Meditations (Politics): A Letter to Living People
A Letter to Living People
Bill Moyers, press secretary for President Lyndon Johnson and one of the few journalists still respected in America, said a decade ago, " a nation can die from too many lies." As the Bush Administration continues to indulge in an orgy of prevarication, Moyer's words ring, in retrospect, like prophecy.
Richard Clark, the anti-terrorism czar under four successive American presidents, spoke yesterday to the commission investigating the September 11, 2001 attacks. His indictment of the Bush government had the unmistakable ring of truth. With simplicity, clarity, directness, and forcefulness, he laid bare the deception and manipulation of the Bushites, especially with regard to the war against Iraq.
Now the American people have the plain truth about the Bush Administration set before them. Now 'media manipulation' can no longer be blamed for Americans' ignorance about Bush's policies. But don't expect them to vote Bush out of office. It will take much more than the riveting testimony of a rare government official telling the truth for that to happen.
People inside and outside the USA hold out hope that a reservoir of decency and common sense in the American people will prevail in the next election. Behind this hope are images of America based on past greatness-for example, Jimmy Carter's foreign policy giving primacy to human rights; the Marshall Plan after World War II; Roosevelt's New Deal; and the creation of the United Nations.
The idea is that if Bush is defeated, his policies will be viewed as an aberration, and that a Kerry win will restore the greatness and leadership of America. That hope has no legs for two reasons. First, the reservoir of American decency and common sense is empty; second, 'American leadership' is a relic of the past.
The best example of the vain hope for the restoration of American greatness comes from billionaire George Soros, the deep pockets behind the 'anyone but Bush' movement. Soros' philosophy is clear: "If we reject Bush, then we can write off the Bush Doctrine as a temporary aberration."
"America stands for certain values, values of an open society," Soros intones, "and we would then (having gotten rid of Bush) resume our rightful place in the world as a powerful, peace-loving nation."
This fine sentiment reminds me of Mark Twain, who said, "The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet." But what thinking people at home and abroad laughed at in the mid 19th century is no longer funny in an age of globalization, since American culture has become the template for the world.
Besides, leadership within the old paradigm is meaningless in a defunct world order. Nor is the European dream of multilateralism any less ephemeral. A world based on power is not suddenly going to distribute power equitably amongst nations or regions. The principle of power, as the basis of human organization, must be effectively challenged. Otherwise some kind of authoritarian world government will be imposed as a reaction to the growing chaos of the 'international order.'
A synergy between corporate multinationals, American culture, and globalization now dominates the world and threatens to overwhelm all peoples with its flattening, deadening steamroller. Is there an adequate response? Can this momentum be halted, and reversed?
I feel it still can, though the momentum of darkness is so great that nothing short of a psychological revolution, beginning in the individual, will suffice. Since the English-speaking peoples have, as a whole, expired, a creative explosion will have to occur in the still living peoples of the Arab world, and/or Africa.
Don't look to America. The direction of humankind is too important to be determined by self-absorbed American voters, the vast majority of whom care nothing about the world. Americans will vote out Bush only if the dark forces he represents are understood, and a revolution in peoples' hearts and minds ignites in a living land.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: email@example.com. The author welcomes comments.