Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

As I Lay Dying

Sadly, little coming from America’s politics can fire my enthusiasm. During my lifetime, America has busied itself with the task of burying liberalism, reminding one of October’s frenetic squirrels hunting and burying acorns.

The nation is pretty much at ease with ugly imperial government. Liberalism, and I mean liberalism in the broadest, richest sense of the word, is a topic of bathroom humor.

We read and hear a great deal about the Democrats’ sizable victory in mid-term elections, and I suppose after six years of Bush’s near-insanity, people have a right to a little excitement, although one is sobered by the recollection that the same people returned him to office just two years ago. At least, the world can be grateful that Bush has been hobbled for his last two years.

The Democratic Party has been all but dead for years as a meaningful national alternative. The party has no recognized national leader. It has no cause, no fire in the belly. It has been largely silent for six years while Bush rampaged through the world and literally peed on American liberties like a grotesquely-smirking, small-town sheriff. No President in history has shown so little respect for human rights, and with so little excuse, yet all the would-be defenders of the Republic, whether Congressmen or the Don’t-Tread-on-Me crowd, have been no where to be seen. And Democrats like Lieberman or Kerry can hardly be distinguished from Republicans.

The Democrats have been elected because Americans are now sick of Iraq. Their enthusiasms die quickly. American expectations for the wars they start are perfectly captured by the image of Bush landing on an aircraft carrier with a big banner behind him saying Mission Accomplished. It’s a blockbuster version of the Homecoming Game with guys in uniforms and cheerleaders and flags, and there is no hint of death or decay. Anything beyond that kind of performance is welcomed like the kid who couldn’t make the team.

I doubt there is widespread concern that Iraqis still huddle in homes with no reliable electricity or clean water, no jobs, and fearful to step into murderous streets. I doubt there is much guilt over having killed half a million of them. I doubt there is guilt about running a secret gulag and torturing helpless captives. I doubt there is guilt about blood-spattered holes like Abu Ghraib. Because if there were such guilt, there would have been a revolt against Bush’s criminal government.

The American tendency to quickly tire of things is mightily reinforced by the depressing consciousness of having lost. Americans are conditioned in the great booming engine of Social Darwinism they call society that there is no substitute for winning, and winning in a chest-thumping way. Losing is for losers, and loser is a favorite American expression of contempt for others. They hate losing, and yet the simple fact is that many of the conflicts into which they thoughtlessly are led end up lost.

I am sure Americans are tired of images and commentary about Iraq on television, tame as they have been deliberately kept. They’re tired of knowing that cute little Steve and Susie graduating high school this year can’t just join up to have their college paid and be heroes in uniform without risking their health.

The greatest horror Bush has inflicted on humanity, the suppurating body of Iraq, is unlikely to be attended by Democrats. They want the White House in two years, and they do not want to be left holding Bush’s “tarbaby.” Instead, they will scrutinize and highlight every twist and turn of Bush’s bumbling, murderous efforts as he struggles to leave Iraq. American politics are just that brutal. No wonder there are so many wars.

JOHN CHUCKMAN lives in Ontario.

 

More articles by:

John Chuckman lives in Canada.

May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail