Editor’s Page

An American Tragedy: Nov. 2, 2004

 

On November 2, 2004, a great American tragedy occurred: a majority of voting citizens of the United States of America returned to office of president a man and his minions who had already been responsible for the death, maiming and suffering of thousands in the name of peace, freedom and God, and who openly vowed to continue doing so. History has seen similar, even greater, destruction before, but never a majority of supposedly free people applauding it with their votes. Can I explain it? No, not really. I can only try to understand it by remembering the past.

 

I remember the Vietnam War, when many intelligent people who supported the American involvement thought it necessary to halt the spread of Communism. It was only gradually, as the truth emerged – that the war was based on lies and ignorance – that they, and, finally, a vast majority, realized that they had been duped and that the war was unnecessary, cruel, dehumanising and unwinable. Not one for statistics, I don’t remember the amount of American casualties, except that it was large, nor does anyone know how many Vietnamese, combatants and, mostly, non-combatants, were killed.

 

I remember the “dirty war” in Argentina, during which the state tortured and “disappeared” about 30,000 people, in order to save the country from Communism. One could object that a military dictatorship was responsible, so a comparison with the United States isn’t valid. However, I can assure you that a majority of Argentine citizens, along with the Church, supported that “junta” and its actions – at least at the beginning and far into its tenure. After the junta fell as a result of its defeat in the Falkland Islands war, a blue ribbon investigating panel chaired by the Argentine writer Ernesto Sábato issued its report entitled “Nunca más” (Never Again).

 

I don’t know whether “Nunca más” will be respected in Argentina, but I did think that after the lesson of Vietnam, though unfortunately no such report was issued in the U.S., the citizens of that country would never allow it to happen again. But it has, this time in Iraq. We know now that the stated reasons for attacking Iraq and again trapping the U.S. and, this time, much of the “free” world in quicksand they don’t understand, was a lie. Nevertheless, despite knowing this, despite knowing that it was a gigantic lie, a voting majority of United States citizens voted for people who will blithely continue on that wormwood path, it being, in Bush's own words, a "catastrophic success".

 

I remember 9-11, which made it all possible. They had to do something. Like a tormented pea-brained bull must rage and snort and attack the first red flag in its narrow view. But the bull never wins; at most he may draw blood before his ultimate destruction. Defeating terrorism requires wisdom, which, like the bull, the Bush administration sorely lacks.

 

There are many other issues which the electorate must have been aware of, but ignored: environmental destruction, favoring the rich over the poor, privatizing social security in true third world mode - see Argentina and Chile; how the rest of the world now despises the United States, the religious, so-called “Christian” fundamentalism which is contrary to the ideals of the Prince of Peace and comparable to the fanaticism of the Islamic terrorists. God protect us from those who think they’re God’s messengers.

 

Kerry's campaign was pathetic, at least the part where he tried to show that he's as dumb as the rest of us: drinking beer from a bottle (it might even have been Budweiser, which is going too far) with his feet on the table, clutching his rosary beads (verbally at least); flip-flopping (yeah, it's true); posturing: "I'm gonna hunt down, kill or capture those terrorists" cause I'm as tough as Dubya; hunting on tv to show he likes guns, just doesn't like killing people with them; opposed to abortion, but....what? Nevertheless, the real tragedy lies in the fact that a majority of the United States electorate chose to ignore the sins and ignorance of its own government and voted for its continuance. This is the dramatic stuff of tragedy.

FTS