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The reason most frequently cited by voters in exit polls for turning on Bush and the Republicans was “corruption.” The talking heads on PBS couldn’t quite figure this out, so they interpreted it as “opposition to the war.” The American public got the message during Hurricane Katrina. The Iraq War is corruption. The intentional FEMA lack of response to Katrina is corruption. The intentional throwing of the Blacks of New Orleans to the dogs is corruption. The stealing of winter heating from grannies in California by ENRON, and this cash flowing easily into Jack Abramoff-Karl Rove-White House-Republican “campaigns” is corruption. The dead American GIs of the Iraq War because of lack of body armor, and the vulnerability of Stryker fighting vehicles (the US Army holding one news photographer incommunicado indefinitely for exposing this latter fact with pictures from Fallujah — no habeas corpus, no charges, just like old Joe Stalin), these are corruption. The “cut and run” from Iraq by no-bid Halliburton, with several billion in profit, no work completed on any project there, while piling up an encyclopedia of stories of fraud is corruption. The pure cashing out of political connections by the likes of Cunningham (San Diego, CA) and Pombo (Modesto, CA) is corruption. The outrageous hypocrisy of leading persecutors of homosexuals and people who happen to have wombs, and the use of political positions as convenient platforms from which to procure sexual favors is corruption, as is the winking at it for partisan gain — screw the dumb asses who fell for the come-ons of important congressmen or big-shot church leaders, it’s more important to keep control of government money and power; that IS corruption.
The American people are neither intellectual nor overly moralistic; they might go along with an oil-grab Iraq War if it was simply stated as such, and the US was winning handily (most people didn’t object to the Persian Gulf War [Iraq War 1], and the invasions of Panama or Grenada). But, the American public detest a pure lying cheat. We all have to scrap for our gains, and we all hate those who have unfair advantages over us, because the rules are bent in their favor, or because they are allowed to steal and get away with things we would not be allowed. You don’t have to be past the 2nd grade to understand this basic truth. And, it is against that that the American public voted. That is corruption, the fact that the “refs,” the “teachers,” the “officials,” the “cops” and the “judges” of our daily socio-economic games were lying hypocrites who twisted the system to our disadvantage — and we knew “we” would never be allowed into “the club” allowed to get away with it. That is corruption and that is what the American public voted against. George W. Bush was able to focus all of that onto his administration more clearly than any American president in living memory, and he was able to oversee a vaster and faster rakeoff than anyone had ever experienced. Then Katrina hit, and we got the message — we were shit. If push came to shove, we would be shoved overboard at the first hint of trouble to the ruling class — there really was no safety net, and it could get fatally unsafe at any time. Homeland security was a complete lie, a joke. We are allowed to buy “goods” and “insurance” from mega-corporations, and we are allowed to pay taxes, but come time “we” would ever need “medicine” or become “victims” — tough shit. Uncle Sam had been bought off, and we are not welcome in the neighborhoods he takes good care of. All of that is corruption. And, it was very clear that the favorite agent of the corrupt controllers was the Republican Party. Sure, the Democrats are nearly as bad, because they suck up to the same sources of money — but the key is “nearly.” It was obvious that the Big Money used the Democrats as a hedge, but their REAL selves were invested in the Republicans, and most especially in the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld neoconic faction. The Wacko-Christian Church bunch had combined with the neocons to form a political virus totally controlling the Republican apparatus — like the pod people in “The Invasion of The Body Snatchers,” and there was no way to save the original host. The only way to kill the infection was to burn the entire infected beast. The election of 7 November 2006 was the American public acting as Gregory Peck, shooting a mad dog in the streets in “To Kill A Mockingbird.” In this way, Election Day was like 9/11, we “all” are united in one fundamental goal — stop the madness, kill the corruption.
But, this unity will not last long, not even a week. We’ve slammed on the brakes and suffered our crash after a fascist joyride, and now we’re climbing out of the wreckage. Once out and about, we’ll all drift back toward our “true” interests: progressives will hammer away for greater social and economic equity, the petite bourgeoisie (little “r” Republicans, “mom and pop store” Democrats) will become refocused on money-taxes-profits-regulations, and drift away from any big picture or moral concerns; sports fans will return to their jobs and their favorite brain-parks in TV-land; and the paleo-conservatives will return to trying to convince the public at large that their Von Mises-Calvinist ideology of “selfishness is next to godliness” is somehow personally satisfying and miraculously sustainable. The basis of the corruption will not be eliminated — “impeachment is off the table” — Pelosi’s explicit declaration of bipartisan complicity: lobbying is not going to be regulated, the Israel Lobby (which owns the Democratic Party) is not going to be outlawed (foreign agents), public financing of campaigns and proportional representation are nowhere in sight. What will be stopped are some of the drunken war-criminals, like Rumsfeld, and some of the rake-off operators, probably more of Abramoff’s associates. The voters have a long way to go before they can once again own the “refs,” the “teachers,” the “officials,” the “cops” and the “judges” who control the mazes they are forced to run to get their daily bread.
The elite “realists” of the James Baker, Robert Gates, Pappa Bush variety will reassert control, to spread around some prescription drug medical benefits, “Vietnamize” the Iraq War (declare some armed faction our proxy, and move US GIs out slowly as “our Iraqi allies” achieve “readiness”) and keep the lid on otherwise: “impeachment is off the table;” how about tax un-cuts for the wealthy?, how about leaving Social Security alone?, how about a national living wage?, how about habeas corpus?, outsourcing?, media consolidation?, one can go on. The introduction of Robert Gates, as Donald Rumsfeld’s replacement, is a signal from “the realist elite” that it has exerted control and put Bush Baby under supervision; so we’re back to Baker as effective Secretary of State, as a regent acting on behalf of King George (Bush) the First to supervise Bush Baby as nominal president. Same old pattern, there’s always a nanny to wield the silver spoon.
The road to ripping out the roots of corruption lie through impeachment and then war crimes tribunals. Let us all live under the same rules — that is the revolution. What Pelosi has told us most clearly is that for 2008, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party will be even less distinguishable, they will be the right hand and the left hand of the “realist” elite. Why? because both parties share the same fundamental concern: to see that elections change nothing. Will the American public ever focus on that and recognize it as corruption?
MANUEL GARCIA, Jr. is a physicist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org