John Walker's Electronic House

by on Oct.02, 2004, under The Rest

This isn’t my usual tone, but it’s a thought that I’ve been batting around with friends for a while, and it seems to have blossomed into a terrifying clarity.

That thought is: America – vote Bush.

Stop. This isn’t the annoucement of my mind’s collapse. This isn’t some stupid “Kerry’s slightly imperfect, and was only hit by shrapnel and not a proper bullet! He should be rejected” idiot argument. This is a horrible realisation that if America is to have any chance of halting its rapid collapse into a fascist state, it needs, so bizarrely, Bush to be in power.

I can explain.

First of all, it’s crucial to not allow oneself to become all-consumed by the invasion of Iraq. In no way do I belittle the horrors that have occurred there by the unutterable stupidity that led to such an ill-advised and astonishingly badly executed invasion. But it is not the only thing Bush has done – the rest is slightly more subtle.

One of my closest friends, Kim, is a teacher in Illinois. Over the last four years she has seen a poor education system destroyed. Her profession is being eroded around her, resources at previously badly funded schools dwindling away to utter desperation, support falling apart, and no help offered from anywhere. She despairs – she lives the effects of Bush’s cruel and idiotic leadership. She feels the pain of his actions personally, before most have started to notice.

American healthcare has always been something horrific to watch from afar. To see a country accepting a system in which health can only be bought, and where pain or death are the punishments for poverty, is difficult. It’s a reminder of why while the British NHS isn’t exactly perfect, it’s still a thousand times better than a scheme run for those that can afford the insurance premiums. What isn’t widely discussed is the incredible damage Bush has done to the few alternative options that did exist. To the free clinics. To the drug clinics. To the services that looked after the homeless, the addicts, the pregnant teens.

What is discussed, and yet still seems to disappear in a puff of Iraq, is the economy. Bush took America from its strongest ever position to the largest deficit the country has ever faced. Incredible debts that will still be hanging over the heads of America’s grandchildren. Unimaginable amounts of money, leaving the country bankrupt.

And even Iraq. While the problems in Iraq are happening now, inevitably far worse is to come, once one of the factions gets itself organised. Despite a worldwide cry for an exit strategy to have been formed before the attack, it never happened. It’s like a mother telling her son, “Make sure you remember to take sunblock,” over and over and over, and the son blustering, “Of course I’ll remember! I’m not STUPID!” and then looking all upset and confused when he’s burned from head to toe.

In all that Bush has done – in the inconceivable numbers of seeds of wanton damage and civil destruction he has planted – lots is growing, but little has shown its fruit.

If Kerry wins the November election, it is during his term that the fruit will appear. And if there’s one thing one must never underestimate when dealing with a population as a whole, it’s quite how stupid it’s capable of being.

Look at the way people chastise the Labour government for the state of British schools, hospitals and transport networks. This is no fervent defence of Labour, but it requires such a hefty ignorance of ‘consequence’ to not realise that these are the results of 11 years of Conservative erosion and privatisation of the services. Newsflash: the consequences of ill actions do not all happen on the same day. Labour, for all the crap, have improved all three services. As Nick pointed out tonight, it’s achingly aggravating to see an idiot member of Question Time’s audience shouting at a Labour MP for the evil of Railtrack.

And it is this time-blind stupidity that means Bush must win the next election.

If Kerry wins, as each and every fruit of Bush’s sowing blossoms into the public’s view, it is with the Democrats that the blame will be placed. Every evil of the Republican’s creation will be dubbed the evil of the Democrats. If Kerry were the greatest leader the world had ever seen, it would still not compete with the inevitable fallout that will occur over the next four years.

If Bush wins, it will be terrible. He will do more and maybe worse. But he will be there as the economy meets with the inevitable collapse. He will be there when HIV/AIDS cases inevitably dramatically climb in number. He will be there when education inevitably screams through its death. And he will be blamed for what he (and understand by “he” I clearly mean his team) has created.

If Kerry wins, it will be less terrible. At first. And then as the inevitable list unfurls, it will be the end of an already weakly Democrat party. It will become unelectable in the eyes of America. The Republican party will be back in immediately, and there they shall stay for a very long time. And America will continue in its current descent, unhindered by its four year hiccup.

The majority cause of all the above-mentioned is time-blindness. The refusal to look at a long-term view. And therefore, America’s Left must not make the same mistake. Yes, getting Bush out seems the best thing to do right now, for the sake of the world. But that is thinking with a Republican mind. Long-term thought must be applied. And as astonishing as it is to say, America needs Bush for another term.

18 Comments for this entry

  • That Teacher Kim

    It’s a shame, as we’ve said before, that the world doesn’t get a vote in something that clearly affects the world. The world needs to do something about that.

  • Steve

    Your thoughts are…interesting…but depend heavily on a short gestation period for these eventual consequences. Is it not equally likely that the Bush Administration will be able to prop up the economy for a further four years, papering desperately over the ever-increasing cracks until the Democrats do move in and discover that maybe they shouldn’t have paid so much for this house after all?

  • Nick Mailer

    Speaking with economist friends, they believe that certain chickens are going to be roosting within the next eighteen months.

    What John did not mention was that Bush’s performance will, I believe, lead to both Houses going to the Democrats, meaning that he’ll be a lame duck for the last two years anyway. So he has two years of damage more, at most. Thereafter, one can hope that a revitalised Democratic party will find a candidate worthy of deposing the whole mass of Republican idiocy. It may not happen, but if Kerry gets in now, I fear that he’ll be a lame duck from the start, and will become progressively weaker as time goes on, eventually deposed by someone who makes Bush look like Red Ken.

  • Rossignol

    Agreed, the Democrats have fielded such a weak candidate that they actually can’t afford to win.

  • Rev. S Campbell

    Hmm. The way Bush is going, there might not still BE elections in America in four years time. After all, when you’re at war, you have to sacrifice certain niceties of civil liberties, don’t you? If America – land of the free, folks – isn’t going to revolt over something like the USA PATRIOT Act, I think it’s a little naive to imagine them booting out a government over something as intangible to the man in the street as gargantuan budget deficits and underfunded education. American voters are more vulnerable to a waving flag than any nation on Earth, and Bush waves a flag better than just about anyone.

    If you believe that the public are too stupid to grasp that the problems of the next administration will largely have been caused by the economic policies of this one, then it doesn’t seem very likely that they’ll have wised up enough in four years time to make a more informed judgement. Especially with a collapsed education system.

  • Tim R

    I’m a little concerned that Kerry is also pretty right-wing, just not quite as right as Bush. That was the impression I have picked up. A bit like the Tories and Labour both being right-wing, they agree on fundamental issues I’m not sure I want them to agree on. I’ve just read a book by Chomsky called Hegemony or Survival. I think it’s his latest; it’s the first book of his I’ve read. It made for fascinating and provocative reading for one not wholly versed in British and American history, but what became abundantly clear to me was that although Reagan and Bush I and II are guilty of the most extraordinaryly devastating unjust wars, the democrats, such as Kennedy or Clinton have both done their fair share. They too followed a pursuit of global hegemony, volatilizing world politics, and making the world ever a more dangerous place to live in. It seems that the choice we face and (as Kim points out) are not allowed to vote on, between democrats and republicans, is no choice at all. Choice will only come when the downtrodden illeducated proletariat are mobilized in a popular revolution, in the manner of, say, Cuba or Nicaragua.

  • Nick Mailer

    And until Utopia, dear, people had better do their duty and choose between the lesser of two evils, or otherwise implicitly select the greater.

    And please don’t take Chommers as Gospel. He can be quite naughtily bendy at times. I’ve caught his prose out on several occasions, with the minimal of counter-research.

  • Tim R

    Agreed, and thanks for the warning. When you have caught him out, was that a matter of his misquoting, quoting out of context, or of slyly offering no backup at exactly the moment that he makes his most damning argument? If his version is not the unvarnished truth, what is?

  • James Lyon

    It sort of makes sense when you think about it, but it seems a horrid way to go about it. Making Americans (and other parts of the world) suffer for another four years just to get the point across could be just as worse as watching the ‘good guys’ fall apart from impossible promises.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not about “getting the point across”. It’s about the reality of the situation. This isn’t an anti-Bush point scoring exercise. This is about preventing the Democrats from becoming entirely obselete.

  • John Walker

    Sorry for no update people. Can’t get at my update page while in the States. Back Tuesday.

    Having watched the second debate on tv night, I’m getting more shaky in my belief in the above.

  • Tim R

    Glad you’re still alive, I was beginning to wonder if you’d been captured by insurgents.

  • Jon Holyfield

    So re-electing Thatcher twice was worth it to make the Conservatives unelectable ? I’d argue that one with you John.

  • Too F-f-f-f-frightened to put a name!

    Yes, of course you would, because you’ve just reacted with the first thought in your head, and then not listened to any of the others.

  • Jon Holyfield

    Not at all. In the Uk it was patently obvious that Thatcher was a disaster. The list of offences is almost endless and we are still feeling the consequences now and will be for a long time.

    Sadly despite the gut feeling that she would never get back in she did and then, gut wrenchingly, she did again. The Conservatives appealed to avarice and self centredness and it worked.

    So rather than make that throw away dismissal answer the question.

  • John

    If anything, you are only proving my point.

    The Tories right now: electable? No. Why? Because they were in power when the fruit of their actions fell from the trees. If anything, it worked. They cannot get into power. Good. Think.

  • Jon Holyfield

    Thanks for posting as yourslf.

    The question stands. Did my childhood years where my parents were destitute and suicidle justify your vision for the long term future ?

  • John

    Oh, will you just grow up. I forgot to put my name in the Name field. Whoop-dee-doo. If I thought it mattered for a second, I’d edit it so it was there. It doesn’t.

    And sorry, but your second sentence is meaningless, and cheap emotional manipulation. Construct your thoughts into a logical argument.