We’re getting closer to the light — the one at the end of the George Bush tunnel.
by Patt Morrison – January 24, 2008
One year from this very moment, someone other than George Bush will be sliding behind that antique desk in the Oval Office. In embassies and outposts that fly the Stars and Stripes, photographs of a face other than Bush’s will be going up on the walls.
At long, long last. It is seven years since Bush plopped down behind that desk, seven years when hope and honor and good faith and goodwill died a little for me, for many other heartsick Americans who love this country, and for millions around the world who looked up to this country.
I say “died,” and I mean that. The psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross laid out the basic stages of grief and coming to terms with loss. And Kubler-Ross’ five stages track almost perfectly the arc of how we’ve grappled and grieved over the sickening power crusade of the Bush administration against the nation for these last seven years.
Denial: It can’t be happening. Who could expect that the man who had to win election in court, not at the polls, would instantly, arrogantly go on the attack — wiping out environmental protections unmatched since Teddy Roosevelt, throwing out scores of health and safety and accountability and privacy rules and protections that made life better for typical Americans, and making “caveat emptor” the only motto of U.S. business? There must be some mistake, doctor.
Anger: It’s not fair. How dare they? How can they practice retrograde isolationism abroad and rapacious cronyism at home? How can they dishonor 9/11 by exploiting the nation’s fears to justify upending the Constitution and creating a metastasized secret government? Threatening librarians with prosecution? Arresting people wearing anti-Bush T-shirts, thus conflating protest with sedition? Sneaking and peeking on us without warrants — at the same time they’re wrapping the White House in impenetrable secrecy in the name of national security? I went to bed at night raging against the outrages — Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Katrina, Blackwater, Terri Schiavo — and woke to fresh ones with the morning’s news.
Bargaining: If they stop now, I’ll make my peace. OK, they have the Supreme Court, and the war they lied to get — maybe that’s enough. Maybe it’s enough that the war will bankrupt our children, just please don’t let it bankrupt our grandchildren too. He went to war with terrorism, so if he goes to war against global warming and failing levees the way he did against terrorism, I live with a “Clear Skies” initiative that pollutes the air and a “Healthy Forests” initiative that whacks more trees. Promise me it won’t happen again, and I’ll let it go.
Depression: I can’t even lift my head to pay attention. Saddam Hussein had WMD? Sure, fine, yeah. Dick Cheney doesn’t want to submit to a mandatory archive inspection, so he claims he’s not part of the executive branch? Naturally. The administration decides what it wants to do, then makes up its own facts to justify it. Reality, like history, is written by the victors. Take the science out of NASA and the Interior Department, and the Earth is suddenly in great shape; species are no longer endangered. Declare “mission accomplished” with 150 dead American soldiers, and five years later, when the numbers are more than 20 times that, observe offhandedly that the U.S. could “easily” be in Iraq another 10 years. Whatever. I’ve pulled the shades.
Acceptance: Ready for whatever comes. Game over, peace out. I thought I was at the acceptance stage, but not yet.
I can’t forget that, in the nation’s name, these men have abused power to defeat the constitutional remedies for abuse of power. They’ve turned every government agency into a hit squad for Bush-Cheney Inc. They’ve despoiled this exquisite, singular planet just to stuff a few more millions into billionaires’ pockets.
Can I hold out for one more year? Can the nation? Will another election save us? Are we suckers to believe, still, in the ultimate curative power of that brilliantly conceived human instrument, the Constitution? What other choice do we have? I’m ready for a last-minute miracle cure.
Bring it on.
[For the original article,
go here to LATimes Opinion.]