publisher's note
February 3, 2004


Brace yourself
by Bruce Rodgers

As I sit in front of this electronic screen, nursing a headache from gulping a few too many beers with my friend Charley on election night, there’s little doubt in my mind that I reside in a nation in decline The signs are all around us. The perennial problems remain — poverty, inadequate educational opportunities for all our young, economic stratification and environmental deterioration. In the past, our government attacked those problems with varying degrees of intensity, depending upon which political party held office and the caliber of leadership of those with power. There may have been disagreements on the path toward solutions and interpretation of data, but the recognition was there that these problems exist. In the last four years lies, distortions and propaganda have become the pathways in dealing with these problems. Lies that the economy is solid and job opportunities remain, the distortion that educational goals are being met and the propaganda surrounding protection of the environment. The most faith-based administration in history is also the most dishonest, lying, conniving and corrupt in history. And its cover has been fear. Fear has made this nation’s citizens stupid, dangerously stupid. It gnaws at our rational, conscious being. It hides the notion, buried deep within our subconscious, that something is grievously wrong with this country. Consequently, we cannot see the signs. Maybe, on the surface, these signs don’t appear that troublesome — a shortage of flu vaccines, limiting rights in state constitutions to protect marriage, the acceptance of lying about your opponent as a campaign tactic, and not giving soldiers in war the equipment they need to protect themselves. Yet, each of these "signs" points to a decline — failure to meet a health threat, failure to protect rights of individuals, failure to conduct democracy on an ethical footing and failure to give those who give the ultimate sacrifice the means to protect themselves. The biggest sign of decline of America is the going to war on a lie. A lie that has disappeared in the minds of those who cast their vote for the reelection of George W. Bush. It is a lie no less serious than the Nazi lie of Aryan superiority. Faith and fear has brought a darkness to this country. Bush is not a leader and never will be. People can debate whether he is smart or dumb. In my mind, he is simply not worthy of being president of this country. But the biggest danger in Bush is not in his smallness. It lies in the fact that he is controlled. Karl Rove manages Bush. And having given Bush his second term through his mastery of the political campaign and the weakness of the media to question, there can be only one path for the likes of Rove — to keep that power. And fear is the perfect tool. We need to be concerned of Rove and his pathological lack of ethics. Power and revenge are his drugs of choice. His use of fear makes the Constitution a porous protection of rights and already the Geneva Convention has ceased to be an obstacle in securing total domination over a group of people. Fear gave us the Patriot Act, fear stokes the totalitarian urges of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, fear lets Haliburton make money off of war, fear makes citizens blind to the decline around them and the danger from the people they give power to. Voting for Kerry was not enough to fight the decline of America. Being a Democrat is not enough. That party has not (re)discovered enough truths about itself to battle the lies, distortions and propaganda coming from the Republicans. Real Americans may have but one option left to stop the decline of the United States: taking to the streets.

Bruce Rodgers can be contacted at


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