17 January 2005

SHH!! It's not all about Bush....

You know I'm a Bush fan. Since I've become politically active, I've become a heck of a lot more vocal on the things that matter to me the most; I'm not just nodding and smiling and hoping not to offend anyone anymore. Therefore even the guy who decided to start railing on G.W. in the middle of our first date knows I'm a Bush fan. (I was quite proud of myself, actually, for sticking up for what I believe in. Not that it was that challenging. It doesn't take many brain cells to give an educated response to "Well, I think judges, like, when the law is wrong, they like, have a right to change it any way they see fit and stuff." Socialist. But, I digress.) I'm glad G.W. was elected, and I'm glad they're spending a huge amount of money on this inauguration. I love free market capitalism at work.

But this isn't all about Bush, you know.

Conservatives and Republicans have demonstrated a tendency to toot their own horns lately. Sure, after the vicious election season we all have a right to take joy in our victory, but humility has its benefits. Just the other day Rush Limbaugh warned that if the Republican Party gets cocky a la the Kennedy left, they'll lose any ground they've won, and he's right (as he is 96% of the time). Part of this cockiness is this extreme, almost 1940s-esque patriotism that seems to exhibit itself in an overwhelming support of the President. Supporting the President is great (when he's the right guy for the job) but turning that support into a near-monarch mandate is not. Conservatives and Republicans must remember that President Bush may be our Commander-in-Cheif, but he isn't the sole warrior in the battle. He can't do it all, he can't save us all, he isn't America's Messiah.

Norman Podhoretz's current piece on World War IV and the Bush mandate in 'Commentary' illustrates this Messiah-like image that has been dropped onto Bush's shoulders by his supporters, as if they'd elected Atlas and not a fellowAmerican. It's great to preach support for the cause, but when shifting collective responsibility onto one individual's shoulders, the job suddenly becomes a yoke too heavy for any single person to bear, and we risk losing victory forever.

Bush voters were dubbed "The Silent Majority" after this year's election simply because after nearly a year of vicious anti-Bush attacks performed by the Kerry campaign, which resulted in what should have been a landslide victory being "too close to call" for many political analysts even days beforehand, President Bush was reelected through both the electoral college and the popular vote. So, where were all these Bush supporters during the wicked campaign season? Mostly doing the same thing they're doing now-- nothing. Living their lives like "ordinary Americans" (whatever that means, anymore) and waiting until election day to let their voice be heard.


Why weren't more people speaking up? Why, in an election where the two main candidates were, respectively, a Republican and a Socialist, didn't all those "average Americans" with that love for "G-d and country" and democracy and all that great flag-waving fervor speak up? The man Bush was running against was the modern-day Benedict Arnold with a distinctly French flavor (that derived from wayyy more than the escargot, but was nonetheless quite fishy) and the majority of 60 million Americans felt the need to say NOTHING about it? To do NOTHING about it, except wait and vote?

In case you didn't realise, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry didn't just wait for their turn to vote for independence. They didn't sit idly by and employ the "the less said, the better" and "don't encourage them" reasoning so common among, say, the European Jews circa 1933. They saw something desperately wrong, and they knew that if they didn't do something about it, both they and their ancestors would pay for their gross inactions.

Right now, thousands of Jewish Israelis are going door-to-door with petitions, sitting in peaceful protest for weeks on end, and marching across their country to demand their right to be heard by their own government before they are forced to lose their homes. Here in America, we are "living like ordinary Americans" and letting our dwindling academic minority toot an occassional horn of support while we let our President do all the work.

In case you haven't noticed, America, our nation is DYING from the inside. Do you think one man, no matter how much power he seemingly weilds, can revive us from our stupor? Do you think our problems are so miniscule in the scheme of things that we can work, eat, sleep, go to the occassional movie and think everything is going to be just O.K.? The War on Terror isn't a million miles away; there are radical Islamists in this country who want to kill us for what we believe-- suicide bombers and militants who want to do to us what their bretheren are doing to the people of Israel every single day. And until we follow the lead of a set of courageous Israelis, we have no hope for survival. Until we speak up, until we take action, until we take it upon ourselves to defend our rights, we have no right to blame others for the violence that falls upon us. We need to rely on more than the President, more than our military, more than the cops on the corner to keep us alive; we need to rely on ourselves.

One Israeli once said, "How do you deal with terror? When every driver looks to the driver on the left, to the driver on the right. You can see the fear in the eyes of someone about to commit a terrorist act. Security is the responsibility of everyone. Don't expect someone else to do it for you." Don't expect George W. Bush to do it for you, America. On November 2nd, you gave the mandate to the President, and at the same time, you gave a mandate to yourselves.


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