Martin LeFevre: Pray for Kerry, Prepare for Bush
Pray for Kerry, Prepare for Bush
After listening to and talking with various Americans in recent weeks, I’m almost certain George Bush will remain (egad!) in power. Since the future of humanity hangs in the balance, can anything be done to prepare for four more years of international rule by the ‘powers and principalities’?
I truly hope I’m wrong, and that the Bush Administration will be booted out, since I’m not sure that the earth, and the human spirit, can take another four years of these Neanderthals. Unfortunately however, a Bush re-election appears necessary for the long-term human prospect.
Why? Because it will give the impetus to put an alternative to American power, and coercive power itself, in place when the international order inevitably collapses because of American policies, enabling a true world order to finally emerge.
An excellent conversation last week with a well-traveled activist north of San Francisco persuaded me that it might not be the end of the world if the American people are stupid enough to keep this klutz in office. The activist, who has done good work building coalitions and highlighting the global technical and political consensus on solutions that already exist in many sectors, stated that he would not have become active if Al Gore had assumed office in 2000.
He believes that the same principle, writ large, would apply if Bush were re-elected. A lot of passionate people, inside and outside the United States, would see the need to get involved. Indeed, the entire myth of “the sole remaining superpower,” and “American leadership” will be dead and buried the moment Bush is again declared “the leader of the free world.”
Short of a miracle (a terrorist attack would give Bush a landslide), why can’t Kerry win? Because when he was asked whether he would still vote to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq if he knew then what he knows now, he said yes. He lost the election at that moment, not because some higher power decrees it, but because the Americans who were willing to forgive him for his calculated vote in the Senate lost their dwindling faith in him.
Kerry has politically calculated himself into a pretzel. By refusing to take a stand against this needless and wrongheaded war, he has made himself indistinguishable from Bush on the defining issue of this election. He figures that he speaks the language of the majority of Americans, who see no reason they can’t have things both ways.
Thus Kerry sees no contradiction in voting for the war, but saying he would wage it in a different way; no weakness of character in denouncing Bush’s recklessness, but refusing to renounce his policies. And the Republicans know that Bush’s phony character will trump Kerry’s evidently nonexistent one.
Kerry’s basic claim is that he would have done a better job of waging the war against Iraq. Does that mean he would not have killed thousands of civilians? No, of course not. Rather, by virtue of his presidential aura and untested diplomatic skills, he would have ‘gotten our allies on board, and not alienated the world.’
Finally and most importantly, Bush knows he’ll be re-elected because he knows the American people as a whole are, like him, inwardly dead. So the question is: do we, as world citizens, waste our energy and faith in humanity on the false hope that John Kerry will ‘restore American leadership,’ or do we bring about the psychological and social transformations necessary to build a true world order?
Four more years of Bush-Cheney will indeed mean “four more years of hell,” as Theresa Kerry said. There will probably be a nuclear and/or massive chemical or biological attacks, and not just on the American homeland/fatherland. And that will be the end of the international order.
It’s too late to pour a foundation for a new order when the old order lies in rubble. There may be another juncture, another opportunity for humankind to change course. But to act, one must feel that this is it.
The international order is now held together with spit and string by the hollow “sole remaining superpower.” Bush’s re-election can and must energize the world to end the domination of American power, and coercive power itself, as the basis of the nation-state system.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.