United we Stand
by Melissa V.
This opinion piece was written in January of 2001, just a few days after Bush was installed in the White House, as an answer to an accusation leveled at me on a public forum.
It shows my feelings and fears at the time. Now, in April of 2003, it's obvious that many of those fears were well founded. However, because of my own personal growth over the last two years, I find that I no longer hate the man. In fact, I don't think I am capable of hating anyone any more. I still fear him, and what he is doing to this nation and to the world, which in many ways is worse than anything I imagined two years ago. It still makes me very sad that he treated, and continues to treat, the laws of this county in so callous a fashion. We have, in fact, lost a number of our liberties and I dread that we are going to lose more.
But hating anyone, I now feel, only adds to the problem. It never bothered Bush that I hated him. But it was bothering me quite a bit.
I am now of the opinion that we have powerful negative emotions like hatred to alert us to the fact that something is wrong. They feel bad, and that motivates us to do something about the wrongness. I have done, and continue to do, what I can. So, having acknowledged that there is, indeed, something amiss, I have let the emotions go. They no longer served a purpose.
Am I still passionate about our freedom? About the wrongness of war, and the necessity of tolerance and personal responsibility? Do I still care deeply about the environment and civil rights? You bet I do. More than ever. Which is why I am leaving this page up, just as it is.
Consider it a snapshot of one woman's viewpoint at a crucial moment in history.
I'll admit it. I do hate Bush.
I try not to, but I find him despicable in so many ways. (And I am neither Republican nor Democrat, so I am not swayed by my party.)
First there is the matter of the vote. Do you remember before the election? He was afraid that he would win the popular vote, but lose in the electoral college. At that point, he said the "voice of the people" should be of paramount importance, and that if he won the popular vote he would do "everything in his power" to sway the electoral college.
Well, he lost the popular vote by over half a million votes. And instantly changed his mind.
Then, when the vote in Florida was too close to call, and a mandatory revote was necessary by Florida law, he stated that this should not go to the courts. Except that it became apparent that he was losing ground, not gaining it as he had expected, so he immediately turned to the courts.
We all saw what happened there. But we didn't interpret it the same way. As an independent, I saw a struggle to count votes from the Gore side, and to keep them from being counted by the Bush side. I saw high ranking Republican aides flown in from out of state. And then I saw those very same aides manipulated into trying to break into the counting rooms by someone they could not identify.
And, in the end, I saw thousands and thousands of legal votes which were not counted. Legal? Votes? Yes and yes. Legal votes, according to Florida law, are any ballots on which the clear intent of the voter can be determined. Tens of thousands of ballots showed clear intent to any human who cared to look at them, although not to the counting machines. How can that happen? The same way that a Coke machine can reject your dollar when you try to buy a soft drink. If you think all those ballots were blank, please send me all the blank slips of paper the machine rejects.
Why was the voting stopped? By an extremely partisan Supreme Court. Three of the five Justices who voted to stop the voting should have recused themselves, because they were personally interested in the outcome. But they didn't, and instead they chose the man they wanted for President in spite of the fact that the majority of those who voted on November 7, including the majority of those who voted in Florida, voted against him. And, at that, they were so ashamed of what they had done that they would not sign their decision.
And, through the whole process, Bush did an about-face on his "voice of the people" and went with "don't count the votes" (Don't count the votes? In America?)
He was inaugurated a little over a week ago, this man who claimed to be a "uniter" who was going to be the president for all the people. But, in the prayers that bracketed that event, the name of "Jesus Christ" was loudly bellowed. That has the same effect on all of us who are not Christian as it would on you Christians to hear the new President calling loudly on Allah.
It's a slap in the face, and it doesn't bode well.
So, now he is in the oval office, even though the majority of the People don't want him there and never voted for him. (An absolute fact, that even the most rabid Republican cannot deny, unless they think that 50,456,169 is a bigger number than 50,996,116)
The very first thing he does is to reinstitute a global gag order, foisting his personal beliefs and agenda on people who don't subscribe to either one. This will not stop any abortions. It has been illegal to use US Aid Money to perform an abortion for years. It will stop the clinics from being able to talk about them and accept US Aid. And, since a woman pregnant woman with AIDS must be able to ask about abortion, it will mean that the clinics will have to stop accepting US Aid. Since US Aid pays for most of the condoms that have been given away in these clinics, far from stopping any abortions this action will actually cause more unwanted pregnancies and so cause more abortions, as well as fueling the AIDS crisis.
And then look at the Cabinet this man, who claimed to be a moderate, a "compassionate conservative" has put together.
For Secretary of State, Colin Powell. The man who brought you the cover-up of the Mai Li massacre, and who notes in his memoirs that he habitually shot unarmed civilians because they were military aged males, and had the bad sense to move when he was firing at their feet from a helicopter platform.
For Attorney General, John Ashcroft, an avowed Ultra Conservative who has written papers glorifying the Confederacy, and who has a long record of fighting integration, fighting equal rights, fighting abortion for any reason, fighting against any recognition that gay people are human. In short, this man has a deep and abiding hatred for anyone who isn't white, male, Protestant and straight. And he is now lying through his teeth, and claiming that the fact that he has never yet given a fair hearing to anyone else won't make any difference. Even if he meant it, which I don't believe for a moment, he couldn't do it. He really thinks that black people are inferior mentally and ethically. He really thinks gay people are amoral. That has to enter into everything he does.
For Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, who has worked her entire life to overturn any law that would protect the environment, and is also far to the right of center politically.
For Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham, who is not only also on the far right wing, but tried at one point to get the entire Department of Energy disbanded, because he claimed we didn't need it.
It goes on and on. Sure, some have black skin, and some are female. But I think that people should be judged by their actions, not by their gender or the color of their skin. And every single one of the people Bush has chosen for his cabinet are anti-gay, anti-environment, pro-big business right wingers.
This is not moderate.
Now, he is in the middle of deciding whether we should still have a White House Office of National AIDS Policy. After all, from his point of view, the only people who get AIDS are gays, blacks and latinos. And it really doesn't matter if all of them die. They didn't vote for him anyway. Bets he abolishes it.
He is also trying to push through his famous tax cut. Well, it won't affect me, or most of the people I know. None of us are rich enough. I saw "trickle down" economics during Regan. It didn't work then, and it won't work now.
I'm an independent, and I'll tell you the major difference between the two parties. Democrats believe in regulating business, and letting people live their lives. Republicans believe in regulating the lives of people, and letting big business do whatever it wants.
Bush doesn't believe in Freedom of Religion. He thinks this is a Christian country. Well, I'd like to point out that it isn't, it never was, and to make it so is in direct opposition to what our Founding Fathers had in mind. (Try actually reading the Constitution if you don't believe me.)
Yes, I hate Bush, because he got into the White House by ignoring the will of the people. Because he is trying to place a cabinet with political aims that are harmful to the environment, harmful to people of color, harmful to women, harmful to the poor. Because he lies. Because he holds his principles so lightly that he changes them in a heartbeat for reasons of political expediency. Because he is dangerously incompetent, and unaware of the global community.
I hate him, because of the amount of damage he is planning to do. And, as he does it, more and more of the people of this country (23% of whom already know that he stole this election) will grow to hate him too.
A uniter? In the last few months, he has done more to divide this country than anyone ever has. And he shows no sign of stopping.
You bet I'll fight him every inch of the way. And I'll keep my eye on the Canadian border, which is less than an hour away. Because the way things are going, it may be necessary to escape and seek political asylum in a free country.