Yoggi Berra, who could mangle language better than George Bush could ever hope to, though Dubya does a good silver medal performance, couldn't have described the conditions we aging baby boomers and young voters face this election. Since I am from the time that is only taught about in history classes today, (to my own amazement I was 18 in 1968), I would like to give the younger voters, who may not have heard this story first hand from a parent or older mentor, a primmer on how the people dealt with the last right wing takeover of America.
Today our American political makeup differs greatly from the Watergate era. Yet the same conditions have emerged like the perfect storm occasionally does at sea; war, a corrupt administration, energy chaos, soaring inflation, and an America distrusted globally for our go it alone foreign policy. Unfortunately, this time the Crawford bound Bush administration will leave Washington under its own power rather than from the threat of an impeachment minded Congress.
Today there is no Attorney General Elliot Richardson's defiant resignation against those who sought to insulate Nixon from culpability, just the slithering under a rock by Alberto Gonzales , praying that his replacement would be the Administration's apologist that Mukasey has turned out to be . As the clock runs out on the stranglehold the Republican Neocon entrenched echelon exercised over the past decades we citizens are content to wait them out.
Americans today, content to let Bush know through popularity polls our distaste for his abuses, are unlike my generation. We took to the streets and protested, got arrested, got shot, killed, rioted, even left the country in defiance of the right wing war mongers in charge then. Oh we do have demonstrators who block traffic, invade the mall with their placards, and wait peacefully to be arrested to show their family and friends that they gave a damn and were willing to protest. Gone are those willing to kill or die in the name of their causes here at home both on the radical left with freedom and the racist right wanting to maintain segregation. We've morphed into a centrist, consensus-based, semiconscious congealment of citizens not even motivated enough to vote in the political elections that decide our collective futures.
The Nixon Administration was rife with corrupt, ultra-rightwing operatives who thought nothing of going through the IRS or FBI to ruin the opposition. They burglarized, murdered radicals, students, and militants using any pretext to accomplish their ends. The Bush Administration has been a crony encrusted, corrupt collection of incompetent Republican reptilian brained replications of political litmus test takers. The deaths these neocons caused were to the innocent people of a country we invaded and our military personnel who volunteered to serve George the Usurper .
The war in Viet Nam, like the Afghani-Iraq duet of wars we are in, coupled with the first energy crisis we witnessed under Nixon, add to the situational similarities. The military is now a voluntary force augmented by (PMFs) private military firms who include mercenaries, technology firms and munitions producers, the same folks Eisenhower warned us about who are the new beneficiaries of the rigid right. Couple them with their media, medical, pharmaceutical, and energy companies controlled by the top two percent of the country and you have the makings of a modern monarchy with contracts awarded to the Haliburtons, Blackwaters, and KBRs like fiefdoms of yore.
The internet/infotech/intertech world we face has advantages and disadvantages that are counter weights to motivating public involvement. On the plus side like minds can communicate, organize and reach massive audiences, but negatively, the state can spy on, monitor, infiltrate, and initiate media disinformation campaigns such as the WMD justification for going to war with Iraq. The same technology that creates our game systems like PSP and Wii created Shock and Awe and demonstrated push button warfare. The 24 hour news cycle made possible by the growth of cable television has also spawned the likes of Fox News Channel, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bush Neocons.
No one expects Americans to riot or protest the war like my generation did. The Viet Nam War, where a half million kids were conscripted to fight resulting in 55,000 deaths, forced us to think in absolute terms. Students today shouldn't have to die to wake the country up to force the government to listen to its citizens. But we cannot let what the Bush Administration started continue into the next presidential administration. This war focus, which has diminished our ability to face real adversaries like the reemerging Russian army takeover in Georgia; shows that our overextended military is rendering us incapable of confronting real threats to democratic allies. We need a Democratic Congress and White house to turn our ship of state around.
This next two months are the most important sixty days of this whole twenty first century thus far; for it will determine what direction the country will take for the next decade. The decisions made will set the course for all Americans for the first half of this century. Do we make our military encroachment mentality permanent or learn to work with our allies to challenge enemies in a unified voice. Will we turn our energy needs and dollars over to the oil companies in the hope that they will finally have our needs in mind over their profits, entrust the French with a nuclear power plant boon like McCain advocates, or will we embark on the greatest challenge of our age and harness alternative forms of energy solar, wind, co-generation, wave energy, geothermal and hydroelectric generation, switchgrass ethanol production that Obama champions. Will the wealthy in this country continue to control our economic reins or will a healthy middle class reemerge as the economic engine of growth? Do something to help. Register voters, volunteer to call for your candidate, blog, comment on news sites, encourage others to act, and come November, Vote the bums out!