We all knew how the vote would go. Christmas has come early, and only for one man: George W. Bush has the authority to declare war.
The House and Senate have passed a resolution to allow President locum tenens Bush to start a war whenever he feels like it, with only one caveat: he must be pretty sure he wants to do so. Once again, our Great Nation’s leaders have proven themselves to be callow, pandering, shameless, self-gratifying, bellicose, reactionary and vindictive. Our Congress demonstrates that it is a senile psychotic, fondling flaccid genitals through swollen diapers in the corner of a filth-smeared cell and begging with toothless whines for another dose of medication from the smirking wardens who spit through the bars in the door, chuckling like tourists at the zoo watching the monkey piss in its own face-as the saying goes.
Our representatives’ pathetic failure as human beings and leaders has led us to this pass: even if we never march to war against any nation, America has still abandoned the single greatest fundament of world peace: never strike first. To the international community, this resolution is the equivalent of handing an agitated four-year-old child a pistol and warning him not to pull the trigger unless he has a good reason to do it. A child who has stated in no uncertain terms he intends to shoot people. A child with a history of antisocial behavior, a child prone to tantrums, a child with undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder. This is what America became today.
Am I upset? Just a little, but I may get more upset when the Phencyclidine wears off. After all, Democracy in this land has been eviscerated before, always (but not exclusively) during times of war. I doubt not I would have been upset when we rounded up all the Japanese-Americans and put them in concentration camps in the central Californian desert. I probably would have been rounded up myself during the lazy, hazy, crazy days of the Sedition Act of 1918, stuffed in a cell with a bunch of dreary Quakers. James Madison, who was no peacenik, said that “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” Of course when James Madison was still frisking about, stupidity had not yet risen to eclipse all other perils. But the instrument of war has now been placed in the hands of the stupid, so la pointe c’est moot.
Why is this so awful? At least it will settle Bush down, one way or the other. Let him wage war, if it means he’ll stop trying to cut down the forests, arrest all the cancer victims who smoke cheeba, and take away a woman’s right to choose. I’ll tell you what the problem is. (You didn’t think I wouldn’t, did you?) While the halls of government ring with preposterous speeches about despots who compulsively hate our freedoms and attractive lifestyle, our real enemies are gathering strength, and our allies are growing weak. When we scoff at the UN, however wretched that body may be, we rob it of the blunt, peg-like teeth necessary to enforce world peace and diplomatic aims. When we threaten to attack sovereign nations, however stinky, we are breeding terrorists out of the young men who know they cannot win, except by suicidal vigilante actions. When the United States announces by resolutions such as the one passed today in the Senate that it intends to do whatever its President damn well pleases, despite its own citizens, despite the Constitution, despite the world, even despite the lessons of history and the legacy of the future, one cannot help but say, “oy”.
But there’s a bigger problem than that, even. Bush subverted our election. He subverted our prosperity. He subverted our freedoms. And now he has subverted, with the help of a couple hundred Democrats, the entire government– all three branches on the withered, leafless tree. The coronation is complete. How could the Democrats in Congress allow this to happen, to give up their authority in the ultimate matter of national affairs, the right to declare war? That’s a silly question. I’m embarrassed. There’s a midterm election coming, and it could be the most important midterm election in modern times: if the Democrats don’t prevail in the House and Senate, and the Republicans take control, then George W. Bush will have absolute power, a power he has demonstrated a thirst to use for outrageously narrow interests. The Democrats calculate if they appear to be tough and brave, like the Republican chickenhawks, the Republicans will have nothing to run against- after all, the Democrats are already favored on the economy and domestic matters. So to show they’re powerful, the Democrats support handing Bush the power to wage war. But wait! Doesn’t that mean he now has absolute power? Oops.
And now, dear reader (including my pals at the Justice Department who are compiling a lively dossier even as we speak), we come to the final Catch-22. On this vote, the Democrats in Congress were damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t. They voted for this resolution and are damned. But now how will you react? There’s a vote right around the corner for you, too. Will you vote your Democrat out of office for the shivering, lickspittle cur he or she has become, a vote of disgust at the spectacle of your elected representative snuffling at the crotch of the scornful master as the world is plunged into chaos? Or will you do exactly what your elected representative did, abandon your principles, and vote for the status quo rather than risk a repeat of the election of 2000?
I leave you with that thought, to go hang myself on my representative’s lawn.
BEN TRIPP is a screenwriter. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org