FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Virtual Citizens; Virtual Government; Virtual Opposition

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

There was a remarkable article in the New York Times on June 27. It had a remarkable headline too: “Some in G.O.P. Call on Bush to Focus on Governing.”

The piece went on to quote Republicans, both named (Newt Gingrich) and unnamed, as saying that the Bush administration has been in a “permanent campaign” mode, aimed at energizing right-wingers, instead of governing and trying to pass legislation-which of course requires working out compromises in Congress.

This is really quite an admission.

Isn’t “governing” what people elect a president to do?

After all, during the campaign, candidates spend most of their time telling voters how they would govern, and what they would do to run the country if elected. Bush certainly did that.

Now it turns out that even his own backers in Congress don’t think he has been doing much governing; that rather, he is just running a permanent campaign aimed at attacking critics and winning the hearts of his “base.”

Of course we knew this. The war in Iraq is not governing; it has been a gigantic, unprecedentedly costly campaign stunt from the get go. The Social Security wrecking campaign is not governing; it’s a campaign theme. Ditto “No Child Left Behind,” which has been all talk and rules, and no money or program.

What we have in the Bush White House is in fact virtual government-all image and showmanship, but no action.

That’s not to say nothing is going on. What Bush and his gang are doing is systematically bankrupting and looting the country and handing the ripped off proceeds to corporations and the wealth in a way David Stockman could only dream of.

Of course, the White House has been able to get away with this deadly charade in part thanks to the fact that the Democratic Party has been pretty much a virtual opposition. Its leading lights for the most part agree with much of the Republican agenda-free trade, endless war in Iraq, US imperial power in general, throwing money at the Pentagon, cutting taxes for corporations, etc., etc.

What it all boils down to, I guess, is that we are living in a virtual democracy. In the end, the blame has to lie with America’s virtual citizens, who are content to get their news and information from a virtual newsmedia, and who are happy-that minority who still bother to cast votes-to accept and act on the shallow and manipulative campaign tactics of the two major parties’ candidates.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail