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John Cory: The Bush Zone

The Bush Zone (with Apologies to Rod Serling)

By John Cory
t r u t h o u t | Perspective/Satire

Friday 14 January 2005

There is a fifth realm beyond known reality. It is a realm as vast as space and timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground of haze and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies at the pit of man's fears. This is the realm of the unimaginable. It is an area we call "The Bush Zone."

Meet Mr. and Mrs. America, faithful believers in the one true nation. They arise each morning and stand before the mirror reciting their daily mantra: "It's a grand old flag! Leader of the free world! We're no. 1!" Their iconic reflection smiles back, a warm and homemade apple pie image of the best of everything, the best medical care, the most powerful military, and the best political system of any country in the world. The mirror never lies.

But this morning, Mr. And Mrs. America, discover a warped mirror that casts a disturbing and twisted funhouse reflection of their former selves. Daily slogans are powerless against this distorted likeness, and all that they once held sacred now ripples across the glass in a deformed and misshapen wave of elongated ugliness. Mr. And Mrs. America just stepped through the looking glass and into the Bush Zone.

Submitted for your consideration: citizens of the wealthiest country in the world seek salvation via the free-market system. They organize bake sales and eBay auctions to raise money for medical therapy not covered by their profit-driven corporate HMOs, only to discover that some of that money is also needed to purchase body armor the Pentagon failed to provide to their sons and daughters in Iraq. War is never cheap, but always profitable in the Bush Zone.

Further submitted for your consideration: a President insists on free elections in his combat arena despite the risk to life and limb for Iraqis, even as his own political party strains the boundaries of legality and decency to suppress the vote of Americans at home. Democracy is only for the righteous few required to guide the many along the sacred path of destiny and empire in the Bush Zone.

This is Alberto Gonzales, lawyer on his way up, salt of the earth, minority makes good story. He is, as you have perceived, a purveyor of partisan loyalty, one of a breed who substitutes smiles for substance, venom for value, and noise for nobility. His skill is the ability to turn the objectionable into the tolerable, the illegal into legal, and define it all with the phonetics of patriotism. Mr. Gonzales sits before his inquisitors, speaking in tongues while saying nothing. He has no fear because he knows Democrats are willing ghosts without power in the Bush Zone.

Picture of a campaign paid for by $600 million dollars of private funds, a cacophonous symphony of slander, mendacious media, and clanging garbage cans of innuendo and falsehood. The prize? A lavish gala held at the picturesque white house residence of the owners of America. Attendance is by invitation only.

The Bush Zone hosts a cast of characters, who like children's fertile imaginations, have no attachment to reality. A surreal traveling Medicine Show comprised of peddlers of faith and fear, sellers of superstition, martyrs and moguls who line their pockets with the lives of the innocent and faithful, all united to market the elixirs of corporate conformity and passivity, for the price of one thin nickel plus your soul. No waiting.

Picture of a Nation gazing into a warped mirror, its reflection, a blemished garden of atrophied freedoms, the acne of cowered silence, and once bright eyes dulled by corporate greed and the focus group political entertainment of talk television. In a little while, the face in the mirror will be permanently etched into the glass unless the Nation can avert its eyes from the hypnotic glare and focus on its people, principles and Constitution.

There is a way out for all of us, albeit through a locked door.

You unlock this door with the key of democracy. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of peace and prosperity, a dimension of free speech and civil rights, a dimension of tolerance and enlightenment. You're moving out of the land of haze and shadow, and into the wondrous journey of the people, by the people and for the people.

You've just stepped out of - the Bush Zone.

That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the real America!


John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 - 1970.

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