Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Politics of Fear

A good overview from Intervention Magazine:
...“Five times in his speech in West Virginia,” according to a report in Saturday’s Washington Post, “Bush spoke of making the country and the world ‘safer.’ He told members of the audience to bring their friends to the polls and ‘remind them, if they want a safer America, a stronger America, and a better America, to put Dick Cheney and me back in there for four more years.”

Safer? Stronger? Better? This is not the America I see after almost four years of Bush/Cheney rule.

We are not safer. Our borders are porous. Most container ships enter our harbors without being inspected. Bush and the Republican Congress have drastically cut funding for the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs Agency; have eliminated a program initiated by President Clinton to put more police officers on America’s streets; have denied promised funding for equipment desperately needed by police officers, fire fighters, and first responders in our cities; have arbitrarily allocated Homeland Security funding evenly to all states so that sparsely populated Wyoming gets as much money as New York City, already the target of two terrorist attacks; and have allowed the assault weapons ban to lapse so that these deadly weapons whose only purpose is to kill people will now be easily attainable by those who want to kill people.

We are not stronger. Because of our Iraqi misadventure, our armed forces have been stretched dangerously thin as North Korea and Iran blithely develop nuclear weapons. Because Bush and Donald Rumsfeld have wasted billions on obsolete high-tech weaponry and an absurd, unworkable, and useless missile defense program, we cannot afford to field sufficient armed forces and provide them with the equipment they need to protect themselves and us. Because of the staggering deficit created by the Bush regime’s unconscionable tax cuts for the rich, we have become a debtor nation subject to the whims of countries who now prop up our wobbly economy. Because of the Patriot Act, our Constitutional liberties have been eroded, weakening our democratic system. We have lost the trust and friendship of our allies and encouraged the enmity of those who would be our enemies.

And we most certainly are not better. Almost two million Americans remain out of work, the highest number since the Great Depression. More than 36 million Americans have slid into poverty, the highest number since the Great Depression. Fifteen percent of the American population lacks health care coverage. Our infant mortality rate is among the worst in the industrialized world. Most Americans are unable to save money because they need every cent simply to survive. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the earth upon which we live are less safe because of the Bush regime’s attack on the environment--to make America a better place for the energy companies and other corporations who have been given carte blanche to do whatever they choose...

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