osama Bin Ladin is supporting a candidate being acceptable discourse? Indoctrinated 8 year olds screaming for the cameras while proud papa looks on? Loyalty oaths?!

    I’m just a furriner within the US, but it’s hard for me to see this stuff as business as usual. It’s madness.

  6. Felix has a good point in wishing for an alternative Scare Figure. Bush-as-Hitler is cheap, stupid and offensive (and I say that as one with little love for George Bush). It’s offensive to Bush and to Americans who support him: it doesn’t need saying that I think them wrong for doing so, but it shouldn’t need saying that they can do so for reasons other than greed or bigotry or stupidity. And of course, it’s offensive to those who suffered, or whose loved ones suffered, under nazi depredations.

    As for whether or not America could potentially become a fascist-like state: of course it could; any state could. But America’s constitution has certain safeguards that would (unless overridden) make this more difficult.

    This should not be surprising; America’s constitution is, at bottom, informed by distrust of the centralisation of power. That is no panacea; anybody who has taken a course in US constitutional law knows that Supreme Court jurisprudence is, to a large extent, a study in failure. (Remember all those fine and noble things OW Holmes wrote in his opinions? Go back and remind yourself how many of them were dissents.) But alongside the failures are many shining jewels; on the whole, America has done pretty well in policing itself. Eternal vigilance and all that, of course; but the US has structural safeguards that make the vigil a bit easier.

    One thing that’s safe to say is this: if America did slip into a fascist-like state, it would look very different to nazi Germany. I think any of the major European states, post-WWI, could potentially have gone the fascist route. Had I been asked a decade or two in advance which ones would, I don’t think I’d have had Germany at the top of my list. (France, probably). But had France rather than Germany become the Big Fascist Power of Europe, I don’t think it would have been like nazi Germany with a different accent.

    Who, then, would be an apt scare figure if not Hitler? Well, he’s a poor susbtitute demon, but perhaps Ferdinand Marcos could serve.

  7. I’m just a furriner within the US, but it’s hard for me to see this stuff as business as usual. It’s madness.

    Campaign’s mudslinging not as dirty as 1884, or even 1988.

    “Despite all the hyperbolic rhetoric coming from both sides, this campaign has blessedly avoided any of the ugly racial undertones that had poisoned politics for more than a century.”

    “Just 16 years ago, George H.W. Bush benefited politically from an explosive independent ad that featured Willie Horton, a black rapist released from prison under a furlough program championed by his Democratic rival, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. The coded message in that vicious commercial, which used a photograph to highlight Horton’s race, directly played on white fears of crime.”

    “Such racist scare tactics are as unlikely today on the national stage as a politician denouncing rum and Romanism. While many aspects of American life are still far from models of integration and social equality, this nation has embraced tolerance as its bipartisan standard.”

    “True, questions have been raised about aggressive Republican plans to dispatch poll watchers to monitor for fraud in majority black precincts in battleground states such as Ohio. Although this gambit evokes memories of the segregationist South, it is solely aimed at cutting into Kerry’s margins in these reliably Democratic areas. This may be a distinction without a difference, but it is still a far cry from the days when Willie Horton was a political symbol.”

    “As bitter as the final 100 hours of Campaign 2004 may become, voters can at least take comfort that we have moved beyond 1884 or, for that matter, 1988. “

  8. Michael D,

    >The individualism that breeds extremism also >protects against it.

    that’s what I meant by writing: “In part thanks to its democratic tradition and the very social divisions creating such danger.”

    Cornelius,

    “Such racist scare tactics are as unlikely today on the national stage as a politician denouncing rum and Romanism. While many aspects of American life are still far from models of integration and social equality, this nation has embraced tolerance as its bipartisan standard.”

    In 1988, I did not really care about the US. So it’s difficult to compare this experience to a historical accounts.

    However, all this seems to be supporting my point that the cleavage structure in the US is changing. And the fact undecided marginal voters are wooed by both camps does not necessarily mean the animosity within these camps is not higher than it was before.

    I am certainly not the only who has that impression.

  9. There’s a division in the U.S. over this election, sure. But there always is. Reagan and Clinton are two good examples. “Reagan Democrats” supported Reagan because, among other things, they agreed with his position on defense/the Cold War. Clinton did well with conservatives early on, from 1994 until he got into trouble over the Lewinski thing.

    This year’s election doesn’t fall along party lines either. This election is almost entirely between people who believe we should go back to what we were before 9/11, and people who don’t think that’s possible. Roger Simon made a post recently about voting Republican for the first time in his life, and got a deluge of comments from people who are doing the same thing:

    http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/10/new_friends_new.php

    There are probably just as many conservatives who will not be backing Bush this year because of Iraq.

  10. Oops. I made a mistake with that last post, I meant to use Reagan and Clinton both as examples of candidates who had very vocal opposition and as candidates who were able to appeal to voters across party lines. Somehow I melded those two seperate points into one paragraph that doesn’t make much sense.

  11. Felix,

    actually, you made your point better than you thought.

    But I disagree that the election is between those living before and those living after Sept. 11. That’s one narrative, of course. But there are many who would tell you they cannot support Bush precisely because America is post-Sept. 11 and Bush has failed to be effective in doing what needs to be done about this.

    As for conservatives refusing to vote for Bush, some of the above may figure in their calculations, but I suspect a larger number perceive that Bush simply isn’t very conservative, if by ‘conservative’ one means small government and fiscal prudence. (And some may be hoping for the fabled ‘gridlock’.) Sept. 11 is important, but there are other things at stake as well.

  12. I don’t agree about fiscal conservatives. There’s no Ross Perot running this year and John Kerry has proposed trillions in new spending.

  13. However, all this seems to be supporting my point that the cleavage structure in the US is changing. And the fact undecided marginal voters are wooed by both camps does not necessarily mean the animosity within these camps is not higher than it was before.

    I think it’s impossible to compare differing times and places unless you were actually present at said times. It’s one thing to read it in a book or hear it from a pundit and it’s another to live through it. Certainly American politics has gone through it’s harmonious and divisive times but I simply don’t know if it’s worse than previous years. It certainly doesn’t feel any worse than the Clinton years which were extremely bad( think Vince Foster conspiracy theories, impeachment for extramarital affairs et. al )

    But I disagree that the election is between those living before and those living after Sept. 11. That’s one narrative, of course. But there are many who would tell you they cannot support Bush precisely because America is post-Sept. 11 and Bush has failed to be effective in doing what needs to be done about this.

    I don’t understand the difference, Ms. Tilton, between people who disagree with how Bush is handling a post 9/11 world and a September 10th mentality. Because ultimately that is what Kerry is proposing. Going back to doing things the way we did before, which Bush argues is what got us into 9/11 in the first place.

    As for conservatives I think your dead on, but I think the number of conservatives who won’t vote for Bush is exceedingly small. Certainly smaller than the number of liberal/Democratic voters who will go for Bush in this election, imo. And that is precisely because of Terrorism. While there are many other issues on the table, none is as pressing or looms as large as terrorism and American security.

  14. I don’t believe Al Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 election. I don’t
    think he was in even close and I believe that fraudulent votes numbered
    literally in the millions.

    If you look close at the voting results from the 2000 election you might
    be able to guess why I believe this. Gore’s vote was concentrated and
    to a first approximation his pluralities were a map of the big cities.
    Look closer yet and you’ll find that in most of these big cities there are
    many districts where allegedly something approaching 100% of those
    eligible to vote voted near 100% for Gore.

    In no district where the majority voted for Bush do you find such a
    pattern. In all such areas there was always a substantial minority voting
    for Gore and even more important there’s always a substantial
    percentage (often the majority) that could have voted but did not do so.
    And yet districts where people favored Bush include those with the
    highest civic engagement in the country, where PTAs for example are
    well-funded and have many members.

    An opposite picture reigned for Gore. Nearly invariably if you look
    at a district where allegedly 100% (or 90%) of the voters voted 100%
    for Gore, you’ll find an area where civic participation, as for example
    parental involvement in the schools, is in the basement.

    This is implausible. In fact it’s unbelievable. And despite the obviousness
    of the unbelievability it’s almost unheard of for our allegedly non-partisan
    media to take any notice.

    I’m expecting the same thing this time around. If Kerry wins I will not in
    my heart believe he really won. And if he really in fact did win, why would
    I believe it? Since the process is so obviously fraudulent?

    If Bush wins will I be happy? Yes and no. Yes because I’m voting for
    him and I’m 90 percent sure he’d be better than Kerry. No because I won’t
    believe the vote, because I’ll know it’s a lie and that the real extent
    of his victory was greatly understated. That lie matters; it counts;
    we will pay terribly for not confronting it. One way it counts is that
    if the Democratic Party were forced to function without their vote fraud
    base they would be compelled to move more towards the center. This might
    give us a more valid choice the next time around — and we need better
    choices. In any case inevitably the Democratic Party will in the future
    win the presidency.

    So what enables the vote fraud? A lot of it is staring us right there
    in the faces in the form of our election laws. In Maryland as is the
    case of most of the country you walk in and vote and there is absolutely
    no verification that you are in fact who you say you are: the only
    check is that the name you give is checked off from the registration
    list so that name can not vote twice. What that means is that it is
    hard for more than 100% of those registered to vote to vote but it’s
    not difficult for someone to fraudulently vote for someone else. When
    people are caught committing vote fraud they are rarely prosecuted.
    It’s normally treated as if it’s not a crime. During Maryland voter
    registration there is minimal effort to verify that the person registering
    is a citizen of the United States, actually exists, or is truely
    a resident of the distict in which that person is being registered.
    (Of the nineteen terrorists directly responsible for 9/11, none were
    citizens yet nine were registered to vote.)

    It’s ironic that the Observer, a british newspaper, criticizes the
    election process in Florida without noting these basic problems because
    in Britain they do manage to get it right. In the first place they
    spend a great deal of effort ensuring that people registered to vote
    are qualified to vote. Even to the extent of in most cases sending
    a person to a nominal voter’s residence to (a) establish that person
    really exists and (b) establish that person really lives in the
    voting district.

    See http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/civil_rights/voting_procedures.htm

    And from the look of it, although it isn’t explicitly stated, I’d
    guess that different districts cross-check so that the same person
    isn’t allowed to vote twice in different districts — something I find
    hard to believe occurs in the U.S.

    In britain false voting for others is prevented by poll slips which are
    mailed to registered voters and without which one cannot vote. This is
    in effect, together with the registration verification above, voter
    identification. It isn’t perfect: we can imagine people who should have
    been able to vote not being able to because they’ve lost their poll slips.
    And we can imagine elaborate schemes whereby people could still commit
    vote fraud. But they’d have to be elaborate, much more elaborate than
    in the United States.

    If we tried to legislate such a system here the Democratic Party would
    scream “voter intimidation.” It’s ironic that the Observer uses the
    same language. Words that if used as they are used in the U.S. would
    certainly apply to the english system.

    But then maybe it isn’t ironic. Maybe the Observer, being leftist,
    would love to have the american process.

  15. “In britain false voting for others is prevented by poll slips . . . ”

    Ahem.

    “POSTAL ballots for tomorrow?s European and local elections were thrown into turmoil last night after a Times investigation uncovered widespread allegations of fraud, vote-stealing and intimidation. . . ” – from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1139186,00.html

  16. And more:

    “AN INDEPENDENT candidate in John Prescott?s Hull constituency is mounting the first legal challenge to Thursday?s election results after a postal ballot fiasco in his ward were he narrowly lost a seat.

    “Hours later a Liberal Democrat candidate said that he intended to contest his result in Birmingham amid widespread allegations of electoral fraud involving postal votes. . . ” – from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,175-1142177,00.html

  17. It is strange that Western European elections seem to be less of an administrational problem. Though Britain is certainly one of the worse examples… I’ve been told of party youth organisations “buying” votes from students as well as directors of pensioner residences voting for their entire institution. Frankly, much of this sounds like urban legends yet the origin of such rumours lent at least a little credibility. I know for sure that in many cases European citizens who are only allowed to vote in local elections (for the time being) have been able to vote in the 2001 general election simply because they have been handed the documents at their polling place.

    There “might” be a connection between a national id register and voting efficiency.

  18. Voter registration problems are compounded in the United States by the fact that in most states voter registration also triggers immediate registration for jury duty.

    Now there’s a whole new topic for debate: is mandatory jury duty a form of serfdom?

  19. Cornelius, you said a lot of stuff I disagreed with — starting with your first post, in which you seemed to wonder aloud how anybody seeing a group of people raising their hands/arms and pledging allegiance to an individual could possibly be remind one of German fascism. (This in response to a post that ultimately rejected the oft-repeated Hitler comparison!)

    It’s a small quibble but the article spoke of people asked to “raise their hands.” You said that’s not the same as “raised arms,” which is evocative of fascism.

    “Raising your hand, as every American child knows, is synonymous with the Pledge of Allegiance.”

    Are you American? Because I am, and you’re dead wrong. When you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you place your hand over your heart. NOBODY raises their hand and says the Pledge of Allegiance.

    But whatever. I mention that only because you made it an issue.

    With all due respect, I’d really like you to unpack this statement:

    “I don’t understand the difference, Ms. Tilton, between people who disagree with how Bush is handling a post 9/11 world and a September 10th mentality. Because ultimately that is what Kerry is proposing. Going back to doing things the way we did before, which Bush argues is what got us into 9/11 in the first place.”

    You’re being fuzzy. “A September 10th mentality” and “doing things the way we did before” are meaningless phrases by themselves. A stupid example: On Sept. 10 I liked beer. Sometimes I drank too much of it, and I saw that as a bad thing. I also thought misery, pain, war, etc. were generally things best avoided unless necessary. I had trouble seeing in the dark, and I hated mornings. Plus I liked my friends and generally wasn’t too fond of my enemies. I thought terrorism was downright bad.

    Remarkably, on Sept. 11 I felt the same way about all those things. Still do, to this day, and I basically do things the way they were done before, drinking beer, disliking mornings and hating terrorism. So what precisely are you talking about? I suspect that if you got specific with regard to Bush and Kerry, you’d leave yourself open to getting torn to shreds. With all due respect, I dare ya.

    Without imputing the motives of anybody who identifies themselves as such, I also suspect that “9/11 Republicans” like Roger Simon are basically people who literally got scared senseless by Al Qaeda. A pity, because despite the enormity of the event, “sense” was a virtue both before and after 9/11. Don’t get me wrong — I was scared, too, and I went around telling people, “This changes EVERYTHING.” I meant it rhetorically, of course.

    I digress. The question stands.

  20. Remarkably, on Sept. 11 I felt the same way about all those things. Still do, to this day, and I basically do things the way they were done before, drinking beer, disliking mornings and hating terrorism. So what precisely are you talking about? I suspect that if you got specific with regard to Bush and Kerry, you’d leave yourself open to getting torn to shreds. With all due respect, I dare ya.

    Specifically the excessive reliance on multilateral institutions to serve the best interest of the United States, although I don’t really see how anyone can argue for Kerry specifically as he hasn’t really elaborated on his ideas other than that global test bit and getting Europe back on board.

    There’s also Kerry’s comment on ‘fighting a more sensitive war on terror’. And the whole ‘terror is a nuisance’ thing. In other words, terrorism isn’t as big a problem as you think it is.

    While there are people who were scared senseless by 9/11 there are also folks who simply don’t believe that modern day terrorism is an enormous threat. I am neither. Are you the latter?

  21. They may not be fascists, but they definitely use fascist techniques.

    bush’s campaign meetings, by allowing only supporters, create nurembergian mass psychose.

    Fox News and other outletsh are propaganda machines of a goebelian quality.

    In letting the end justifying the means, the republicans are taking the risk that their party will get the goals as welle as the means

  22. When you compare something to Nazi propaganda, you shouldn’t sound like a Nazi propagandist yourself…

  23. “While there are people who were scared senseless by 9/11 there are also folks who simply don’t believe that modern day terrorism is an enormous threat. I am neither. Are you the latter?”

    No, and it’s precisely because I DO believe that modern day terrorism is an enormous threat that I think George Bush should be fired.

Comments are closed.