As we finally enter the cool, breezy era where we are no longer actually living the Bush Presidential nightmare, but contemplating his legacy, you may be wondering how to articulate the tragedy that was America under George W. Bush.
It’s tempting to call Bush and his Administration “fascists” as many have. But we should not be tempted to refer to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their crooked cohorts as fascists, because it’s not quite historically accurate.
Bush’s mix of authoritarianism and militarism — waging an imperial oil war, torturing prisoners of that war, wasting the lives of young American soldiers on false pretenses — does not quite add up to fascism.
Nazi’s committed mass murder based on race and religion, but the killing of 654,965* Iraqis in the Bush/Cheney quest for corporate domination of the Middle East, is not quite the same as fascism, since it was done under the cover of war, without being explicitly about sect or ethnicity.
Allowing victims of Hurricane Katrina to die and rot in their own waste and neglecting those who survived, doesn’t quite rise to the historic level required for the term fascist because it was, historians say, more passive than active.
Rigging elections, corrupting the justice system, spying on and lying to Americans, twisting and falsifying the results of scientific research don’t quite add up to the total elimination of elections, civil liberties and intellectual freedom under Hitler.
Bush ignored the global warming emergency for six years and now in his unique, Orwellian way, is posturing to change the historical record, as though he’s been a leader in finding solutions to the challenges presented by climate change. Global warming may change or destroy life on the planet for most of its inhabitants, still it’s not fascism. It may turn out to be worse.
Hitler’s brand was a populist sort of fascism where he involved the German people in the killing of their own Jewish countrypeople and other “undesirables.” Bush, by contrast, has a more international approach. He has not involved Americans in killing each other directly one-on-one, like old Adolph.
Rather George W. Bush has put us all at the mercy of giant corporations who pollute our air and water and destroy biodiversity, leaving us to deal with the resulting degradation, illness and disease. Those wealthy corporations can now take individual’s private property for “economic” development, outsource our jobs, avoid paying Americans a living wage, benefit financially from war, and gouge us at the gas pump.
These corporations reap record-breaking profits, exclusively for the benefit of the very few. Meanwhile the little gal and guy struggle to live, breathe, work, put food and clean water on the table, pay the electric bill, get an education, and find health care.
Few Americans are still fooled by Bush’s more bumbling, “Oops, I’m just a simple cowboy” kinds of atrocities, devoid of the obviously deliberate nature of a Hitler.
So really, if Bush is not a fascist, then there is no term in existence that accurately reflects the despotic-hybrid that is George W. Bush. The term neo-con, just doesn’t cut it. Look-up the term “Nazi,” in the dictionary and the antonym is “conservative” neo or otherwise. “Neo-con” lets Bush off too easy. “Compassionate conservative?” Every second of his term in office says otherwise.
The spell-check on my computer will not yet allow me license with the term, because I just invented it. The term is Ficeist. Since it’s close, but not exact, it sounds like fascist, with an “i” — Ficeist. It is pronounced: like fish with a long “i” and an “ist” ending.
The term is actually an acronym-turned-word. The pieces of the acronym add up to the unique, crossbreed that Americans have called President for the past 7 years. Fascist (but not exactly) Imperialist Corporatist Elitist — plus “ist” — equals Ficeist, equals George W. Bush and his Administration.
Given some history and use on Bush-type leaders, Ficeist will come to reverberate with the kind of semi-democratic dictatorship that has been G.W. Bush’s Administration.
Ficeist, while not exactly a fascist, will denote a militarist who violates all historic rules of war and kills hundreds of thousands in other countries and blames it on an unrelated, domestic event, as Bush still does with the Iraq war and 9-1-1. The Ficeist leader will belong to a country powerful enough that he cannot be seized by another country and put on trial for crimes against humanity, even when warranted.
Ficeists are masters of Orwellian double speak. They pose as virtuous environmentalists and propose legislation like the “Healthy Forest Initiative,” while winking and nodding to their wealthy, corporate pals and whispering in the back room, “That really means that you can cut down all of the remaining 5 percent of ancient forests on public lands. Forests are for profit, right? Don’t worry about the expense of making all that profit, American tax-payers will pay for it.”
Ficeist citizens are intelligent, but ill-informed because they get most of their “news” from corporate-controlled media similar to the complicit Fox News.
The citizens of the Ficeist nation are too comfortable to rock the boat. The pseudo-freewoman and man of the Ficeist nation will not show up at the doors of their high court on the day that the Ficeist is appointed by that court to lead their nation and refuse to go home, until all votes are counted, as Americans did not in the 2000 Presidential election.
Despite being a nation born of protest and revolution, complacent citizens won’t demonstrate en mass when 3,500 of their fellow citizens die in a Ficeist, corporate-driven, meaningless war. They won’t revolt when hundreds of billions of their tax dollars are wasted on the boondoggle or even blink when 9 billion dollars are lost — just lost — on its way to the corporations that occupy the invaded country.
The Ficeist nation may be a multi-party state, but both parties will be controlled by wealthy corporations and more concerned about re-election and maintaining power for its own sake, than solving the nation’s challenges.
Voters may exercise their franchise in a mid-term election and elect the opposition party in a landslide with as clear a mandate as was ever given — GET U.S. OUT OF THE IRAQ WAR. But the opposition party will eventually fold to the Ficeist and, contrary to the clear demands of the voters, they will actually provide MORE funding to INCREASE the troop levels, instead of supporting the troops by bringing them home.
Maybe all of these concepts are unique to the living hell of the Bush/Cheney Administration and America today. In that case, let’s hope the word Ficeist does not catch-on, since that would mean the world would have to endure another American-style President like George W. Bush, virtually unchallenged within the nation or from around the world.
KARYN STRICKLER, political scientist, activist and writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
* According to a Johns Hopkins University study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health which estimated that 654,965 additional deaths occurred in Iraq between March 2003 and July 2006. Between March ’03 and July ’06, households attributed 31 percent of deaths or 203,039 deaths to the coalition.
© 2007, KARYN STRICKLER.