-Art's Art-
Recollections of a Small Town Boy


Yup, I confess. I believe in a liberal democracy. When you say it that way instead of “Lefty Liberal Democrat!” it doesn’t sound so dirty, does it? Really, the liberal democracy idea makes us think about people. Our neighbors next door or across town or across oceans. Especially right now while the victims of a horrible tidal wave need more than any nation can give. But yet we try.

Yet again, here at home in America I am more than disturbed to be labeled as an enemy of America, family values--maybe even a secret socialist/Marxist/Communist. I hear those undertones. You see, people who think social programs might be good for hungry children or shelters for homeless people are just left-threaded wingnuts. Righties consider those folks sluggards who won’t work and would do us all a favor by dying quickly instead of asking for more handouts.

Frankly, I am very tired of demagogues trying to tattoo ‘SUBVERSIVE’ on my arm.

Oh shucks, now I must confess to being a patriotic American and will spit in the eye of anyone who calls me a liar. Duels may titillate spectators but I would prefer to disagree with calm discussion because war is bloody and settles too few issues. I know something about that.
The day I realized that I might be subversive and Un-American was the day President Bush chose to warn the world that anyone who was not with him was with THEM. That chilled me and angered me and made me afraid of my own government for the first time in all my years on earth. With one sentence the president warned the world and all citizens everywhere never to question or disagree with him. I assumed that U.S. citizens were not exempt and had better shut the hell up!

Most of America’s allies walked away smarting from that finger in the eye. At home the president was given a pass because we were still in shock after the World Trade Towers fell, and an airliner destroyed a chunk of the Pentagon. I will guess that the coolest person in the administration was not aboard Air Force One on 9/11. Wherever Karl Rove, he was coldly factoring the event into a model for the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004.

It worked. No war-time president has ever lost an election, and with a declaration of a war against terrorism we had a war-time commander-in-chief. Neo-cons had plans on the table for Iraq, and we are there. For awhile or for many whiles.

War is also of great value as a diversion from domestic issues. At home the president has been quite busy signing executive orders to undermine environmental protection, creating new executive powers, appointing justice officials to guarantee abridgement of civil rights. All perfectly legal under the Homeland Security act? (In a rush to do something, Congress handed over too much by far of its responsibility to the executive branch). So much for checks and balances.

But it is comforting to believe there are no drug problems after Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” pronouncement. It is also good to know that no venereal diseases or surprise pregnancies have occurred after “Abstinence Only” was all young folks were taught about sex. Amazing victories!

Tattered remnants of Southern losers would do well to ask what its solid Republican majority has won. Repeal of the civil rights act of 1964? Nah. That’s what the wholesale defection was all about. Old Strom Thurmond was a real smart politician. He just cruised right over to where the new Republican votes were. Can we wake up and see that Lyndon Baines Johnson signed that loathsome civil rights act because it was right? He said plainly that he had just delivered the South to Republicans for forty years. And of course Bill Clinton caused that too.

The time limit has expired.

Note: This was written in 2005. Not enough was changed in 2008 with the election of Democrat Barack Obama to the presidency. A recalcitrant Congress has and still is refusing all proposals for economic recovery. Some names mentioned may not be familiar to non-Americans, but you get the drift. 

–Art Darwin 13 July 2012

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