FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cowboy Nation Gets Ready to Vote

If tragedy is the name we use for a drama in which the protagonist falls on his own character, then tragic is the shape of public opinion in America.

Headlines Monday claimed that three-fourths of Americans already have their minds made up about presidential candidates, but the poll suggests more than that. On the issue of who we are, the poll reveals that Americans have had their minds made up for many, many years.

Taking up the question of sincerity, for instance, a majority of Americans tell pollsters that Bush says what he believes (51 percent), but an even greater majority report that Bush exaggerated to build support for war on Iraq (59 percent). So what are Americans saying about Bush? That he believes his own exaggerations.

Again, on the sincerity question, a majority (57 percent) believe that Kerry does not say what he thinks, yet American voters rate Kerry higher than Bush for caring about us, for being able to deal with economic decisions, make sure social security is solvent, and increase jobs. What do Americans think about Kerry? That he does not believe in his own capabilities.

On the fundamental question of sincerity, therefore, Americans have nothing new to say. As a nation, we prefer sincere liars to insecure competents. Look for a Reagan-Carter repeat. Or, for that matter, Bush-Dukakis, Clinton-Dole, Nixon-McGovern. When it comes to the question of sincerity, America loves a salesman best.

And where do we find the qualities of a great salesman? Not in the product, but in the pitch.

And what is Bush pitching these days? That we are a culture at war. More important than care, economy, social security, or jobs, is our ability to conserve our way of life against subversive forces. It’s an exaggeration, as we fully know. But it’s an exaggeration that creates purpose.

Meanwhile, a mid-week editorial from the Boston Globe reminds us what Bush is selling to the rest of the world. Scan the headlines coming out of Santiago, Chile during Women’s History Month. Bush Administration Opposes 40 Latin American Nations. Countries of the Americas, Except US, Reaffirm Reproductive Health Accord. US Lone No at Chile Meeting .

“The United States was the only country to disagree with a declaration linking poverty eradication to greater access to services for family planning, safe motherhood and HIV/AIDS prevention,” reports the United Nations.

A simple Google search for “Bush opposes treaty” yields the following: Bush opposes ratifying nuclear test ban treaty; Bush Administration Opposes UN Children’s Treaty; Bush Tries to Weaken Tobacco Treaty; US Abandons Environment Treaty; Bush Opposes Kyoto Global Warming Treaty. That’s page one.

Our embattled way of life is indeed at war with the world. Bush is right about that. But he is only our most recent cowboy-in-chief, pushing the frontiers, shredding the treaties, and sending in the cavalry to secure the outposts.

So, of course, Americans feel more comfortable with Bush than Kerry when it comes to handling an international crisis and protecting the country from a terrorist attack.

On three questions Bush tops the charts absolutely. Seventy five percent believe Bush has a vision for the country. Seventy eight percent believe that we would have a good economy today were it not for the disruption of the massacre of Sept. 11.

And 75 percent of Americans believe Bush shares the moral values most Americans try to live by.

So the poll numbers demonstrate that Kerry and Bush are placeholders in a cowboy nation that is nearly 80 percent unified.

So bring on your Nader, if you will. Or point out that America is isolating itself in the eyes of others. What we have here is a mature culture acting out its character in ways that are as predictable as they are tragic.

If the poll numbers hold up, whoever wins in November will be the top cowboy candidate. In this drama of Cowboy Nation, is there an alternative ending at hand?

GREG MOSES writes for the Texas Civil Rights Review. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net

 

More articles by:

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savoir
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail